Sermon Options: October 16, 2022

February 20th, 2022


2 TIMOTHY 3:14–4:5

A nervous bride was concerned that she might not emotionally survive the trip down the aisle. When she shared her concern with the minister, he offered his advice. "As you make your entrance, focus on just three things. First, look down the aisle. Then, look up to the altar. And then, look at him. He will be smiling encouragement to you."

As she marched down the aisle, the congregation could hear her speaking softly to herself, "I'll alter him. I'll alter him. I'll alter him."

When the apostle Paul sent his final charge to Timothy, he wanted his protégé to understand what he meant by, "Preach the Word." He meant, "Repeat God's Truth. Say what I've been saying. Speak after me."

I. Remember Your Godly Heritage (vv. 14-15)
Timothy would encounter godlessness in his lifetime. Persecutions would challenge his faithfulness. Paul's epistle charged Timothy, "Continue in your godly heritage."

There was the heritage of Paul's teaching. That would keep Timothy faithful. Timothy had first seen and heard Paul's teaching as a young man. He had seen God confirm Paul's life and message. Now the time was coming for Paul's advance to heaven and Timothy must continue the tradition of truth.

There was the heritage of Timothy's mother and grandmother (see 2 Tim. 1:5) . From Timothy's first days they had cared for not only his physical, but also his spiritual needs. They had passed on the faith. It was time for Timothy to continue the tradition by passing on the faith to others.

Finally, there was the heritage of the Scriptures. Its message had led Timothy to Christ and salvation. The teaching of the Scriptures was a heritage of grace that would make others wise to salvation. "Speak after me."

II. Rely on God's Word (vv. 16-17)
To "speak after Paul," Timothy must speak the Scriptures. Nothing added, nothing deleted. Just God's message.

The Scriptures had come from God. They were "God-breathed." The truth of sin, sacrifice, and salvation was not man's truth, but God's. Yes, God had used men to record his message to the world, but it had been God's own wisdom they had written.

God's Word was practically useful. It taught the doctrines essential for faith, it spoke rebuke to those who rebelled, it offered correction to those who strayed, and it trained God's people in right living.

The result of relying on God's Word was that his people would be and do all that God intended for them to be and do. No good work would be lacking in those who relied on his truth. "Speak after me."

III. Proclaim God's Truth (vv. 1-5)
Now it was up to Timothy to proclaim God's truth. Jesus Christ was coming back to judge the faithfulness of his people. With that in mind, Timothy should always "preach the Word." Just as a teacher of little children will demonstrate great patience and careful instruction, so Timothy was to correct, rebuke, and encourage from the Scriptures.

Unfortunately, the time was coming when enemies of the gospel would contradict God's Word. They would change the message to suit themselves, exempting themselves from accountability to God. Timothy must, therefore, stick to his charge. "Speak after me," Paul says, "for I have spoken after God."

There are life and death situations where "getting it right" and "saying it right" make all the difference. The right medicine, the right dosage, the right patient means life or death. God's message, the true message of salvation, must continue to be told. "Speak after me." (Timothy S. Warren)


LUKE 18:1-8

Jesus urged his followers to pray and gave them a stunning example of prayer from his own life. Ten times the Gospels record that Jesus prayed. Not only did he teach about prayer but he was also an example of it. Our text appears to be given fresh from the heart of a night of prayer.

I. The Parable
This is one of the few parables that lets us know its focus at the very beginning, "that men are always to pray, and not to faint." Jesus tells the story of a city judge who was hard-hearted. "He feared not God, neither regarded man." He also tells of a widow who was equally as hard-minded. She continues to bring her request to him, "avenge me of mine adversary," in such unrelenting ways that he granted her request just to get rid of her. Jesus gives us this parable as an encouragement to prayer.

The whole life of the Christian should be a life of devotion. To a Christian, to live is to pray. "Pray without ceasing" intends for us to have a life that is, in itself, a prayer. We will not pray much unless we set apart a certain time and season for prayer. While scripture does not instruct us on when to pray, it does give us every encouragement to pray. There is a tradition that James the apostle prayed so much that his knees grew hard from so many hours of kneeling. It is recorded that Hugh Latimer was so much upon his knees during his time of imprisonment that after his confinement, frequently the poor old man could not rise to his meals and had to be lifted up by his servants. Daniel prayed with his windows open at regular intervals—seven times a day. David declared that evening, morning, and at noon would he wait upon God. The Lord means that the believer should pray.

II. The People
First, we see the judge—stern, unbending, hard-hearted. The stern, hard judge is described in the parable, but we pray to a loving Father who cares for us. The judge is characterized as being devoid of good character: "He feared not God." We pray to the source of all righteousness who is concerned with us. This judge was so bad he confesses his own sin to himself. He feared for nothing but his own ease.

Second, we see the widow. She was a stranger to the judge and she was there without a friend to either plead her case or bribe the judge. There was nothing to encourage her. She came with her need. That was the only thing she brought. The judge and the widow each make us see our duty to pray.

III. The Power of Prayer
Jesus encourages us to pray and not to lose heart. The woman in the parable prevails, not because of her eloquence, or because of the merits of her case, but because of her insistence.

Prayer is the burning lava of the soul that has a furnace within, a very volcano of power. It is that burning lava of prayer that finds its way to God. No prayer ever reaches God's heart that does not come from our hearts. I know of no better thermometer to our spiritual temperature than this—the measure of the intensity of our prayers.

The intention of this parable is to put focus and fire in our prayers. The squeaky wheel gets results. He who prays without fervency does not pray at all. We cannot commune with God who is a consuming fire if there is no fire in our hearts. Jesus tells us to ask, to seek, and to knock. The intention of this parable is to remind us that when we knock at the door of heaven, we are to knock with bloody knuckles. (William L. Self)

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