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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

PREACH THE WORD - March 9, 2008


Second Timothy Chapter Four

Sermon of the Week #200810 – March 09, 2008

The last words of the Apostle Paul are found in Second Timothy chapter four, and although they were written to Timothy, everyone who preaches, by word, or by life-style should insert his own name to what the Apostle told Timothy. There is nothing in this world that God is more interested in than the preaching of the gospel. He sent His Son into the world to suffer on the cross, and after He was raised from the dead, just before He ascended into Heaven, He told the Apostles to wait for the power to come in a few days, and they would witness for Him unto the ends of the earth. The power arrived on the Day of Pentecost, and the message they preached was His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. So listen to those words again, “I charge thee in the sight of God, and of Christ Jesus, who shall judge the living and the dead, at His appearing, and His kingdom: preach the Word.”

And then not only that, preach the Word in view of the Judgment Day. The judgment is depicted in Revelation 20:12, and I read these inspired words of the Apostle John without comment, “And I saw the dead, the great, and the small, standing before the throne; and the books were opened, and another book was opened which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged according to the things that were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire. And if any was not found in the Book of Life, he was cast into the lake of fire.” In view of those words Paul declares, “I charge thee, preach the Word.” Remember as the Word is preached, the King is listening! And James said, “The Judge standeth at the door.”

I knew a preacher one time who was to preach at a Bible college, and someone asked him if he was not afraid to appear before all those learned professors, and he said, “I don’t worry about them because I have been preaching before the Lord Jesus Christ for thirty years.” When we know that Jesus is listening to every message that we preach, we need not stand in awe of any man, but we do need to be in awe as we remember that Jesus is listening to our proclamation of the Word. Preach the Word. Actually that is the only thing there is to preach. Just before this, Paul said, “All scripture is inspired of God, and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.” Actually preaching of the Word will answer all the problems concerning eternal salvation, and proper conduct in any area of service in this life, public and private.

I charge thee; preach the Word in view of the inspired statement of Paul, when he said the time would come when men would not endure the sound doctrine, but having itching ears would heap unto themselves teachers after their own lusts, and turn aside their ears from the truth unto fables.

This reminds me of the two ladies ahead of me in the check-out lane. One said to the other, “My son tells me, he has had the itch three times this summer, and he says he has enjoyed it all three times.” There are a great many Christians who have the itch, and they love to be scratched.

To turn away from the truth is serious business; remember in John 17:17, Jesus told the Father, “Thy Word is truth,” and Jesus told the Apostles in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” To turn away from the truth is to turn away from Jesus, and His Word.

Jesus further said in John 8:31, “If ye abide in my Word, then are ye truly my disciples, ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” And then that great announcement beginning in John 8:51 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep My Word, he shall never see death.”

They shall turn aside their ears from the truth, unto fables is not only something they will do in the last days, but something the human race has always done. Paul said in the first chapter of Romans 1:25, “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped the creature rather than the Creator.” The ancient Romans did what modern man is doing. Today we worship creatures—ourselves—and not the creator. We decide on all the rules of morality, and judge ourselves by what the polls say. But Jesus said in John 12:48, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not My sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the Word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day.” For a person to turn away from Jesus, who is the truth, and His Word that is the truth, is to turn away from the truth unto fables.

Then Paul told Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course; I have kept the faith.” Someone wrote to say they did not think that we should sing such gospel songs as Onward Christian Soldiers and Battle Hymn of the Republic because the gospel is the story of peace, and not war.

Paul seems to differ with that idea, because he said in 1st Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of the faith, lay hold on the life eternal.” He said he fought the good fight, and he advises us to fight the good fight; it is the good fight considering that eternal life is involved in the good fight.

The good fight is against a foe that seems all-powerful for humanity. In Revelation 12:7 we read, “And there was war in Heaven: Michael, and his angels going forth to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred, and his angels; and they prevailed not, neither was their place found anymore in Heaven and the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent who is called the Devil and Satan.”

Fighting the great red dragon that is strong enough to fight angels, seems to put us in what seems to be a hopeless position; however, the Lord Jesus provides us with the best strategy during His temptation in Matthew the fourth chapter when in answer to every temptation, He used the same defense we have; namely the Word of God. To every temptation, He said, “It is written, it is written, it is written.” Then the devil left him, and angels came and ministered unto Him.

