To listen to the audio of this sermon, click here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).
Paul’s Last Letter
This is Paul’s final Prison Epistle, his last Will and Testament to the Church and to his most faithful co-worker, Timothy. Written in Rome in AD 67, Paul is about to be martyred by Caesar Nero amidst a general time of persecution for all Christians in Rome. The original Prison Epistles were written during Paul’s first arrest by the Jews in Jerusalem. He was discharged after two years in Rome. While he was in Troas, he was arrested again, this time by the Romans and brought back to Rome.
The Fire of Rome
Nero, one of the most brutal and evil emperors ever, fancied himself a great poet and singer. During the great fire of Rome, in AD 64, Nero played on his harp. The Roman historian, Tacitus, records that Caesar wanted to demolish Rome and rebuild a grander city. When this was rejected by the Senate, Nero sent his arsonists to burn down the city.
Scapegoats of the Empire
While the city was burning the people were furious with Nero. So, to distract the citizens of Rome from his crime, Nero blamed everything on the Christians. They were a mysterious and misunderstood sect so they made a convenient scapegoat. Christians were accused of being “atheists.” Rome believed in many gods and the Christians refused to believe in or worship any of them. Christians were accused of “cannibalism” as they ate the body and drank the blood of somebody at their secret services. They also accused Christians of “incest”, as they heard that Christians married their “brothers and sisters”. Because of this disinformation it was easy to slander Christians who were considered a vile and vulgar sect.
Christians were arrested and put to death in cruel ways. They were crucified and doused in pitch and set alight (This is where the term Roman candle comes from). Peter insisted that he was not worthy of dying the same death as His master, so on his request he was crucified upside down. Paul was also arrested and brought to Rome. As he was a Roman he was not to be crucified. Paul’s sentence was decapitation by a sword.
Duty and Destiny in the Light of Eternity
After the great fire of Rome and the intense persecution, it looked as if Christianity was wiped out. Exterminated. Yet there is no despair, or sense of defeat, in this Book. It is a tremendous shout of victory. The Apostle Paul was in no way discouraged, even though he was about to be executed. This Book is an extraordinary triumphant Epistle of duty and destiny in the light of Eternity.
Firm and Faithful Amidst Trials and Slander
“Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and I am persuaded is in you also.” 2 Timothy 1:1-5. Timothy had a great heritage, he had a believing mother and grandmother and he had been brought up in the Faith and had known the Scripture since his youth. Paul seeks to encourage Timothy who thinks himself inadequate because of his young age. The theme here is: Do not be ashamed. Paul is about to die a criminal’s death. Christians are being accused of being traitors and arsonists. Paul says we must glory in our suffering. It is a privilege to suffer for Christ.
We Fear Naught But God
“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:6. You need to keep ablaze, keep stoking the fire, the gift you have been entrusted. Throughout the Scripture you hear warnings. Do not quench the Holy Spirit. Many extinguish the fire, throwing water over the flame. You cannot teach a flame but you can spread it, like one candle lighting another candle. In this time of apostasy, intimidation and terror, any fear we feel is not from God. The reverential awe, respect and worship of God frees us from the fear of man. Fear God and be freed from fear of man. “We fear naught but God” should be our attitude.
Steadfast in the Storm
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the Gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” 2 Timothy 1:8-12. Refuse to be guilt manipulated. Resist the psychological warfare. Do not give in to this worldly attempt to make us ashamed of the Gospel and of Christ our Lord. Guilt manipulation paralyses one into inactivity. We have been predestined before the Creation of the world. Paul is facing death and condemnation but is looking forward to life and immortality, which is a result of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul has a three-fold ministry. He is a Preacher of the Gospel, he is an Apostle (Missionary) and a Teacher. Paul has been falsely condemned and is about to be executed and says he is not ashamed.
Stand Fast to the Pattern of Sound Doctrine
“Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day -and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus.” 2 Timothy 1:13-18. Your duty is to stand fast in the light of the doctrine that you hold. We have been entrusted with a great treasure, to protect the Word of God. Paul names two people who are difficult and dangerous. Another person is named who provided him with hospitality and who was not ashamed of him and the Gospel. Enemies want to defeat you, falsely accuse you, steal your possessions and take away your good name, your peace of mind and good conscience and your joy. Ephesus is the largest growing church at the time and Timothy is left responsible to guide, direct, disciple and train them. Timothy is about to lose his mentor in the Faith, the Apostle Paul. Paul is doing everything he can to encourage Timothy to stand fast.
