“The Church’s Mandate in a Culture of Religious Apostasy” Preaching and Practicing the Scripture
2 Timothy 3:14-4:4
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of 2 Timothy 3.1-4.5 Part 1
Happy new year….you can turn to 2 Timothy chapter 3. We will have a couple of New Year’s messages focusing on our church’s philosophy of ministry.
It’s well known that more people live in cities today than they used to. Back 200 years ago, the largest city in the world had just over 1 million people: Beijing. But in 1900, it was the 10th largest city in the world that had over 1 million people: Philadelphia. Just 50 years later, in 1950, the same position, the 10th largest city had almost 4 times that number of people than the 10 largest city had in 1900 … 4.8 million people: Kolkata, India.
But still in 1950, more than 70% of the people of the world lived in rural areas. That’s less than 30% of people lived in cities.
The last century has seen the rapid urbanization of the world’s population, according to the World Urbanization Prospects report, published by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. The global number of those living in cities rose from 13% in 1900, to 29% in 1950, to 49% living in cities in 2005. That’s an increase of 220 million in 1900 to 3.2 billion in 2005. In 2007, for the first time in history, the global urban population exceeded the global rural population, and the world population has remained predominantly urban thereafter. Today, 54 per cent of the world’s population reside in urban areas
By 2050 over 6 billion people, the report predicts, two thirds of humanity, will be urbanized, living in towns and cities.
Why is this happening? What’s going on that people move from rural areas to live in cities?
The increasing urbanization of the world is for 1 main overarching purpose: money. It’s economic.
The result of this is that the culture within those cities is becoming increasingly diverse. Case in point would be Edmonton. The people that bought our house in Edmonton are from India. The street on which we live houses many families from that nation. And they, of course, are bringing with them all of their culture and all other values, both religious and moral.
And whenever you have an increase in cultural diversity like that, the people in that culture sense an increased need to be able to get along. That’s why, when many people move to cities to work at large corporations, they may go through what is called diversity training. They need to learn how to get along with people of different backgrounds, values, and morals.
Consequently, our values are shifting drastically and at an alarming rate… faster than people moving to the city. People are becoming increasingly tolerant toward moral diversity: what used to be intolerable morally speaking is now tolerated due to the fact that when more and more people come together like this, we have to figure out how to deal with them and their values.
So getting along is the primary goal when it comes to bringing people together for economic reasons. I mean, we have to make as much money as possible so we have to be able to get along with one another even if we differ in our values. Therefore, they say, “you can’t esteem your values higher than my values or we’ll have conflict and it’ll affect our bottom dollar.”
So, urbanization, leads to the breeding ground of what we call relativism, or the teaching that no one value system can be esteemed higher than another.
As a result, society raises Islam and other false religions up to the same par as the truth of Christ which is on the same par as atheism and no one can be dogmatic about their point of view when it comes to moral and religious values. And so we have to reflect back and ask the question then, “how did all this start in the first place? How did it come to be in our culture that no one can be dogmatic that they have the absolute truth when it comes to spiritual or moral values? How did that all begin?”
Work through to 2 Ti. 3:16-4:5
Understanding and Avoiding False Teachers (2 Ti. 3:1-5a)
It begins in people’s hearts and you can define a culture based on what the people in that culture love …. they love money. And that is exactly the indictment that Paul offers in 2 Timothy 3:1, when he describes for us what it will be like to live future times.
Let’s read 2 Timothy 3:1-4:5 1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also. 10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 1 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. 3 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. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Paul writes 2 Timothy 3:1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
And then Paul goes on to describe in 3:2, what men love… For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money,
So clearly then, when it comes to evaluating a culture, in order to evaluate it properly we have to understand what that culture loves. And Paul is describing a time in which people will love themselves and they will love their money.
Avoid These False Teachers
Well, how is Timothy supposed to respond to such a culture? This is where Paul’s first command comes into play when he writes 2 Timothy 3:1 “realize this.” Second, 2 Ti. 3:5 “avoid such men as these.” Paul is commanding Timothy to avoid the men as they are described in the first four verses.
So, realize, v.1, avoid, v.5 and now Paul’s third command for Timothy in this passage is in verse 3:14, “continue.” He is to continue in what?… v. 15, in the sacred writings, in the Scripture, the Bible.
And the last major commandment that Paul has for Timothy in this passage is found in chapter 4:2, “preach the word.” Timothy has known the sacred writings, the Bible, he must now preach that very Bible.
