The Charge: 2 Timothy 4:1-2
“1) I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2) preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” 2 Timothy 4:1-2
The preacher and teacher of the Word of God have a huge responsibility. James 3:1 says that “… we shall incur stricter judgement?” Why? Because we proclaim the pillars of truth for society. We not only proclaim the gospel of salvation, we also help shape public consciousness. The pulpit and the lectern carry the voice of God to humanity.
Notice the very sober charge Paul brought to Timothy in verse one. He charged him 1) in the presence of God, 2) in the presence of Christ Jesus, 3) based on Him who is to judge the living and the dead, 4) by the future appearing of Jesus Christ, and 5) by the Kingdom of God. Wow! Take a few minutes and wrap your mind around this charge.
Eternity rests on the shoulders of those who speak to people on behalf of God! Woe to the preacher who waters down the message or gets it wrong! The pulpit is a place for Gods courageous, called and anointed messengers. They will be held accountable for the way they handle the Word of God.
In verse two, Paul warned Timothy to preach the Word in season and out of season. He was to preach the uncompromised Word whether it was viewed as acceptable or politically incorrect. He was to preach the Word when protected by religious freedom and he was to preach the Word when threatened with imprisonment or death. He was to preach the Word in places that embraced a biblical world view and he was to preach the Word when it was viewed with hostility. He was to preach the solid Word of God when it was popular and when it was unpopular.
Keep in mind, Paul’s suffering in Rome was for the defense and confirmation of the gospel. (Philippians 1:7; Acts 20:18-27) He refused to shrink away from declaring the whole purpose of God. He laid his life on the line to faithfully preach the Word of God. He was calling Timothy to do the same.
2 Timothy 3:16 and 4:2 are closely connected. The Word of God is intended for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. Sometimes it will come across as reproving or a rebuke. Other times it will sound like an exhortation and encouragement. Gods Word always exposes those living in sin and often offends them.
The preacher must not bend or water down the message based on the status of the hearers. Rome was very immoral and hostile to biblical values. Yet the early Christian preachers were the light the Holy Spirit used to pierce the darkness.
Pastors speak both to the people of God and to secular culture. The voice from the pulpit extends way beyond the doors of the church. The shepherd both cares for the sheep but also defends against the wolves.
The biblical preacher and teacher are to be the forerunners of the Lord. Like John the Baptist, they are to stand before Herod and boldly proclaim; “It is not lawful for you to have her.” When the preaching of Gods Word is watered down then sin has no restraint. Pastors are the ones God calls to go to their politicians, build relationships and pray for them, but then say: “Thus saith the Lord.”
God wants the pulpit and not the pop stars to shape the moral conscience of society. When the preaching in the pulpit lines up with the deplorable morals of Hollywood, a curse has come upon the land.
It’s time to issue the charge Paul gave to Timothy to every pastor and biblical teacher in the land. This includes every Bible College and seminary professor and every Christian musician. God holds them to a high and holy standard! They are the voice of God to society. If they are not faithfully carrying out this charge as Paul gave it to Timothy, then by all means replace them!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global
The Charge: 2 Timothy 4:1-2