2 Timothy 4:5
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry
What good is our ministry if there is no evidence, no proof, that other people see in us? Everything we do and say should reflect the ministry that God has placed within us. And all of us have a ministry! Don’t for one minute think that you are exempt. If God has saved you. He has called you. And if he calls you, He places within you talents to reach other people. Paul puts in this way in Romans 8:30:
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Whom he calls he justifies and glorifies. What that means to me is that God will place within us a form of glory that can’t help but touch other people. The glory of the Lord can be seen by the unbeliever as much as the believer. When we walk in this glory, it reaches beyond our human flesh to minister to others. There is a caution I want to give, though. We must be very careful not to raise up in pride because we carry this little bit of glory within us. It would be easy to give in to that pride, but we must not. That will destroy the ministry He has given us.
Let’s take a closer look at the four things Paul tells Timothy to do in this powerful verse.
- Watch in all things. This word watch is an interesting one. The Greek word is nepho, which in most cases is translated “Be sober,” meaning not intoxicated. But the deeper meaning is to have presence of mind, to always keep your mind clear of things that would distract one form the ministry. The enemy of our souls can use anything to distract us and keep us from being the light we are supposed to be. In my opinion, 2020 was a year he used science and politics to distract many Christians from the ministry of saving souls. The Coronavirus brought fear to the hearts of billions of people and caused many a preacher to change their message from salvation to end times theology. There were more people preaching about the last days than I have ever seen in my 69 years on this earth. We do not, nor never will, know the time or day when Jesus will return. We can look at the signs, and warn people He is coming, but that is not the important thing. The important thing is that people get saved. That they trust their lives to Jesus. But instead of preaching the love of God, many preached the wrath of God. It is by His love that people get saved. The political arena was also quite disturbing. So many jumped on the bandwagon of a rigged election and fake news that it was confusing. But God is not the author of confusion. Our job, our mission, in times of uncertainty is simple. Be a tree beside still waters that will not be moved. Stay in the word and out of the jungle of political rhetoric. God needs us to stay sober minded, cautious of the ways of the world, but temperate in what we say and do. The church in many ways lost it’s bearing in 2020, and we need to get back to the place where we are watchful and wise. Adding emphasis, Paul says in ALL things. I could preach for a long time on all, but let’s just say there should be nothing we are confused or conflicted about.
- Endure afflictions – This is actually one word in the Greek and it means exactly what it says. It is translated this way and also endure sufferings. The Greek seems to point not only to those things that come against us to set back our ministry, but also things of malicious intent that may never harm us personally, but will have a negative affect on our ministry. Things like gossip and backbiting people would fall into this category. We must not let our anger rise up, or try to get revenge or engage in any activity to get back at those who would commit such acts. The Gospel is all about Christ’s love. We must always show that love, even if a storm is raging against us. This dedication to endure to the end will show others we live in real faith and that will bring people to Christ. The fruit of longsuffering as aptly worded in the KJV. Suffering long with wrong is a hallmark of the best of saints. On to of that, nothing, and I mean nothing, should offend us. It is only pride that can get offended. Only pride can get steamed up over something someone says or does against us. When I was at Pure Life Ministries back in 2008, there was a saying on the wall that I wall always remember. It said “If I get offended, what miserable piece of flesh is still in me that I can get offended.” We must guard against allowing people to get under our skin and make our love not as effective. Endure. or work through, and type of affliction without getting offended. Your testimony will be greatly enhanced when you do this effectively.
- Do the work of an evangelist. – This word means exactly what we think it means. Timothy had a calling to be a bearer of Good News to all he met. That is what an evangelist does. We are all called to bring the Good News to those we come in contact with and we can do that in many ways. The first way is to actually preach the Gospel, to vocally proclaim the Good News that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again to give us eternal life. But there are more ways to actually preach the good news, and the most important one is by our conduct and character. In the Bible it is often called our conversation.
- Philippians 1:27 says “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”
- Hebrews 13:15 “ Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
- James 3:13 “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.”
- And 1 Peter 1:15 “ But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;”
- All of these verses point to a lifestyle that is above contempt and that visibly shows to other people the work that Christ has done in us. We can have all the flowery words we want, but if we do not have the conversation to go along with it, they are vain words and will lead people astray. Make sure your lifestyle is where your mouth is!
Make full proof of your ministry – carry out completely what God ahs called you to do! What a strong challenge Paul gives to Timothy and to all of us. Do you know what God ahs called you to do? Does God every stop calling us deeper, or to do more? Our ministry is always evolving, always changing. He has great things for every one of us to do, and if we listen closely, He will tell us what the next step is. We have to be careful not to get off track, but to follow the path he has laid out for us. This world is dying to hear the Good News. How is God calling you to share it? What is your ministry? Whatever it is, whether washing the walls, preaching the gospel, teaching Sunday School, being a greeter or maybe a prayer warrior, do it with all your might and God just might call you deeper. Be ready!