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Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Urgent Need For Biblical Preachers - 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Image result for ron dicianni images
2 Timothy 4:1-2 "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."

Introduction:

I have in my office the above picture by artist Ron Dicianni hanging on my wall. When I look at that picture, it captures all that is being expressed in the key text of today's post. Today's post will feature 2 Timothy 4:1-5 in which the Apostle Paul is urging young Timothy to "preach the Word". This text has a special meaning to me, since it was the text which God used in calling me to preach His Word 25 years ago. Today's post is going to deal with the subject: "The Urgent Need For Biblical Preachers". 

1. Divinely Commanded to Preach the Word. 2 Timothy 4:1-2

In 2 Timothy 4:1-2a the Apostle Paul writes: "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....". Every pulpit and sanctuary in the world has an invisible balcony wherein the King of Kings is in attendance. The heavenly charge to preach the Word requires a Heavenly book with Divine authority. The preacher charged with this task is like the town crier: "Hear ye, hear ye what His Majesty the King has to say."

1 Timothy 5:20-21 reminds us of the preacher's calling, and how we need to exercise caution: "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. 22 Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin." 

Preaching is not man's idea but God's Divine decreed method of calling sinners to repentance and saints to ongoing pursuit of Godliness. How then can the preacher fulfill the assignment placed upon his frail frame. Woe to preachers who rely only upon stories and opinions of the day - since such preaching will be death to the ears before it is ever life to the heart. A Divine call demands a Divine Book - and that Book is the Bible. The Divine command to preach the Word is the first reason why the Bible is the basis for preaching, but notice secondly....

2. Discernment necessary in preaching the Word. 2 Timothy 4:2

In 2 Timothy 4:2 Paul tells Timothy to preach the Word and to be ready in season and out of season. What is he saying? In effect, he is expressing the need to be ready all the time and more than that, to discern the seasons of the present moment.  The only Book that can shine the appropriate light in otherwise dark places is the Bible. People need a Word from God from the Word of God. 

Preaching is a thrilling desperation. The thrilling aspect is that the preacher gets to represent God and His interests to the people. The desperation of preaching is that lest the Spirit attends the preacher, the sermon will fail and fall to the ground. It was said of the prophet Samuel at the end of 1 Samuel 3 that God ensured that not one of his words would fall to the ground. 

In my 25 years of preaching God's Word, I have learned the necessity of discernment in preaching. A well-worn Bible that is marked from Genesis to Revelation is the sign that the preacher is equipped to bring God's mind to bear on any subject. The scriptures are the only thing that can pierce soul and spirit; joints and marrow, thus discerning the innermost reaches of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). 

Biblical-based preaching must dig deeper before it can ever hope of reaching higher than the preacher's personality. My life experience is but a ladle used by God to dip out the otherwise unsearchable riches and wisdom of God's Word (see Romans 11:33-12:2). The Bible must be the basis for preaching because preaching is Divinely commanded and discernment is needed and thirdly...

3. Dangerous times need Biblical preaching. 2 Timothy 4:3
Paul writes these words in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 which aptly describes our day and age - "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths." What makes this age of ours so dangerous is how much in mass the church is selling-out in the name of being relevant and popular. I won't name the man nor the subject matter, but one day I was watching a well-known preacher discuss how the church in America must stop relying upon 2,000 year old letter lest she become irrelevant. 

I know this man's message and have read his books and in as much as he had abandoned sound doctrine long ago, to abandon the Bible reveals how he is able to justify many of the positions he holds. 

The need of the age is not for less preaching, but more. However there is only one type of preaching that will effectively shine light through the thick darkness of our time - preaching based upon God's Book - the Bible. I write these words as a preacher who in many ways has only begun to preach. Noah was a preacher of righteousness for centuries. Moses preached for decades. The men who have had a lasting impact on each generation of God's people are men who preached often, consistently, Biblically, dependently upon the Spirit, with passion, with compassion and with urgency from Heaven. We need sermons with more, not less scripture and more, not less Christ. 

I recall years ago hearing a preacher state that the greatest danger faced by Noah in the Ark was not the storms on the outside but the woodpeckers on the inside! In our churches and pulpits is a cancer called Biblical illiteracy and an abandonment of Biblically based, Spirit-led preaching. Dangerous times need the pulpit to be the anchor of the ship, the rudder of the vessel that is not blown around by fads, fashion and fear. Notice one more reason why the Bible needs to be the basis for preaching...

4. Enduring ministries center on Biblical preaching. 2 Timothy 4:5

Notice what Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:5 "But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." Why would any preacher want to base their ministry on untested foundations when the one foundation that has endured millennia of scrutiny and countless attacks has been the Bible? The Bible is an anvil upon which uncounted hammers of doubt, criticism and opposition have bent and broken. 

Anyone who spends any length of time preaching God's Word knows first hand how high of a commodity endurance is to the man of God. Youthful enthusiasm and ambition runs out of fuel rather quickly. Just as soon one adopts the latest fad, it is already obsolete. Yet the Bible never fails!

Closing thoughts:

Today's post was all about answering the question: why the Bible must be the basis for preaching. In this post we discovered four such reasons from 2 Timothy 4:1-5:

1. Divine Command to Preach the Word.2 Timothy 4:1-2 

2. Discernment necessary in preaching the Word. 2 Timothy 4:2

3. Dangerous times need Biblical preaching. 2 Timothy 4:3

4. Enduring ministries center on Biblical preaching. 2 Timothy 4:5

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