October 17, 2010
The American Psychological Association Manual is the format for writers within the social sciences. It instructs authors that when citing a source, always put the date of publication immediately following the source’s name. The premise is that the most recent documents are the most important.
However, some old sources maintain credible (i.e., the Bible reigns supreme). Paul knew that and encouraged Timothy to remember this foundational truth. Paul reminded him of two critical principles in ministry related to God’s Word.
We Must Persist in God’s Word (
We need to remember what to do and why to do it.
A. What We Must Do (
As Timothy, we must continue in the Christian doctrine. We “have become convinced” of Scripture’s truth. It is essential to remain confident in it.
B. Why We Must Do It (
Timothy should continue in his faith—first because he had multiple sources for his knowledge of Scripture. Paul was an essential source of Timothy’s knowledge. However, he also was instructed in the Holy Scriptures by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (
Second, Timothy should continue in his faith because of the foundation of the Scripture.
Paul asserts Scripture’s authority because it is God-breathed. God’s Word is our source book for teaching doctrine, and it is profitable for rebuking, exposing all that is false and correcting or restoring to an upright position with God.
Finally, Scripture is functional for training in righteousness. The word training has the idea of child-training attained chiefly by discipline. God’s Word disciplines us in the quality of being right with God, whether positionally (
The overall purpose of Scripture is that a believer may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. God provided His Word so Christians may be enabled to meet all spiritual demands.
We Must Proclaim God’s Word (
Persisting in God’s Word is the prerequisite to Paul’s next instructions centered in the proclamation of that Word.
A. Who We Must Please (
In view of Christ’s coming, when falsehoods will be unmasked and the Kingdom established, His servants should labor faithfully for Him. His sure appearing and Kingdom are incentives to His ministers to be faithful.
B. What We Must Do (
The verb preach, meaning to proclaim as a herald, is our first responsibility. The message is to be proclaimed, not argued. Next, we must be prepared regardless of the time because God’s Word is always in season. Then, we must correct by applying God’s Word to sinners (believers and nonbelievers). To rebuke is required as erring people must see their condition before God. We also must encourage as God’s Word shows where sin can be forgiven and the spiritual life strengthened.
C. Why We Must Do It (
Many people wanting false teaching are motivated by desires to have their ears tickled. When God’s truth is rejected, the human mind invents substitutes for it.
“Someone told G. Campbell Morgan that the preacher must catch the spirit of the age. Immediately this great preacher answered, ‘God forgive the preacher who does that. The preacher’s business is to correct the spirit of the age.'” (Richard A. Steele, Illustrations of Bible Truths)
D. When We Can Cease (
God called us to preach His Word. We cannot cease until we have fulfilled all the duties of our ministry. That takes place at death. Until then, we must keep our heads in all situations, avoid everything which might spiritually stupefy us. We must also endure hardship. One accompaniment of the Christian ministry is bearing burdens which would not otherwise need to be endured. In addition, we must do the work of evangelism. Our ultimate goal is to discharge all the elements of our ministry. No half-hearted performance will satisfy the spiritual needs of people.
Our task is great, but we have a great God. He called us. He gave His Word. He will enable us. We must be faithful to Him.