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2 Timothy

Continue In The Truth

2 Timothy 3:14-4:2
14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 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. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 1 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: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

Theme: Believers who live godly lives will suffer persecution

Key Verse:

2 Timothy 3:12
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

Teaching Comments:

We noted in our first lesson that this is Paul’s last letter.† It is his most personal and that trait has shown up in these closing verses.  Last week we noted that Paul knew his death was imminent and he was prepared for this event. 

2 Timothy 4:6
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.

We capture more of Paul’s inner emotions and turmoil as we look at this week’s section.

Paul admonishes Timothy to “come quickly.”  Paul yearns to lay his eyes on Timothy, his spiritual son, one last time.  Timothy has remained faithful over the years, while others have turned away. We note in 1:15-16 that “all in Asia” turned from the apostle. There Paul name Phygellus and Hermogenes as a special example of this exodus. We noted the reason for their being singled out was that they most likely were leaders.

Now Paul makes special mention of Demas as another who has forsaken the apostle. Demas’ name appears in Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24.  Demas was with Paul during his first imprisonment. He was a valued helper!  His name appears in two of Paul’s letters. But now the apostle is greatly disappointed for Demas has “for Demas has forsaken me.” For one sitting in a cold prison chamber, this must have been a terribly crushing blow. We saw in chapter one (1:16-18) how comforted Paul was to have Onesiphorus seek him out in prison. With Demas we have the opposite effect, a depressing blow delivered close to Paul’s execution.

Demas appears to have forsaken the ministry completely, for he “loved this present world” more than he loved helping Paul. Demas headed for Thessalonica. And while he chose to travel far away from Paul, we can leave Jesus for the affairs of the world without moving from our chairs. Just flip on your TV and watch the world’s salesmen draw you to Satan’s domain. The appeals of the flesh are great and all of us can succumb to them unexpectedly and suddenly, without warning.  As Paul has repeated warned Timothy, we must all be on our guard.

1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

What do you love? Has it drawn you away from Jesus? 

Having told Timothy of Demas desertion, Paul now updates his true son on the status of other fellow-workers.

These opening verses would be an excellent point to pursue the characteristics of a good worker for Christ. Demas represents a bad example, while these verses list several positive examples. Co-workers often disappoint us and fail to deliver on their assignments. Was Demas saved? Only God knows, but to borrow from Steve Farrar’s book, the Bible is full of examples of many good Christians who fail to endure in their walk of faith and fail to “Finish Strong.”

We have continually emphasized the importance of abiding in God’s Word via reading, meditation, prayer, and church attendance. The over-riding theme of this letter is the protecting of God’s Word by standing up for sound doctrine and by passing this sound doctrine on to others.  Here sits Paul in prison and his request of Timothy is that the young disciple bring him two things – a coat and the Bible!

"Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come." The Greek word for "cloak" designates an outer wrap or coat. Most likely Paulís cell is cold and damp even in summer and fall. With the coming winter, Paul will need his cloak. One may speculate that Paul was arrest at Troas. Why else would the cloak still be at Carpusí house? Unless, of course, Paul had loaned it to a friend in need?

But, as important as the warm coat, Paul yearns for Timothy to bring “the books, especially the parchments.”  We have no method of knowing exactly what these writings consist of, but based upon the methods used to record in Paul’s day, the parchments are most likely the Old Testament Scriptures. The books could be copies of some or all of his letters and other New Testament writings. The books were probably made of papyrus scrolls.

Paul remains true to his calling, even to the end. Alexander had done much harm to Paul’s ministry. We have no details of Alexander’s endeavors, but they obviously were evil deeds directed against the Gospel.  (References to an Alexander in 1 Timothy 1:20 and Acts 19:33 may or may not have been the same person.) Paul assures Timothy that Jesus will correct this injustice in due time. Here, Paul continues to draw upon his own writings and God’s plan and purposes.

