2Timothy4 - The LORD Will Deliver and Preserve

INTRODUCTION: As Paul closed this letter, he urged timothy to strongly deliver the message of the gospel in times when results are positive, but also in the midst of difficulty. This is to be done in a pro-active manner to dispel error and guide those who will listen in the right direction toward the truth of scripture. Paul also wanted Timothy to plan to go to Rome where Paul was being held captive, as he expressed the idea that his time here on earth might be drawing to an end.

NOTE: Bible passages are from the World English Bible.


A - PREACH THE WORD UNDER ALL CONDITIONS

2 Timothy 4 "1 I command you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom: 2 preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside to fables. 5 But you be sober in all things, suffer hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith. 8 From now on, there is stored 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 those who have loved his appearing."

COMMENTS: Paul wrote in an authoritative manner knowing that all words are witnessed by God and the Lord Jesus Christ, as he made an earnest and forceful appeal to Timothy to continually preach the Word when results are evident, but also when there seems to be no results at all. It is crucial to offer the way of salvation for souls because the Lord will judge those alive in Christ and those still dead in their sins when he appears in his Kingdom. Peter spoke of the command to the apostles to preach Christ, as recorded in Acts chapter 10. "39 We are witnesses of everything he did both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they also killed, hanging him on a tree. 40 God raised him up the third day, and gave him to be revealed, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen before by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that this is he who is appointed by God as the Judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him, that through his name everyone who believes in him will receive remission of sins."

Paul wanted Timothy to actively counteract error about scripture, even to reprimand where needed, and to earnestly urge the acceptance of truth with all patience as he taught. It will happen that teachers will gain popularity by abandoning sound doctrine in favor of delivering messages the people want to hear so they can remain satisfied in their own lusts. They will turn away from the truth and follow fables instead. Knowing this will happen, Paul wanted Timothy to be straight-forward and serious in all things, willing to suffer hardships, continuing to preach the gospel message, so that in all this he would be fulfilling the purpose of his ministry. Paul wrote of himself as an example as he said he was being offered up to God as his time to depart was in sight. Paul believed he was ready because he had not been passive in the way he had kept his faith. He said the Lord, our righteous judge, had made ready for him the crown of righteousness, to be given on that awaited day. That crown of righteousness in Christ is not only for Paul, but for all who love his appearing. This is a fact understood by other writers of scripture. James 1 "12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love him." 1Peter 5 "4 When the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the crown of glory that doesn't fade away."


B - PAUL ASKED TIMOTHY TO COME TO HIM

2 Timothy 4 "9 Be diligent to come to me soon, 10 for Demas left me, having loved this present world, and went to Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 12 But I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 Bring the cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus when you come, and the books, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander, the coppersmith, did much evil to me. The Lord will repay him according to his works, 15 of whom you also must beware; for he greatly opposed our words."

COMMENTS: Paul was emphatic in requesting that Timothy soon make the trip to Rome, as he went on to list those who were no longer with him. Demas was mentioned among those who had been with Paul in Rome, in the close of Paul's letter to Philemon, and in the close of his letter to the Colossians. But in the writing of this letter, Paul characterized Demas as one who had been drawn back to the attractions of the world. There is no other mention of Demas in scripture. It appears that Crescens and Titus were still loyal and had left Rome for good reasons. Paul also requested that Timothy bring Mark with him to Rome, adding that Mark was useful for service. Paul was specific in saying that he had sent Tychicus to Ephesus. Paul described That man as a beloved brother and faithful servant in the Lord in Colossians 4:7, and he is also favorably mentioned in Acts 20:4, Ephesians 6:21, and Titus 3:12. Paul demonstrated that he still has need of basic items in the material world and did not hesitate to ask Timothy to stop along the very long route to Rome to pick up the cloak, the books, and the parchments he left with someone named Carpus at Troas in Asia. He warned Timothy to be wary of Alexander the coppersmith who greatly opposed preaching of the word. Paul said the Lord would repay Alexander for his works.


C - THE LORD WILL DELIVER AND PRESERVE

2 Timothy 4 "16 At my first defense, no one came to help me, but all left me. May it not be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me, that through me the message might be fully proclaimed, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me for his heavenly Kingdom; to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the house of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained at Corinth, but I left Trophimus at Miletus sick. 21 Be diligent to come before winter. Eubulus salutes you, as do Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers. 22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen."

COMMENTS: Paul did not give enough information that we can be sure about the reference about his "first defense" when no one stood with him. We do know that it was a past event at the time of writing this letter, and at the same time of that writing there were those still with him in Rome who were very loyal to him. When he wrote that the Lord stood by him, it is very reminiscent of when he was first taken prisoner in Jerusalem by the Romans and appeared alone before the Jewish council. Acts 23 "10 When a great argument arose, the commanding officer, fearing that Paul would be torn in pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks. 11 The following night, the Lord stood by him, and said, "Cheer up, Paul, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must testify also at Rome." 12 When it was day, some of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty people who had made this conspiracy." The Lord had stood with Paul, and because the Roman centurion became aware of the plot, Paul was safely conducted under heavy guard to the province capital. But Paul did go to Rome some two years after he had been held at Caesarea as a prisoner of the Romans, and at the close of the book of Acts he was still a prisoner, but treated separately from other prisoners because he had appealed to Caesar as a Roman citizen. Acts 28 "16 When we entered into Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard, but Paul was allowed to stay by himself with the soldier who guarded him." Acts 28 "30 Paul stayed two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who were coming to him, 31 preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, without hindrance."

