Praying Over Our Sacred Trust
As Christians, God has entrusted His Word to our care. In 2 Timothy 1:14, Paul reminds Timothy, “By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” Paul is suffering unjustly in prison, Timothy is struggling with the pending death of his spiritual father (Paul). And, in the midst of all this emotion and struggle and suffering, Paul reminds his Christian brother of his mission to “preach the Word”...the Word that has been entrusted to Him...the same Word that has been entrusted to each of us.
Let’s use Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to “Preach the Word” in 2 Timothy 4:2 to inform and guide our prayer. FYI: We will be spending our teaching time this Sunday unpacking this concept further.
Preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2a) -- What is the Message? The Message is most certainly the Gospel but it also includes all the inspired, New Testament Books. Who is doing the preaching? Answer: Every faithful Christian. The word “preach” here means to proclaim a message. Certainly, this proclamation happens in the pulpit. However, it probably happens more regularly when you are driving your kid to soccer practice and they ask a spiritual question; or, when you get to share where your hope and joy originates with your neighbor in the backyard; or, this happens when two brothers meet at McDonalds for breakfast sandwiches, they share their heartaches with one another and then take turns reminding each other what the Scriptures say. All of this is preaching...it is proclamation! Question: What have you been proclaiming lately? Have you been sharing God’s Word, God’s Truth, God’s Hope, God’s Answers? Or, have you been preaching your favorite news outlet, your favorite commentator? As Christians, we have been given a sacred trust...God’s Word!!! If we don’t share it, who will? Could you talk with God about this? Perhaps we need to confess and repent or we need to rededicate our speech and minds to Him. Or, we can praise Him for how His Word has worked in our lives through the ministry of others.
Preach the Word with Wisdom (2 Tim. 4:2b): We can get the message technically correct but minister it in a way that distracts, distorts. Paul directs Timothy to use the Word to rebuke, reprove, and exhort. These are three different ways to address someone when they are in need of The Word. When someone is discouraged, they need the Word but they don’t need a rebuke. Likewise, a Christian in open rebellion against God doesn’t need to be comforted, they need to be rebuked. How do we know what to do? We ask God for wisdom, which He has promised to give to anyone who lacks it. As we seek wisdom from above, we must also seek to understand where our brother or sister or unbelieving friend is at in their thinking, attitude, and lifestyle. It's not that we change the message but we change the way we deliver it. Let’s cry out to God and ask for wisdom in how to share The Word with those around us. Let’s also cry out to God asking Him to grow our love and concern for others.
Preach the Word with All Patience (2 Tim. 4:2c): What is the goal of preaching? To answer this question, we should ask, “Why does the King want His message shared?” God sends Jesus and moves the Biblical Writers to record His word so that in hearing and studying we might be transformed. That the unbeliever would believe and that the believer would become more like Jesus! So, we don’t preach just to hear ourselves talk or because we are excited about The Word. We preach with the purpose of transformation in mind. However, we lack transformative power, people often reject personal transformation, and we can become weary, bitter, disenchanted with people. Paul reminds Timothy that it is imperative for him to preach The Word and minister The Word to others...with ALL patience...with a really long fuse. Let’s ask God to help us see His Glory in His Word and share it with all patience.