I’d like to preach this morning on “The Church’s Mandate in a Culture of Religious Apostasy” What is the mandate in a culture of religious apostasy? … It is “Preaching and Practicing the Scripture.” The pastor preaches, and practices what he preaches, and the people demand the preaching of God’s word and they practice what he preaches too!
TRANS: This is God’s design. But false teachers have a shell of this very thing. Paul teaches it here in 2 Ti. 3 and 4,… Here’s what Paul teaches on this… in these last days the pew is a reflection of the pulpit. The pew is a reflection of the pulpit.
We can see that in the passage this morning. First, compare 2 Ti. 3:1 with 4:3 and note the phrase “times will come.”
2 Timothy 3:1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine …
The coming times is the focus in both verses…so, the difficult times include the fact that people won’t endure sound doctrine.
So we know that this is a unit of Scripture. And now both passages contain a discussion of certain men. 2 Timothy 3:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,
These are the same men who are described as teachers in …. 2 Timothy 4:3 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,
And the reason that we know that these are the same individuals is because this word “men” when used in the pastoral epistles almost always, when spoken of in negative terms, refers to false teachers.
One example of that is in our text, in 2 Timothy 3:8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.
These two men, Jannes and Jambres, were traditionally the magicians in Egypt who opposed Moses. You remember these two men could perform similar miracles as Moses, like turning snakes into staves. The point is this … although it looked like they did the work of God, actually, they were opposed to God’s work and they were on the forefront of that opposition, just like false teachers are. So the comparison in the passage is between men as described in verses 1 to 5 and these men, these false miracle workers. Clearly we’re talking about false teachers in verses 1-5 then, who though religious, are actually opposed to God’s word.
This has precedence in the rest of the pastoral epistles as well. These false teachers had inordinate interests in myths and genealogies. They were known for misusing the word of God and promoting so-called knowledge that only leads to speculation and controversy. These false teachers in the pastoral epistles led less than credible lives, being deceptive and some engaging in immorality and covetously desiring material gain through their false teachings. They advocated extreme practices of self-denial for the purpose of earning favor with God and taught false doctrine concerning the resurrection… That the resurrection had already passed.
Now, it’s these kinds of false teachers who gain a hearing. These false teachers in chapter 3:1-5 gain a hearing. And who they are and what they preach is then reflected in the pew. Like a mirror reflects light, the pew is a reflection of the pulpit. In other words, what is in the pulpit is, or will be, in the pew.
And if these false teachers gain a hearing, their doctrine and lifestyle is received in the pew. And who are the people who want to listen to these kinds of false teachers? People who have the same desires as these false teachers do. 2 Timothy 4:3 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,
In other words, the teachers and the people have the same desires…. The people accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires… The desires match … the preachers desires and the people’s desires match, they are in accordance.
And we know the false teachers desires as described in the early part of chapter 3. And so therefore the people have the exact same desires as those false teachers and thus all of false Christianity can be described in similar terms to varying degrees.
And we live in a kind of time like this. After the apostles left the scene, false teaching began to take hold, plummeting the church into what we call the dark ages. The church, both laity and clergy, failed to tenaciously hold to the scripture … they didn’t continue in the things they had learned.
During the Dark Ages of Roman Catholic domination, the common folk, the majority of whom couldn’t read, became ignorant of the truth. They were dependant on corrupt clergy. But today, it’s different. Today, both Christian leadership and laymen have access to the truth, but they simply refuse to accept it and, and in some cases, openly deny it. These people have the God-breathed Scripture and have failed to receive it. One could see then how we may be in danger of a new kind of dark ages, if the Lord tarries.
So, what’s the solution to this? Following 2 Ti. 3:14-4:4. First, continue in the God-breathed Scripture…
Continue in the God-breathed Scripture (2 Ti. 3:14-17)
2 Timothy 3:14-17 14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of [what has Timothy learned and become convinced of?…well, keep reading…], knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known [here it is…] the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture [or better, every scripture, every Bible book] is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Paul commands Timothy to continue in the sacred writings, the Scripture.
Now, Paul is writing to Timothy, but just because Paul is writing to Timothy, doesn’t mean that this ought not be applied to all of God’s people. Paul knows, like we’ve studied, that the pew is a reflection of the pulpit. What goes on pulpit will be seen eventually in the pew. So this passage is to be applied to each person here as each of us is responsible for each other and for the direction of our assembly.
