Fruitful Conduct

II Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

Paul is writing to his young comrade in an effort to prepare him for what he is about to face. Death stands at the door and Paul’s departure is at hand. Timothy’s spiritual mentor is delivering some final thoughts before his exodus. In II Timothy 4:2 Paul enlightens his replacement to fruitful conduct. Within the verse Paul speaks of a task, a time, a tactic, and a temperament.

At this time I would like to devote some time to the temperament of a fruitful conduct, “with all longsuffering and doctrine.” Paul wanted Timothy to know that ministry was not for the faint of heart! If Timothy was to be effective, he must demonstrate a spirit of forbearance in two areas; in patience, “longsuffering” and in practice, “doctrine.” Timothy would face opposition as a saint, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12) and as a servant, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Timothy 3:13). Because of this intense pressure it is the natural tendency of the flesh to quit. Paul’s admonishment to Timothy reveals two areas in which Timothy must remain strong. Trials and adversity encourages one to abandon the ministry; this is seen in the word “longsuffering.” It means endurance, patience, to forbear and comes from a word that means with a long enduring temper. No matter how strong the opposition gets, Paul is saying, don’t quit, realize that you’re in it for the long haul, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29). The second area that one must guard is the tendency to abandon the methods. This is seen in the word “doctrine” which means the act or manner of instruction, especially the teaching of God’s Word. Because the real battle is with the scriptures and not the servant, abandoning the preaching of God’s Word in the performance of the ministry immediately reduces the opposition. Writing to the saints at Corinth, Paul said, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (I Corinthians 2:4-5). Paul knew the challenges that were associated with remaining faithful to Christ and the call of God; the servant of God must have a spirit of forbearance with respect to patience and practice!

Certain of the Lord’s coming and the Lord’s courtroom; Paul encouraged his young comrade to maintain a fruitful conduct. Paul reminded Timothy that the elements that comprised a fruitful conduct were the task, the time, the tactics, and the temperament. Giving attention to detail in these areas would assure Timothy rewards at the Lord’s coming.