II TIMOTHY 9
This will be the final essay on II Timothy. I want to sum up the essence of what Paul is saying to Timothy in this book, for it is something that everyone who tries to preach or teach the Gospel should be aware of, and that every Christian should take seriously.
In chapter 2 verse 15, Paul tells Timothy to first examine himself and make sure that his life and work meet with God’s approval, and that he handles the Word of God in the manner God intended.
Chapter 3 verses 16 & 17 point Timothy to the Inspired Scriptures which will equip him to be able to teach, correct and train him to be a
worker of good in the Kingdom of God.
Finally, here in chapter 4, Paul gives the final order, and makes a
sad prediction that is quite evident when one views the world of
Christianity today. He urges Timothy to “Preach the Word”. John tells us, in the beginning of his Gospel, that “the Word was made
flesh and dwelt among us”. So Jesus Christ is the Word. To preach the Word is to preach Christ. As we have said before, Christianity is
not a system, it is a person. To preach the Word is to preach Christ,
not a historical figure but a living presence.
Unfortunately, throughout the Christian world, one hears more sermons on the rituals and rules of the church, and nice lessons to help us with our personal problems, or condemnation of the ills in current society, but few sermons on the person and work of Jesus Christ. When Jesus said He would build His church, He was not talking about an organization. The word “church” means His called-out ones. In other words, as the Son of God, bringing the message of God’s love and His invitation into His Kingdom, He would gather those who would respond into the family of God. That is the church.
To preach the church organization is to preach what we have done.
But that is not the point. The point is what He has done, and to preach that is to preach the Word.
Paul said (II Tim 2:8) that Jesus Christ raised from the dead was his Gospel. Jesus Christ came to die for our sins, and His resurrection was the proof that God was ready to forgive all who place their lives in trust to Him. However, following Jesus Christ requires denial of self, and in this world of self-interest and competition to be at the top, such an idea is unacceptable. Jesus said the world would hate those who preached that.
This is the age of mega churches in which the leaders are interested in numbers and popularity. This is a fulfillment of Paul’s prediction that the time would come when men would seek teachers with itching ears (i.e., ears tuned to the desires of the market place) and would be turned away from the truth. The truth is only what the Creator wants, and that is self-sacrifice and submission to Jesus Christ in absolute faith. Living with Jesus as the Lord of your life does not fit in with the pleasures and desires of this hedonistic world. So preaching Christ
will not appeal to the multitudes, but it does appeal to God. Let’s stop preaching “our church”, and begin to preach the Word. He is the only One who can forgive our sins, but the world does not like that word,
and to have them forgiven is not a high priority with the multitude.
So Paul’s prediction, that those who claim to be religious would be turned to fables, is being proved right all around us today. In the world of religion, very little preaching of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ survives.