Part 13 of 25

Preaching “the Word” for Today

If we are to understand and enjoy the “new way of living” under the grace gospel for today, which Paul preached, then we need to know what it is that Paul preached.

Today “the church, which is His body” (Eph 1:22b-23a) is in dire need of “the Word” being preached and taught. But what exactly is “the Word” (2Tim 4:2a) that Paul encourages his son in the faith, Timothy, to preach. God’s Word is not as many today suppose.

Christian TV preachers are in the habit of saying “Send your money to help keep the gospel on the air.” The problem is I very rarely hear anything of the true gospel for today on TV or on Christian radio. I do hear them most often refer to God’s promises, which were given to the Israel , being recited as though they are for “the body of Christ” – but this is not true. We today should not pilfer God’s promises made to another people, Israel . I also hear “the Law” that was given by Moses to Israel , along with many added manmade laws, preached as legalistic requirements to gain favor with God – this also is not true. I rarely hear the pure grace gospel that the ascended Christ gave to Paul to preach to the body of Christ, and which Paul charged Timothy to preach.

The preaching of God’s “Word” for today is rarely heard. “The Word,” according to John 1:1 is Christ Himself. Today, Paul and Timothy preached Christ as He now is – as He indwells the believers. They preached the things of the indwelling supply of Christ as being “all” to the members of “the body of Christ” today. This is what we are to preach as “the Word of God” for today, during “the dispensation of the grace of God.”

Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God” is not preached because few have the whole picture. Where “rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2Tim.2:15) is concerned, among the leaders of the church at large there are some today who are like a group of people, each one of whom holds a part or several parts of a jig-saw puzzle, but who fail to put them together and so never get to see the picture.

One may see clearly that the so-called “Great Commission” was a Kingdom commission for the fulfillment of the promise of the Messianic kingdom to Israel , that it is not for us today, not pertaining to “the body of Christ.” Another may see that the “one baptism” of Ephesians 4:5 MUST be the DIVINE baptism which makes believers “one in Christ.” Another sees that Paul's apostleship was wholly distinct from that of the Twelve. Another sees that Romans 6:3-4 does not contain one drop of water. Another sees that the Christian's position is spiritual and heavenly in character. Another sees that the “body of Christ,” the Church of today, was never prophesied (Rom 16:25b), even, that it did not begin at Pentecost with Peter and the eleven, but later, with Paul. Some see “grace” to a degree, but they still cling to the Law at the same time.

While each sees some component part of “the mystery” gospel, Satan has used “tradition” to blind him to the rest. The result is that confusion continues to prevail and they still have a puzzle instead of a picture. Thus, “the Word” Paul passed to Timothy and others is generally not preached with any clarity.

If only they would put the pieces together! What a clear picture they would see of “the Dispensation of the Grace of God”, and how eagerly they would join us in “THE PREACHING OF JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO THE REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY (Rom. 16:25)!

So what does it mean to “preach the Word” as Paul admonishes Timothy (2Tim 4:2a)?

It is to preach Christ; we must preach Christ “as He is” today. How is Christ and where is Christ today? Today Christ is resurrected as “the life-giving spirit” (1Cor 15:45b) and He now indwells each believer’s human spirit (1Cor 6:17). Paul preached the person of “Christ in you” ( Col 1:27).

Paul here writes of his “mystery” gospel;

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28whom we preach… (Colossians 1:27-28a).

Read v27b-28a closely and you will see that Paul would not be a preacher of Jesus of Nazareth as pertains to His earthly ministry, but rather of Christ as He is today, as “Christ in you (the believer).” Paul says this is the one “whom we preach.” This is Christ in His reincarnated form – in “the body of Christ” today.

This formerly secret gospel was first revealed to Paul by the ascended Christ for the members of “the body of Christ” (Eph 3:1-5). Christ indwells His living temple, which today is called the members of “the body of Christ.” Christ’s indwelling of each member is Paul’s “mystery” gospel. Paul distinguished his gospel from that of “the twelve” saying; “the gospel which I (Paul) preach” (Gal 2:2).Proclaiming this good news is what it is to preach Christ “according to the revelation of the mystery (secret gospel).”

Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Here below Paul clearly says his own God-given message that he calls “my gospel” is “the Word of God” in particular (2Tim 2:9), for “the body of Christ” today, during this time of the “dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2).

2 Timothy 1:10b-14 the gospel: 11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

2 Timothy 2:7-9 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. 8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: 9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

Note how often the Apostle insists that his message and gospel is “the Word of God.” The Apostle writes his thirteen epistles by inspiration of God. Paul says believers are establishedby what he calls my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery(Rom. 16:25).

Paul writes this to the Thessalonian believers.

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of (from) us (Paul and his co-workers), ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God...” (I Thes. 2:13).

The Apostle Paul writes this to Timothy in this his last letter.

“Hold fast the form of sound words which thou hast heard of (from) me...” (2Tim 1:13).

“And the things that thou hast heard of (from) me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men...” (2:2).

“Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel” (2:8).

1 Corinthians 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I (Paul) write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

Romans 2:16 … God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

In charging Timothy to “preach the Word” (2Tim 4:2a), the Apostle Paul does not mean, as some have supposed, that the pastor should draw his sermon material equally from all parts of the Bible. Yes, “all Scripture” is given so that the “man of God” may be fully equipped for his ministry (2Tim 3:17). But in this same letter the Apostle Paul indicates that the Scriptures must be “rightly divided” (2Tim. 2:15). This right division of the Scripture is needed in order to see the portion of the Scripture is directly applicable to “the body of Christ” for today.

“Rightly dividing” the Scriptures then also automatically reveals or points out the portions of Scripture that were specifically written to and about Israel - which thereby are NOT applicable to “the body of Christ.” Yet Paul says “all Scripture is… for our learning” (Rom 15:4).

Paul’s charge to Timothy to “preach the Word” therefore refers to preaching according to a secondary and a primary focus.

1.      Secondarily, to “preach the Word” is to preach “all Scripture” in general,

2.      Yet, more directly and in particular, to “preach the Word” today in this age is to preach Paul’s God-given grace gospel of the indwelling Christ.

This direct and particular emphasis is clearly seen to be true when we consider the several foregoing verses. This is the context in which Paul urges Timothy to faithfully carry on, charging him to “preach the Word…” which is Paul’s God-inspired words.

When we become convicted of our neglect of God's “Word” to us as found in the Epistles of Paul; when men of God “study” to “rightly divide” the Word and begin teaching it from the pulpit, a great spiritual revival would inevitably follow. But sadly, most of God’s people have not themselves heard “the Word” and gospel for today, they are too complacent, too dumbed down Biblically, too satisfied with a shallow profession of faith, to enter into this blessed experience and joy of reading and understanding “the Word” that Paul commended Timothy to preach. Nevertheless, as we study the written Word of God for ourselves, and especially that part of His Word which applies particularly to us, we will experience the joy of understanding God's love letter to us.