Preach The Word (2 Timothy 3:10-4:5)
It is great to be here with you and to bring you lessons from God’s word. I appreciate your interest in spiritual things and your willingness to test out someone who is still in the midst of training. Tonight I would like to explain why I have chosen to go into this training program that I am currently in and I would like to give you an idea of what my work will look like when I get out of the training program. I have had quite a few people question why I would go into a training program like this and also why it is a 2 year training program. The best explanation I can think to give for this is found in 2 Timothy. Let’s get an overview of what is there before I explain what I have been doing and what I plan to do when I begin to preach full time.
Young Preacher Training
In the book of 2 Timothy Paul lays out his purpose in 1:6 as trying to get Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God.” Timothy is a younger preacher who has served under Paul for many years. As the book goes on Paul urges Timothy to be strong and willing to teach in the midst of suffering and he uses himself as an example. When we get to chapter 3:10 we have the beginning of one final exhortation. Listen to what Paul tells him first in verses 10-14.
2 Timothy 3:10–14 (ESV) — 10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
Remembering Time With Paul
In this text Paul says that Timothy has followed Paul in every facet of his teaching and work for the Lord. The last thing he mentions is persecution and he spends 3 verses talking about the need to follow Paul in standing for the truth in the midst of suffering. This relationship that Timothy has with Paul is so valuable to Timothy because he can reflect on his years spent with Paul, listening to his preaching and teaching, and find comfort and courage as people persecute him. Timothy has seen Paul working diligently to serve the Lord and has a great example of all that the work entails. He was there when Paul was stoned nearly to death in Lystra. Can you imagine the impact that would have on Timothy to be bold as he watched Paul go back into the city after the fact in Acts 14?
In verse 14 Paul tells Timothy to continue in all of the things he has learned and not stray from it. He wants Timothy to be firmly standing in the truth knowing that Paul is an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.”
Continuing In What Timothy Has Learned
In the next section we see Paul point to Timothy’s future training process. Look with me at verse 15-17.
2 Timothy 3:15–17 (ESV) — 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Notice in this text that Timothy was acquainted “with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” What are these sacred writings? The Old Testament. What is “All Scripture” to Timothy? The Old Testament and whatever he has heard from Paul about the Old Testament. The study of the Old Testament is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. Do we think of the Old Testament in that way? Is Leviticus helpful in training us? What about Chronicles? Yes. God does not waste inspiration paper.
Paul wants Timothy to continue in his study of the Old Testament scriptures in order to grow in righteousness. It is not as though the Timothy is already fully righteous or without fault. He is supposed to be growing in the knowledge of these things and working on himself. It is as though Timothy is in a continual mentorship with God to grow in his knowledge of the scriptures and be taught, reproved, corrected, and trained by the word of God. After his formal training under Paul, he must rely heavily on the word of God to become a complete man of God who is equipped for every good work.
This Is Me After Training
My goal in entering into the training program was to immolate this Paul and Timothy relationship with Brent Kercheville. I had heard of his teaching, conduct, aim of life, patience, love, and steadfastness from a close friend of mine and, after visiting his website (westpalmbeach.church), I had to meet with him and begin training. He has been a valuable resource for wisdom and knowledge in how to do the work that I want to devote my life to. Much of his time has been spent teaching me how to study the word to rid myself of bias and opinions and to teach the word of God in a way that helps people grow. He has also given me much guidance on working with an eldership, working in the absence of an eldership, studying with people, and counseling people. I would be happy to talk to you more about that and answer any questions you may have.
The Charge For Timothy
In chapter 4 of 2 Timothy we see Paul give Timothy one final charge. This charge is what I will bring with me to you or to wherever I end up preaching full time on my own. Let’s read this charge together.
2 Timothy 4:1–5 (ESV) — 1 I 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, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 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, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
So what does the work Timothy is engaged in look like? Does it look like visiting those who are sick? Does it look like a lot of time spent fixing refrigerators or repairing roofs? There is one very important work that Paul points out for Timothy. He tells him to preach the word. The word that makes Timothy complete and equips him for every good work is supposed to be used to make the people around him complete and equipped for their own ministry as Paul said in Ephesians 4:11 as well. The preaching and teaching of God’s word is supposed to be able to help the church grow into the image of the body of Christ on the earth. There is supposed to be a growth to spiritual maturity and the preaching and teaching of the word is how.
