Preach the Word! – 2 Timothy 4:1-5

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

Also available as MP3: Preach the Word! – 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Summary:

The “word” Paul wanted preached (4:1,2) was the inspired Word of God that he just finished talking about (3:16,17).

This is so important God (through Paul) charges pastors to do it. It was important for Abraham to go to the Promised Land and start the Hebrew race so God charged him to do it (Gen. 26:2-5). It was important for Moses to lead that race out of Egypt into the wilderness, and it was important that that race be led out of the wilderness into the Promised Land, so God charged men to do these things too (Ex. 6:13; Deut. 3:28). It was important for the angels to protect the Lord till He could finish training the 12 before dying for our sins so God charged them to do it (Ps. 91:11,12). And it must be just as important to preach the Word if God uses that same word “charge” to tell pastors to do it. If you’re not a pastor, you must clamor for it (IPe. 2:2).

When you charge someone before someone else it makes you accountable to them (Num. 27:18,19). Pastors are charged “before God, and the Lord Jesus” to preach the Word (4:1), and we will give account of ourselves at the Judgment Seat of Christ. There the Lord will judge “the quick and the dead” (4:1 cf. II Cor. 5:9,10).

The “kingdom” Paul mentions (4:1) is not the kingdom of heaven on earth, that’s Israel’s hope. It is the kingdom of heaven in heaven we’ll be raptured to (I Cor. 15:50-52). That kingdom will begin for us at the Rapture, and our place in it will be ascribed at the Judgment Seat, where we’ll learn at what level we’ll “reign” with Christ (II Tim.2:12).

So we should preach the Word “instant” (4:2). What does that mean? Well, being “instant in prayer” (Rom. 12:12) means ready to pray instantly (Neh. 2:4,5), so preaching the Word instant means to be able to preach instantly. To prepare for that, pastors must give themselves “wholly” to the Word (I Tim. 4:15). The Lord did, and so was able to instantly jump on a word to witness to a woman (John 4:9,10). You can do that too if you immerse your mind in the Word.

“In season” (4:2) means “at all seasons” (Ex.18:26). People don’t always have problems at convenient seasons, as those judges learned, and they don’t always ask Bible questions at convenient seasons either, as Timothy would learn.

When people don’t want to listen to the Word pastors must “reprove” them (4:2). You too can reprove people by not joining in their sin (Eph. 5:11). “Rebuke” (4:1) is what you give people who oppose the program of God (Ps. 106:9; Lu. 8:24; Mark 8:33). Today Paul’s gospel is the program of God. Of course, the more pastors “exhort” people (4:2) the less they’ll have to reprove and rebuke them!

This must be done “with all longsuffering” (4:2). Parents don’t give up on kids who don’t listen, and pastors shouldn’t give up on Christians who don’t listen. They must also do it with “doctrine” (4:2). Of course, not listening to doctrine is why they need reproof and rebuke, but God doesn’t have a “Plan B.” If people don’t listen to doctrine, they must be reproved and rebuked with doctrine.

“Itching ears” (4:3) are ears that are itching to hear what they want to hear instead of the Word they need to hear (cf. Micah 2:11). “Fables” (4:4) are stories, they’re what you hear when you hear most preachers preach. But there’s no power in stories, the power of God is in the Word of God.

To guard against all this, pastors must “watch” (4:5). Not watch the people for signs of itching ears, for that wouldn’t change what a pastor is supposed to do, preach the Word. He must watch himself (cf. I Tim. 4:16) for signs of weakening and giving in, and giving people what they want instead of the Word they need. Pastors must also endure the afflictions that Satan will make sure come if you preach the Word (4:5), especially if they “do the work of an evangelist” (4:5).