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Alister Begg

All of you out their are thinking: Oh, I wish I were him … so that I could follow MacArthur and proceed Sproul.

2 Timothy 4:1 et seq.

Title is borrowed from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Christ and his co-workers.” The lion out of his cage. Let the lion and see who will dare approach him.

“Let the Lion Out”

The absolute priority of preaching. For what Timothy believes about the Scriptures will become apparent in his preaching.

Paul is not telling Timothy something new about the Scripture. Rather, Paul was reminding Timothy of a truth that he dare not forget.

The Scriptures are inspired, reliable, sufficient.

Paul writes that he was deserted and they will/may desert you. There was nothing from a human perspective that would give one to know that the church would survive to the second generation.

Timothy was working a context of confusion: moral and doctrinal, what to do and what to believe.

His charge
His challenge
Display of character

I. His Charge 4:1-2

A solemn charge:

The best of men have to be awed into the discharge of their ministry. Matthew Henry.

Timothy live your live your life and exercise your work in light of Christ’s appearing and the consummation of Christ’s kingdom.

Heb. 13: those who must give an account — to Christ.

Knox was said to have feared the face of God so much that he never feared anyone else.

Live now in light of then.

Owen, Heaven was in him before he was in heaven.

It is a solemn charge (preaching), more so than marriage. [Quotes Anglican prayer-book on the marriage charge.]

It is not merely a solemn charge, it is a simple charge: straightforward.

B. A Simple Charge

The power is not the histrionics of the preacher but the sense of God’s presence, transcendence, majesty.

Preaching: one person speaking with authority is cross-cultural.

I have been asked how I come up with something to say after so many years.

Some falsely think that the work of preaching is done by an increased knowledge of the passage with a few applications to speak about on Sunday afternoon. Rather, it was a confrontation with God which changes one’s life.

Preaching is in the shadows, the church does not believe in it.

Is it fair to say that we need a repeat of Paul’s charge.

Preaching is the driving force which shapes authentic church life.

There is no excuse for fearfulness or laziness (4:1-2). By its very nature, Scripture will do its work.

God will accomplish his purposes. Do the work with complete patience.

What an unfortunate adjective, complete. Couldn’t have just said “With a wee bit of patience”?

How often has my impatience marred the benefit of the instruction conveyed.
Ian Murray, MLJ, vol. 2, 458: a young minister is prone to try to attain by one jump what others have attained what others have done by one-step in a quarter of a century.

II. The Challenge (vv.3-4)

God distinguished Israel by the fact that Israel heard God. Yet Israel was immediately attracted by all kinds of visual means. They created their own little gods.

If a man will not have God, he must have his idols. Luther.

“Sound words” orthodox.

(Why do you fall asleep. I just stay awake till I know you’re sound)

Instead of availing themselves orthodox teachers will find something they find more entertaining.

This was not new of Timothy’s day. E.g., Isaiah 30, Speak to us smooth things.

We stop submitting the Word of God in our own life and our proclamation.

There are many “I’m a very spiritual person” without the truth of Scripture. They are always learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth.

Anecdote about a church denominational meeting about a change in ethics, question in an elevator, “We don’t believe the Bible.”

III Display his character (v. 5)

Another imperative. Timothy would be tempted to give up his work.

Be sober minded:

Some had drifted away. Therefore, he must be vigilant. He must be unduly influenced by those who hear him.

Suffer for the Gospel:

In Paul’s case suffering was physical. For Timothy it was otherwise.

There is a cost to be paid by declaring in public & private the Bible’s message concerning humanity: sinful, guilty, responsible & lost.

To often the time before the sermon is far to trivial to support such a solemn moment.

Do the work of an evangelist:

Phillips, go on steadily preaching the Gospel.

Be known as a gospel man. Every sermon will be at least by implication evangelistic.

You are not here simply to impart information and give you a few practical hints.

Deviating: chase down heretics or curse the darkness or embrace politics. Those who do this lose the Gospel.

The passion for missions is quenched when lose sight of the grandeur of the gospel. John Murray.

Fulfill your ministry:

Do what you promised to do.


Quotes an old hymn:

Facing a task unfinished
That drives us to our knees
A need that, undiminished
Rebukes our slothful ease
We, who rejoice to know Thee
Renew before Thy throne
The solemn pledge we owe Thee
To go and make Thee known