“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.” 2 Timothy 2:1-6. We are called to serve God as a son (2:1), as a soldier (2:3-4), as an athlete (2:5), as a farmer (2:6), as a worker (2:15) and as a servant (2:24). The first speaks of relationship and the rest speak of duty, sacrifice, hard work and faithfulness.
A Ministry of Multiplication
God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We need a multi-generation vision. Paul entrusts to Timothy and Timothy entrusts to faithful men, who must entrust to other faithful men. Today many Christians are satisfied with an evangelistic crusade. But previous generations built cathedrals, universities, Theological seminaries, planted Missions stations and had a vision for future generations. Today most have a bad work ethic and lack of vision. We are to be diligent, present ourselves approved to God as workers who do not need to ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Our doctrine will determine our duty and our destiny.
The apostle Paul is saying, take what I have taught you and teach others, train them to teach others also. We read that God not only added to the church, but He also multiplied the church. You multiply through discipleship. So, our vision is to train trainers. Each one reach one. Each one teach one. The whole church must take the whole Gospel to the whole world.
Endure Hardship for Christ
On the night of my Baptism in 1977, Rev. Doc Watson gave me this verse as my commission: “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4. As Christians we are called to commitment and self-sacrifice. A soldier has to be willing to be expendable. In order to obtain your objectives you have to be willing to be expendable. The cause is more important than any individual. You must therefore endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Our Lord led by example. He calls us to do nothing that He has not done Himself. He, Himself, showed us the example. He led from the front, as we need to do also.
Dedication and Discipline
Athletes need discipline, dedication, hard work, repetition, rising early, exercising, limiting ones diet and saying no to partying late. Christianity requires the same kind of dedication, training, energy and focus. Farmers must get up early, milk the cows, plough the fields, plant the seeds, cultivate, irrigate and harvest, all at the right time, regardless of your state of health. There is a need for Christians to work diligently. Timothy is to produce people with a real relationship with God, who have the same self-sacrifice as a soldier, the same discipline and training as an athlete and the same hard work ethic as that of a farmer.
In Sure and Certain Hope of the Resurrection
“Consider what I say and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my Gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the Word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:7-13. Jesus is not only the Son of Abraham, destined to the Altar of the Cross, but He is the Son of David, destined to the Throne and Crown, King of kings, Lord of lords. Paul is about to be killed for the Faith. He is about to follow Christ in His sufferings on the altar. He looks beyond the Cross, to the Crown. Jesus has been raised from the dead and so will I. Death for the Christian is not the end, it is actually the beginning of eternal life.
As he was heading for Worms, for his trial at the hands of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Martin Luther said: “Though there be as many devils as there are tiles on the roofs, I will go. Though the works of Hus were burned, the truth of the Gospel was not burned. Truth conquers!” You cannot destroy the truth just by burning books. You can put Paul in chains, but you cannot chain the Word of God. Paul recited a hymn for their encouragement.
Be Diligent Building on the Solid Foundation of God's Word
“Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity’.” 2 Timothy 2:14-19. There are some people who enjoy arguing and picking a fight. Some arguments are important, but there are some that are unnecessarily divisive. You need to have a good work ethic. Our approval should come God, the Eternal Judge on the Day of Judgement, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Even if we find disapproval from society, you want to hear ‘Well done good and faithful servant!’ on the last day. You do not want to hear, ‘Depart from Me you cursed into the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ We need workers who will be diligent in study to show themselves approved unto God.
Cut Out Cancer
We should avoid profane babblings and idle talk. Paul names, names, as they are spreading their message like cancer. Cancer cells do nothing to help the health of the body, but break down the health of the body. Some people do not contribute to the health of the body of Christ to seek first God's Kingdom, instead they break it down.
Set Apart for the Master
“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honour and some for dishonour. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honour, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient.” 2 Timothy 2:20-24. The Church is depicted like a large house, with all kinds of vessels. There are buckets, used to carry water, there are mugs for tea and coffee, plates to eat off, etc. Some things are made with silver or gold and others are made with clay or plastic. They are not all of the same value or for the same purpose. If you want to be used by the Master, you must be sanctified, useful, prepared for every good work. You are not going to use the bucket used to carry dirty water for eating. What you eat off has a higher standard of workmanship and cleanliness. The Lord will use you for His purposes for the extension of His Kingdom, if you are sanctified, meaning set apart, not available for use by the world. Paul then gives us instructions on how to do this. Your attitude matters to God. We have to be able to teach and not busy quarrelling.
