In Paul's letter to Timothy, he urged Timothy, and those who read the letter to Timothy, to preach the whole counsel of God, not softening or sugarcoating it, but passionately declaring it as the truth of God's Word. Today on Leading the Way, Dr. Yusef helps you understand Paul's words to Timothy about holding firmly to the truth.
And by the way, get in touch with Leading the Way anytime and for anything when you call 866-626-4356 or ltw.org. With his message, urgently sharing the truth, here's Dr. Michael Yusef. In the Christian world, we've seen this through the years, and we're seeing it now. Those popular personality cult leaders often teach things either contrary to the Word of God or runs parallel with the Word of God. In either case, their teaching becomes as acceptable as the gospel truth.
The reason for the rise of these personality cults in the Christian church is that because people are often looking for answers, and there's nothing wrong with that, but they look for them in a man or a woman. They look for them in a system. They look for them in a set of teaching.
They look for them in a little packaged formula. They look for them everywhere except where they're supposed to be looking, and that's the truth of the Word of God. In Matthew 24, Jesus warned again and again, He said, Let no man deceive you. Now, the Apostle Paul was absolutely aware of the insidiousness of that subtle deception. He knew that deception can come to all of us, pastor and congregation, all of us, that deception can come to the most ardent Christian, that deception can invade a believing church, that deception can come to future leaders of a church like Timothy, to whom he's writing. And that is why Paul begins chapter 4, the last chapter in the second epistle to Timothy in chapter 4 verse 1, and he says to him, I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Jesus Christ, who is the judge of the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom.
Powerful words. I want to tell you at the outset that the NIV verse 1, the translation is very weak. I give you this charge. Now, a more powerful translation, more accurate translation, I solemnly charge you. This is a legal term which means to testify under oath in the court of law, except this is the court of heaven where the witness is no other than the Holy Trinity. So what is this charge that Timothy is to receive? What is that charge that he's charging Timothy with? It's a charge under oath to be faithful to the word of God and to preach the whole counsel of God, that Timothy would speak what God has already spoken no more and no less, that Timothy would not take liberty to massage or to improve or to soften the word of God. And by the way, Timothy, if people don't like it, that is not your problem.
Now, that's a use of translation, but you'll get the meaning. Why? Because God is the only one who's going to judge him. God is the only one who's going to judge me. God is the only one who's going to judge every one of us.
Why? Because as long as Timothy, as long as you, as long as I am faithful to the Lord, we have nothing to fear. Now, in the very beginning, Paul told Timothy to guard the truth, guard it. And secondly, he told him to continue in that truth. And thirdly, we saw how he told him if you have to suffer for that truth. And fourthly, here today, he is telling him to proclaim this truth, to gossip this truth, to preach this truth, to share this truth, to pass on this truth. How is he to do this?
Well, three ways he gives him. First of all, he's got to be urgent about sharing of that truth. Secondly, he is to be relevant when he shares this truth. And thirdly, he said that he is to be patient for the fruit of that truth.
Let's look at those three very quickly. To be urgent in sharing of the Word of God. What does urgent mean? It means to be ready. It means to be on call. It means that you're always alert, looking for opportunities and looking for ways by which you can share the truth. Never lose your sense of urgency.
Paul is communicating to us the fact that without Jesus, people are dying and we'll be spending eternity in torment. And if you have the slightest love for them, the least you could do is warn them. Warn them. When the opportunity comes, plead with them.
Be urgent in thinking about their eternity. This does not mean that we badger people with the gospel. Rather, that we're looking out for opportunities. Looking for doors that are open. Watching for an opening. We must be alert constantly.
Ready. The moment the door is open, we are ready to share the truth with them. You see, some people take verse 2 to mean that Paul is giving us a license to make tests of ourselves until people believe.
No, no, no, no, no. The reason he said to preach in season and out of season in terms of the person to whom you're witnessing but in terms of us who are witnessing. It's for us, not for them. It's the one who's doing the witnessing. And be ready to witness when the opportunity comes whether it is convenient for you or not. Literally, be on duty all the time whether it's convenient for you or not. You see, the great apostle is not giving us a license for rudeness but an appeal against Christian laziness. Well, the second characteristic about our appeal is to be relevant. Bringing the gospel to bear on the circumstances that people are going through. Where they find themselves.
This is how you go about it. Is a person in need of healing? Take the opportunity. Tell them, let me tell you about the great physician.
Let me tell you about my God, the God whose name is Jehovah Rafi, God my healer. Is that person in a predicament? Tell them about the only one who can deliver them. The reason there are three different words, convince, rebuke and exhort. There's a reason for that.
Is because each of these are to be used differently in different circumstances depending on where the need is. Let me explain this. For those who are tormented by doubt, we convince them by argument. For those who are falling into sin and they desperately need to be gently rebuked, exalted and then be led to the place of forgiveness and restoration.
