Sunday, November 16, 2014

2 Timothy 4: Doing the Work of an Evangelist


2 Tim 4:1-8 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

When Paul wrote this epistle, he was already an old man, ready to depart as he felt he has finished his race and the ministry the Lord apportioned for him. He started and ended this passage by referring to "his appearing" (v.1, 8). Paul urges Timothy to continue to preach and do the work of evangelist, not by looking back but by looking forward, keeping in view Christ's coming.

In view of Christ's imminent return, we are called to go out and do the work of evangelism: "preach the word, be ready in season and out of season: reprove, rebuke and exhort, with complete patience and teaching" (v.2). Instead of evangelism, many Christians are just focused on self-edification, going from church to church to find preachers who can tickle their ears with their latest "revelations": "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths" (v.3-4).

The only way we can prepare for Christ's coming is to do the work of an evangelist. Christ died for the unsaved and he would not want to find us doing nothing about the lost when he returns suddenly: "Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes" (Matt 24:46). For when He returns, we will have to give an account to Him regarding how we use our time, money and spiritual gifts given to us vis-a-vis the lost. Christians in Singapore form less than 20% of the population (about 1 million). There are still 80% (4 millions) of the population in Singapore who do not yet know Christ.

Don't you think in view of Christ's appearing that we should stop doing the work of a sermon critic but get on with doing the work of evangelist?

Father, stir up our hearts to do the work of an evangelist. Amen.

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