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2Tim. 4:1-8 THE MARKS OF A SUCCESSFUL PREACHER
Intro: When seeking advice it is always best to seek it from an expert.
No one is more qualified than Paul to give advice to preachers. In this challenge to
Timothy, we can find much spiritual meat for our own call to service.
Tonight, as we consider the duties of the man of God, let's determine
in our own hearts to fulfil God's demands and be the best preachers we can be for the
glory of God. Tonight, let's look together at The Marks Of A Successful Preacher.
Many equate success with large crowds, huge buildings, varied degrees
and recognition. Jesus, on the other hand, equates success with obedience and service,
Ill. John 13:17. Therefore, to be a successful preacher, does not demand that you have
more people than your neighbor. It does demand, however, that you be obedient to the Lord
and a servant to those around you. With these things in mind, let's look into the Word of
God and see those things that God says marks success in the ministry.
I. v.2-4 THE MARK OF HIS MESSAGE
A. v.2a His Preaching
1. The Content Of It (Ill. Preach the Word) The Word
will stand when the world is on fire! Ill. 1 Pet. 1:25; Isa. 55:14;
Psa. 119:89. Always stick with the Book! Don't major on minors and
never preach opinion as a Word from God! Ill. The Bible will never
fail you, so beware that you never fail the Bible!
2. The Character Of It (Ill. Be instant) To be at hand,
or ready! Ill. You should always have something cooking! Ill. 1 Pet.
3:15. Become a diligent student of the Word of God, 2 Tim. 2:15. You'll
be glad you did, and so will everyone who hears you. (Ill. Our duty
is to feed the sheep John 21:15-17. Shame on the preacher who
has an undernourished flock!) Always have a word from God, or just
keep your seat! (Ill. This word also means "Urgent." Our
message is vital and should be preached with vitality and urgency.
Always shoot for the heart of your hearers.)
B. v. 2b His Passion
1. He Exposes Sin (Reprove To convict; Rebuke
To charge sharply, to warn) Never be afraid to preach against
sin! God is looking for a man who has a backbone of steel, one who
will boldly stand up and thunder against sin and evil. But, always
remember, keep it biblical! Stay in the Book! Will people get angry?
Yes! But, the smile of God is far more valuable than the favor of
2. He Encourages Saints (Exhort To call to ones
side) When we preach, we are to thunder against sin, but we are also
to encourage and comfort the people of God. We do this not by our
intellect, or by our great swelling words of wisdom, rather, we do
it by simply taking the Word fo God and pointing His people to a Biblical
solution to their problems. Never forget, when you stand before a
congregation there are people listening who are broken and in need
of a word from the Lord. Be a teacher Ill. Doctrine
In true Bible preaching, there is always explanation and application
if Gods Word.
C. v. 2c-4 His Patience
1. v. 3-4 The Attitude Of The People There will always be
those who reject the message and the messenger. If you preach the
Word of God, do not be surprised if there are those who will walk
away from you or try to walk over you. Not everyone loves preaching!
(Ill. The majority of folks will love you and thank God for someone
who will stand on the Word! Thank God for those people!)
2. v. 2c The Attitude Of The Preacher Longsuffering
Patience! How do you preach to people who determine the size of your
paycheck? The size of your home? The model of you automobile, etc?
You do it with patience! How do you face people week after week who
are against your ministry? You do it with patience! If they hate you,
love them! If they attack you, love them. If they turn on you, love
them. Regardless of what the congregation does, you just love them
and be an example of steadfastness and consistency. Keep on preaching
the Word and stand by the stuff! Most importantly, preach the Truth,
but always do it in love. Never out of hate or anger, but out of love
for the sheep, Eph. 4:15. Ill. The people will take preaching if they
know they are loved. You earn the right to lead in preaching!
III. v.5 THE MARK OF HIS MISSION
(Ill. The God called preacher is a man on a mission!)
A. v.5a He Watches The wise preacher is an observer. He is sober
and patient. He learns from all that goes on around him. Most importantly, he watches
himself 1 Tim. 4:12, and he watches his sheep for dangers both without and within.
B. v. 5b He Works (Ill. Contrary to popular opinion, the preacher does
work more than one hour per week. Ill. Those who bother to attend regularly know he works
at least 3!)
1. He Endures Suffering The godly preacher pays a
price for the privilege of ministry. He prays, studies, preaches and
sacrifices. He weathers the storms and the attacks, all the while,
finding feed for the sheep. He faces the same difficulties and problems
that every other member of the congregation faces, and at the same
time, he helps many of them bear their burden also. It is not an easy
life, and if you are not truly called, then get out now. However,
it is a blessing to be hand picked by Almighty God for a special place
of service. For me, the rewards outweigh the sacrifice.
2. He Evangelizes Sinners The preacher is constantly about the
business of sharing his faith. He does this on a personal, as well a public level. He
strives to fulfil the great commission Mark 16:15.
C. v. 5c He Witnesses He declares the validity of his calling and
ministry by the faith he practices before God and the life he lives before men. The
preacher must never forget that others are looking at him. He must never fear, because if
the Lord has called him, He will certainly equip him also 1 Tim. 1:12.
III. v. 6-8 THE MARK OF HIS MINISTRY
A. v. 7a He Is A Fighter (Ill. The context of Pauls life)
Fought = to agonize. Pictures wrestlers in the Olympic games. The man of God is to be a
fighter. He is to stand up boldly for the truth and at the same time, he is to stand
boldly against evil. We must remember that our fight is never with deacons, congregations
or other preacher, but our fight is with the devil and his demons Eph. 6:12.
B. v.6, 7b He Is A Finisher Finished To bring to absolute
completion. Paul is telling us that he left nothing undone that he had been assigned to
do. This ought to be our goal! Do not be a quitter! Be a finisher! So that when we stand
before the Lord, He night be able to say, "Well Done!" And you might be able to
say, "I have finished my course!" (Ill. The course of life is uncertain. God,
however, isnt! Heb. 12:1-2; Heb. 13:8
C. v. 7c-8 He Is Faithful (Ill. All servants ought to be 1 Cor.
1. v. 7c He Is Vigilant He keeps the faith. (Ill. How we got the
Gospel we have 2 Tim. 2:2) Your duty before God is to handle the message with love
and pass it along exactly as you received it! (Ill. German army changed the sign posts in
WWII and nearly defeated the allies at the Battle of the Bulge!) Ill. We have no right to
change the signs. Be faithful to the Word of God!
2. v. 8 He Is Victorious One day, the last sermon will have been
preached and the last battle fought. In that day, if you have been Gods man, He will
reward you openly for all you have endured secretly! (Ill. Matt. 25:21) He will give you a
crown that you can, in turn, lay down at His feet!
Conc: Men, be men of God! The world, the church and even some in your
own family will not understand you. But, be a man of God! You will be different, because
you are. You will look at things differently and you will be often misunderstood, but be a
man of God. The world and the church needs you to be a man of God. Always stand for Him,
even if you are found to be standing alone and you will be a successful preacher.