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Final Marching Orders! (2 Timothy 4:1-8)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 16 December 2012 00:00


1. Orders from the Commanding Officer: “I charge you therefore …” (4:1-2)

A. Source of the Commands (4:1)
1. Before God (4:1a)
2. Before Jesus (and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4:1b)
… who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
(a) Lord
(b) Christ
(c) Judge

Paul is urging Timothy to fulfill his ministry (4:5). Timothy’s ministry (and your’s – and mine!) is before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom.
Timothy was Paul’s representative at the church of Ephesus. There Timothy preached the Word of God. Paul urges Timothy to continue to do so.

B. Specific Commands (4:2)
1. Preach the word!
2. Be ready in season and out of season.
3. Convince,
4. Rebuke,
5. Exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

The reason it was vital for Timothy to keep preaching the Word was because “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine (literally this says, ‘to hold oneself up against,’ or (figuratively, ‘they will not put up’) with sound (healthy) doctrine (teaching).

Enduring in the Christian life involves holding oneself accountable to sound doctrine.
Instead people heap up for themselves teachers (word order in the original has then the phrase “tickling their ears” – and … turn their ears away from the truth, and (as a consequence will) be turned away to myths (muthous)/fables. The result would be that such a person’s Christian life will be unprofitable (3:16).
 
False teachers may sound good (tickle the ears), but they are bad for people.
Think about what is happening in the wake of the murders in Connecticut. Many politicians are calling for “a national conversation” regarding things like gun control and more government. This course of conversation tickles the ears of many (maybe the majority?) but it does not get to the root of the problem – the sinful heart of persons who do this sort of terrible thing. I encourage you to read the attached commentary by Gary Bauer. The problem in our nation is not guns; it is with the hearts of some who use them. Our nation has abandoned the Word of God and is on the verge of allowing our founding document, which is largely based in principle on God’s Word, to be ignored or abandoned. It is chilling to note how seemingly so many American citizens are willing to abandon the Constitutional protections that allow us to be free in the false hope that this will stop murders like the one last week. We need hearts changed, not ears tickled.

2. For …the time will come when they … (4:3-4) – the disobedient soldiers
A. will not endure sound doctrine (lit, will not put up with healthy doctrine), (4:3a)
but according to their own desires (lusts)
B. they will heap up for themselves teachers; (4:3b)
tickling their ears
C. and they will turn their ears from the truth,
and be turned aside to fables. (4:4)

3. But you … (4:5) – the obedient soldier
A. be watchful in all things
Timothy was to be watchful in all things.
This word (nepho) means “sober,” or figuratively as here, “alert, calm, circumspect.”
B. endure afflictions
There were afflictions to be endured in order to fulfill his ministry.
C. do the work of an evangelist
Timothy was to do the work of an evangelist, whether he had the gift of evangelism or not.
D. fulfill your ministry
Above all, we are to fulfill the ministry God has given to us in our homes, our churches, our families, our neighborhoods, our schools, etc.

Paul here essentially wrote his own epitaph in 4:6-8.
This is what you’d like someone to put on your tombstone or in the newspaper obituary. It is what you’d like someone to say about you in your eulogy.

4. For I …(4:6-8) – co-suffering (enduring, 2:12a) with Christ (Romans 8:17)
Paul’s impending martyrdom is figuratively pictured as an OT sacrifice: For I am already being poured out as a drink offering.
A. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering (4:6a)

This explains and gives a reason for the urgency of the commands in verses 2 and 5.
Timothy’s need to heed Paul’s exhortations is great due to Paul’s imprisonment and impending soon death.
B. and the time of my departure is at hand. (4:6b)
How beautiful it is to observe a man who doesn’t see death as the end. Paul talks about death like we might speak about boarding an airplane. He will be back to this place soon enough. He will rule with Christ here for a 1,000 year period - the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. And after that, he will rule with Christ on the new earth.
But for now, Paul was departing. Since his death is near, Paul can say the following statements about his life.
What Paul hoped for when he wrote 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, he now indicates that for him it was “Mission Accomplished!” Paul uses the same imagery of boxing and running:
C. I have fought the good fight, (4:7a)
D. I have finished the race, (4:7b)
In other words, Paul has fulfilled his ministry. He is holding out himself as a model for Timothy and all of us to follow.

Then he concludes the three statements with the phrase:
E. I have kept the faith. (4:7c)

This is a statement about remaining true to the Christian faith, to enduring in our confession of Christ – even through suffering and hardship.
While this could be a general reference to the whole body of truth we call the Christian faith, more likely this refers to the gospel of grace, the faith alone in Christ alone message (Galatians 1:6-9).
Paul kept the faith in the midst of all the Judaizers and mystics and intellectuals and their false gospels.

F. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness (4:8)
(1) which the Lord, (4:8)
(2) the righteous Judge, (4:8)
Paul now states what his reward will be for fulfilling his ministry. The crown of righteousness shows that Paul will be a royal person in the life to come. That is, he will rule with Christ, the King (2:12).
Christ’s kingdom will be characterized by righteousness and joy in ruling (Hebrews 1:8-9; Matthew 25:21,23). His companions will share His joy with Him as they serve Him in significant ways in administering the rulership of His kingdom.

– rewarded with co-reigning with Christ (2:12a; Romans 8:17)

Paul speaks of Jesus not only as the Lord, but also as the righteous Judge.
Sadly, many Christians today do not think of Jesus as their Judge.
Their only idea of accountability is kingdom entrance or exclusion from the kingdom.
Yet that concept is not in any way related to our works.
The only condition for gaining eternal life and with it kingdom entrance is faith in Christ.
There is no “final judgment” (at the Great White Throne) for believers. John 5:24 is clear that believers “shall not come into judgment” as it relates to our eternal destiny.
While all believers will be judged by the righteous Judge to determine our future reward once we have finished our course, we will not be judged to determine our eternal destiny. That was determined and set in stone the moment we believed and our names were inscribed in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:15).

(a) will give (ie, the crown of righteousness) to me on that Day, (4:8)
“That Day” refers to the Bema, the Judgment Seat of Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 5:9-11).

(b) [and] not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (4:8)
Clearly, Paul is holding out to Timothy and all believers the prospect of ruling with Christ.

The question is, “Will we love His appearing?”
Paul wants Timothy and all of us to love Christ’s appearing and thus to receive the same crown, that is, the same rulership with Christ, that he will receive.

So I need to ask myself: “Am I loving the thought/possibility of His appearing today?”
If I am living for myself, investing myself in the things of this world, the thought of His coming today may be considered an “interruption” to my plans because I have been investing in this present world instead of investing in the world to come!
Or if I am living in sin, the thought of His appearing today would certainly be most unwelcome and embarrassing!

But if I am loving Jesus, abiding in His Word today, then the thought of His soon appearing is exciting and wonderful to consider! Think of the sheer joy of serving Him unencumbered by our sin natures and the present limitations of our (dying) physical bodies! As John exclaims in Revelation 22:20, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
Amen,
Pastor Dave

 

 

 

 

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