Sermon 10.16.16 Pentecost 22

2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
10/16/16
Pastor Ken Frey

2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 4:1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Be People of the Book
1. Remain in the Word
2. Preach the Word
3. Share the Word

What is the most important tool you own? That might depend on your job, but I would guess most of us would answer that with similar responses. Some might say that my smart phone is the most important tool I have. Or maybe it’s your computer or a tablet. Some might say that their car or truck is the most important tool that they have. What about you? What is the one thing you just can’t get along without? What one thing is the most useful thing in your life? The Apostle Paul tells us this morning that the most useful thing we have is a book, the Bible. And so we need to be people of the Book.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. “All,” he said. We can be tempted to pick and choose what parts of the Bible we want to listen to or pick as important, but this reminds us that it’s all God’s Word. And it all has one central message: Jesus Christ, the Savior.

All Scripture is “God-breathed.” Think of how God breathed life into the first man, Adam. And on the day of his resurrection, Jesus surprised his disciples in the upper room and John tells us he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Breath gives life and spirit. Think of a sailboat pushed across the water. The wind – breath – carries it along. That’s how Peter described inspiration. “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21) We call this verbal inspiration, which means that God not only gave the human writers the thoughts of Holy Scripture, he gave them the exact words. Therefore, each and every word recorded on the original pages of Holy Scripture is there because God himself wanted it to be there. That’s what makes this book different from any other.

Since this is God’s Word, it is useful. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. First of all, this book leads us to Jesus. To know the Bible is to know Jesus. We sang the verse earlier, “Faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.”(Romans 10:17). This book brings us faith in Jesus. And with faith comes salvation. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

We need to be people of the Book because that is the source of eternal life and salvation.

We need to be people of the Book also because the book is useful for this life. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. The Bible is useful for teaching. What does God say about the things that are going on in society today? What does he think about abortion or assisted suicide? What are his feelings about homosexuality? All we have to do is look in the book. The Bible is useful for teaching.

And for rebuking. The Bible makes clear our sin, that we have fallen short of God’s demands and calls on us to repent. Then the Bible corrects us. A better translation is “restore.” After the law of the Bible has confronted our sin and led us to repent, the gospel of the Bible leads us to the cross of Jesus where there is restoration, forgiveness and life.

With his life flowing in us by faith, we can look to the Bible for training in righteousness. Why do we presume to walk through life without that Word as a lamp for our feet? Why do we settle for inward chaos when we may have the peace of God? Why do we cringe in fear at the unfolding history of the world, when it is our privilege to rest in the God of history? Why do we complain about the fortunes of life when we can have the assurance that all things are working for the good of those whom God has chosen? Do we recognize that God has spoken and it is our privilege and duty to find out what he has said?

The Bible is God’s Word. It is useful for our salvation. It is useful for life. And that’s why it’s so disappointing to see so few in Bible Classes and Sunday School on any given Sunday. We need to ask ourselves why we stay away and then we need to ask if God would be pleased with our reasons. We need to be people of the Book.

That’s true of us as individuals and as a congregations. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. It’s hard to imagine that Paul could have said this more emphatically. It’s as if he reached out and grabbed Timothy by his shirt, pulled him up to his face and yelled, “Peach the Word.”

Preach, that is, to herald. The herald was the king’s messenger. He wasn’t a politician, diplomat or spin-doctor. His job was to proclaim faithfully the king’s message.

Preach the Word, not our own ideas or self-help messages that make you feel good about your self. Preach the Word. The reason we have a rather large pulpit – which used to be a lot higher – is to emphasize what you hear from this pulpit is God’s Word, not mine. As pastors, we stand in the pulpit to emphasize what we proclaim is God’s Word, not mine. We don’t tell stories to make you feel good about yourself or to make you think what a swell guy I am. We do what the Apostle Paul says here: Preach the Word. As a church we need to be people of the Book. We need to preach the Word.

And that is especially true because of the culture in which we live. Paul warned, 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. False teaching is like ice cream. It tastes good but has no nutritional value. Sound teaching though must be endured. It makes us spiritually healthy but it doesn’t always taste good. The sinful human heart has a tendency to turn away from God’s truth and embrace what feels good at the moment. We need to be aware of that. We need to preach the Word. We need to be people of the Book.

That means also sharing the word with others. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. “Keep your head in all situation” can be translated, “Be sober.” When people get intoxicated with the latest winds of false teaching, you’re the designated drive. Keep your head by being people of the Book. Then you will know what to believe and what to say.

We need to know what to say because we are to, do the work of an evangelist. That’s an interesting phrase. The way it’s worded seems to me to imply that Timothy wasn’t really strong in that area but he still needed to do it.

You may not feel that you are really strong in sharing your faith either, but it still needs to be done. That’s why the Board of Evangelism has prepared several pieces to help you. The FRAN identifier will help you think of people who need to hear about Jesus. If nothing else, use it to identify an unbeliever in your circle and then pray for that person.

Another piece is the invitation card. It’s a non-threatening way to invite someone to one of our outreach events, like the Fall Festival or Christmas for Kids. Check out all the other materials on the table in the church basement.

What is the most important and useful tool you have? The Bible. God’s Word, Holy Scripture. We need to be people of the Book. We need to remain in it, preach it and share it. It is our great tool. It is our great heritage.

God’s Word is our great heritage And shall be ours forever.
To spread its light from age to age Shall be our chief endeavor.

Through life it guides our way; In death it is our stay.

Lord, grant, while worlds endure, We keep its teachings pure Throughout all generations. (CW 293)