In 2 Timothy 2:5, the apostle Paul writes, “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”
In this chapter, Paul is describing to Timothy the duties of a Christian minister, and in verse five he compares it to being an athlete. Back in Paul’s day, only the best athletes, those who worked the hardest, were crowned, and Paul exhorts Timothy to do his best as a Christian minister, just as the athletes who get crowned have done their best.
Any athlete who breaks the rules of the contest is disqualified. Paul permits Timothy to deduce the parallel with the Christian minister. Regardless of the amount of sermons preached and people reached, if the minister does not teach the God’s Word He is not in line with God. Paul writes, “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13).
The minister has to teach of Jesus because Jesus is the truth: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). And the ultimate test of a sound doctrine is: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). God has revealed Himself in His Word. Whatever people may speak that is not in line with that Word they have “no light” in them (Isaiah 50:10, 11).
Also, the minister of the truth has to live a righteous life. Jesus says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). The actions of the minster has to match his teaching. The Love of Christ has to shine through his life otherwise all his labors will prove to have been in vain (Matthew 7:22–23).
In His service,
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