Temple Baptist Church - 3-30-2014
2 Timothy 4:1-4
A. I am finished with the “Inspiration of the Scriptures” in the last chapter but, once again, you need to remember that chapter divisions are not the end of or a change of thought!
1. Rightly dividing the word of truth is essential to biblical interpretation and biblical interpretation must be made before practical application can be preached. One of the foremost rules of bible interpretation is the Context Principle. So many so-called bible scholars cause confusion by taking a verse out of its context and making it a pretext.
2. 2 Timothy 3:16 has been a prime example! These chapters have nothing to do with the original manuscripts. They are dealing with the apostasy and deception of these last days and assuring a young pastor that THE SCRIPTURE THAT HE HAD was both reliable and profitable. Chapter 4 is a continuation of chapter 3 and when you see a “therefore” or a “wherefore,” the context continues and you need to interpret the continuation within that context.
3. Chapter 4 begins with the “therefore” which continues the context of inspiration of and confidence in the “holy scriptures” that Timothy had in his possession. Chapter 4 gives the admonition to the preacher to “preach THE word.” You cannot preach what you do not have and, therefore, Paul is referring to the inspired scriptures which were profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. These inspired scriptures are the criteria for the throughly furnishing of God’s men!
4. To interpret these verses any other way is to do grave injustice to the word of God and cause confusion concerning a perfectly clear portion of the scripture! You do not need the Greek to interpret the English!
B. Wickedness permeates society and, unfortunately, most churches.
1. Worldliness and apathy have always been and always will be enemies of God’s local church. When worldliness and apathy come in, holiness and service go out.
2. Deception and false doctrine have always been and always will be enemies of God’s local church. Rightly dividing the word of truth and adhering to the Old Paths are not options!
3. Chapter 4 describes our times as most people in local churches will no longer “endure sound doctrine!”
Ezekiel 12:1-2 The word of the LORD also came unto me, saying, (2) Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.
Zechariah 7:11-14 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. (12) Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts. (13) Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts: (14) But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.
4. Because of their lusts, they “heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” They desire teachers instead of preachers. Teaching informs the intellect and gives information to be processed but demands no decision to be made. Preaching appeals to the heart of man and demands a decision to be made.
5. “Having itching ears” refers to loving to have their ears scratched or tickled. They desire to be entertained or feel good about themselves. These “ear tickling” preachers never reprove or rebuke because their congregations will not allow these things. They become hireling prophets.
Jeremiah 5:30-31 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; (31) The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (Four things are found here: 1) the prophets fail to preach truth 2) the priests departed from the Law and led contrary to it 3) the people loved to have it so as God’s word was neither adhered to nor wanted 4) the question: what will you do?)
6. Most preachers of our day only exhort! There messages are intended to make people feel good and religions while leaving out the preceding admonitions of reproving and rebuking that keeps God’s people right with Him.
7. The result is the turning away from truth unto “fables.” “Fable” is to teach fiction of a myth. Fiction can be partly true and partly false or made up. A “myth” is a fairytale.
C. Lost church members who are religious but will not hear the word of God are both enemies to themselves as well as God’s local church. Sinners are welcome and saints are expected because both need help: the sinner needs to be saved and the saint needs to grow. Here are the dangers:
1. Sinner die lost without hearing the truth. It is the truth that makes us free and God’s word is truth. They may get a little religion, get baptized, and join the local church but, as the parable of the sower, they do not endure long. I was saved 38+ years ago and I still remain in church and serving the Lord!
2. Saints are destroyed without hearing the truth. Their live become shambles and their usefulness nil!
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
D. Now, let us look at Paul’s 7 fold admonition to Timothy:
1. Preach the Word!
a. The charge of preaching. God’s called men have a command to preach the word of God. 1 Corinthians 1:17-18 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. (18) For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
b. The accountability of preaching. Acts 20:26-28 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. (27) For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (28) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
c. The importance of preaching.
1. Sinners will appear at the Great White Throne Judgment - Revelation 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
2. Saints will appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ - 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
2. Be instant! To preach without worrying about the consequences. Jeremiah 1:8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
a. In season – to deal with problems when they arise.
b. Out of season – to proactively or preventively deal with problems before they arise.
3. Reprove! To admonish or tell a fault. To correct gently but uncompromisingly. Colossians 1:28-29 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: (29) Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
4. Rebuke! To censure or chasten. Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
5. Exhort! One old preacher said, “Reprove them; rebuke them; and, if anyone is left, exhort them! God’s people need to be encouraged. Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
6. Longsuffering! Herein lies the key to preaching. Too many preachers are harsh with God’s people and use the word of God as a club to beat them with. I call this “in your face” preachers who never learn to handle God’s children gently and with love. 2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
7. Doctrinal! A preacher must be settled in the doctrine and uncompromising in its preaching. This is God’s word and needs to be treated as such. 1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.