Paul never forgot his direct commission from the Lord that he had received when Ananias delivered the message to him. Acts 9 "15 But the Lord said to him, "Go your way, for he is my chosen vessel to bear my name before the nations and kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name's sake." 17 Ananias departed, and entered into the house. Laying his hands on him, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord, who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me, that you may receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he received his sight. He arose and was baptized. 19 He took food and was strengthened. Saul stayed several days with the disciples who were at Damascus. 20 Immediately in the synagogues he proclaimed the Christ, that he is the Son of God. 21 All who heard him were amazed, and said, "Isn't this he who in Jerusalem made havoc of those who called on this name? And he had come here intending to bring them bound before the chief priests!" 22 But Saul increased more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived at Damascus, proving that this is the Christ. 23 When many days were fulfilled, the Jews conspired together to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They watched the gates both day and night that they might kill him, 25 but his disciples took him by night, and let him down through the wall, lowering him in a basket." After many years of trials in ministry, especially from unbelieving Jews, Paul still maintained his trust that "the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me for his heavenly Kingdom; to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen."

Paul had shared housing with Prisca and Aquila many years earlier at Corinth for about eighteen months before they then traveled together to Ephesus. He wanted to give them a greeting, as well as a greeting for the house of Onesiphorus who was very dear to him. 2 Timothy 1 "16 May the Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain, 17 but when he was in Rome, he sought me diligently, and found me 18 (the Lord grant to him to find the Lord's mercy in that day); and in how many things he served at Ephesus, you know very well." When Paul states that Erastus remained at Corinth, this may be the same person mentioned in an earlier letter. Romans 16 "23 Gaius, my host and host of the whole assembly, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, as does Quartus, the brother."

Trophimus is only mentioned twice in Acts along with this one reference in the letter to Timothy. Acts 20 "4 These accompanied him as far as Asia: Sopater of Beroea; Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians; Gaius of Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. 5 But these had gone ahead, and were waiting for us at Troas. 6 We sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas in five days, where we stayed seven days." As Paul continued toward Jerusalem, we have the only other two references to Miletus in scripture. Acts 20 "15 Sailing from there, we came the following day opposite Chios. The next day we touched at Samos and stayed at Trogyllium, and the day after we came to Miletus. 16 For Paul had determined to sail past Ephesus, that he might not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hastening, if it were possible for him, to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. 17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called to himself the elders of the assembly." If this was the trip when Paul left Trophimus sick at Miletus, then the second reference to him in Acts may relate to a previous time when he was seen with Paul by those Jews from Asia, because they only supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. Acts 21 "27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the multitude and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, "Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place. Moreover, he also brought Greeks into the temple, and has defiled this holy place!" 29 For they had seen Trophimus, the Ephesian, with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 All the city was moved, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple. Immediately the doors were shut." Only Paul was mentioned as being apprehended.

Despite the scant information we have of some of those named by Paul, it seems obvious that he greatly valued the associations he had with other believers over his years of ministry. Paul began to close the letter with a very practical request that Timothy come to him before winter. Then there was greeting from some who may not have ever met timothy in person. the four mentioned by name appear only here in 2Timothy, and they are included in a general greeting from "all the brothers." The final words hold the very important element of that which binds all believers together: that the Lord Jesus Christ would be always with our spirit through his grace. May it be so!


--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

Lord, I want to be faithful to continue to read and learn from all scripture with the goal of applying it to my own life first, and then to share it with others as you provide opportunities whether in pleasant or unpleasant situations. I believe the word of God has the power for the salvation of souls, and the message it contains must be accepted while it is still available. You will judge those who are alive in Christ, and those who have remained dead in their sins, when you appear in your kingdom. I believe that Paul taught that all those who have been made alive in Christ through the faith that results in a love for your appearing will receive that imperishable crown of righteousness when you return.

When I consider that even the apostle Paul worked with some who abandoned their faith in favor of friendship with the world, I know that I should not be surprised if I also have that experience. May I cultivate a close relationship with those who openly show their love of the scripture and their love of their Savior. When Paul was unable to travel, he was not ashamed to ask one as precious to him in the Lord as Timothy, to come to him. And he made practical requests for items that Timothy could bring to him. May I be diligent to use for myself and share with others, both physical necessities and resources for spiritual growth. I am convinced that you Lord will deliver me from all evil that may assail me in this life, as you preserve me by grace for eternal life in your heavenly kingdom. In my times of weakness Lord, show your strength in me as I desire that you receive all the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Published 6 December 2013