Preaching & Fighting Go Hand-in-Hand

Greetings this last week of hot-and-dry July :)

Praying for rain to replenish the earth and praying for His word to replenish your spirits. This blog is aimed at just that.

Yesterday and today could have been viewed as not the best of days due to not feeling quite well, but I chose to look at it as a chance to simply be still and reflect on God's word and an awesome passage I had the privilege of leading my team at work in (yes, we get to dive into and study the word of God at my place of work, one of the many reasons why I am blessed to work where I do (though it is quite a demanding job and not for the faint of heart)). I am blessed to have gone through both 1st and 2nd Timothy over the last couple of months with some awesome people and I felt led to share chapter 4 of 2nd Timothy with you all. 

Matthew 11:28 

But first, here's what the Apostle Paul tells young Timothy in the closing of his second letter to him:

"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry  
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 9 Be diligent to come to me quickly; 10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. 12 And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. 15You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.
16 At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Himbe glory forever and ever. Amen! 19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick.
21 Do your utmost to come before winter.
Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren.22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen."
-2nd Timothy 4 (NKJV)

This has met me where I am at oh-so-much. In fact, all of 1st and 2nd Timothy has met me where I am currently at with my walk with the Lord. I absolutely love how the word of God does that! But, there are just a few things I want to highlight and hope you would stick with me for: 

  • Verses 1-5 - This part of the passage refreshed me when it comes to preaching the word. Paul here is reiterating the importance of preaching the word. Note, Paul says preach the word, not just preach. There are many times in my life, personally where I have encountered a great speaker or even attended a few churches where the pastor was a great speaker. But that's just it, they were just good speakers and not preachers of the word. It's easy to go off of a story or other avenues of preaching but preach the word.  God's word is key and I am so thankful to be led and surrounded by shepherds whom I hear and see preaching God's precious, living, and breathing word. And as a disciple, it can be easy to lead the ladies I walk with in stories, topics that have affected me/that they need to hear, or just book studies (which don't get me wrong are great additions to the word of God) but the word of God needs to be the center and focus of any teaching. But we cannot forget what comes along with preaching the word--being ready in season and out of season, rebuking, exhorting, and convincing with all longsuffering and teaching. Why? Because there will be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine but go after their own desires. It is vital to convince, rebuke, and exhort. When doing a word study on each, you would find that each are a command. I can continue on and on so much more on these 5 verses (another beautiful thing about the word of God) but I wanted to just provide an overview on what I walked away with. Thank You, Lord for reiterating this to me and renewing me in this. 
  • Verses 6-10 - Paul has fought the good fight. He is nearing the end of his journey and making note of it, but it is so encouraging to see that at the end, he knows he has fought and poured-out all of himself. Just the same, I too want to know near my end that I have day-in-and-day-out fought the good fight. I want to be before my Lord and have already poured myself out completely for Him with my time here on earth. If you think about it in the literal sense, Paul being poured-out means that he gave everything to the point of being empty, showing Christ that he truly gave his all. 
  • Verses 10-14 - Volumes were spoken to me here. Paul is a great example on how to handle those who turn away from you and those who stick by your side. He discipled many and poured into many, showing a great example of what it looks like to teach and send his disciples out to do the same. Sadly though, there are still those that turned away. For instance, Demas "having loved this present world" chose the world instead of Christ. This comforted me in that if even Paul, being one of the greatest people you could ever have disciple you had disciples turn away from him, how much more will I? And of course, even Jesus Himself had Judas who turned away. And what is Paul's attitude toward Alexander who did him much harm? He said, "May the Lord repay him according to his works"; he lets the Lord deal with him and not himself. I have recently been struggling with a similar situation and as much as I want to try to fix or resolve things in my own strength, I cannot. Those who want to walk away or try to bring much harm, strife, quarrels to myself and my family, I leave them to the Lord. All I can do is fight the good fight, pour myself as an offering, be Christ to all, and disciple those who want to live their lives in the same way. 
  • Verses 16-18 - Oh sweet words! Paul is recalling Acts 28 where the Jews turned away from him. I encourage you to read the whole passage, but even though they turned away from him, he was strengthened by the Lord who stood with him. Christ prepared us to be hated, disliked, persecuted, and abandoned because He too was treated as such. But praise be to God, He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He strengthens us to keep preaching, to keep going, because there will be those who will hear and who will follow. Though we encounter evil works against us, please remember that the Lord will deliver us from every one of them, just as Paul says. He strengthens and He delivers!

The rest is the closing of his letter to Timothy, which ends with "The Lord Christ be with your spirit". That is what it is all about--Christ. I am so thankful for these 2 letters to Timothy. I am so thankful for the word of God and its power to refresh, renew, transform, rebuke, convince, and teach. It has equipped me and empowered me to seek Christ in all things and to be Christ in all things. Though the wear-and-tear of this world tries to get at me or I think on those who have once walked with me or have hurt me, I know that I am fighting the good fight of faith and living for Him.

I encourage you today, to keep your eyes on Jesus and preach the word of God! He will strengthen and deliver. He will keep you. He will bless you. Simply, let Him. 

We will continue to walk with you, Abba.
Hand-in-hand, preaching Your word, & fighting the good fight of faith--all for Your glory.

Preach the Word Today & Continue to Fight the Good Fight,