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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 men.

2. He Encourages Saints – (Exhort – To call to one’s 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 God’s 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 Paul’s 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, isn’t! Heb. 12:1-2; Heb. 13:8

C. v. 7c-8 He Is Faithful (Ill. All servants ought to be – 1 Cor. 4:2)

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 God’s 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.




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