1 & 2 Timothy Part Three Dive
THE FINAL WORDS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL - TAG YOU'RE IT!
This is it; after 13 letters, beatings, stoning, shipwrecks, walking over thousands of miles, churches planted, thousands of messages preached, whole regions and areas impacted for Christ, Gentiles included, the gospel protected, a life lived to the fullness for the gospel of God, Paul is done and he is writing his final letter to his son of the faith, Timothy.
Yes TYB, this is it! This is the final letter ever written by Paul and you are going to love it!
If you were writing your final letter what would you write, what would you pass onto your children, your family, what would you want them to remember and do after you had gone? This is a very important moment. And we have this incredible moment with Paul in our Bible. So don’t just quickly skim 2 Timothy like it’s the bad sequel to a good movie, savour every word as though this was the last time you are going to hear from this great man of God.
Paul is passionate, in both of these letters, to give Timothy a renewed sense of purpose and charge. The word ‘charge’ actually happens 12 times in both letters. Charge means that this is now your responsibility, take it on yourself. You are going to hear this charge in the language that Paul uses, he uses words like guard, devote, pursue, be strong, train, command and urge. It is the sound of the passing on of the responsibility.
Look at his final words:
2 Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day...
Can you hear his heart, Paul is saying Timothy step up, I’m about to go, my time is done, no longer will I be telling you what to do, where you are to go, I have run my race and passing the baton to you - this is now your baton – take it and run with it! Tag you're it – take action, step into your calling, be strong and run!
Let’s look at some of the verses across the two books that Paul uses to motivate Timothy. Today let them motivate you afresh, highlight them in your Bible and make notes in your margin of what they mean to you. These are not all of them so as you read 1 & 2 Timothy highlight the ones that really impact you!
BE NOURISHED IN THE WORDS OF FAITH AND SOUND TEACHING - 1 Timothy 4:6
TRAIN YOURSELF TO BE GODLY - 1 Timothy 4:7
COMMAND AND TEACH - 1 Timothy 4:11 (Look at the strong language he is using - study what “Command” means)
DON’T LET ANYONE LOOK DOWN ON YOU - 1 Timothy 4:12
BE AN EXAMPLE IN SPEECH, CONDUCT, LOVE - 1 Timothy 4:12 b
DEVOTE YOURSELF TO READING SCRIPTURE - 1 Timothy 4:13
DON’T NEGLECT YOUR GIFT - 1 Timothy 4:14
BE DILIGENT - 1 Timothy 4:15
WATCH YOUR LIFE AND DOCTRINE CLOSELY - 1 Timothy 4:16
PERSEVERE IN THEM – keep going
PURSUE RIGHTEOUSNESS, GODLINESS, FAITH, LOVE - 1 Timothy 6:11
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH - 1 Timothy 6:12
TAKE HOLD OF ETERNAL LIFE - 1 Timothy 6:12b
GUARD WHAT HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED TO YOU - 1 Timothy 6:20
FAN INTO FLAME THE GIFT OF GOD - 2 Timothy 1:6-7
DON’T BE AFRAID - 2 Timothy 1:7 (Don’t you love this, it's not trying not to be afraid - its a command - don’t be afraid!)
KEEP THE PATTERN OF SOUND TEACHING - 2 Timothy 1:13
GUARD THE GOOD DEPOSIT, GUARD IT - 2 Timothy 1:14
BE STRONG – ATHLETE, SOLDIER FARMER - 2 Timothy 2:6
PREACH – Be bold - 2 Timothy 4:1
How great are these verses? As you study them, let them empower you, impart that charge and encouragement to you again. This is it from Paul so really take note of all he is saying.
Now throughout this letter even though Paul is super supportive of Timothy, he is a little discouraged himself. Let me show you the difference: we can hear in this letter that Paul is encouraging his son and telling him to be strong. Guard my message I have taught you to preach, guard the sound doctrine that we have fought so hard to keep, guard the words that we have taught, preach the Word, teach the sound doctrine that Paul had fought so boldly to maintain. Fight the good fight, take hold of eternal life and all the amazing things we studied above BUT even though Paul is speaking boldness and passion to Timothy you can hear in himself he is a little discouraged. You can hear it as you read 2 Timothy, let me show you what I mean:
2 Timothy 1:15 As you know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.
2 Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 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.
Can you hear the sound in these verses, he is done, finished? He knows his race is over and he is ready to go home to be with God. This is different from what we have heard before in Philippians 1:23 Paul talks about his desire to go home but he ends his thoughts with but it is more necessary for you if I remain. The letter is intensely personal. Paul is alone in prison at Rome, awaiting trial and certain death. He longs to see his son Timothy and to encourage him to take his place in the ministry of the Gospel. Paul sees death and defeat all around him. Dr Sidlow Baxter, in Explore the Book, points out that the "some" of 1 Timothy has become "all" in 2 Timothy. "Some have turned aside" (1:6); “some have made shipwreck" (1:19); "some have turned aside after Satan" (5:15); "some have been led astray" (6:10); and "some have erred" (6:20). But in 2 Timothy we read: "all have turned away from me" (1:15); "all forsook me"! (4:16). Christians were turning from the faith, and Paul urged young Timothy to be true to his calling and fulfil his ministry. Woven into the exhortations in this letter are the personal sentiments and concerns of the great apostle.
Paul knew his time had come to an end and please try not to cry when you read this book, his language is strong to his son in the faith, my race is run, be strong, guard what you have, be diligent and take the baton, but he knows he is about to die for the faith that he so passionately fought for. If you ever get the chance I would encourage you to watch the movie Paul, the Apostle of Christ with Jim Caviezel and James Faulkner. It shows the time these letters were written, in it, Paul actually says “give this letter to Timothy” this is what we are reading today! The movie really shows you the heart of this incredible man of God.
So as you read 2 Timothy, know that this is not a letter of defeat, this is the final letter of a man who poured himself out for the gospel. This is the final letter of a man that changed Christianity forever! Christianity would look very different today if it wasn’t for the passion, conviction and obedience of Paul. So take note of the instructions, take note of Paul’s heart, this man of fire, this man of passion, this man who has made us laugh, cry, convicted us to the core, challenged us to keep going, poured out his life for Jesus, stirred us to die to ourselves, shown us how to think through our salvation, given us the theology that we stand upon today, allowed us Gentiles into this amazing faith and spread the gospel across the globe is about to say his final preach.
Stop, listen and take note – these are the final words of Paul – TAG YOUR IT!