To Escape the Snare of the Devil
“In humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:25-26. Faith and repentance are a gift of God. It is not that we chose God. He chose us. It is not we who found God. He found us. God was not lost. We were. It is not that I believed and repented and then God rewarded me with regeneration. God grants regeneration by grace alone. That enabled me to repent of my sins and place my faith in Christ. There is no room for boasting.
We were deceived and trapped by the devil. Let us be patient in correcting those in opposition. How long were we in opposition? How long did it take us to get to the point that we were obedient? We should remember that it is God who grants Repentance. Let us be patient and correct those who disagree, that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive. Paul, who was once a persecutor of the Church, reminds us to be patient in correcting those who oppose. They may be our future brothers and sisters in the Faith. We need to recognise that we are in a spiritual war.
The Sword of the Spirit
Spiritual warfare is very real. We must identify false teaching. We must fan into flame the gift that God has given us. We need to hold fast the truth and endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus, following righteousness, studying the Scriptures, holding fast to the Scriptures and exposing those who oppose the Word of God.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:1-4. This sounds like a description of our times. It sounds like our country, our continent, our world and the 21st century. Yet this was written 2,000 years ago. Human nature does not change and that is why the Bible is applicable and relevant to every time and era. Have we ever been in a time where people are more in love with themselves? Many people are self-centred, self-absorbed and lovers of money. They gamble and partake in the lottery and their families suffer, their children starve, but still they gamble.
We are living in a time of extreme boasting, arrogance and pride. We see the worst blasphemy in Hollywood. They hate the Name of Jesus Christ. Children are more disobedient now than ever. We are living in one of the most entitled and unthankful ages in history. Many people think everyone owes them something and God owes them so much too. But they do not owe God any thanks. Most people have lost natural affection. Millions of mothers abort their own babies. People have no sense of their own guilt and are not willing to forgive anyone who may have done them wrong. Slander has become an art form.
Brutal and Treacherous
We are living in an age of brutal, savage, hatred, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous people and nations. People of this age have no self-control and our nations celebrate it. There is a great despising of holiness. Holy is a four letter (swear) word in many churches today. People are selling out their own family members and people don’t care what anyone else says, headstrong they destroy themselves and everyone else around them. This age is very arrogant. We have exchanged the pleasure of worship for the worship of pleasure. This age lives for the moment, for now, for me, myself and I. The attitude of wine, women and song is prevalent. Acts 19:14,19 gives an example of an empty and powerless religion: The sons of Sceva trying in vain to cast out demons who ridiculed them: “Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you?”
Submit to God, Resist the Devil
“Submit to God and resist the devil, he will flee from you.” If the devil does not flee from us, either we are not submitting to God, or we are not resisting the devil, or both.
Depravity and Deserters
This is a description of the depravity of man and of the perilous times in which we live in. A time of imposters and evil men, who both deceive and are deceived. “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:13. “For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world…” 2 Timothy 4:10. Demas was one of Paul’s co-workers, yet forsook and deserted him. You cannot keep the things of this world. “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works.” 2 Timothy 4:14
Rejecting Sound Doctrine for Fables
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4. Many seek false teachers to tell them what their ears are itching to hear. False teachers tickle their ears with fables and myths. Some people hold to an outward form of religion but deny its real power. They do not want to endure sound doctrine. Doctrine is truth. Theology is teaching about God. Why would we not want the truth that sets us free? Yet many do not want the truth. They prefer lies and fables. In many cases they are not victims of false teachers, but are enablers of false teaching.
Always Learning But Never Able to Come to the Knowledge of the Truth
“For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:6-7. Paul names name’s when talking about heresy and mentions: Demas (4:10), Alexander (4:14), Phygellus and Hermogenes (1:15), for others be warned.