Romans 12:17-19 (NKJV)
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

Paul will let the Lord punish Alexander. Paul will not do so himself.  But, the apostle has specially mentioned Alexander because he is a continuing threat to the church and to Timothy (v15). 

You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.†

Alexander is a living example of the false teachers who spread false doctrines. In closing his letter, Paul continues with the theme of this letter. We must always be on guard for those who oppose and attack the word of God. We must hold fast to the “pattern of sound words” given us by God and continually defend and protect them.

Paul laments that “no one stood with me.”  While this verse may be taking about his first imprisonment, it is more likely referring to what we commonly call a preliminary hearing. Such a hearing would be held to determine if the charges against Paul were valid to pursue. Timothy would be fully updated on the status of the first imprisonment and, if not, this would have been the kind of news to include in the first epistle to Timothy, not this one.

This may be the time when “all in Asia” abandoned Paul. But, the grace and mercy of Jesus continued to flow through Paul until the end. Every though “all forsook” Paul, the apostle pleads (with God) that it “not be charged against them.” Paul still preaches and desires that good be returned for evil.

Romans 12:17-18 (NKJV)
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

The heart of this part of the message is the faithfulness of Jesus.  Even when everyone else has abandoned us, God is still present in our lives. We may speak to Him, plead with Him, cry on Him, and pour out our every thought. Just as he stood with Paul (v17) so it will stand by you and strengthen you. 

There is much speculation about “the lion.”  While we do not have any idea what Paul meant, the reference could be to Nero, to Satan, to Paul’s prosecutor, or even to death itself.

Paul sees in Jesus a reason for the preservation of Paul’s life.  His mission was not yet concluded. He was “delivered out of the mouth of the lion” by Jesus so that “the message might be preached fully through me.” Paul still had word’s to deliver to a hungry audience. If Paul is referring to his first Roman imprisonment, these words would include all three Pastoral epistles, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. If we are correct in assuming Paul refers to some type of preliminary hearing, the word to still be preached is the letter we have been studying. 

Paul is ever faithful. God told Ananias Paul’s mission was to the Gentiles.

Acts 9:15-16 (NKJV)
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

Paul himself speaks in these same terms.

Romans 11:13 (NKJV)
13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,

Here, in his last letter, the apostle still yearns to complete his God chosen mission. The message needed to be fully preached through Paulthat all the Gentiles might hear.”

Not only had the Lord delivered Paul out of the lion’s mouth, but Paul firmly believes “the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom” (v18). We earlier look at the suffering Paul endured during his approximately thirty years of ministry. Jesus faithfully delivered Paul from each circumstance so that the apostle could finish his mission for Christ. Jesus delivered Paul from all evil and preserved him for eternity.

We need to understand the significance of this comment. It is only by abiding in Christ that we accomplish anything godly.

John 15:5 (NKJV)
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

We can only remain strong in the Lord when we remain in the Lord. Even in the face of evil circumstances, Jesus will preserve us as long as we abide in Him. It is only in remaining in Jesus, as Paul has done throughout his life, that we may accomplish heavenly assignments and survive our walk in this world as a Christian. When we fail to keep our eyes on Christ, we become like Demas and turn back to the ways and wiles of the world.  This thought should produce a warm and wonderful feeling in your breast about your Lord. Like Paul, such thoughts should produce a chorus of praise!

To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

All of Paul’s letters conclude with a list of greetings – usually both “to’s” and “from’s.”  This letter is no different. It includes a request for Timothy to pass along greetings to a few people, a couple of more update notes, and a list of greetings from several Roman Christians. It might be noted that even though Paul has sounded “alone,” he apparently has a few people around him besides Luke. Bunched in-between is a final plea for Timothy to hurry his trip to Rome.

All of Paul’s letters include a final praise or doxology. Some are longer or more detailed than others. Paul’s final closing shows his heart. Keep Jesus in your spirit and rely upon His grace.

The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.




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