As our church continues our study of “The Church Is______”, here are some brief application / devotional thoughts from 2 Timothy 4:1-5:
1. We must live our lives before the face of God (4:1a).
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, (2 Tim. 4:1 ESV)
Grace means being welcomed into God’s holy presence without fear. God’s presence is not just some distant hope as a child of God, it is your identity. You have become the temple where God now resides. Just as Paul called Timothy to live before God, may our lives be lived for the glory of God and the advancement of his kingdom.
2. We will give an account at the coming of Christ for our lives unto him (4:1b).
who is to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim. 4:1 ESV)
“We will all stand before the judgment seat of God. So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 4:10).
“I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24)
Paul’s life: To testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
God is unlike us, one to whom we owe everything, one to whom we must give an account, and yet amazingly one that interacts with us. It is the utter transcendence of God that makes his immanence, his nearness, and his closeness so astounding.
So, may we know that, if we are in Christ, we are eternally his, but may we also seek to please him in this life, not for salvation, for further praise to his name.
3. Our King is coming and his kingdom cannot be shaken (4:1c).
and by his appearing and his kingdom: (2 Tim. 4:1 ESV)
“Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28–29).
We don’t shake with fear of men and devils But we do tremble with reverence.
Imagine a place where all Christians completely agree about everything and never criticize each other. Our king is coming.
No matter what seems shaken on earth, nothing can disrupt the glorious march of the Savior King and his children toward the final victory.
4. We must pray for the preaching and effectiveness of the word of God delivered by those qualified to herald it (4:2a).
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; (2 Tim. 4:2 ESV)
You can pray for and preach glory, but you can't program it.
Four Keys to pray for powerful preaching:
1. Preach before the face of God.
2. Preach the word of God.
3. Preach, don’t just teach.
4. Be ready in season and out of season.
Pray that pastors around the world who believe the most truth would live with the most purity and preach with most power.
5. Receiving and applying God's word is never convenient, nor easy (4:2b).
be ready in season and out of season; (2 Tim. 4:2 ESV)
Biblical preaching and application is hard work—a grace of God, to be sure!
You want to be relevant? Proclaim the unchanging truth of God's Word in season and out of season and be ready to be called irrelevant.
Pray that God would use the Word of God in your church and life and help you apply and hold on to its truths.
6. God's word is sufficient for all matters of faith and practice when applied with patience (4:2c)
reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Tim. 4:2 ESV)
The preaching of God’s Word is sufficient to change the hearts and minds of God’s people. You don't have to hide, apologize for, or "hold off" on the Bible. It is living and active. It is sufficient. It can bear any weight.
How is it that we can be thankful for God's patience when we fail and yet be quickly irritated when people around us are less than perfect?
Pray for patience as we instruct the Word of God to others and to ourselves, even.
7. Biblical teaching will never be preferred by those without Christ (4:3a).
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, (2 Tim. 4:3 ESV)
Itching ears want teachers who will tell them what they want to hear. And, sadly, many congregations hope to hear a preacher who every week will tell them what’s wrong... with everybody else.
Yet, Bible is not given to entertain us, but to convict and convert us. It is not meant to amuse us, but to challenge and change us. The preacher is not called to share, but to declare. He is not anointed to entertain, but to expound. He is not appointed to coddle, but to confront, convict, convert, and comfort.
There was a day when preachers used to preach. Now they want to talk, share, chat, and entertain. God has not called us to entertain the goats, but to feed the sheep, and to tell the goats to become the sheep.
8. False converts hire false teachers (4:3b).
they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, (2 Tim. 4:3 ESV)
False teachers draw a crowd because they answer questions that every heart is asking—they just answer them with the wrong answers.
9. Those who endure to the end are truly saved (4:4)
and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Tim. 4:4 ESV)
Everything else might really be as bad as it appears. It might be worse than it appears. But Jesus reigns, and he’s going to redeem this mess. Let’s never despair. Let’s keep going.
And for all your perseverance, you will endure to the end because of a Savior who constantly draws you near, holds you close and keeps you safe.
10. Despite the craziness, our calling and mission remains the same (4:5)
As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Tim. 4:5 ESV)
You'll never know your specific role in the mission of God until you understand the way God has shaped you. Whatever God made you good at, do it well for the glory of God, and do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God.
No matter what comes at you, you’ll never be satisfied trying to fit God into the corners of your life. You were created for so much more! You were created for total surrender to God, to act as a vessel of the power of God, all for the sake of the mission of God.
The Great Commission is not a special calling for an elite few, but a mandate for every follower - the question is no longer if you’re called to the mission of God—only where and how.
That’s our calling. That’s our mission. Let’s embrace it.