Listen On:
A Passion Daily Journey Through 2 Timothy

2 Timothy 4:1-5 // Round 16 // Ben Stuart

Ben Stuart
8 min

Welcome back, this is round 16 of 20 days in 2 Timothy, and let’s jump right in. We’re in chapter four, beginning in verse one. And it says this, I charge you. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who’s to judge the living in the dead, and by his appearing in his kingdom, preach the Word. Be ready in season and out of season. Reprove, rebuke and exhort with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching. But having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober minded. Endure suffering. Do the work of an evangelist. Fulfill your ministry. 

I love this passage because this is the high point of the letter. This is the coach’s speech in the locker room. I’ve had the opportunity to be in many locker rooms as coaches have charged their players, and it’s fascinating to me to watch how they balance those two things of letting them know: you are loved, you are equipped, you’re valuable. Now get out there and play. Get out there and do your job. Take the field and own it. And so there’s that combination of loving them and pushing them forward. And we’ve seen Paul love on Timothy. Hey, I love you. I long to see you and fill my heart with joy. Now get in the game. Get up. Fight. Do your job. This is him pushing him out of the tunnel to take the field. And here you get this high call of what not only Timothy supposed to do, but what we’re meant to do. And you notice how serious Paul is in verse one. He says, I charge you. That’s the language of swearing an oath. And he says, I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who’s to judge the living in the dead. 

Why does he bring that up? Well, Jesus is a judge and to say the living and the dead or in King James, the quick and the dead, is saying everybody. Jesus is a judge of the whole world. And he says, and by his appearing, he’s a judge who will return. We will see him again and his kingdom. When he comes, he will establish a kingdom and a rule. Why is he bringing this up? It’s accountability. Timothy, we work for a king, Jesus, who rules all, judges all, and in his presence, there’s accountability for us. So given that, do your job. And what’s your job? Verse two: preach the word. κήρυξον τὸν λόγον what it says in Greek. That’s on the seal at the seminary I went to. It’s the word preach there it’s the word Harold, like a town crier, stand in the middle of the public square and declare these truths. And notice what he’s supposed to declare. Declare the Word. 

This is one of the major themes we’ve seen in 2 Timothy, and we’ve seen several play out as Paul’s repeated himself over and over. But one of his main priorities to Timothy is the Word of God. He told him in chapter one to suffer for the gospel. He told him to keep it and to guard it. In Chapter two he told him to entrust it to reliable men, to remember i t and endure for it. To keep reminding others of it and correctly handle it. In Chapter three, he said, to continue in it, and then he praised the scripture and now here at the climax, he says, now preach it. Take this Word and deliver it to those who need it. And be ready. Or in King James, be instant. Keep your helmet on. Get ready to go in the game. In season and out of season. You preach when it’s ideal conditions. And you preach when it’s not. A farmer working in season has fun because he’s working hard, but he sees the harvest. Out of season? He still has to work. But at the end of the day, there’s just blisters and a sunburned neck. 

And he tells Timothy, there’s going to be moments you preach and the crowd applauds and they cheer and your Instagram followers grow. And then there’s going to be times where you preach, where there’s no applause. And it’s a difficult word. But whether it’s in season or out, you keep delivering the truth to the world. And he says, how do you do it? How you do it as you reprove, you correct people that are going astray. You don’t just explain the Bible, you talk about it to bring conviction. It’s meant to change our lives as a result of the encounter. So you rebuke. That means there’s going to be some people who are off center and you’ve got to help them see the truth. And let me pause here and say this isn’t just for preachers. This is talking to all of us as believers. 

As we study the Word of God together, there’s a place where we tell people, hey, this is where we’re going, and hey, I think you’re off here and I love you too much to let you wander off. And so we speak the truth, we rebuke, and we exhort. That means to call out and encourage. 

It’s the word παρα-καλέω, παρα-alongside, and καλέω-call like a good coach. I’m running along the sidelines with you, saying, come on, let’s go, keep going, let’s get in the end zone. The way you preach is to move people to change their lives. That’s what you’re meant to do, Timothy. And then he tells him how. With patience and teaching. As we teach people the Bible, whether you do it in a Sunday school or a small group or kids, or maybe you do preach on stages, he says never get impatient with people because they may not understand. You’ll need to teach. They may have some confusion around it. So, we want to call people to the seriousness of the Word of God, but do it with patience and with teaching. And so the first reason he told us to do that is because there’s a judge. God will hold us accountable for what we say. 

And then the second reason you see in verses three and four, cause there’s a time coming when people won’t endure sound teaching, but having itching ears, they’ll accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. He says, Timothy, we preach the Word because we have a god we’re accountable to. And we live in a day where people will accumulate teachers, notice there’s a lot of them, that will gather around that just tell people whatever they want to hear so they can do whatever they want to do. 

It’s easy to go to a bookstore right now and find a spiritual sounding book that’ll give you permission to just do whatever’s in your own lusts. And he says that’s going to be the reality in the world, and a lot of people will turn away from the truth and wander into myths. So, Timothy, we preach the word because God holds us accountable to it. And a lot of people will stop doing it. But then he tells them in verse five, but you be sober minded. Keep your head, Timothy. Endure suffering. Take the hit Timothy. Do the work of an evangelist. Declare this word. And fulfill your ministry. 

It’s interesting in football. They talk about it with young quarterbacks. Sometimes when they’re there and their job is to deliver the ball. If they feel the defense coming in, it feels crazy, they get happy feet. They start running around like crazy, they’re all over the place. And what coaches have to teach them is, hey, there’s going to come some times where, you know, the defense is coming, but the play is developing. So you make the choice. Grip the ball, take a step, deliver it, and take the hit for the sake of the team. 

And that’s what Paul’s telling Timothy here. You’ve been entrusted with the Word of God and in the midst of a chaotic day, don’t get rattled. Plant your feet. Take a step. Deliver that ball to those kids, to the people you’ve been called to, to your friends, your neighbors. And if it means take a hit, you take it. But do your job, because we are part of a team that’s advancing a glorious goal in the world. So Timothy’s out there. You stay rooted. Stay sober minded. Stay alert. And let’s deliver the word to a dying world. That’s the call. Harold the word of God, because we’re going to see the king again. And we want to be people who love his appearing. So pray about what that means for your life as you make decisions and we’ll see here next time.

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