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Thistletown Baptist Church
July 19, 2009
You Shall Be My Witnesses VIII – Know the Gospel
a. One of the most tragic accounts in all the Bible to me is the whole Book of Malachi. The tragedy of Malachi is seen in 1:2, 6f,; 2:13, 17; 3:7, 13f. The tragedy? Ignorance. They (the priests and those they teach) do not know why God is upset with them. And they should have known. Because what they are doing is violating the Word that God gave them through Moses and others and God expected them to know it – and they do not.
b. Then there are the people that God spoke to through the prophet Hosea – Hosea 4:1, 6. God is angry at them because they are ignorant – and they should not be ignorant of Him or His Word or His will.
c. See Jeremiah 4:22
d. But this is not just an Old Testament problem – Eph. 4:18; 5:17; Hebrews 5:11f
We finish off our studies of the marks of an effective witness of the Gospel today. Not because there is no more to say, but because it is time to move on. I hope this has helped you and I pray that the marks that we have considered together will mark all of us more and more.
e. Here is what we considered together:
i. Salvation – Acts 1:8 ✔
ii. A Heart for the Glory of God – I Thess. 2:1-11 ✔
iii. Selflessness/Unselfishness – I Corinthians 9:22, 10:33 ✔
iv. A Burdened Heart – Romans 9:1, 10:1 ✔
v. A Resolute Spirit/Determination/Resolution – I Corinthians 2:2 ✔
vi. The Spirit and Power – I Corinthians 2:2-5 ✔
vii. Godliness – I Peter 2:11-12 ✔
viii. Know the Gospel – Acts 20:21; 26:19-20 ✔
f. Today we turn to II Timothy
i. II Timothy is written to instruct Timothy how he is to lead the church in Ephesus and what he should teach others who are going to lead churches..
ii. There is a strong emphasis throughout the letter on the Word of God and the Gospel. 1:8, 8, 10; 2:8, 10, 11-13, 14, 15, 19, 23;3:7, 14, 15, 16; 4:2, 3, 4, 17. This is important for what we are considering today. Paul is about to die. He is writing Timothy with his last words of instruction to the young pastor Timothy. And what he has to say all relates to the Gospel and the Word of God.
(1) Would your last words to some young believer be so filled? What would you say to those who were gathered around your bed as you were breathing your last breaths in this life and had one chance to say something before your tongue was forever silenced?
(2) Three years ago this December I sat on the edge of the hospital bed in the emergency room of Scarborough General Hospital of a friend of mine whom I had gone to seminar with. He was the closest friend I had at seminary. I sat with him there as he waited for the test reports to come back. When the doctor came to talk to Lionel there was a sombre look on his face. Before he spoke Lionel said “It’s cancer isn’t it?” And the doctor said yes, it was. And then the doctor told him that it was pretty advanced and that there was not a great deal they would be able to do in terms of treatment. He did say that the situation was not hopeless … but Lionel knew that he was just told what was going to take his life. When he was done with his little pep talk, Lionel reached out and took the doctor’s hand and said “You are a Jew and so am I and I want you to know that Jesus is the Messiah. He saved me from my sin and He can save you as well.” He died a little over a month later. What would your first thoughts be and what would your first words be if you were just told that you had a disease that was going to kill you? What you say would be an indication of where your heart truly is, what you truly value, what you truly love.
iii. So Paul is writing Timothy and what he writes is that he wants him to remain faithful to the Gospel.
(1) Stand for it 1:8
(2) Teach it – 2:2
(3) Persevere in it – 3:14
(4) Preach it – 4:2
And what this has to do with us is this – we want to give the Gospel to others. We want TBC ot be effective for giving the Gospel in the place where God has put us. We want to dleiver it faithfully, powerfully, accurately … . And if we are going to do all that we need to know our stuff. An effective witness of the Gospel knows the Gospel.
And the verse out of II Timothy we are going to focus on this morning is 2:15 … .
g. 2:14 – Remind them of these things
i. What things?
(1) The Gospel – 2:1f, 8, 10, 11
(2) Does this mean that the pastor is the only one who is to be giving the Gospel? Of course not, but it does mean that his ministry is a Gospel centered ministry and he is exemplifying what the Christian life is – a Gospel centered life. And it will be if you handle the Word of God correctly. You cannot handle the Bible right and not be Gospel saturated. The point of the Bible is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The point of the whole Bible is the child who will crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15)
2. Do your best – to make haste, to exert one’s self, endeavor, give diligence
a. Be anxious to show yourself as one who is in the will of God
i. – what is that?
