2 Timothy 4:1-2
I charge you therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;…
I. WHERE FAITHFUL MINISTERS STAND — "Before God and the Lord Jesus Christ."
1. Before God.
(1) As a sinner saved by grace. Once far off, but brought nigh by the blood of Christ.
(2) As a servant. In prayer, how sweet to kneel at His footstool, no veil, no cloud between the soul and God. In preaching, how sweet to say, like Elijah, when he stood before Ahab, "I stand before the Lord God of Israel."
2. Before Jesus Christ.
(1) The faithful minister has a present sight of Christ as his righteousness. He, like Isaiah, saw "His glory and spake of Him."(2) The faithful minister should feel the presence of a living Saviour (Jeremiah 1:8; Acts 18:10).
(3) Within sight of judgment.
II. THE GRAND BUSINESS OF THE FAITHFUL MINISTER.
1. Preach the Word.
(1) Not other matters.
(2) The most essential parts especially.
(3) More in the manner of God's Word.
2. Reprove, rebuke, exhort. Most ministers are accustomed to set Christ before the people. They lay down the gospel clearly and beautifully, but they do not urge men to enter in. Now God says, exhort; not only point to the open door, but compel them to come in.
III. THE MANNER.
1. With long-suffering. There is no grace more needed in the Christian ministry than this. This is the heart of God the Father towards sinners — "He is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish."
2. With doctrine — the clear and simple statement of the truth preceding the warm and pathetic exhortation.
3. With urgency. If a neighbour's house were on fire, would we not cry aloud and use every exertion? If a friend were drowning, would we be ashamed to strain every nerve to save him?
4. At all times. Satan is busy at all times — he does not stand upon ceremony — he does not keep himself to Sabbath-days or canonical hours. Death is busy. Men are dying while we are sleeping. The Spirit of God is busy. Blessed be God, He hath cast our lot in times when there is the moving of the Great Spirit among the dry bones. Shall ministers then be idle, or stand upon ceremony?
(R. M. McCheyne.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;