Meaning of Continue
What does it mean to “continue” in the Scripture? This common word in the New Testament simply has the idea, here, of not moving from the right hand or to the left of Scripture. In other words, Timothy was not to deviate from what the Scripture teaches and he is to keep progressing into what he’s become convinced of. As well he is not to succumb to anti-scriptural teachings.
And we can see this in the contrast in verse 14. 2 Timothy 3:14 You, Timothy…however,
Paul’s drawing a contrast with what he was speaking to previously. Instead of following the ways of these false teachers in verse 13, you Timothy however continue in the Scripture.
2 Timothy 3:13-14 13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 You, [Timothy…] however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
So these evil, false teachers will continue to get worse…. They will get worse in their doctrine and practice and they will continue to deceive others as they themselves are deceived … Instead Timothy, you stay the course. You continue in the Scripture. You emphasize what Scripture emphasizes, you preach those words and teach those doctrines and even motivate the people scripturally and now, Timothy, pastor….you practice the Scripture yourself.
Pastor, practice what you preach while the church needs to keep everything in its proper scriptural balance.
I find it interesting that we have of some of Timothy’s background here and in other passages of the pastoral epistles.
And Paul’s point for Timothy is that since Timothy is persuaded of the truth of the Scripture because of his godly upbringing, he should continue in the Scripture. And his upbringing serves as a motivation to continue in the Scripture. In other words, Timothy, “since you are persuaded of the truth of the Scripture because of your godly upbringing, continue in the Scripture.”
Paul says to Timothy, “continue in the things that you learned and have become convinced of… Continue in the Scripture.” Timothy asks, “what will motivate me to be balanced myself as well as have a balanced, scriptural ministry that does not deviate from the left hand or to the right? What will help me to have a balanced ministry?”
Paul answers end of verse 14, “let me motivate you. To help you to continue, you should know from whom you have learned the Scripture.” I mean, if you realize who it was who actually taught you the Scripture, that will help you to stay the course, scripturally speaking.
It says in verse 14 that Timothy has learned the sacred writings and not only has he learned them, he has also become convinced of them. In other words this is not just intellectual understanding for Timothy, it has reached down into his heart he has become convinced of the truth of these things. And the word for “become convinced of” is the word Amen…. In other words, Timothy learned the Bible and he can give his heartfelt “Amen” to the things that he has learned from the Scripture.
Whatever the Bible says, it’s true.
It’s interesting that Paul motivates Timothy to continue in the Scripture, at the end of verse 14, knowing from whom he has learned the sacred writings. And who is that?
Well, 2 Timothy 1:5 gives us the answer. 2 Timothy 1:5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.
I think it’s clear that it must’ve been his mother and his grandmother who taught him, or at least his mother. His grandmother taught his mother and his mother taught him, perhaps.
So you can picture this tender scene with young Timothy at the feet of his mother or his grandmother and he is learning the Scripture. There is something special about learning the Scripture from your parents and grandparents and because this picture and truth is in Scripture for us … here’s the point … parent-child teaching of scripture is divinely designed to motivate children to continue living out what they have learned.
Paul is motivating Timothy this way. Continue in the Scripture, Timothy knowing from whom you have learned that Scripture.
This has natural application. Moms and dads, let’s be careful to instruct our children in the Scripture this year. Times are gonna get busy and you are going to be tempted to be distracted. What will happen is your true priorities will take hold. You will be tempted not to teach your family the Bible because it seems there are greater needs. You’ll be tempted not to expose yourself to Scripture because, it seems, there are greater needs.
Would God really be disappointed if you took a hit, materially or otherwise, for the sake of the spiritual lives of your family? Would God be disappointed if you had greater exposure to the word of God this year, whether at church, in family devotions, or private devotions, even if it meant your 3rd or 4th priorities were more neglected?
What if you attended every church service and taught your family the Bible every day but you didn’t make as much money this year or other priorities for your family seemed less taken care of? Do you think God would be disappointed with that?
The church is designed by God to be the pillar and support the truth… In other words, we house the truth and put it on display and bring it home into people’s lives… would there be weeping in heaven if that was more of the case in this church…in your families, who are to take part in this church?
And some of your children are listening to this message… Be careful to teach the Bible to the family, men. Be devoted to what matters in the end.
And children, devote yourself to your parent’s teaching you the Scripture this year. What are these things that are so convincing to them? Why is the Bible so serious to them? Ask them about that. If you can understand why it is that what your parents are teaching you are so important to them, you will begin to see the Holy Spirit during a work in your life as well. So, children, learn the Scripture from your parents and take it to heart!
