Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – December 4, 2016
Theme: A Call to Christian Commitment – 1 & 2 Timothy
Topic: Preach the Word with Boldness
Main Texts: 2 Timothy 3:1 – 4:5
Key Verse: 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (NIV)
Last (Thanksgiving) Sunday, we meditated on Psalm 103: “Bless The Lord O My Soul”, recounting some of the many things the Lord has done for us and for which we are especially thankful. We noted that the scope of our appreciation of God should go beyond what we have personally benefited from Him. We ought to appreciate Him:
- For us – things He does for our personal benefit or for those for whom we have immediate responsibility.
- For or through other people – His interventions to secure justice for the oppressed, His grace in not destroying the wicked but giving them a chance to repent, His all-encompassing forgiveness of sins which even the sinners struggle to forgive themselves, etc.
- In our environment and in His creation that make everything work together. (Even the unpleasant things in our world are within His overall dominion, and we should see them as pieces in His overall masterplan)
This Sunday, we return to our theme “A Call to Christian Commitment” as we meditate on the topic “Preach the Word with Boldness”. This topic is inspired by the increasing pressure to intimidate the pure gospel so as to make it more acceptable to the erring world. Our key learning should include the following:
- It will become increasingly awkward to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in secular environments, and the need for boldness to preach it will be more than ever before.
- The Christian must resist the temptation to water down the gospel into statements and promises that make people comfortable or socially respectable without making a commitment to give their lives to Christ and live for Him
- We should examine our motives for doing the right things: If we do right primarily because it is more socially respectable to do so rather than because we want to please God, we live dangerously: It amounts to being conformed to the world, and indicates that if the world’s ever-changing standards change, we would not necessarily live right.
An interesting remark we see often in the Gospels about the manner of Jesus’ preaching is the authority with which He spoke: “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” (Mark 1:22). How did the teachers of the law preach? They were very academic and took no ownership of the message they preached. The confidence with which Jesus spoke continued in the ministry of the early apostles as we see in Acts 4:13,29,31. However, we live in an age when we are told not to be dogmatic about anything. When it comes to matters of faith, we are told to only “exchange ideas and views” but not be too categorical about one faith being the only way. Sadly, gradually, many Christians allow this pressure for the so-called inclusiveness to make them share the Gospel, not with the conviction shown by Jesus or the apostles, but as mere exchange of ideas!
1. Describe typical situations where the Christian may feel awkward to share the gospel or testify to his faith with conviction, and what we typically do in such situations.
While the Lord mandates Christians to “make disciple of all nations”, it is acknowledged that we do not really convert anyone to the faith – that is the work of the Holy Spirit. What then is the Christian accountable for? It is to preach the gospel in a way that people understand it to the point of being able to decide. Apostle Paul had this in mind when he asked the Colossians to pray for him and his team “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” (Colossians 4:3-4). Proclaiming the gospel clearly means stating it in a way that the hearers are left in no doubt as to their state before God and what they must do to be right with Him. We proclaim these things, not as our opinion, but as God’s word.
2. Let as many participants as are able make one key statement to communicate in preaching the gospel, and at least one Bible reference to back up each statement.
A child’s growth requires training, rebukes, instruction and correction from time to time. The Christian’s spiritual growth is no different. In our key verse, Paul makes the point that for the Christian to be “thoroughly equipped for every good work”, the Bible is a dependable resource manual. But he warns in 2 Tim 4:3 that there is a tendency for us to seek to listen to only things that we want to hear – perhaps things that make us feel good. Over the last few decades, the desire to be challenged by Scripture into actions has been on the decline. Often, even Christians do the right things, not because they are challenged by Scripture, but because such things are socially expected or commendable. When social acceptability becomes our main driver for doing right, we are no different from the good-natured unbeliever. It is a subtle way of conforming to the world as it means our disposition could shift with the society’s shifting standards. The Bible should be every Christian’s primary reference manual for righteousness.
3. Give examples of the right things we do, or wrong things we avoid, because we seek to live up to society’s expectation rather than in keeping with the Scripture.
Father, may Your Spirit constantly remind us to make Your word the reference manual for living, for instruction and for training in righteousness, in Jesus’ name. Amen.