But then, when the battle seems hopeless, we can always look to 2nd Chronicles 20:17 for the advice the Lord gave to the army of Judah as they faced overwhelming numbers, when He said, “Be not afraid nor dismayed; the battle is not yours, but God’s, for the Lord will be with you.”

And then Paul said, “I have finished the course.” The great Apostle had his mind set on finishing the course for a long time. In Acts 20, he told the elders of Ephesus, “And now behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Spirit testifies unto me in every city, saying bonds and afflictions abide me. But I hold not my life as any account as dear unto myself, so that I may accomplish my course, and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

However, Paul speaks of another course that many have taken in Ephesians 2:1-2, “And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience: among whom ye also once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh, and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”

Think of the contrast between the two courses. Paul chose to follow the course he received from the Lord Jesus to testify the gospel of the grace of God. The other course was the course of the prince of the power of the air that still works in the sons of disobedience. I have fought the good fight, and I have finished the course.

And then he said, “I have kept the faith.” What faith did Paul keep? Paul kept the faith in Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” What faith did Paul keep? Paul kept the faith in Jude 3, “I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints.” What faith did Paul keep? He kept the faith in Ephesians 6 that is like a shield; that quenches all the fiery darts of the evil one. What faith did Paul keep? Paul kept the faith that Jesus advised in Matthew 17:20, “If ye have faith as in a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” What faith did Paul keep? Paul kept the faith of Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” I have kept the faith. What faith was it? He kept the faith as found in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works that no man should boast.” I have kept the faith. What faith did you keep? He kept the faith in Colossians 2:12, “Having been buried with Him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” In Ephesians 2:8-9, He said that we were not saved by our works, but in Colossians 2:12, He says we are saved by works: but, it is God’s work when we are baptized. I have kept the faith.

If you believe in the New Testament Church, never be satisfied with anything less. Keep the faith. If you believe the New Testament is the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God, never be satisfied with anything less. Keep the faith. If you believe in the Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day, never be satisfied with anything less. Keep the faith. If you believe in wearing the name that is above every name, and that you don’t need another name to wear with it, or in place of it, never be satisfied with anything less. Keep the faith. This should be the goal for all in the ministry of the Lord and His Church. I have fought the good fight; I have finished the course. I have kept the faith.

And now in conclusion, Paul said, “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give to me, and not only to me, but to all that have loved his appearing.”

The world has many crowns for excellence in service. You have heard of the Congressional Medal of Honor, you have heard of those listed in the Hall of Fame, you have heard of the Oscar, the Heisman Trophy, the Olympic Gold Medal, but all of these together on the Judgment Day, will be like the faded garlands on a coffin lid compared to that crown the triumphant Christian will receive. That crown will be given to all who have loved His appearing.

Surely we will love His appearing on that day, as we loved His first appearing when we consider His second appearing mentioned in Hebrews 9:27- 28, “And inasmuch as it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time apart from sin, to them that wait for Him unto salvation.”

Surely we will love His appearing, when He comes again, as we loved His first appearing when we consider what Paul said in Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us, to the intent that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly and righteously in this present world; looking for the blessed hope, and appearing of the great God our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a people of His own possession, zealous of good works.”

And surely we will love His second appearing, as we loved His first appearing although some will not, when we notice Matthew 24:29-30, “The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from Heaven, and the power of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven: then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory, and He shall send forth His angels with the great sound of the trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of Heaven to the other.”

He will come perhaps at morning when to simply live is sweet;

When the arm is strong unwearied by the noon time toil and heat.

When the undimmed eye looks upward on the shinning heights of life

And the eager heart is beating; yearning for some noble strife.

He will come perhaps at even, gray and somber is the sky

Clouds round the sunset gather full, and dark the shadows lie.

And we long for rest and slumber, and some tender thoughts of home

Fill the heart with vague, sad yearning then perhaps the Lord will come.

If He only finds me waiting in the mornings happy light

In the strong and fiery noontide, or the coming of the night.

If He only finds me waiting, listening for His sudden call;

Then His coming when we think not, will be the sweetest hope of all.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith, henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord that righteous Judge shall give unto me, and not to me only but for those who have loved His appearing.” I would hope on that day, according to Luke 19, when the nobleman, who went into the far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return, appears that each of us may say, “Thy pound Lord, hath gained ten pounds.” And then by His grace, He may say unto us: Well done, good servant, have thou authority over ten cities.” I charge thee; preach the Word!