Knowledge Should Lead to Action
There are many professional students, always learning and accumulating knowledge. In church history one example is John Calvin. It was as a respected young author that Calvin arrived in Geneva. He never intended to stay. He was heading for Strassburg to avoid a local war. The Protestants in Geneva recognised him and William Farel tried to persuade Calvin to stay. However Calvin had other plans. As he later observed: “Being by nature a bit antisocial and shy, I always loved retirement and peace…” Calvin planned a life of seclusion, study and “literary ease.” Farel would have none of this. He threatened Calvin with a curse: “You are following only your own wishes and I tell you, in the Name of God Almighty, that if you do not help us in this work of the Lord, the Lord will punish you for seeking your own interests rather than His.” Convicted by Farel’s serious threat of imprecations, gripped by the fear of God and ashamed by his selfish plans to avoid controversy and conflict, Calvin agreed to stay. He committed his life to serving the church in Geneva for 26 years. There is a time for us to study and a time for us to put it into practice.
Beware of Darkened Understanding
As far as spiritual ignorance goes, “Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” Ephesians 4:18. We are living in an age of spiritual ignorance and spiritual blindness. “The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master; but Israel does not know, My people do not consider.” Isaiah 1:3. “The way of peace they have not known and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace.” Isaiah 59:8. “…Surely these are poor. They are foolish; for they do not know the way of the Lord…” Jeremiah 5:4
Ignorance is Condemned
In the Bible, ignorance of the Law is no excuse. Ignorance of the truth is culpable. “Do you not know?”, “The Lord says!” “For they do not know to do right, says the Lord, ‘Who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.’” Amos 3:10. “But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord, nor do they understand His counsel…” Micah 4:12. “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness…” Romans 10:3. “…another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done…” Judges 2:10. This is where we find ourselves today. We have a generation who neither knows the Lord, nor even know about the Lord and what He has done. “…They die, even without wisdom.” Job 4:21. Some people grow old and die, without having ever discovered the wisdom of God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator…” Isaiah 40:28. The Word of the Lord is available in books, on cell phones and on the internet. You should know! Yet many people do not read. “For My people are foolish, they have not known Me… and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” Jeremiah 4:22. We are in a time when people are very, very wise in how to do evil and very foolish when it comes to doing what is right. “Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the Faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.” 2 Timothy 3:8-9.
Truths That Transform
The first weapon in spiritual warfare is the belt of Truth. There are many teachers who have not had their minds renewed and have become conformed to this world. Many leading Theological students and future ministers of the Gospel, astray. This is why many pulpits are corrupted and neutralised because their ministers do not know the Lord and do not faithfully teach the Word. Many people believe the folly of false teachers. We are in a spiritual war, there is a battle for hearts and minds, for families and faith, a battle for the church, for fulfilling the Great Commission.
Learn from God's Creation
“Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times; and the turtledove, the swift and the swallow observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord.” Jeremiah 8:7. The birds of the air have more knowledge and are more intelligent and more understanding than a lot of people.
They Are Not Valiant for the Truth
“‘And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil and they do not know Me,’ says the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:3. “…because they do not know Him who sent Me.” John 15:21. All these things they do because they have not known the Father, nor have they known the Lord Jesus Christ. Time and again we see condemnation of ignorance, especially spiritual ignorance. It is absolutely vital that we learn and come to the knowledge of truth. Most people are not getting educated, most are being indoctrinated. They are not being taught how to think critically, they are being taught what to think and to repeat the politically correct fables and myths. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” Proverbs 1:7
After laying out the depravity of man, there is a reoccurring theme: But you… (3:14; 4:5).
Be Steadfast Despite Persecution
“But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra -what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:10-15. It does not say some, or many, or most, will suffer persecution. It says all. It does not say may, or probably will. It says will suffer persecution. If you are not being criticised, you are not doing your job. If you are not receiving some kind of resistance, or negative reaction, for your Faith, then you must be compromising. If you are seeking to live a godly life and be a Christian witness in union with Christ Jesus, you will suffer persecution.
In This World You Will Suffer Persecution
We need to have good mentors. We read when Paul and Barnabas went throughout the churches encouraging them and teaching “…We must through many tribulations enter the Kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22. If this was preached today, many would say, “Get behind me satan! I don’t receive that!” We must warn people that tribulation and persecution is part of this world, but be of good courage, Jesus said, I have overcome the world (John 16:33). Time and again we see that Jesus suffered for us and left an example that we should follow in His footsteps. Timothy had a Godly grandmother and a Godly mother, he was brought up in the Faith. The Scriptures that he had learned are able to make us wise for Salvation through faith in Christ. Sola Fide!