(1) An unashamed worker
ii. – what is that?
(1) A Christian who works and has the smile of God upon Him in his work for the Lord.
iii. – what is that?
(1) A believer who handles the Word of God correctly.
(a) We want it to be someone who has won hundreds of people to Christ. We want it to be writing great books, having a large ministry, church growth that has everybody talking … . Want the smile of God upon you dear ones? Don’t mistreat the Word of God. …
(2) What a tragedy it will be on the day of judgement when so many who thought they were serving Christ, doing for Christ, obeying Christ … . will find out that they were not approved by God in what they were doing – not because they did not do good things, not because their hearts were evil, not even because they were not saved ( well, some of them in any case), but because in all their service and work and teaching and giving of the Gospel – they did not handle the Word of God correctly – they didn’t know the themes of the Bible. They treated the Bible like a good luck charm … . They preached health and wealth. Some of them preached baptismal regeneration … . Some of them preached that grace + … . Some of them preached that we are saved because we believe sound doctrine – and that is not sound doctrine to teach that.
(3) We speak much in this church about the fact that God does not call us to be famous or rich or influential or “wise” as the world counts wisdom. God has called the things that Are Not… . We would be very foolish to get proud about that. And we would be positively sinful to think that it means that we do not need to know the Bible. God is not calling us to be foolish in HIS sight. He is telling us that we are foolish in the sight of the ungodly. And what he tells Timothy here in this verse is that he is to handle the Word of God correctly/ wisely/ … .
(4) We have believers who think that the Holy Spirit’s work is to so lead them that they do not need to do the hard work of seeing how the Scriptures are to be handled properly. They don’t need to study – the Holy Spirit just leads them. “God told me …” (CHS – “The Holy Spirit told me that I was to preach in your church this Sunday … Well isn’t it funny that He didn’t tell me that…”)
(5) Dear ones get this – anything, anything, anything that keeps you out of reading, studying, applying … the Word of God is not a work of God:
(a) Schedules, a misunderstanding of the work of the Holy Spirit, an inability to read. Truth be told, none of these things are acceptable reasons to God. You cannot blame the schedule, the kids, the job … .
(6) Dear ones listen – if you are a believer you have no choice but to serve Jesus Christ. God does not give you an option about whether we are going to be witnesses of the Gospel (See Acts 1:8 – You shall be my witnesses …) We can go to James 3:1 and say “I will not become a teacher – and that is true in the sense that James is talking about. But we also need to know and remember that all Christians are teachers in the faith. There is no choice here. We are either Christians who study the Word of God or we are not Christians.
(a) We want to be used by God to bring people to faith. This means knowing the faith. It means knowing the Gospel as the Bible teaches it. It means being able to see Christ as the theme of all the Bible. It means that we memorize Scripture, measure things by Scripture govern our lives by Scripture … .
(7) Well, that sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? Yes dear ones it does. That is why Paul tells Timothy to “Do your best” – exert;
(a) (New American Standard Bible) 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
(b) 2 Timothy 2:15 (New King James Version) 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
(c) We should hear Galatians 6:9 and 10 again … .
(8) Dear ones, consider this – if we do not present a Biblical Gospel to people then they will believe a non-biblical Gospel. The souls of lost people hang on them receiving the Gospel as it is presented in the Bible. There is only one Gospel and we better know it. People are dying for the lack of it.
(a) We will not just tell people that to be saved they must just believe – demons believe and tremble. We will tell them that they must only believe and that real belief is belief that the Holy Spirit inhabits and brings people to change. They will turn from sin. They will live for Christ. They will see their sin as that which God should condemn and they will see that only Jesus can alleviate the problem. … We will give the biblical Gospel. We will not aim for decisions, or walks down an aisle or … We will aim for people to know the Gospel and live it. We will tell them that the mark of saving faith is baptism and a changed life.
We will handle the Word of God properly, correctly and we will give it to a world that is desperate to receive real truth and therefore we will not be ashamed – not now as we continue to live out the Word of God before people. And not when we stand before Him who has given us this charge.