2 TIMOTHY-SERIES: NR 7
Theme: Only one thing to do
Scripture: 2 Timothy: 4: 1 – 8
READ VERSES 1-2 AGAIN
Look, the Apostle Paul is very, very serious about THIS command to Timothy (and to us): PREACH THE WORD! And thus the Holy Spirit THROUGH the apostle. It is the LORD’S earnestness in action here – because it manifests through His apostle. And that is how we get to know about His earnestness! The seriousness of God regarding the Great Commission! GO and proclaim the Gospel message!
But he gives the command in the form of an adjuration: “I CHARGE you in the PRESENCE OF GOD and CHRIST JESUS“. Paul puts Timothy in the immediate presence of God to make him realise that the preaching of the Word is something of which he is accountable/answerable to God himself and NOT to people to appease them.
To emphasise it further, he adds: “Christ, who will judge the living and the dead”. And even more: “given His appearing and His Kingdom”. Two things: HIS APPEARANCE and HIS KINGDOM which is at hand!
That is a very forceful way that Paul uses to emphasise the seriousness of the responsibility of preaching the Word. And to persevere with it! Not to flag. Not even for one day. Even in the face of resistance and opposition. In season and out of season. In all circumstances and at any time – be prepared to proclaim the truth of the Gospel message!
The Message should be SHOUTED OUT so that whoever is prepared to listen, can hear. Clearly and comprehensible and with passionate earnestness. Because people’s eternal destination is at stake. The honour of the eternal Name of the living God is at stake.
Great patience – as the fruit of the Spirit – is imperative here (do not give up).
Patience is naturally not possible out of MAN. But NOTHING on this earth can handicap the power of the Holy Spirit. And therefore Christians have patience. Because it depends on the Spirit.
Preaching naturally has many facets.
Continuously giving patient careful instruction, is perhaps the most important. In season and out of season. But encouraging is also needed, and even correcting and rebuking in the case of those who oppose the Truth.
All these aspects can and must only be done from the Scriptures and never out of personal pious ideas or messages received by dreams/voices/visions. Only the Bible. Only the Scriptures. Sola Scriptura. It is either from the Scriptures or there is nothing.
BECAUSE: Christ Jesus will appear. And He shall judge. He is the King. And He has eternal Kingship. There is an account that will have to be given. Christian believers also shall have to give account. Do not think for one moment that you can be a child of the Lord and take the Great Commission with a pinch of salt and not have to be accountable about it. No, verse 1 says: The living and the dead shall appear before Him. And particularly with the eye on His appearance, the Gospel message should recklessly be preached everywhere.
So many people around us are lost and shall be guilty in their millions of sins committed against His Holy Name as they stand before God on the Great Day – without Christ. Exactly for that reason we should urgently proclaim the Gospel and trust the Lord to plant and germinate the Seed of the Word in hearts. Only God can let it grow. But people do the sowing. Not the angels. PEOPLE!
READ VERSES 3-4 AGAIN
Here is another reason why obedience to the pursuance of the Great Commission, and perseverance of proclamation of the Word is so imperative – it is because opposition against the truth will be on the increase.
It is almost as if verses 3-4 were written for TODAY.
The unsaved person, in whom the Holy Spirit is not working, can simply not tolerate the preaching of sin, judgment, salvation in Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, sanctification etc. This kind of preaching – which is healing – they rather exchange for content that is sickening and which tickles their hearing and lands them in hell. That is the main issue for king MAN: He wants to hear that all is well with his soul. That everything is all right. That which is comfortable, reassuring, interesting, new, fascinating, emotionally exciting and sensational – THAT is what the fallen sinful heart of the unsaved person wants to hear. THAT is the kind of church they like. But not the uncomfortable, rebuking, conscience-troubling Gospel of the cross!
That is the reason that people flock to churches where false doctrine is subtly preached. The Apostle says crystal-clear: They look for preachers who would preach what they want to hear. Which is to their taste. And it is never difficult to find such preachers. It is indeed a sign of the fast-approaching second coming: Those false preachers are on the increase (Matt 24:24).
The truth of the true Gospel message is not acceptable to the lost unsaved heart of man, says 1 Cor 2:14. There is no attraction. They much rather turn the back on the truth and embrace fabrication, says verse 4. Myths. Fables. Because the religion that is acceptable to the taste and heart of the fallen man is a fabrication. It is nothing but man-thought-out fables. It is about self-salvation. About how man is NOT 100% lost and not trust 100% in Jesus Christ as only Saviour for salvation. About how the human can help himself.
There is only ONE answer to all these sickly aberrations – the ceaseless, continuous faithful proclamation of the Truth that heals – the sound doctrine!
