2 Timothy Session 9

The Pastoral Epistles  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Consider this: If you knew your time on earth was coming to an end… if you knew you had only one conversation left left… one opportunity left to give a charge or give encouragement to someone… what would it be? What would you say?
Seems like a bit of a different opening but… if you knew the end was near… what final words would pass on?
This is where we find Paul in 2 Timothy 4. Throughout the letter, Paul has been giving Timothy encouragement and instruction that all leads up to the final words he is about to share in this chapter. These are the last words he wants Timothy to remember.
Jeremiah spoke of last words at Sunday Night Church. Looking to Jesus… the last words we focused on we know as the Great Commission as found in Matthew 28:19-20. Go. Make Disciples. Baptize them. Teach them my commands. I will be with you always.
These last words are POWERFUL and IMPORTANT. These last words have been ringing in the ears and the spirit of the church since the day Jesus spoke them. These last words are why a global church exists today. THE DISCIPLES TOOK HIS LAST WORDS SERIOUSLY!
And Paul desires for Timothy to take these last words seriously. Paul gives Timothy a charge in chapter 4. But before we look at the charge itself, I want to review the last two verses of Chapter 3.

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God p may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The coming charge has to do with Scripture so before giving Timothy this charge, Paul gives some very important insight regarding what Scripture is, and what Scripture is not.
Scripture IS God-breathed - this means ALL of Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Different authors may have wrote the words down, but God breathed the message into their hearts. THIS IS GOD’S WORD.
Scripture is NOT a man-made thing! This is NOT a book of fantasy or a book based off the memory of several different authors. It is NOT like any other book we have in the library or on the shelf!
Scripture IS good for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. Because it is God-breathed, the Word presents a loving and unbiased standard for all humankind. It is NOT influenced by outside agendas or opinions.
Scripture IS to equip the servant of God for every good work. Scripture serves as a manual, as a book on how we carry out Jesus’ last words as the Body of Christ. The SERVANT of Christ is equipped for EVERY GOOD WORK through Scripture.
So with this in mind, we move to the first 5 verse of chapter 4 where we find Paul giving Timothy his final charge.

The Charge

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

PREACH THE WORD. This is the charge Paul gives to Timothy. These are the last words, if you will, that Paul desires for Timothy to receive. This is the final message he desires to convey. Above all else in ministry, as you do your work in Ephesus, as you face persecution, as you confront the false teachers, as you stand for righteousness, as you deal with deserters, as you reach the unreached, and as you interact with the culture and context around you - PREACH THE WORD.
Preach no other message. Stand on no other foundation. Advocate for no other agenda or opinion. Let the Word of God be the words coming from your mouth.
With this charge Paul also gives a bit of a warning in verse 3. While the charge might seem obvious… while the charge might seem simple in nature… there will be pressure and temptation to do otherwise what has been charged.
Verse 3 says a time is coming when:
People will NOT PUT UP WITH sound doctrine. What does that phrasing mean? Not put up with?
It means that sound doctrine will not be tolerated by these people. It means not only will they not hear it… they will come against it. It means there will be direct opposition to the TRUE WORD that Timothy is to preach.
Verse 3 also says people will “gather” around them a “great number of teachers” that will speak what they want to hear. it will satisfy their “itching ears.”
As truth is rejected, myth is accepted. As the opposition rises against the Word, people will be attracted to words that appease how they feel like a moth is attracted to a flame.
The Word of God is God’s design and plan laid out. The Word of God leads a person out of sin and back to the will of the Father. This means sin must be left behind, our past must be left behind, our “own understanding” as Proverbs 3 states must be left behind so that we can embrace all that God has for us.
How many truly believe that God has GOOD things in store for those who follow Him? How many understand that in order for us to follow God, WE HAVE TO STOP FOLLOWING OURSELVES? DENY SELF, take up cross daily, and follow Jesus.
This world has a lot of words to offer that work to appease our self, but the Word of God is the only source of truth that can set our soul free.
The deception we see in verse 3 will happen both inside and outside the church. People and teachers offended by God’s truth will water it down, compromise it, twist it and turn it ever so slightly to make it fit what they want to feel. THIS IS DANGEROUS AND THIS IS DEVIL! Such practice will only lead people to hell as felt needs are addressed and true faith is abandoned.
So verse 5 reemphasizes what believers need to do.
Keep your head in all situations. Do not allow your emotions to gain control. Do not allow your self to take the driver seat. Do not allow for biases to creep in or for back doctrine to poison your mind. KEEP YOUR HEAD IN ALL SITUATIONS.
Endure hardship. Don’t turn away from the challenge ahead of preaching the Word. Preach it clearly and endure whatever hardship may come. As we say frequently here, such is not a time for the church to retreat… today is a day of advancement for the kingdom of God.
Do the work of an evangelist. Lead people from sin to salvation. Deliver the message of redemption. Lovingly present the truth as Jesus did to those who have yet to hear it.
Discharge all the duties of your ministry. FULFILL THE CALLING GOD HAS PLACED ON YOUR LIFE. Do not hold back… do not become distracted. Minister as God has called you to minister.

The Closing

Although Paul will give final remarks in a moment, he closes this passage out with somber words of dedication and calling.

6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing.

The acknowledgement is given - Paul’s time is about up. He knows that his time is coming soon. And in this moment, He doesn’t go into a woe is me mode nor does he complain about his life experiences.
Remember when Paul was saved… the Lord spoke some interesting words over him to Ananias in Acts 9:16. Jesus said, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Why would Jesus say this? Saul had brought much suffering to the church… but in all essence, it was Saul who was suffering without Jesus. When Saul met Jesus and his life was turned upside down, he came out from under the darkness he was in and into the light of Christ. Paul was willing to go the distance… he was willing to give it all for Jesus.
Paul did in fact suffer at the hands of unbelievers… but he had Jesus. Paul was imprisoned, stoned, mocked, etc… but he had Jesus. he knew he was serving the risen King and NOTHING was going to get in the way of that.
To fight the good fight, to finish the race, to keep the faith means to stay the course no matter what. These were not words of pity but words to encourage Timothy to do the same. THERE IS NO GREATER THING WE COULD DO THAN FOLLOW THE CALL OF GOD ON OUR LIVES.
It won’t always be easy… it won’t always be hard. We will endure seasons of rejoicing and seasons of hardship… but we have Jesus… And Jesus us all we need.
No matter how hostile our world might become toward the Word and toward our faith, I pray that when my hour draws near, I can, like Paul, declare I fought the good fight. I finished the race. I kept the faith. I pray that I will not compromise, I will not give in to the pressure to conform. Does anyone else share in this desire?
The key is to keep our eyes on Jesus!
Paul speaks of the reward - the crown of righteousness - which Jesus will award him on that day. Paul was NOT in this for any earthly gain… Paul was in this for the eternal glory of our God.
Challenges are ahead. Valleys will come our way. Persecution and opposition are a given. Will you stand? Will you fight the good fight? Will you keep the faith? WILL YOU CONTINUE TO PREACH THE WORD?
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