When we look at the work that Timothy was called to do we see that it is the work of an evangelist. An evangelist is someone who teaches others the good news of God’s reign in the world. He helps them understand who God is, what God has done for them, and what God expects out of them in response. This is the job I want to do. I want to build up the church to love God with all their heart and to love their neighbor as themselves. You might be curious about how I would go about doing that so I decided to go through a few different areas that might interest you. There is more I could say on all of these, but for sake of time I will try to talk about these and let you ask me questions afterward. You are free to call, text, or email me if you want to know more.
How I Teach the Bible
My goal in sermon preparation is to make the main point of the text the main point of the sermon. So my sermons will be mostly expository or textual. The main points come from the text and a lot of times the sub points come from the text as well. I do this to try to hit the mark of what the author intended in writing what we read. The more texts I use the more likely it will be that I try to make a text fit what I want to say. That is not preaching the word, but preaching what I want you to hear. This is a tendency of a lot of preachers and I have to be on guard against that. I want what you hear to be the word of God so that you cannot discount it as coming from men. I want the word of God to cut you deep and help train you like it is training me.
Bible classes will also be mostly textual studies, especially in the auditorium where visitors come to listen. I want to help the group learn to study the Bible by asking you questions that you probably need to ask yourself as you are studying a text. I expect those in attendance who are mature members to speak up with things that are helpful in understanding the text and in applying the text to our lives. I don’t like it when members go off topic or try to use class as a time of reaffirming church of Christ doctrines. This is a time for growth, not for remembering creeds. The four big questions I like to ask are, “What is the big point of this text?,” “What does this tell us about God?,” What does this tell us about Christ?,” and “What does this tell us about ourselves?”
How I Choose What To Teach
When I am brainstorming and trying to come up with what to preach on, I will often choose to look at a book of the Bible that talks about that topic. It may be that the text we look at has no current applicability, but I want us to be ready in and out of season. So we might go through 1 Corinthians 1-4 to prepare for a day when we need to deal with divisions. Or we may have a current need for instruction on how to deal with suffering so I might go through some texts in Job or 1 Peter. I also like to do topical sermons, but I like to do them in series so that we grow together. I don’t feel like I grow as much by looking at random topics week after week. Can you imagine if a topical Bible class had no theme? This week we will look at the Lord’s supper. Next week we will look at David’s sin with Bathsheba. That would not be as beneficial as looking at the life of David or looking at the different acts of worship. Brent does an excellent job at this and I am hoping to eventually be able to do as good.
What My Typical Workweek Looks Like
My first mission in the work I do is to understand the text for myself. Right now I spend 8+ hours studying the text, highlighting the text, rereading the text, reading what commentaries have to say on a text, and coming up with an outline of the text that explains how the text has affected my life. Then I spend another 8+ hours trying to write out what that text means for clearly for you. Typically my work week will begin on Monday by writing a sermon manuscript from the outline I have prepared the week prior. On Tuesday, I write another manuscript from another outline I have prepared the week prior. On Wednesday, I begin researching for the following Monday’s manuscript. On Thursday, I begin researching for the following Tuesday’s manuscript. Finally, I spend Friday brainstorming for future sermons, doing administrative tasks, prepping Bible class materials, calling members who I haven’t seen in a while, and finishing up any research that was not finished.
Somewhere in the week, I also prepare for Bible classes by spending 3+ hours studying and writing out an outline for the class. At night, I meet with anyone who needs counseling, do one on one studies with unbelievers or new believers, and do neighborhood Bible studies.
In addition to the work of helping the body grow, I think it is important to be very outward focused. I do not subscribe to beating everyone over the head with evangelism sermons, but I want to encourage everyone to do evangelistic work and I would plan a number of classes to help with that. One of the most evangelistic things we can do, and a big piece of low hanging fruit is adjusting our assemblies to be more visitor friendly. There are a million ways to be evangelistic and that is what I would like to carve out time on Fridays to brainstorm.
In addition to all of this, I plan to carve out some time during the week to spend with family. If I get all of my work done and I have an evening study, I may take off to spend time with them and make sure that I fulfill my role as a husband and a father. Saturdays are typically going to be devoted to my family as many of you devote your Saturdays to your family. My wife, Jenna, was my high school sweetheart. We have been together for 15 years and married for almost 10 years. My son, Joseph, is two and a half now and he is a typical rambunctious little boy with an extra battery who loves monster trucks, construction equipment, and baby dolls. Naomi is almost five now and she is a sweet and artistic little girl who is also about to be a blue belt in little tiger Taekwondo.