2 Timothy 4:1-5
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Jesus Christ…preach the word!” (v. 1).

Modernism said, “Everyone has a right to his own opinion.” Postmodernism says, “Every opinion is equally right.” You can hear it in Bible classes in any church: “Well, here’s what that passage says to me.” Imagine a postmodernist attorney defending you when you are on trial for your life. He ends his closing speech to the jury with, “Now that’s my version of the facts. What’s yours?”

In this passage are 10 imperatives that apply to every generation of preachers. If you wonder why we preach the message you hear Sunday after Sunday, here is the reason: It is a mandate from the pages of Scripture. So even though this is a passage written to a young preacher, it is a reminder to every believer and every church about the message that should be proclaimed when we gather to worship.

“Preach the Word” (v. 1): The duty of preachers is to proclaim the Word of God. John MacArthur tells of counseling a young man in his church who believed in reincarnation. The preacher opened the Bible and pointed to a verse that said: “Man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment” (Heb. 9:27). The young man objected as a good postmodernist: “But that’s your interpretation!”

“Be Urgent in Preaching” (v. 2): The pulpit is no place for dull, wishy-washy, trite little talks. It is the place to proclaim the revealed word about Christ the Living Word. We must preach it when it is convenient and when it is not! Jesus did not offer just another opinion. He is the eternal Word. Proclaim Him urgently!

“Refute Falsehood” (v. 2): Postmodernism says, “One religion is as good as another.” Postmodernists are extremely tolerant of everyone except true Christians. When the FBI trains agents to recognize counterfeit currency, they do not start by showing the agents bogus bills. They drill them to examine genuine currency in great detail. Then when they finally are given a counterfeit, they see right away what is wrong with it.

“Give Encouragement” (v. 2): I’m glad this commandment is included. People need encouragement. When you turn on the news on TV or radio, you can be sure it will be bad news. That is what the media d report the bad news. Thank God, the gospel is good news! People starving for encouragement need to hear from you about a God who helps and heals. In another letter, Paul wrote: “Therefore encourage one another and lift each other up” (1 Thess. 4:18).

“Rebuke Wrongdoers” (v. 2): Sometimes the preacher must say, “Thou shalt not.” A very popular TV pastor says he never preaches sin and judgment. People don’t want to hear it. They just want the encouragement. Whoever thought a preacher should preach only what people want to hear? The postmodernist, that’s who! If you are a herald of the King of kings, you give His message. Sometimes it will be welcome, sometimes not.

“Patiently Encourage with Doctrine” (v. 2): Here we have an exhortation to exhort, an encouragement to encourage others. The reason for this call to be a truth teacher is plain: In every period of history, there will be men who refuse to listen to sound doctrine (vv. 3-4).

God said to Jeremiah: “The prophets prophesy falsely…and My people love to have it so” (Jer. 5:31). God said to Ezekiel: “And lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear thy words, but they do them not” (Eze. 33:32).

“Keep Your Head in All Situations” (v. 5): The modern era favored order and control in society. Postmodernism subverts order and despises control. I heard a woman on a call-in show on TV saying America should have no borders at all—no borders between us and Mexico—none between us and Canada or any other country. If anyone wants to live in America, that is their right! That is postmodern thinking.

Postmodernists don’t believe in sin. One of their own said, “We preach mortality, not morality.” They are not aware of a Holy God or God as a Judge at all. They don’t see the death of Christ as unique or important at all. They are repulsed by the idea of a blood sacrifice. Never mind they need the gospel—the Evangel. Preach it. Preach it plainly and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

“Endure Hardship Patiently” (v. 5): Ministers should not court affliction or flinch when it comes. We are to endure it patiently. We are to rejoice that we are counted worthy to bear dishonor for the name of Christ. There are always heartaches in the ministry. It’s never easy to endure hardship; it’s not easy to take it patiently.

“Do the Work of an Evangel” (v. 5): Most translations say “the work of an evangelist,” but that word has come to mean to most people soul winning. That is only part of the meaning of this command. The lost need the gospel, but so do we all. The saved also need to hear the evangel—the Good News!

“Discharge All the Duties of your Ministry” (v. 5, Montgomery’s translation): Those of us in the ministry must not allow anything to turn us aside or stop us at all. Duty calls; we must answer: Ready. Some pastors love to teach and preach, but they never visit the flock. Others would spend all their time calling on the members, but they never find time to prepare to teach and preach the Word. We have a duty to make time to discharge all our multiple duties in the ministry.

When I cross the finish line, I want to hear my Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…You kept the faith. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

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