II Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
God has directed the apostle Paul to methodically lay the foundation for the command given here. This is to be expected because God is the Author. He lays out the facts. He removes all the arguments. Of course those who reject the truth will never be convinced. God has already addressed that problem.
II Timothy 2:23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
It is a waste of time to continue to argue with someone who does not want to know the truth. Rather than waste time arguing with someone who does not want to accept the truth, Timothy needed to preach the truth.
In verse 1, Paul again gave Timothy the authority for this command. The command came from God and from the Lord Jesus Christ. We see again the unity within the Godhead. The Holy Spirit is not mentioned here, but the Father and the Son are. Matthew 28:18 reminds us that God the Father has given all power to His Son and He will sit on the throne of judgment. Jesus Christ set aside His glory to come to this earth. His full glory will be revealed at the judgment.
Timothy needed to be reminded that there is only one true Judge. All will face this same Judge. The “quick” are those who are saved. Every saved person will stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
II Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
The “we” refers to the saved. Those who are at that judgment seat are not there to see if they will enter heaven. Salvation happens while we are on this earth. If a person rejects God’s provision of salvation while alive here and now, they will not be at the judgment seat of Christ. Those who appear at that judgment are saved. They have received the gift of eternal life. They have already passed from death unto life.
The “dead” are those who are lost.
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
It does not matter how rich they were or how poor they were. Without Christ, they will stand at that great white throne judgment. There is a fairly common mythology that states that Peter stands at the pearly gates and decides whether a person will enter heaven or not. That is a lie. Each person’s eternal destiny is chosen by them while they live on this earth. Few are foolish enough to scoff and suggest they would rather go to hell. Yet sadly, the Bible warns that many will end up in that dreadful place.
Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
Cain needed to choose life, but he chose death. The majority of those alive in the time of Noah chose death, rather than life. They perished in the flood. They had already chosen to reject God’s offer of salvation and thus they were outside of the Ark when the flood waters were unleashed by God. Their time was up.
Timothy needed to be reminded of the very serious situation that mankind was facing. He also needed to remember that he had been saved to serve the Lord. He was not saved just to avoid hell or to gain heaven. He was saved to serve God. That is true for every person that is saved. God directs the saved person to the place He wants them to serve Him. Sadly, many saved are reluctant to submit to that call. Jesus told us:
Luke 10:2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
The problem is labourers. Timothy was saved and he had been trained under the apostle Paul for the work God called him to. He needed to be reminded of the importance of honouring God.
In verse 2 the command was to preach the Word. To preach is to “herald”. It is to openly and publicly proclaim the truth.
In England they still have what is called “speakers corner.” it is used for all kinds of things now and some of those who speak there get attacked for what they say. The apostle Paul was often attacked for what he said. The truth offends those who hate God. The preacher needs to understand that, but not cower from that.
True Christians are not second class citizens. They do not need to go to the “back of the bus”. It is shameful that so many are asking the government for permission to keep their churches open. They are trying to be so careful to follow the mandates. Christians are not proud and egotistical people. They are humble servants who serve a GREAT God. That is what makes the difference. That is what preaching is designed to do. It is to unashamedly declare the truth in a lost and dying world.
The preaching of the Word needs to be done in season, out of season. To reprove is “to admonish”. To rebuke is “to censure or by implication forbid”.
Christians are called to be a light in a dark world. Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. True Christians must reflect that Light wherever they are. The apostles were accused of turning their world upside-down with the Gospel. Our world is a wreck because Christians have been too quiet for a long time.
God does not want anyone to go to hell. He wants all to be saved. Jesus Christ came to this earth and interrupted the false teachers. He stood and publicly exposed them as frauds and He also taught the truth. He did not get bogged down with the false teachers. He exposed them and He taught the truth.
To exhort is to “call near, or to invite”. The exhortation is given with all longsuffering and doctrine. The lost will scoff and mock. People get fired for standing for the truth. Those who are saved and face persecution, don’t go home and get a gun and go back to work and start shooting people. That is the response of lost people. Saved people seek to help the lost see the importance of the truth. Doctrine is truth. It is irrefutable truth. It is absolute.
Christians do not need to apologize for the truth. Godly pastors should never withhold the truth from those they teach and preach to. If an employer will not allow reproof and rebuke in the work place, then find a different job. If the employer wants the world’s music playing on the job site, find a different job. Don’t tolerate evil. We can all become desensitized to evil. We, who are saved, do so by grieving the Holy Spirit. God has not changed His terms of holiness.
I was sent an ad from a Creation Science organization that use to stand for truth. How can you defend Creation when you adopt the world’s music and perverted texts to do so? That organization has lost their way. A true Christian can no longer order material from that organization. I wrote them and encouraged them to reconsider the direction they have chosen to take. I have written them in the past and their response was that they were told to change or lose support. It is sad that people will sell out for money. The problem is that organizations get into debt and need money to cover their debt. We do not need animated dinosaurs to believe there were dinosaurs. For all we know there could still be dinosaurs today. There are less of them, but there is no way to prove there are none. If lost people will not believe the Word of God, they will not believe just because someone puts out some slick illustrations that are based on imaginations anyway.
It is not nearly as flashy to the lost and carnal to simply preach the Word. However it still remains that the power is in God’s Word. Timothy needed to be reminded of this fact and we need to be reminded today as well.