Sermon: The Apostle’s Last Words
Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:1-22
In this week’s study, we consider Paul’s final words to Timothy, and learn valuable lessons for our own life and ministry.
Theme: In Season and Out of Season
Yesterday, we looked at what Timothy was to do, which was to preach the gospel. Today, we consider how Timothy should preach the gospel.
The second point is how Timothy is to preach the Word. Paul tells him to be prepared in season and out of season. By this, Paul means that Timothy is to be urgent about this business at all times. We, like him, are to give ourselves wholeheartedly to it. We are told to correct, rebuke and encourage. We are to be relevant in what we do, because all of those words relate to people. People need correction, rebuke, and encouraging, too, depending on the situation. So when Paul tells Timothy to preach the Word, he is not to do it in some doctrinaire way where he gives theological ideas in a rather detached way to those who listen in an equally detached fashion. Instead, he is to apply the Word to their lives. And that is what we want to do as well in our own evangelism, teaching, and, for those called to be ministers, in their preaching.
Paul then says quite clearly that we’re to be patient as we do these things. Patience is very important because people don’t always respond to what we are saying, just as we don’t always respond as we should when someone needs to correct or rebuke us. Moreover, all this is to be done with careful instruction. In other words, we are to do it intelligently and thoughtfully. I wish that all who preach the gospel and who testify to it, indeed, all Christians who carry out this charge in various ways, would be urgent about it.
Years ago in England, there was a man named William Hasland, a minister in the Church of England. He preached so effectively that literally, so far as anybody knew, everyone in his parish, which was a small one in Cornwall, had become converted. He preached day in and day out, every day of the week and Sundays as well. Given his effectiveness in his parish, he branched out and went into other parishes all around his own. But here is where he got in trouble.
Because he was, as we would say, stepping on the toes of the ministers of these other parishes, they began to complain to their bishop about how Hasland was always preaching in their areas all the time. So the bishop called Hasland in and asked him why he was doing this all the time and never took any break. Hasland replied, “Bishop, I only preach two seasons of the year.”
“Oh,” said the bishop. “I’m glad to hear that. What are the two seasons?”
Hasland answered, “In season and out of season.”
This is why Hasland was effective. So if I would convey the charge of the apostle Paul to you, it would be along those lines. Preach the gospel and do it all the time. Do it by the way you live, do it in what you say, and do it from the time you rise up in the morning till the time that you lay down at night.
What does it mean to be prepared in season and out of season?
Define the other responsibilities Paul exhorts Timothy to do.
Application: You may not be a pastor, but even if you do not preach, how can you apply Paul’s instructions to Timothy in your own life and Christian service?
Key Point: Preach the gospel and do it all the time. Do it by the way you live, do it in what you say, and do it from the time you rise up in the morning till the time that you lay down at night.