For those who are haunted by fear, we need to encourage them to overcome by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. The word of God needs to be communicated what? Urgently. Secondly, it needed to be communicated relevantly. And thirdly, it needs to be communicated patiently. Invariably, always happen when I use the word patience so patiently, I come under complete conviction.
I want to quit right here. See, there are those who try to manipulate people's emotions to get the results they wanted. But the problem with all of these folks believe that they and their clever methods and their clever techniques and their clever marketing is what converts people.
Beloved, that is not true. So they think if I can water down the message, if I can soften the gospel, if I can make it acceptable, I'm going to get more people. Oh, Jesus said, only those whom the Father draws to me will come to me. We don't convert anybody.
We are incapable of converting anyone. Why do you think we ought to be on our knees all the time praying for the lost? Praying for people to be saved. You see, our faithfulness is not measured by results by the faithfulness in our proclamation. By faithful witnessing. By faithfully passing on the God news to the next generation, to our children and children's children.
And then patiently wait for the fruit. Because, beloved, listen to me, it is always, always, always, God's timing, not ours. Question, why did Paul charge Timothy to be urgent, to be relevant, and to be patient? Why is he asking him to do that? Well, he gives us three reasons.
Three reasons why he's got to be urgent, why he's got to be relevant, why he's got to be patient. The first reason, he said, because God will judge our faithfulness and lack thereof. He's talking to believers now, okay? I know there are Christians who don't like to hear this. They don't want to hear that they're going to give an account of every idle word that came out of our mouth.
I know that and sometimes I confess to you I don't like it either. You see, in addition to the judgment of hell, the judgment of the non-believers who will be eternally sent into that fire that would not be quenched and the world that will not die, in addition to that judgment, there is another judgment the Bible talks about. It is the judgment of the believers. Beloved, listen to me, you know in this church, we take the whole Word of God to be the absolute authority. And when the Word of God says we are saved by grace alone, it means what? By grace alone.
Say that with me, by grace alone. You cannot do anything to earn it. You cannot buy it.
With all the money in the world, you cannot do anything to achieve it. It is a gift. It is by grace. God gives it to you and you graciously and thankfully receive it from His hand. It is given by grace. Listen to what Paul said to the Ephesians in 2, 8, 9, and 10. For by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not of your own doing.
It's a gift from God. Verse 9. Not because of works, as if you said if you didn't get it in verse 8, I'm going to emphasize it. Verse 9. Not because of works, lest anyone boast.
No bragging. I'm a sinner. God gave me what I don't deserve. Verse 10. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus. You see, we were created when we were born, physically. We are recreated, that's the rebirth, the three generations. We are recreated in Christ Jesus unto good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in. What is this judgment of the believers? If you want to read more about this, go to Romans 14, 10, 2 Corinthians 5, 10 and read about this judgment of the believers.
Sometimes I like to refer to it as our award giving ceremony celebration. Each of us, how many? Each of us will be rewarded differently.
I want you to read my lips. God is not communist. God is not a communist. God is not going to reward every believer the same way.
Can I get an amen? God is fair and He's just. All the believers are saved by grace, gift of God. But not all the believers are going to be rewarded equally. Paul said we are not saved through good works but unto good works. Say that with me. Not through good works but unto good works.
Hear me right. If a person claims to be a Christian, you notice the word claim. If a person claims to be a Christian, does not give of themselves to the work of God, does not give of his or her resources, does not give of their time, does not give of their treasure, does not give of their talent, does not live a chaste life, does not walk with God, that person if he's saved at all, he or she is in a world of hurt. Paul told the Corinthians in chapter 3, 1 Corinthians chapter 3, every believer's work is going to be judged by fire.
Well let me give it to you in the use of translation. In that day of judgment for the believers, God is going to light a match. Fire. And those who sat on their blessed assurance and done very little if nothing, that fire is going to burn their works like you have lit a fire to a bale of hay. Nothing but dust, smoldering.
I want you to use your imagination. The lazy believer, the unfaithful believer, the unfruitful believer, the compromising believer, the unproductive Christian, their work will go up and up off of smoke. But for the faithful believers, the ones who gave of themselves, used their gifts, gave sacrificially, always serving and always giving, their work is going to be like gold. But there's a second reason, he said, there's a second reason why we should be urgent, relevant, patient. There's a second reason and he said that reason is because we see an increase of unfaithfulness. When you see an increase of unfaithfulness, look at verse three with me please.
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching but have itching ears, they will accumulate to themselves teachers who will suit their likeness. Beloved, many of these people are known to you, many of these people are known to me. We have known them in the past when they believed what we believed but not anymore. Their motto is this, I'm a Christian but I'm not a Jesus freak. I'm a Christian but I don't believe all of the Bible. I'm a Christian but I don't believe the Old Testament.
