A Word for All Seasons (2 Timothy 3-4)

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Service Notes

  • Order of Service: Divine Service 4
  • Hymns: LSB #940, 586, 629, 634, 620, 655

Theme Verse

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

Sermon Text

"Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season."[1] Be ready at all times to proclaim God's Law and Gospel. It may not be popular. It may be very popular. In both these extremes, and everywhere in between, God's Word needs to be proclaimed purely. There is no offseason for God or His Scriptures.

St. Paul equates the Christian faith with the sports scene.[2] The Christian faith is a sport without an offseason. Every day is a day to bring God's Word to the world around you. The sport most like it is pro wrestling. There's hardly any day during the year where there isn't a wrestling match. There's no beginning or ending to the wrestling calendar. There are no seasons like in baseball or football. It continues to flow throughout the year.

The Christian life is very similar to a wrestling match called an Iron Man match. The match goes for an hour with however many decisions occur within that sixty minutes. Both combatants continue to fight until the time limit expires. The battle goes both ways. Some wins, some losses.

The Christian is a wrestler. You wrestle with the Scriptures. Through this wrestling, you wrestle with God. Having wrestled with God, you can successfully wrestle against the world. That is what Israel means in the first place, wrestler.[3] He wrestled with the pre-incarnate Christ on the banks of the Jabbok.[4] You wrestle with the Scriptures. Obscure passages written in picture language. Plain passages that can't possibly mean what they say. Laws and punishments that are eternal and unchangeable. Wrestling with the Scriptures is a lifelong, Iron Man match. You win a few battles. You lose some. No matter the season, the wrestling match continues.

When the time limit of your life expires, the Scriptures will win the match. You will ultimately lose the match. But you need not worry. “You search [wrestle] the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about [Jesus].”[5] Jesus wins the match because He is the Word incarnate.[6] "The LORD is your keeper ... The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore."[7] God wins the battle through His Scriptures.

Our life's prayer is, "Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word."[8] Only by wrestling with the Scriptures can you understand Jesus. Only by wrestling with the Scriptures can you see God as your Father. Only by wrestling with the Scriptures can you see that "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work."[9]

Wrestling with the Scriptures makes you fully capable of living life in this world. Wrestling with the Scriptures makes you fully capable of facing death without fear. Knowing that God neither slumbers nor sleeps,[10] you are confident that He is always with you. He will guard and guide you through this life so that you may glorify Him in everything you do. The Scriptures lay a firm foundation for all of life. There is no better foundation that you can build upon than this book right here. Here, you have the answers to life's problems. you have to wrestle with them to find them most times, but the chief answer to every one of life's problems is Jesus. His life, death and resurrection for the forgiveness of your sins. His promise of life everlasting in Heaven. His Spirit to guide you through the "valley of the shadow of death,"[11] bringing enlightenment to people walking in darkness.[12]

The light only comes through wrestling:

For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from you?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.[13]

May you continue to wrestle with your Lord's Word and find yourself vastly enriched in this world and the next. It truly is a Word for all seasons. Amen.

References

  1. 2 Timothy 4:2
  2. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
  3. Genesis 32:28
  4. Genesis 32:24
  5. John 5:39
  6. John 1:14
  7. Psalm 121:5, 8
  8. LSB #655.1
  9. 1 Timothy 3:16-17
  10. Psalm 121:4
  11. Psalm 23:4
  12. Isaiah 9:1
  13. Romans 10:13-17