Preach It! – 2 Timothy Chapter 4
I wonder what I would say to my children if I knew it was the last time I would have that opportunity. What would I consider to be the most important issues to confront? What would help them and encourage them to blossom in their environment, and to be a blessing to all they associate with?
Paul was in this position. He wanted to encourage his ‘son,' Timothy, as he realised that he, Paul, was shortly going ‘home' (vs 6 – 8).
He starts off with very strong words, “I charge you …” As his father in the Lord, and in his position as an Apostle, he felt he could speak in this way. He was giving him a command, not a request! And to strengthen his argument he adds “before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead …” No pressure!!
What did he charge him to do?
- “Preach the Word!” Don't preach what you think. Don't preach what other men say. Don't repeat things off the internet! Preach God's Word. And to do that, you must study God's Word, meditate on it and memorise it. Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you from it.
- “Be ready!” Whether it is inconvenient or not. Whether it is in your diary or not. Whether people are listening or not. Take every opportunity.
- “Convince!” Use God's word to bring conviction and revelation, the double edged sword. Make clear God's character and principles.
- “Rebuke!” Lovingly seek to bring correction to people's lives.
- “Exhort!” Put your heart into encouraging and nurturing people.
- “With Longsuffering.” Be patient with people, even in the most trying of circumstances.
- “With teaching.” People must know where they stand, and how they can progress in their walk of faith. Teach the Word.
These things are very important to consider and practise, as the time will come when people will not accept this teaching, but will be consumed by self gratification, having ‘itching ears' to hear things that they want to hear. They will find teachers, probably on the internet in these days, who will satisfy their own desires. These teachers will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned to myths. There is so much on the internet, and in the media in general, based on the lies of Satan, which can be absorbed into our thinking. These will draw us way from the truth of God's word. So we have to be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist and fulfil our ministry (v 5).
Paul then describes his own situation, as his life will shortly end. His life is already poured out (sacrificed on behalf of others) to God, and the time for his departure is at hand.
- Fought the good fight
- Finished the race
- Kept the faith
Then, finally, he would receive a crown of righteousness. The Lord, the righteous judge, will give it to him on that Day. What a reward! All those who love His appearing will receive the same. Do we love His appearing? Are we looking forward to seeing Him and being with Him?
The rest of the chapter contains snippets of information and requests by Paul. He requests that Timothy comes to see him, bringing John Mark. Mark turned back on Paul's first missionary journey, and Paul refused to take him on the second one. But Mark had proved his worth and was now a close friend, and useful to Paul for ministry. Another friend of Paul's, Demas, had left Paul because he had fallen in love with this present world! How Paul must have grieved! Luke was still with Paul, but he had sent Tychicus to Ephesus, where Timothy had been.
Paul then warned Timothy about Alexander the coppersmith, who did Paul much harm. Maybe Paul's stand against idolatry had affected Alexander's business, as it had Demetrius' in Ephesus. No one stood with him at his first defence, but the Lord stood with him, so that the gospel would be preached to the Gentiles. Then he was delivered from the mouth of the lion. Whether this was a literal lion, as Daniel faced (Nero loved his lions), or metaphorical of his treatment by his enemies. In verse 18 Paul gives his final testimony to the goodness and faithfulness of God.
“And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Finally, Paul sends his greetings to others known to Timothy and him, before his final greeting to Timothy.
“The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be to you. Amen.”