TRANS: Now, there are 2 doctrines of the Scripture mentioned here that we should stay the course on. We should not deviate from the right hand or to the left on these two doctrines mentioned here … Not that there aren’t other doctrines, but these two are focused on in this passage they are two big ones … Salvation and sanctification.
Continue in Salvation
Paul writes at the end of verse 15 that these sacred writings, the Scripture, the Bible, is… “able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
That’s salvation. The Scriptures give the wisdom that’s necessary to lead someone to salvation, which is through faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul is particularly referencing the Old Testament, since the New Testament has not been recognized yet. But nevertheless, by extension, this would encompass all of our Old and New Testament as well. And from the beginning therefore, salvation has always been by faith… By trusting God.
Salvation comes to an individual’s heart through trusting a person, Jesus Christ. Salvation does not come apart from the gospel. The gospel, the good news that we preach is that Christ Jesus died for our sins…. He died for … our sins… In other words, Christ was punished for our sins.
This is the substitutionary atonement, that Christ is the substitute for us. He paid the penalty of what we deserved when he died on the cross. And when he died on the cross he took upon him all of the wrath of God that we deserve for our sin. And he was separated from God the Father on the cross for us… And thus the penalty is paid… the penalty of eternal separation from God for ever in hell.
The gospel includes as well that Jesus is raised from the dead… He was raised in his body from the dead. And he proved that that day by eating with his disciples and displaying to them his body and the wounds in his body.
So Christ Jesus, God in flesh, the second person of the Trinity, came and partook of same nature as we and paid the penalty for our sin on the cross and was raised from the dead.
And the response to the gospel now … if you trust in Christ alone, not trusting any works that you can do to earn any favor with God, but if you trust in Him alone and come to the end of yourself and turn your back on your sin and from everything that God hates and yes even desire to turn your back on your own self and make a full ‘180’ turn to God alone…if this is your desire….the Scripture does not say you have to clean yourself up first, the Bible doesn’t teach that … but if this is you, in your heart of hearts and believe the gospel, …then call upon the Lord and ask him to save you from your sin.
TRANS: So we are to remain steadfast in this doctrine of salvation. We are also to remain steadfast in the doctrine of sanctification, in growth in godliness.
This is verses 16-17.
Continue in Sanctification
2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
You can see, this concerns our sanctification … The Scripture is profitable for four things as mentioned here … teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness …and it’s profitable for those 4 things so that we might be adequate for every good work if we but regularly expose ourselves to it … this concerns our growth in godliness. We must continue in this!
And it is profitable for these things because it is inspired by God. If we lack confidence in the inspiration of Scripture, that God himself breathed out the Scripture….than we won’t grow and our church will be headed in the wrong direction. Scripture is inspired and, a result of that, it’s profitable.
There is an important order here. It is profitable internally… That we be taught and reproved and corrected and trained in righteousness for the purpose …externally … verse 17 that we be complete and adequate for every good work.
So, first teaching … that’s doctrinally instruction…. And the Scripture reproves us…. That is, it tells us what is wrong. And the Scripture corrects us, that is, it tells us what is right when we are wrong, doctrinally or morally. And it trains us in righteousness… That is, it teaches us how to keep it right…. And this is all in our hearts, internally. And as we receive this instruction this is all for the purpose of, verse 17, that externally in our lives now that we would be adequate for every good work. That we would be sufficient in our spiritual equipment to accomplish every good work.
APP: Early this year, on Thursday nights, we’ll be focusing heavily on this, sanctification. How do you actually from day to day grow in Christ? What are the mechanics of how that works? It can be as simple as reading your Bible and praying every day, but there are also some more specialized treatment in mortifying certain sins or adding certain characteristics to your life. We’ll be focusing on this … and this passages says that we must continue, we must remain in the Scripture’s doctrine of sanctification.
APP: One of the great indictments of God against his own people Israel was they did not continue in the word of God! We must continue in His word …
Let the sheer number of verses have its affect, if nothing else…
Isaiah 8:19-20 When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” … should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn [no spiritual illumination].
