We have been looking in recent blogs at New Durham Chapel’s mission statement which reads, “Making Disciples, Teaching God’s Word, Glorifying God”. We spent several blogs discussing the importance of making disciples and then last week we started to unpack the idea of teaching God’s Word. One of the things that I think is so significant about Paul’s second letter to Timothy, that we looked at last time, is that these are the last words that Paul would share with his young protégé. Usually, the last words someone speaks and the last message someone gives is really important information that they want the other person to always remember. We read in the final chapter of Paul’s writings these words, “In the presence of God and of Christ who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction,” (2 Tim. 4:1,2 NIV). Paul above all things wanted Timothy to know the importance of declaring the whole counsel of God’s Word. The word “charge” in the Greek language, is an intensive compound. Intensive compounds are one of the unique features of the Greek New Testament, which enables a word to be charged with stronger or a more intensified meaning. So, the word “charge” is full of energy and meaning. In fact, the NASB states “I solemnly charge you”. Paul could not have made this charge any more weighty and important before his young friend Timothy. In his challenge is living in the light of this coming judgment where Jesus will return one day and hold us as believers accountable for what we have done with the “Word” that has been entrusted to us. Paul is telling Timothy to live in light of this future judgment, all of us would do well to heed this counsel.
The nature of this call is to “preach the Word of God”. The word “preach” has the emphasis of proclaiming like an ambassador the important message that we have been entrusted with. Because the Word is inspired and profitable (as we considered last week in our blog), it is the basis of any fruitful and faithful ministry. Whenever I have a membership class and we go over the beliefs of NDC I declare share that it is my commitment to declare the Word of God. That is the basis of my ministry here, to teach and to proclaim the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ as it is revealed to us in the pages of Holy Scripture. God has truly been the basis of my ministry now for over 35 years. I don’t want to preach on my own notions or political views or psychological things that are happening but on the plain and simple truth of the Word of God. While I certainly use illustrations from my life and maybe things that are happening in our world it is a ministry that is grounded in the truth of God’s Holy Scripture. Paul states a certain decisiveness that sums up the whole ministerial life of Timothy and that is to fill his whole horizon and his whole intellect with the truth of God’s Word so that others may come to place their faith in Jesus Christ and grow in the knowledge and grace of our wonderful Savior.
Paul also in this passage of Scripture encourages Timothy to “be ready” on all occasions to declare the whole truth of God’s Word. “Being ready” involves looking for opportunities and creating opportunities to minister to the truth of God’s Word. For a number of years, while we lived in Michigan, I took up deer hunting. My problem in deer hunting was that I always took a book along to read because you sit for long hours in the deer blind or on the ground just waiting for the deer to come by. Reading seemed like a good thing to do during that time, but because I was reading a book, I was never ready when a deer would come by. I always thought that you could hear them as they approached, but on several occasions when I put my book down, I saw the white tail of the deer fleeing away. Fortunately for me, I never had the opportunity to shoot a deer, as I certainly wouldn’t have known what to do if I had actually shot one. I ended up learning to shoot for “birdies” on the golf course. Being ready to declare God’s truth means understanding our world and believing that God’s Word is the answer to the multitude of problems that we face before us. I am still very excited about the privilege that I have of declaring the counsel of God and hope and pray that you will make the Word of God the foundation upon which to build your life, Jesus is the cornerstone upon whom all of the gospel stands or falls. I will continue to declare the whole counsel of God. Won’t you join me in growing together in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ through the precious Word of God?
All for God’s Glory,
Pastor Rich Sivo