Purpose of the Ministry.
Preach the Word: 2 Timothy 4:1-4.
In Chapter 4, Paul gives his final instructions to Timothy. He charged Timothy “Preach the Word, be ready in season and out of season". Paul reminds him that God will hold him accountable for the faithfulness to the Scriptures. After almost thirty years of faithful service, Paul is about to depart from this world. In light of what has been said in chapter three, this instruction is of utmost importance. It also carries divine authority and moral obligation to obey (2 Timothy 1:1). Paul reminds Timothy that the day of Christ's appearance is at hand. He is going to reward believers for their faithful service at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). Timothy is entrusted with five-fold responsibilities. Preach the Word, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke and exhort with great patience and doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2). Timothy should preach the Word. In ancient times the emperors used to send heralds with their messages. They had to herald his message when it was convenient and not so convenient. The emperor’s word must be respected and obeyed. They must herald the message whether the reaction will be favorable or unfavorable. They were not allowed to add their views to the formal message of the Emperor. Timothy was told to stick with the Word of God and not to be afraid to reprove or rebuke and exhort but preach with patience and doctrine. Paul gives the reasons for his command. First "the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching". They want to hear what pleases them. Many teachers are tempted to please the people with what they like to hear. They fail to preach the whole counsel of God. People desire to turn away from the truth to listen to myths. When preaching lacks accuracy, clarity, relevance and simplicity, listeners will be confused and distracted. Preachers should patently correct, rebuke and encourage believers with good teaching. Exhortation means to comfort and to encourage. The ministry must be balanced to edify the believers.
Reasons for preaching: 2 Timothy 4:5-8.
Paul warns that people will look for teachers who would entertain them. These false teachers reject the truth and follow strange myths. We have come to such a time now. Those who preach sound doctrines need our prayers to remain faithful. Paul exhorts Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. Our ministry must always have an evangelist purpose. If preachers don’t set an example in this area, they cannot expect people to witness Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Timothy is exhorted to be watchful and willing to endure hardship to fulfill the ministry entrusted to him (2 Timothy 4:5). There is urgency in Paul’s request because souls are at stake. The second reason for Paul’s exhortation is that his ministry was almost over and he is going to be poured out as a drink offering soon. He linked his death to a drink offering (Philippians 2:17). Paul wants that the work of the gospel must continue after he is gone. For Paul death was rest from labor and a promotion to the presence of God. He knew that he was going to be relieved of his yoke. It is a release from the curse of sin and entrance to the blessings of heaven. Reviewing his life, Paul could say that he fulfilled the ministry Christ had given him. He fought a good fight of faith, he finished the race set before him and he kept the faith. Paul was a faithful guardian of the truth and he passed it on to others (2 Timothy 4:6-7). He never drifted from the once for all given faith. He had no regret of a wasted life. Paul knew that a crown of righteousness was waiting for him. Nero may declare Paul guilty but the Lord would declare him righteous at the judgment seat of Christ. This crown is available to all those who love the appearance of Christ. What a day that will be! (Revelation 4:10, 11). Pray that we remain faithful to the Word of God.
Personal Remarks: 2 Timothy 4:9-15.
Paul longed for Timothy’s companionship. He urged Timothy to come quickly because winter may prevent him from coming if he is late. Paul is disappointed that Demas has deserted him. He loved the present world and gone to Thessalonica (2 Tim 4:10). Do not get discouraged when someone you trained lets you down. “Only Luke is with me”. Where are the rest? The disciples did the same thing to Jesus. “And they all forsook Him and fled” (Mark 14:50). Luke was a loyal servant of God. He was with Paul during those lonely days. What a beloved physician! Paul asked Timothy to bring Mark with him, for he is very useful to him for ministry. Paul and Barnabas had a strong disagreement over Mark (Acts 13:13; 15:36-41). Later on Paul and Mark were reconciled. How sad believers are unable to get reconciled. Probably Tychicus was the bearer of this Epistle . Paul is in the prison with winter drawing near. He remembers the coat and the books he left at Troas. Paul wants Timothy to bring those items. Also Paul warns Timothy of Alexander the coppersmith. Timothy knew who he was. He had done great harm to the ministry. Paul identifies him not because of any personal grudge but wants to protect Timothy from being hurt. He was confident that the Lord would repay him according to his deeds (Romans 12:19). Christians must always have the same attitude toward those who hurt them.
Conclusion: 2 Timothy 4:16-22.
In Paul’s first defense no one stood with him but it did not make him bitter. The Lord stood with Paul and strengthened him to preach the gospel. In his trial the Lord helped him and rescued him temporarily from the lion or from Nero’s execution. Paul was confident that the Lord would rescue him from every evil and allow him to enter the heavenly kingdom (Ephesians 1:13). At last Paul greets his close associates by name, Priscilla and Aquila, the household of Onesiphorus and Erastus. Trophimus had been left sick at Miletus. He was not healed despite the presence of a doctor and an apostle. There is a reason for that in the eternal council of God. Paul requests Timothy to come before winter. Paul ends his last letter by wishing God’s presence and His grace with all who read the letter. Christian life is a journey from grace to glory (4:22, 18). Pray that you may find our comfort, encouragement and hope in Christ. Amen!