20 “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:20–21, NKJV)
Timothy was Paul’s “true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). Paul charged this young evangelist with guarding the gospel that had been committed to his trust. Timothy would accomplish his task by turning away from base, empty chatter that contradicted the sound words of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 6:3-5). This charge continues to ring true. We must distinguish between teachings that are “falsely called knowledge, and what is actually “the faith” (the gospel of Christ). God’s word is a symphony of harmonious truth, not a discordant accumulation of opinions and human wisdom that passes for knowledge. Therefore, God’s preacher must preach God’s word, not the speculations, opinions, and traditions of men that lead souls away from the faith. What message is being preached by the preacher to whom you listen; the faith, or that which contradicts the Bible? It matters. Following the faith keeps you in God’s grace. Following contradictions of God’s word leads you astray from the faith, putting your soul in peril.
So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. (Romans 1:15, NKJV)
Paul was eager to preach the gospel to the Christians in Rome. Not every Christian is a gospel preacher, like Paul (2 Timothy 1:11). But, every Christian must “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). To do that, the apostle Peter said we must sanctify (set apart) in our hearts Christ as Lord. We must recognize Christ as our supreme authority. His word rules us. He is the one to whom we submit our hearts and our lives. His word sustains our hope in Him. His word supplies the reasons we give in defense of our hope. So, we be learning and living the gospel (Hebrews 5:12-14). What we preach with our words and by our lives, shows whether we have set apart Jesus Christ in our hearts as Lord. Be sure Jesus rules in your heart. His word must prevail over everything you think and do. Proclaim His gospel with your words and by your actions. Otherwise, you have not yet sanctified Him in your heart as Lord. As such, you are unprepared to preach the gospel to others.
15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice. (Philippians 1:15–18, NKJV)
Some people preach the gospel from evil motives. Others preach the gospel from godly motives. Paul made this observation while imprisoned in Rome for Christ’s sake (Phil. 1:13). Some were preaching Christ out of envy for the apostle, attempting to foment strife against him. Driven by selfish ambition, they pretended affection for the cause of Christ. But, they only loved themselves. Their insincerity became obvious, as they aimed to harm the apostle, not help him in his bonds. Others were preaching Christ out of goodwill and love, knowing the apostle was determined to defend the gospel. Amazingly, Paul rejoiced that the gospel was being preached, even though some preachers’ motives were evil. He did not seek personal vindication, he sought the progress of the gospel and the salvation of souls. Even if a gospel teacher’s motives are shown to be evil, rejoice in the truth he has taught. And, do not blame the truth when men, including preachers, sin against it. One man’s sin against the truth is not your license to reject the truth.
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2, NKJV)
There is a word that must be announced to the world. The word that must be preached is the very word of God. It is not a message wrapped in the creeds and confessions of men (Jude 3). Neither is it a word shrouded in personal testimonies and experiences (2 Cor. 4:5). It is not a word designed to please men, nor is it meant to align with the prevailing customs and traditions of the day (1 Thess. 2:4; Col. 2:8). This word is not shaped and molded by the philosophies which men have developed through the ages, for it is supremely superior to every thought of mankind (1 Cor. 1:18, 21-25; Isa. 55:8-9, 11). We speak of the word of God, the “Holy Scriptures,” which are inspired of God (divinely-breathed), not men. The Holy Scriptures completely equip us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:15-17; 1 Cor. 2:10-13). When you read the Bible, you are reading God’s words. The Bible must be preached, received, obeyed and respected because it is the word of God; not the word of men (1 Thess. 2:13-14). (Please take time to read the Scripture references in today’s tip – they are the words of God.)
18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, 19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house,” (Acts 20:18–20, NKJV)
These words were spoken by the apostle Paul to the elders of the church of Ephesus (Acts 20:17). He had lived among them for three years (verse 31). His service to the Lord was marked by humility and zealous endurance, even while the Jews of that city plotted against him (Acts 19:8-9). In spite of this, Paul continued to courageously proclaimed the gospel of Christ. He understood what we must also perceive, namely, that the gospel saves sinners and protects Christians from the enemies of the faith. This is why we seek to declare the gospel publicly and privately. The gospel is God’s power to save the lost and equip the saved to do God’s work (Rom. 1:16; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Nothing should be held back; It must all be preached. Avail yourself of every opportunity to teach and to be taught God’s word. It helps you serve God “with all humility” and with the zealous courage of faith.
28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. (Colossians 1:28–29, NKJV)
Christ is proclaimed when His gospel is preached (1 Cor. 2:2). Gospel preaching contains warning and wise instruction intended to present souls complete Christ; cleansed of sin and fit for the Master’s use. Preaching that does not convict sinners of sin is not gospel preaching (Jno. 16:8). Preaching that does not teach sinners how to be saved in Christ is not gospel preaching (Mk. 16:15-16). Preaching that does not trust God to work mightily through the word that is preached is not gospel preaching (1 Cor. 1:18; Rom. 1:16-17). God works through His gospel to produce faith that leads to salvation. That is why the whole gospel must be preached. Preaching that is not gospel preaching forfeits the power of God to save the lost and to perfect (complete) the saved. What kind of preaching do you desire and demand?
2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2–5, NKJV)
The Bible tells us the kind of preacher every preacher is commanded to be, and therefore, the kind of preacher we all should want. Do you want a preacher who boldly preaches the whole counsel of God? Do you want a preacher whose goal is to leave you feeling good about yourself instead of warning you of the spiritual danger of personal sin? Do you want a preacher to scratch your itching ear (by preaching what you want to hear instead of what you need to hear)? Do you want a gospel preacher like Timothy, who is watchful, persevering and fulfills his ministry? Or, do you want a preacher who comforts you with the fables of error? Does your preacher “do the work of an evangelist”? These are crucial questions for everyone who is interested in the word of God, including preachers.