Read His Words Before Ours!
Well this just might be it.
The Sovereign hand of our Lord Jesus Christ released me for a time from Roman house arrest. I did all I could in that brief time to continue visiting the brotherhood throughout Asia, preaching the gospel to all who would listen and teaching the established churches, encouraging young pastors to hold fast to what they’d been taught.
By the time I returned to Rome however, the city was in chaos.
Controversies were being stirred up, and those who followed Jesus were beginning to be hated, threatened and accused of wrong-doing. When I made my defense, there were no co-laborers who stood beside me, in fact all of them deserted me! However, the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that I might fully preach the word and all the Gentiles might hear it (2 Timothy 4:17).
I was indeed rescued from the lion’s mouth, but here I sit once again bound up, yet this time chained in a Roman dungeon. And this, this just might be it.
As it may be the end, there’s a fire in my bones.
There’s a pouring out of all the things that have been rushing through my mind, my heart, my soul for the sake of the church, and ultimately, for the sake of the glorious appearing of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
My body might be guarded night and day, weak as it is, but my heart and soul are set ablaze to send more letters to the brothers and sisters who need them. Why? Because this is a battle – it is a fight for faith to the end, both of myself and for my brotherhood.
I might be the one in chains, but they must know that all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). For there is no other option for a good soldier but to share in the sufferings of Christ (2 Timothy 2:3).
That is what I am doing – bound up in chains for the gospel I have preached.
Yet, the Word of God is not bound!
Do they see it?
Do they see how it’s spreading, taking off, taken in, and setting whole regions ablaze?
This is why we pour ourselves out – this is why we suffer – for the sake of the elect, those chosen by God. And this cosmic injustice that saves us all is that even if we are faithless, God remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13)
I am thinking of one dear child of mine in the faith, Timothy. His is a sincere faith, which was passed on to him from his mother and grandmother – dear women of faith themselves. I praise God for how Timothy received the gospel message and how, as the elders and I laid hands on him, he took up this charge and commission to serve the church of Christ faithfully.
But oh, I must remind him that just as he followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and endurance, along with the persecutions and sufferings, he must continue in what he has learned and firmly believed (2 Timothy 3:10-11a, 14).
Yes, he must be warned! In these days, it is becoming more and more difficult to discern truth and preach the gospel without distraction. Many are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:4b), and will completely oppose the truth.
I know my dear Timothy understands where truth comes from and how from infancy he has known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give him wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
I must remind him to be ready to preach the same gospel he first received is of utmost importance, because the risk for not sharing its fullness grows increasingly larger.
The risks of death and suffering will grow, yes.
But the risk of leading brothers and sisters onto a deceptive path to hell is far worse!
Many will turn away from truth and will beg to hear what their wicked hearts long to hear, rather than the truth from God Himself. So I must admonish Timothy, my dear son in the faith, to exercise self-control in everything, endure hardship, to do the work of an evangelist, and to fulfill his ministry (2 Timothy 4:5).
For this is what God has charged of me, and for what I have fought the good fight for.
I have kept the faith in Christ that first came to me, and I will finish this race.
But first, I must pass the torch to the brethren so that they too might fight the good fight in the face of opposition and come through awaiting the crown of righteousness that the Lord will award us in that final day!
So this truly might be it for me.
For in this way I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close (2 Timothy 4:6). But this I know and trust completely: The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:18)
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!