PREACH THE WORD (2 Timothy – 14)
READ: 2 Timothy 4:1-2
The seminary where I studied has as its motto Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the Word.” It was written on the front wall of our chapel and placed where we would see it many times a day. Because of that it is engraved in my mind and heart. It summaries our responsibility to God and others. It is God’s privilege for us and His command to us. It is Paul’s culminating assignment to Timothy, the duty to which all others have built.
In this final teaching session, 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul gives Timothy 11 commands, one after another, all built on preaching the word. Paul shows the seriousness of what he is about to say in how he introduces it. “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus (we are accountable to Him, He watches all we do) who will judge the living and the dead (reward for faithful service), and in view of His appearing and His kingdom (Jesus could return at any time so always be ready), I give you this charge (Paul is using his Apostolic authority to give Timothy this responsibility, this goes far beyond their father-son relationship)” (2 Timothy 4:1-2). Timothy is to get and keep the church in Ephesus ready for the return of King Jesus. We are to do this as well.
Then comes the glorious command: “Preach the Word.” “Preach” means to make a public proclamation of something, like an ambassador who is sent by the king to proclaim his message with authority. He is to relay the king’s words loud and clear, as are we. It was a great honor and privilege to be chosen to represent the king. There is nothing better we can do with our lives than to spend them representing King Jesus. In fact, if God puts it in your heart to serve Him and you don’t, there will be no real joy or peace in your life (1 Corinthians 9:16).
We publicly proclaim God’s truth by preaching and teaching. We also do it when talking to individuals in counseling or in our daily conversation. We especially do it by our life as others watch how we live and act.
What Paul says we are to preach is “the Word.” The ambassador doesn’t give his own message, only what the king directs. He passes on the king’s words. He doesn’t add to them, change them or take from them. He makes them as clear and understandable as possible. He isn’t to draw attention to himself or impress people, just accurately communicate the king’s message. That’s a great description of what we as pastors are to do as well. We don’t pass on our personal opinions, tell fancy stories, take political sides or say things to entertain our listeners and be more popular. The content of our message is God’s Word. That means we teach and explain a Bible passage, verse by verse, word by word, making sure our listeners understand what it was saying to the people it was originally written to. Then we apply it to their daily lives and circumstances.
We aren’t to “preach from the Word” by taking a passage and then going off in a different direction, making it say what we want it to mean. Nor do we “preach about the Word” by giving our personal opinion of what it means. We must read and explain it’s very words, word by word. That means we must study it and learn it ourselves (2 Timothy 2:15). (For more information on how to study the Bible see my book “How to Study God’s Word.” For help in sermon preparation see my book “Preaching and Teaching God’s Word.” They are available online in English, Telugu, Spanish and Hindi at https://www.christiantrainingonline.org/our-ministries/india/books/).
Remember, God didn’t call you to build a church, that is His job (Matthew 16:18). Your job is to preach the Word!
PAUL’S ADVICE: Our great responsibility as a pastor is to communicate God’s Word to people, like an ambassador would speak for his king.
2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
God listens when you preach. Would He say you are doing your bests to know and communicate His Word? If not, where must you improve?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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