Whenever you go to Barnes and Noble or Borders or any other book store, you will find a section of books that gives secrets. There are books on the secrets of golf, losing weight, time management, investing money and grill cooking. In fact, probably whatever you think of, there is a book with the secret of doing it. Why are these books popular? We all want to know the secrets of success.
In 2 Timothy, we find the Apostle Paul writing a letter to encourage and to advise his young protégé Timothy on being a Minister of the Gospel. It is an important letter because Paul understands that, at this stage in his life, each letter may be his last. He understands the urgency to write what was on his heart. In chapter four of this book, Paul gives to Timothy the secret of winning the world to Christ. It is found in one statement, but in that statement we see his secret and his advice to Timothy. So what advice does he give to Timothy?
He wants to inspire Timothy him to do God’s work. He wants to inspire Timothy so that Timothy will not get discouraged in his ministry
Notice that he doesn’t say, “Play it safe.” He doesn’t say, “Take it easy.” He doesn’t say, “Seek out the latest trend in society and build on it.” His message is concise and clear. Paul says to Timothy, “Preach the Word.”
Think about that. These are some of the last words of the Apostle Paul. Some scholars believe that these words were written just a few weeks before he was martyred, and we find him giving encouraging words to help Timothy to win the world for Christ. He wants to inspire Timothy him to do God’s work. He wants to inspire Timothy so that Timothy will not get discouraged in his ministry. In that setting Paul cries out, “Preach the Word!”
Those words were chosen carefully by Paul. He knew the ramifications of doing what he is asking of Timothy. Remember that Paul was in prison for doing exactly what he is encouraging Timothy to do. Paul knew all the risks and the costs. In fact, when Paul gave this charge to Timothy he even tells Timothy that in the future, people will not want to hear the Word, but instead they will want to hear only what they want to hear. The Apostle Paul knew that preaching was difficult and that it would only get more difficult. Throughout his ministry he understood this fact and communicated it. He had written that the message would sometimes be offensive to the world. He said that the message of the cross would be a stumbling block to some (1 Cor. 1:23; Gal. 5:11) and to others it would be foolishness. (1 Cor. 1:23). But even though Paul knew the dangers of this charge he gave it anyway. Why? He knew the importance of it.