Isaiah 30:8-11 8 Now go, write it on a tablet before them and inscribe it on a scroll, that it may serve in the time to come as a witness forever. 9 For this is a rebellious people, false sons, sons who refuse …[who refuse]… to listen to the instruction of the Lord; 10 Who say to the seers, “You must not see visions“; And to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us what is right, speak to us pleasant words, prophesy illusions. 11 “Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
Jeremiah 6:19 “Hear, O earth: behold, I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their plans, because they have not listened to My words, and as for My law, they have rejected it also.
Discipline comes to those who refuse God’s words.
Jeremiah 8:9 “The wise men are put to shame, they are dismayed and caught; behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord, And [so] what kind of wisdom do they have?
Jeremiah 35:12-13 12 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, 13 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not receive instruction […will you not receive instruction….] by listening to My words?” declares the Lord.
And right out of the gate…Isaiah 1:10 Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the instruction of our God, You people of Gomorrah.
This year, be found listening to, walking in, taking heed and tenaciously clinging to God’s word this year. Listen to the word of the Lord! To listen in Scripture means to hear it and obey it.
TRANS: So, we must continue in the God-breathed Scriptures. They are able to give people the wisdom that leads to salvation and sanctification. So by the grace of God, we will continue in this.
And so because the Scripture is this way, God breathed, gives wisdom unto salvation and sanctification…. Because the Scripture is this way, we must preach the Scripture.
Preach the God-breathed Scripture
2 Timothy 4:1-4 1 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. 3 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.
Now, we’ve touched on already verses to 3-4 and how that fits in the context. False teachers and their false teaching and ungodly characters will also be found in the pulpit. You remember these false teachers at the beginning of chapter 3 are lovers of self, money, and the pleasure that money purchases for them…
And it’s these kinds of teachers that chapter 4 verse 3 tells us that the people accumulate for themselves…. These teachers are in accordance with their own desires, the desires of the people…. and their desires are for loving self, money, and the pleasure that money purchases… Or else these false teachers would never gain a hearing.
A Solemn Charge
I know of no other equally solemn charge for a pastor than this one. 2 Timothy 4:1 is simply the solemnity of the charge, and verse 2 is the charge to preach.
The charge to preach is given within a certain context and with a certain motivation. He writes verse one again” I solemnly charge you in”… Now we’ve got the context and the motivation, the solemnity of the charge… I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus…. In the presence of God the Father and God the Son Jesus Christ…They are the audience, in a real sense.
APP: When I prepare messages, I could preach it to 20 people or 2000 people…the content and style would be exactly the same. And that’s because the focus in preaching is not necessarily to whom the message is preached but for whom the message is preached. We preach to people but for the Lord, for his glory… And in his presence.
And he is the one who judges the living and the dead. James tells us that teachers will receive a stricter judgment. Therefore, knowing the One with whom we have to do, that preaching is a solemn charge that the church is guard with the utmost care and concern.
And Paul charges any pastor to preach the word with this solemnity… by his appearing and his kingdom… In other words, he is coming again… He will come back as Judge.
And with this solemnity, verse two a pastor is to “preach the word.”
Preach the Bible
It is the word that we preach. We preach nothing else. One way that you will know you are in a good assembly is, if when the pastor is preaching, he makes the people look at the words of Scripture. The preaching should make people look at the Bible and look at those words.
ILL: There are two kinds of preaching, even that passes as expository preaching.
The first kind is where the pastor has studied the Bible and he, in a sense, puts the Bible over here, and he himself tells you what it says without really showing you or arguing for what it says. Some people who claim to be expository preachers do that.
The second kind is that the pastor has studied the Bible and he puts the Bible in front of you and he tells you what it says, and then he shows you what it says, and makes you look at it so that you see and understand that that’s what that says.
And there ends up being a difference in authority. For the first example, the pastor’s interpretation and, sometimes, the pastor himself becomes the authority. And he may or may not be right at any given point…but unless the people have studied separately themselves already, they’ll believe the pastor but he may be wrong.
But the second one, the Scripture is out in front. The pastor shows the people the explanation and the people have opportunity to agree or disagree. And the goal is to come to agreement.
So, I could stand and be the authority, with the Bible backing up what I want to say. Or, I could point you to the Scripture, and make it the authority and point you to it…not just commenting about what it says … but actually saying what it says.
By God’s grace, you make sure that I or whoever stands in this pulpit “does not preach himself but Christ Jesus as Lord” and Christ’s word as the sole authority for faith and practice.
Preach when convenient or not
Pastor is to preach and be ready in season and out of season…when it’s convenient or not, is the idea.