The Solid Foundation for Doctrine, Devotion and Duty
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17. We see Scriptures divine origin and its authority. Sola Scriptura! Scripture is fully sufficient to equip us for every good work. The first priority of any minister of the Gospel is to know the Scriptures. Many of today’s seminaries are not teaching the Scriptures. No wonder so many denominations are going astray and becoming apostate when the seminaries are where the rot starts. They have corrupted minds and conformed them to this world. Scripture is meant to lead to action, to be put into practise.
A Solemn and Serious Charge
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom: Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an Evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:1-5. This is Paul’s last letter, he is about to be put to death. He gives this last command to co-worker, Timothy. He writes about the unchangeable Word of God and the need for us to live in the light of eternity. To live in the light of the fact, that the day will come when you will answer for how well you fulfilled your duty, in the presence of God, before His Throne on the Day of Judgement. This is solemn and serious. Lives depend upon your faithfulness to the Word of God.
Walk, Work, Warfare, Weapons and Witness
We are told what to do. Communicate God's Word, at church, on the streets, at a braai, everywhere. You need to encourage, correction or rebuke. There are different situations that require different types of approach. Like a doctor should not use surgery for every affliction. Sometimes surgery is necessary, other times it is medicine that is needed, or a change of lifestyle in what you eat and exercise. The fact that most people are not interested in good doctrine, does not mean that one must change our message according to the times. False teachers design their churches around what people want, according to the world, to make people feel comfortable and not what the Lord intended and what the Bible teaches. Your walk, your work, your warfare, your weapons, your witness, is the focus of 2 Timothy.
Fight the Good Fight, Finish the Race, Keep the Faith
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the Faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8. Paul explains that he is about to be executed. He is triumphant and victorious in his race. He is anticipating the Crown (gold medal/wreath) of victory. He is looking forward to the Crown of righteousness, which the Lord will give him. He is about to stand before God, the ultimate Judge.
Bring the Books
“Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world and has departed for Thessalonica - Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come - and the books, especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words. At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.” 2 Timothy 4:9-16. He asked for Mark as he is useful in the ministry, even though he was once a deserter, as he had done restitution and rebuilt the trust of Paul. Mark had become invaluable. John Mark went on to write Mark’s Gospel, plant the church in Egypt and so many other things. It shows us that failure does not need to be final. We may have failed, but in the Lord there is restitution, hope and restoration. He speak of things he still needs to do and asks to bring his books to him. He then speaks of people who have done him wrong and asks God to judge them. Imprecatory prayers are a great comfort to the persecuted. He also warns of specific people to avoid.
“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His Heavenly Kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” 2 Timothy 4:17-18. Paul is encouraged that even though we may be deserted by many in the world, we are not alone. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…” 2 Chronicles 16:9. To Him be glory forever and ever – Soli Deo Gloria!
“Greet Prisca and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick. Do your utmost to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brethren. The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:19-22. He gives his final farewell. We see that spiritual warfare is very real and continuous. Paul identifies false teaching and false teachers. He commands Timothy to counter false teaching. Be watchful. Be diligent. Beware of false brethren. Endure afflictions. Fulfil your ministry. Complete that which has been entrusted to your care. Fan into flames the gift that God has given you. Stir up and keep ablaze your gift and your talents that God has entrusted to you. Endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Follow righteousness. Study the Scriptures. Teach the Scriptures. Multiply your ministry. Take this teaching which has been entrusted to you and entrust to other reliable men who will be able to entrust to other reliable men after them. Fight the good fight of Faith. Be faithful to the end. Keep the Faith. Persevere. Preach the Word and finish the race.
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
To listen to the audio of this sermon, click here and here.
The full message on this Book and other Books of the New and Old Testament, as delivered at Livingstone Fellowship are available on audio CD from: Christian Liberty Books.
The Old Testament Survey is available in book format and consists of 284 pages and includes 37 pictures, maps, charts and chronologies. The Old Testament Survey Audio and Data MP3 boxset (42 audio sermons & 39 PDF sermon notes - 28hrs & 18min) is also available.
The New Testament Survey is available in book format and consists of 304 pages and includes 14 pictures, maps and charts. The New Testament Survey Audio and Data MP3 boxset (31 audio sermons & 1 PDF book). These are all available from Christian Liberty Books, PO Box 358, Howard Place 7450, Cape Town, South Africa, Tel: 021-689-7478, Fax: 086-551-7490, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za. Prices exclude postage.