READ VERSE 5 AGAIN
What an amazing verse! FOUR short powerful commands that condense the Divine calling of Timothy-in-the-service-of-the-Gospel in a nutshell. Here are the four:
1 >> IN EVERYTHING, KEEP YOUR HEAD > That means: Stay on guard! Always! Do not become influenced by the lure of the fine-sounding theology of false preachers! Spiritual and theological intoxication is life-threatening!
The way to keep your head is to focus fully on the unadulterated doctrine of the ORIGINAL AUTHENTIC APOSTLES and to preach it actively with might and main!
Sober proclamation of the Gospel message attracts opposition… therefore…
2 >> ENDURE/SUFFER HARDSHIP > That does not mean that Timothy should look for trouble or create it, but that he should be ready to endure it when it does come! There is no time to be fearful and back down.
And then the command:
3 >> DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST > That is a command addressed to all, all true Christians. Do the work of an evangelist! Be a soul-searcher. In other words: GO OUT into the world with the Gospel message. Reach OTHERS with the Good News! It is not a special office reserved for only certain people who have received some or other Holy Spirit gift for it. No, ALL PEOPLE who are born-again in the Spirit, ARE called to be evangelists. Timothy was just like Paul, Peter, John and the rest. And so too you and me. Wonderful. We must see that the Great Message reaches all people. DO the work of an evangelist.
And then the next command:
4 >> DISCHARGE ALL THE DUTIES OF YOUR MINISTRY > That is, everything which is connected to the wellbeing of your church. It is therefore simply about faithfulness/being faithful. Be faithful in everything which is expected of you. It is so sad that so many confessing Christians fall short concerning faithfulness. But, it must not, because it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. And therefore HE shall work it in us.
READ VERSES 6-7 AGAIN
The strict commands to Timothy in the previous verses, was because the Apostle Paul was fully aware that his death was imminent and he wanted that Timothy should hold the fort into the future. Indeed, 2 Timothy-letter was the Apostle’s last letter.
Timothy was young and still had his life ahead of him, but Paul could only by his death still witness for Christ. He is ALREADY being poured out like a drink offering, he says. He therefore no longer had any hope to be released, and the preparations for his execution was in progress.
In the OT-temple service, the thank-offering of WINE was poured out against the burnt-offering altar and it symbolized that all good gifts come from the Lord and is again given back to Him.
Paul, therefore, dedicates his life to the Lord to very the last drop. He regards his fast-approaching death as an act of sacrifice to the Lord, to whom he belongs in life and death.
He talks about his death as his DEPARTURE – like a ship lifting its anchor to leave the harbour and sail into the ocean. To a Christian believer, DEPARTURE, therefore, means not the end, but a passing through from one life into the presence of the Lord himself. It is returning home.
The Apostle’s departure to His Father’s house is at hand. He has – like an athlete – reached the finishing line. The GOOD fight of being in service of the Gospel message is fought and completed. By faith-confidence in the promises of God, he simply kept on and on and persevered through God’s perseverance with him! All the temptations and struggles just caused him to cling closer to Christ and the truth. He KNOWS that he belongs only to the Lord – dead or not. It is not human effort and merit that applies here. It is the Lord God’s support for him – only based on the absolute success of Jesus’s resurrection.
READ VERSE 8 AGAIN
Only a true Christ-believer can speak these words. No one else can have this calibre of assurance and a firm hope of the future.
Think again about the image of an athlete taking part in a race. WHILE the athlete is still on the track, the winner’s crown is already waiting for the winner.
The crown is also ready for the Apostle Paul and shall be handed over at the return of the Lord. It is “the hope that is stored up in heaven” that Col 1:5 talks about. It is the CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS says the Greek. Because Christ himself is the believer’s righteousness according to 1 Cor 1:30. That is exactly why Paul – while he is still on the track – is so CERTAIN that the crown is waiting for him because he is already in possession of it in Christ since his salvation. Christ himself is therefore
the crown. And if Christ now dwells in me by His Spirit, I have assurance about the life hereafter.
That is the reason why these words of verse 8 can only be spoken by a person who completes the race in Christ.
All other people just hold thumbs that everything will end well after death. But, there is no joyful ASSURANCE. Tragic!
The apostle puts it very clearly: Not only himself, but EVERYONE who loves the Lord and look forward to His coming, shall receive this crown. It is, therefore, true of everyone who is born-again by the Holy Spirit.
But for the others, it is not true.
It is false that ALL people will in some way or other enjoy godliness after death. No, only those who were IN CHRIST JESUS during their earthly lives.
The entire humanity throughout the ages is, therefore, divided into TWO groups. Without Christ and in Christ. And THAT determines your end destination.
Translated by Marthie Wilson