What His preaching contains
And notice some of what the preaching contains, verse 2. There is reproving, rebuking exhorting with great patience and instruction.
There will be times when the pastor will step on your toes and make you feel uncomfortable. Reproof and rebuking and exhorting… It might feel like criticism, but it is for your good that you might be corrected to glorify God.
But if I lack patience this is not good. Pastor is to have patience, yes, even great patience… as he reproves and rebukes his people … People will come away with, “yes, he reproved me, but he was gentle and patient with me as he did it and I appreciate that ministry.”
But it won’t just be his own words. He reproves and rebukes and exhorts not only with great patience but also at the end of verse two with instruction. That’s the word for doctrine. A pastor, reproves, rebukes and exhorts with the doctrine of Scripture.
And so when the pastor reproves and rebukes and exhorts, it ought to be a firm finger in the Bible, as he points out the scripture, but also with a very gentle and patient finger in your face!
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of 2 Timothy 3.1-4.5 Part 1
Earlier in the message, I offered the possibility of a new dark ages coming if the Lord tarries. If the Lord doesn’t come back first, we could see that happening, especially as the modern church fails to endure sound doctrine and proceeds to reject scriptural truth and while following celebrity Christians, whether or not they preach the word of God.
Scare tactics and doomsday-ers gain a voice. When you have a lot of money and you announce a future recession, you’ll gain a voice.
And when you see the newspaper or watch the news or read on the Internet and you see the sensensationalism of the media and the bad news, the humanitarian emergencies, epidemics, war, genocide, war crimes and terrorist attacks, you could get scared.
Some are calling for a future new dark ages because the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer.
Some are calling for a future new dark ages because politicians, who want to enact laws that go against God’s word, are in power, and our largest churches are shoot through with damnable heresies… and there are money loving pastors and sheep everywhere.
The morals of society are on a steep decline and there is a rush to prevent the God-breathed Scripture from having any influence…and people, still holding to the appearance of Christianity, want to reject the Bible’s demands on their lives and so they heap false teachers to themselves to tell them how to get rich, stay healthy, and have better personal relationships, all the while rejecting Christ, leaving him out of the picture, and forsaking His word.
In an article entitled “We’re in danger of entering a new Dark Age” … Liam Fox writes that despite the improvements since the Renaissance and Enlightenment and the triumphs of our political and economic systems, quote “we are now confronting a crisis of confidence, an uncertainty and a lack of optimism in our society which I believe is profoundly worrying. The Age of Reason is in danger of gradually shifting into reverse, while the culture of “whatever” – that one word so frequently used to dismiss objective reasoning – while the culture of “whatever” is on the rise.”
As the cause, she notes the “diminishing social mobility, the cult of celebrity, the decline in serious learning, the increasing disregard for empiricism [that’s scientific reasoning] and social attitudes verging on “valuephobia” all threaten to cast a shadow on” our enlightened western society.
In other words, if you hold any values, you have increasingly become an outcast.
She writes, “Distracted by celebrity, softened up by the education system, we have also succumbed to what you could call intellectual relativism. [Relativism, your truth is not my truth…] We have reached a state of affairs whereby people believe that the validity of their views is determined by the strength with which they hold them, not by any reference to empiricism. [In other words, she says that, today, people tend to believe that someone’s views are determined to be valid or not based on how strongly they hold to them, not based on any real evidence…] And so [she says … ] we hear phrases such as quote… “Well that is your truth – it’s not mine”, or, increasingly, the word which is doing untold damage to the concept of objectivity: “whatever”. When confronted with evidence which undermines the current fashion or your own prejudices, simply lift your hand and say “whatever”, and you can avoid all the discomforts of the value of truth, or objectivity, or of being plain wrong.
And why is that? Why is it that ‘whatever’ is gaining ground? Lack of education? Too focused on celebrity?…perhaps that part of it, but it’s not the basis…
The main issue is that difficult times have come and people love themselves, money, and pleasure and they horde teachers who scratch their ears, giving them what they want to hear, so that they can continue loving themselves, money and pleasure and seem spiritual doing so. Are you listening to false teachers who teach you to chase money? That’s very popular today … People have physically relocated to where the money is and money enables people to love themselves more … and so that we can all love ourselves more, we have to get along and so relativism takes over.
It’s all because of the failure of the modern church to fulfill her mandate….. So what is The Church’s Mandate in this Culture of Religious Apostasy? Preach the God—breathed Word and do it.
In these kind of times, what do you need? You need the Bible!