Thursday, March 19, 2009
Fight The Good Fight, Keep The Faith, And Finish The Race
2 Timothy 4 is the last of what Paul wrote as we know it. It continues on with warnings about following Paul's teaching and not any false teaching. Then he adds a few personal words.
2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NCV)
1 I give you a command in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, the One who will judge the living and the dead, and by his coming and his kingdom: 2 Preach the Good News. Be ready at all times, and tell people what they need to do. Tell them when they are wrong. Encourage them with great patience and careful teaching, 3 because the time will come when people will not listen to the true teaching but will find many more teachers who please them by saying the things they want to hear.4 They will stop listening to the truth and will begin to follow false stories.5 But you should control yourself at all times, accept troubles, do the work of telling the Good News, and complete all the duties of a servant of God.
I nearly have this whole paragraph underlined in my Bible. Paul is giving us a command to preach or tell the Good News. He says we need to be ready, just like I talked about yesterday. If we do not know our Bible, how can we preach it? However, I do believe God can even us a New Christian to spread the Gospel. Yet our duty as a servant of God is to tell the Good News, not wait for someone else to do it.
Paul says there will come a time when people will not listen to the truth and will listen to lies that are easier to accept for them. At that time we may suffer, we may have troubles, but Paul says we should control ourselves at all times. Accept your troubles with thanks that you get to suffer for your faith. Paul was happy to be persecuted for his faith. He never gave up on his faith. People will come against us as Christians, don't lash out at them, accept that as a sign you are being persecuted as Paul was. It's a good thing!
2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NCV)
6 My life is being given as an offering to God, and the time has come for me to leave this life. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now, a crown is being held for me-a crown for being right with God. The Lord, the judge who judges rightly, will give the crown to me on that day -not only to me but to all those who have waited with love for him to come again.
Paul's life was coming to an end. He was going to die in prison. We want to be able to say the same exact words Paul says, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Paul is going to receive a crown for his perseverance. He says that all those who wait with love for Christ to come will receive a crown also on that day. Think of it, we are the Kings kids so that would make us princes and princesses. Does that just thrill your heart to know? So fight the good fight, keep the faith, and finish the race.
2 Timothy 4:9-13 (NCV)
9 Do your best to come to me as soon as you can, 10 because Demas, who loved this world, left me and went to Thessalonica. Crescens went to Galatia, and Titus went to Dalmatia. 11 Luke is the only one still with me. Get Mark and bring him with you when you come, because he can help me in my work here. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When I was in Troas, I left my coat there with Carpus. So when you come, bring it to me, along with my books, particularly the ones written on parchment.
Paul continues to talk about doing the work he has. Even though he knows the ends is near he still talks about doing God's work. He wants Timothy to bring Mark to help in the work Paul is doing. Wait, how can he be doing work in prison? Ever heard of prison ministries? These letters Paul is sending out to different churches are God's work.
I found this last part funny. Oh and by the way, I left my jacket and some books at Carpus' house in Troas. Could you bring them to me when you come. Ever forget your jacket somewhere or leave your Bible behind? I have at church. It isn't long before I remember though. Just recently I was greeting for the second service after our first service and when I got done I left without my Bible. I realized it shortly after though of course when I got home.
Now in Montana, if you are wearing a coat you most likely are not going to leave it somewhere. However, the weather can change rapidly. The day might start off freezing and end up warm. So I suppose you could leave a coat behind. What does this have to do with Paul? Nothing, I just find it interesting. Paul was in prison too and he didn't have a shawl it said earlier to keep himself warm. So I'm sure he would be wanting a jacket.
The books however that Paul is talking about with parchment could be the scrolls that our Bibles come from. Those I can see why he wanted Timothy to bring, they were very important.
2 Timothy 4:14-15 (NCV)
14 Alexander the metalworker did many harmful things against me. The Lord will punish him for what he did. 15 You also should be careful that he does not hurt you, because he fought strongly against our teaching.
Ever have someone do harmful things against you? Don't worry, Paul says the Lord will punish them for what they did. Those who fight strongly against the Gospel being taught will suffer punishment. I think of all those who have fought and are fighting to remove anything to do with God from our schools and government institutes, they will suffer the punishment from God. It may bother us right now, but those who are doing that...I would just say that I wouldn't want to be them when Christ comes back.
2 Timothy 4:16-18 (NCV)
16 The first time I defended myself, no one helped me; everyone left me. May they be forgiven. 17 But the Lord stayed with me and gave me strength so I could fully tell the Good News to all those who are not Jews. So I was saved from the lion's mouth. 18 The Lord will save me when anyone tries to hurt me, and he will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. Glory forever and ever be the Lord's. Amen.
Paul forgives those who ran away from him when he needed them to stand with him.
Jesus followers ran from him when he was in trouble too. Paul knew that humans would fail him, but God would not. Our friends and family, they will fail us at times. However, God will never fail us. Oh, we may think he does when we struggle a little, but in the end He will bring us into His heavenly kingdom.
Glory to God!
2 Timothy 4:19-22 (NCV)
19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the family of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21 Try as hard as you can to come to me before winter.
Eubulus sends greetings to you. Also Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers and sisters in Christ greet you.
22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
Paul ends with telling Timothy to say hi to some people he cares about. Also he sends a hello to people with Timothy from people that are with Paul.
That would be like me saying to Golden, say high to allforhim, blessings2you, cowgirldiva, disciplevance, ilovehimso, kraftykatz, luckyone, savedbyegrace, and wonderfulone.
Abbiegirl sends a big hello to you. Also beautifuldisaster, bubbavela, dazlinkim, echo109, grandmabruce1955, greybear, kreynolds, lexyb, mom2allofthem, newcovenantmindset, perugrirma777ngo, philruby, slynn8, sosmission, throughfaith and all the brothers and sisters in Christ says hi to you all too. :laugh:
Father God, what love there is between brothers and sisters in the Lord. I pray for those who do not have that love Lord. Send Your servants out to bring them in to Your family Lord. Welcome all those You have chosen Lord. Those that reject us Lord, we pray for their souls. Help us to fight the good fight, keep our faith, and finish this race You have set before us. We want to receive the crown You have for us so we can lay it at Jesus' feet to honor Him for what He has done for us. He is our King, we are His servants. Help us to stay strong for the day when Christ comes back for us. We anxiously await that day. Amen.
In God's Love,