In Season and Out of Season
2 Timothy 4:1-5
Pastor Tony Chute
Overview: Paul issues his final charge to Timothy as he encourages him to fan into flame the gift of God. The foundation of this charge is the final judgment where every person will give an account of his or her life to God. The content of this charge is to preach and teach the Word of God in every situation and season of life, using both directive and corrective measures. Paul insists that Timothy commit to this pastoral task forthrightly yet patiently, as people will be disinclined to have their lives conform to the truths of God’s Word. For Timothy, success in the ministry is not defined by how many people he wins over, but how well he completes the calling of God on his life. Therefore, Paul urges him to fulfill his ministry with the proper mindset, a tireless work ethic, and complete surrender to the Lord.
01. Preaching is one of God’s appointed means of conforming His people to the image of His Son in light of the coming judgment. As such, it rightly occupies a central place in our worship services.
02. Preaching is increasingly hard to endure due to our numerous distractions and plentitude of options. As such, we need to learn what to listen for and how to listen well.
03. Preaching is a marvelous privilege that balances out the hardships of pastoral ministry. As such, pastors need to submit themselves to the Word of God as they seek to serve others.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. Note how Paul frames the pastoral charge to Timothy in light of the upcoming judgment (verse 1). How often do the return of Christ and the coming judgment influence how you live your life and calling before the Lord? What things might you do differently if you were to stand before the Lord tomorrow?
2. Why is preaching such a significant means of grace in helping us to become more like Christ? What advantage does hearing the proclamation of God’s Word have over personal Bible reading or group study? How do personal Bible reading and group study compliment the role of preaching?
3. In light of the fact that people will likely look for other preachers they like better (verse 3), Paul tells Timothy to be patient (verse 2), to endure suffering (verse 5), and to fulfill his ministry (verse 5). Why are these qualities especially important for a pastor? Why do pastors and church members alike tend to believe a successful ministry is reflected by having a larger congregation?
4. Why are rebuking and exhortation both necessary in preaching? What is wrong with preaching that contains all rebuke and no exhortation? How is rebuking properly done in preaching? Have you thanked God for how preaching convicts you of sin and encourages you to live for Him?
5. What is the most memorable sermon you have ever heard? What lasting effect did that sermon have on your life? Do you pray for sermons to be effectual as you are listening?
For Further Reading: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers (Zondervan: 2011, 40th Anniversary Edition)