2 Timothy 4

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It Is My StoryI charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense, no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

Observation

  • Christ Jesus will judge the living and the dead
  • Paul charged Timothy to preach the word of God.
  • Timothy was to always be ready to patiently teach with a reprimand, sharp criticism, and encouragement.
  • There will be a time when people will not put up with sound teaching.
  • There will be a time when people will only accept teachers who only tell them what they want to hear.
  • There will be a time when people will only believe myths and refuse to listen to the truth.
  • Timothy was to be sober minded.
  • Timothy was to do the work of an evangelist.
  • Timothy was to fulfill his ministry.
  • Paul was ready to die.
  • Paul knew he was about to die.
  • Paul had fought a good fight.
  • Paul had finished his race.
  • Paul had kept the faith.
  • The Lord was ready to award Paul and all Christians a crown of righteousness.
  • The Lord is a righteous judge.
  • Timothy was to do his best to come to Paul.
  • Demas loved the present world and abandoned Paul.
  • Demas went to Thessalonica
  • Creascens left Paul and went to Galatia.
  • Titus left went to Dalmatia.
  • Luke was the only one left to minister to Paul.
  • Timothy was to bring Mark when he came.
  • Mark was useful to Paul for ministry.
  • Paul sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
  • Timothy was to bring Paul the clock he left with Carpus at Troas.
  • Timothy was to bring Paul the books and parchments.
  • Alexander, the coppersmith, caused Paul great harm.
  • The Lord will repay Alexander according to his deed.
  • Timothy was to be wary of Alexander.
  • Alexander strongly opposed Paul’s message.
  • When Paul made his first defense no one came to support him.
  • The Lord strengthened Paul so the Gentiles would hear Paul’s message.
  • The Lord rescued Paul so the Gentiles would hear Paul’s message.
  • The Lord will bring Paul to the Lords heavenly kingdom.
  • Timothy was to greet Prisca and Aquila, the household of Onesiphorous, for Paul.
  • Paul left Eratus at Corinth
  • Paul left Trophimus at Miletus because he was sick.
  • Timothy was to do his best to come before winter.
  • Eubulus, Pudens, Linus and Claudia and all the brothers sent greeting to Timothy.

Interpretation

This is a sad chapter. Paul knows he is going to die by execution. In fact, he says he is already being poured out as a drink offering. So, he leaves Timothy with the charge to preach the Gospel. He mentions he is making this charge before a witness. This is not any witness. Paul is charging Timothy in the presence of God. By doing so Paul impresses on Timothy the importance of this charge.

This charge comes right on the heels of Paul saying, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” The chapter break may cause you to miss the fact that Paul is connecting preaching to the scripture.

You may have met those who are arrogant enough to claim they do not need a teacher. They calm all they need is the scripture. Paul connects scripture to preaching. Faith is by hearing the God’s word preached and expounded. (Romans 10:17, Galatians 3:2) This charge is a direct refutation of those who would claim they do not need to go to church. We all need teachers.

Paul charges Timothy to preach the Gospel, no matter the circumstances. Paul charges Timothy to preach the Gospel no matter where he is. Paul’s imprisonment did not stop his preaching. We started preaching to his jailers! Several jailers came to Christ as a result of Paul’s preaching in prison.

In contrast, we look for the slightest opposition or excuse to fold. We look for reasons to excuse our laziness.

Paul charges Timothy to, “reprove, rebuke, and exhort.” We need to use every means available to encourage us along the Christian life. And Paul tells Timothy to do it with gentleness and doctrine. Notice Timothy is to preach the Gospel. According to Paul, reproofs are scripture based. They are not based on opinion, preference, or man-made rules.

Timothy is to preach the Gospel. He is not to give his personal testimony. The story Timothy is to preach is about what Christ has done in objective history. It is not about a subjective change in Timothy’s heart.

The evangelical model today is to tell our story. We give our personal testimony. We tell others how our life changed. When we do that, we make the story about us. The fact is most of us have an uninteresting story. So, we want a better story. We make it more compelling more dramatic. We are jealous of those who have a more dramatic or better story. So, we tend to embellish our story. Our story needs to more interesting. We fail to realize Christ’s story is more dramatic than anything we could make up. He rose from the dead! Now that is dramatic. That is compelling.

We need to make the story about Jesus and what he has done. He died and rose for our salvation. God sanctifies us through Jesus. The story we are to tell is about Jesus. Christ’s story is objective. The story about how our heart has changed is subjective.

Today churches are full when they teach Jesus will help you live a better life now. People want something that is practical. People want something they can apply. They want something they and use right now. So preachers turn to messages that contain pop psychology and promise a better life. It is easy to understand why. It fills the pews. No one wants to speak to a half empty church. Give the people what they want. Yes, it is easy to understand. But it is still inexcusable. The job of the preacher is to preach the gospel.

The time has come when we accumulate for ourselves teachers who suit our passions. People are turning away from listening to the truth and wandering off into myths. Yet, the Christian’s purpose has not changed. The Christian is to be sober-minded, endure suffering, tell Jesus’ story. That is our mission. That is our purpose.

Paul knows he is going to die. He has accepted his fate. Paul uses the language of the Old Testament sacrificial system. A drink offering was poured out to God as an offering. Paul understands his life and death are an offering to God. Paul held a steadfast hope and of life beyond the grave. Paul understands there is a reward for a life lived in faith, a crown of righteousness. Most likely this is a reference to the climax of the process of sanctification. God gives perfect righteousness and eternal life to the believer. This reward does not belong just to Paul it is the reward of all believers.

Paul concludes his letter with the reason he wrote the letter. He wants to see Timothy one last time. Paul gives Timothy instructions about his trip to Rome. He tells Timothy of his present status. He concludes with a profound expression of trust in Jesus, his Lord.

 

 

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