I'm a Christian but I believe the God of the Old Testament is not the same as the God of the New Testament. I'm a Christian but I am open minded about it. I'm a Christian but not exclusively so. I'm a Christian but I like sermons that don't convict me of sin.
I like sermons that makes me happy. Paul said such people are suffering from a pathological condition called itching ears. They have itching for novelties. They have itching for what's trendy. They have itching for what's new.
They have itching for the soft on the belly. They have itching to hear that which is not convicting them of their sin and lead them to repentance. And the only relief they can get from this pathological condition is for the preacher to tell them what they want to hear.
Here's a fact about that condition. Their ears are stopped against hearing the truth. How can their ears get unstopped?
Well, their itching ears can only be unstopped when someone scratches them. I'm under conviction. That's good. So what is Timothy to do? What are you to do?
What am I to do? Verse 5, stay the course and endure suffering if you have to. And at any cost don't ever, ever, ever, ever give up on the biblical truth. Beloved, I want you to hear me right on this one.
It's a fact. When a church grows in favor with the world, it loses power with God. That's what we are. Let me repeat this. When a church grows in favor with the world, it loses power with God. We need to communicate the word urgently, relevantly, patiently.
Why? Because God will judge our faithfulness. And secondly, because unfaithfulness is rampant.
It's rampant and we see it all around us. And thirdly, because Paul himself is about to die. Believe it or not, this is not a sad thing for Paul.
This is not a sad thing. Paul is about to die, but Timothy now must keep the gospel alive. Paul is in chains, but Timothy must preach the freeing power of Jesus Christ.
Look at verse 6. The time of my departure has come. The word departure here is a significant thing. I want to just take a moment and explain it to you.
It's a word in the Greek that's used when a ship pulls anchor and beginning to sail to another shore. And that's how he sees his departure. Beloved, listen to me. This is how we should see the departure of believers.
I often call it moving from the basement to the penthouse. Don't miss this. Don't miss this. The apostle Paul saw his spiritual life to be a spiritual battlefield. And as a soldier, as a good faithful soldier, he stayed in the battlefield. And that is why he said, I fought the good fight. Like faithful military men and women, he stayed in the heat of the battle. He did not defect to the enemy's side. He did not run away. He did not hide. He did not choose the shady and cool spots. He did not choose the easy jobs. He did not run away from the front line.
No. He stayed there and fought the good fight. But he also said his life was like a runner in a marathon, a runner in a marathon. And he kept on running. He kept on running. He would not stop. He would not quit the race halfway, even though he may have been tired, even though he may have felt pain, he endured. At times, he probably felt exhausted. But he kept on running and kept on running until he run the race, looking forward not to a green wreath as the Olympic runners would get, but to a crown of righteousness.
Listen to me. Jesus wore a crown of thorns so that every believer might wear his crown of righteousness, of his righteousness. And then Paul immediately goes on to say, I'm not the only one who's going to get that crown.
I'm not the only one. Everyone who loves Jesus is appearing. Everyone who loves the return of Christ. Everyone who's looking forward to the great day.
Everyone who's longing for Jesus to come back and take us home. They, too, are going to have the crown of righteousness. This is Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef. And in a moment, he'll return to share a note written by a Christian martyr. Please stay and listen. You will be blessed. First, though, allow me to mention Dr. Youssef's newest book, which is tied to the content in this particular audio series, Never Give Up.
In fact, today is the exciting release date. So if you've become discouraged or if you felt battle worn for the past few years or just weary from all the challenges of life, Dr. Youssef's words in Never Give Up will inspire you to press on. So get your copy of Never Give Up wherever books are sold. Or you can call Leading the Way. 866-626-4356.
That's 866-626-4356. And of course, you can order securely at ltw.org. Ltw.org. Now, as promised, here's Dr. Michael Youssef with a powerful conclusion to today's Leading the Way audio message. I'm going to conclude by reading notes that were left in a home of a martyr. He was martyred for Christ, and a few days later, people found this.
It's translated, so just bear with it. He said, I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I will not look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed. My present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. My face is set.
My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road is narrow, and my way is rough. My companions are few.
My guide is reliable. My mission is clear. I won't give up, shut up, or let up till I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up for the cause of Jesus Christ. I must go till he comes, give till I drop, preach till everyone knows, work till he stops me.
And when he comes for his own, he will have no trouble recognizing me because my banner would have been clear. Leading the Way is a listener supported broadcast relying on God's provision through your prayers and your generosity. Do plan to join Dr. Yusef next time when he passionately proclaims uncompromising truth on Leading the Way. This program is furnished by Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Yusef. Connect with us through our YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter, and all of our social media networks. Learn more at L-T-W dot org.
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