After writing his first letter to Timothy, Paul left Corinth, and set sail with Titus for Crete. He left Titus in Crete to set the church in order (Titus 1:5). On his return to the mainland, he wrote his letter to Titus.
Paul intended to spend the winter in Nicapolis (Titus 3:12). While there he visited Troas, where he was arrested in the house of Carpus, and horridly taken to Rome.
His arrest was so sudden that he had no time to gather his precious books and parchments, or even his cloak to warp himself (2 Tim 4:3).
This was the beginning of Paul’s second imprisonment. It was different from the first imprisonment.
1. Then he had is own hired house – now he is kept in close confinement.
2. Then he was accessible to all – now he could only be found with difficulty and great risk – Onesiphorous; 1:16-17
3. Then he was the center of a large circle of friends – now he is almost alone – 4:10-12
4. Then he hoped for speedy liberation – now he was expecting to die
Paul’s object in writing this letter (4:16-17)
Paul had appeared before Nero once, but his case had been adjourned. He expected to appear before Nero during the winter season. He wrote, urging Timothy (who had been liberated from prison, Heb. 13:23) to come at once with Mark and bring the cloak, books, and parchments, that had been left at Troas in the house of Carpus. (4:9-11, 13-21)
Uncertain as to whether Timothy would arrive in time (he did not fore the trial and death of Paul took place in June) he wrote this letter giving him a last warning as to the coming heresies and heretics and sought to encourage him to greater zeal, courage, and steadfastness.
This epistle is unique in many ways. Apart from it being the last letter written by Paul, it is of an extremely personal character – references are made of 23 persons.
The style is strongly emotional – calling vividly to remembrance the past, and expressing some anxious thoughts of others and forgetting himself.
It is also the only epistle that gives us the names of Timothy’s relatives, and the opponents of Moses (1:5, 3:8)
During the interim period between his first and second imprisonments, Paul traveled widely. Some believe that he took the Gospel to Spain at this time. Paul labored to the end as an “Evangelist” (Anyone who preaches the Gospel). Finally, he was roughly arrested in Troas, during the last years of the dreadful reign of Nero. The reason for this outbreak of persecution (fire). At this time Christians were being martyred – the Church was being besieged by the forces of evil. It was a day of crises for Christianity.
In such circumstances, shy, sensitive, timid, anxious. Timothy stood at the darkest hour of his life. (uncertain about the future) His spiritual father – Paul – was about to be removed from the scene – hundreds of his brethren were being killed – many others were going back into the word.
During this period the Christian Church was experiencing its greatest trial in its 35 years of existence. Despite the progress, it was still a “little flock”. Humanity speaking it seemed on the verge of extinction. There were invasions into it from the world without – confusions and strifes within. There were also doubts – heresies and indifferences.
As Timothy contemplated these conditions his heart was well nigh broken – his spirit was being crushed – his whole being erupted in tears. At such a time and in such conditions, the aged apostle wrote to Timothy, His son in the faith.
Go back to the thought of being an “Evangelist”
1 Corinth. 10 “There has no testing taken you, but such as is common to man.”
Heb. 12:11 “No chastening for the present seemeth joyous” etc.
Numbers 15 “The blue ribbon.”
Come with me in spirit and visualize two men in a dimly lit dungeon of a Roman prison. Paul and Luke the beloved physician. Paul is dedicating – Luke is writing. In the words that follows we detect the outbreathing of a sensitive yet sustained soul, being inspired and supported by the Holy Spirit. We can almost see the tears in the apostles tired eyes.
In his great physical weakness he appears strong; the power of Christ was undergirding him. (2 Cor. 12 “My strength is made perfect in weakness”) Though surrounded by agonizing distress, and bitter disappointment one can sense the indwelling and outshining of the peace of God. (“And the peace of God which passeth understanding etc. Phil. 4) In short, it was evident that the indefinable, yet real sense of the presence of Christ turned the chamber of death into the palace of Christ.
Note Samuel Rutherfords experience in the dungeon at St. Andrews.
Verses 1 and 2 contain the usual apostolic salutation: Christ Jesus, Respect, Reverence, awe, adoration, worship – (three times in 2 verses)
Verses 3 and 4. Note the intense spiritual ties that bound these two men together.
1. I recall your tears “Tears” (see sheet) – explain Timothy’s tears
2. I long to see you “Yearn” homesick yearning – greatly desiring
3. I pray for you night and day without ceasing. “Prayer” (see sheet)
4. I am filled with joy when I remember your sincere and unqualified faith. “Joy” weeping may endure for a night etc. This sincere and unqualified faith, says Paul, first lived in Timothy’s grandmother and mother.
They expressed their faith in their lives. They taught Timothy from the Word (ch. 3:15). And that from a child etc. The result of this godly example and teaching was that Timothy believed and exhibited identical faith. (see Deut. 6)
V.6- Wherefore, because you are a true believer and have established sincere faith. Because you have the special energy of the Holy Spirit given you by the laying on of my hands. (see Acts 19:6, Paul at Ephesus). Stir up that gift – use Him in all His fullness and power. Paul says to a rather timid and sensitive Timothy and to all believers in every age.
1. God has not given us the spirit of timidity…but of courage – fearlessness
2. He has given us the spirit of power…power to cope with every soul-searing sorrow and crippling disappointment. To pass breaking-point and not break.
3. He gave us the spirit of love…power to love the unlovable.
4. He gave us the spirit of a sound mind…self control…control of our self in the face of panic or passion – well balanced mind. When a believer becomes a true servant of Christ, and master of himself, the Lord can use him mightily.
Preach the Word…do the work of an evangelist – 2 Tim. 4:2-5
The evangelist is a man of prayer. He realizes that the work is all of God, and that methods are of little worth.
He is also a man of faith. He relies wholly on the living God.
He is a student of Scripture, His only desire is to present the truth.
He is a man of courage, fearing not the hosts of evil – nor bonds or imprisonment.
He is a man of energy, constantly in touch with God and man; instant in season and out of season.
He is a man of perseverance, not discouraged if he fails to see immediate fruit for his labor.
Lastly, he is a man of humility, saying “not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
John Hyde, missionary to India, was an evangelist after God’s own heart. His prayer time was sacred and holy. One could hear the sighing and groaning coming from the room. The tears coursed down his cheeks. His body was weakened by foodless days and sleepless nights. Shaking and sobbing he pleads with God. “O God give me souls or I die.”
John Hyde’s prayed for one soul a day. God answered his prayer, 400 souls were saved the first year. In subsequent years of his life 800 – 1,200 – 1,600 souls were saved. Was he satisfied? Never. He had an unsatisfied longing and an undying passion for lost souls.
Rachel said to Jacob “give me children or I die”
Daily communion with God would find us: subdued by His Omnipresence, staggered by His Omnipotence, silenced by His Omniscience, solemnized by His Holiness, subdued by His glory. —John G. Paton
This man of God knelt at the grave of his young wife in the far off islands of the New Hebrides and claimed them for Christ. - Oh that God would give us the zeal that burns like fire within us and drives us to seek men for Christ.
What did the disciples ask the Lord to teach them? Did they ask Him to teach them to cast out demons – heal the sick – still the storm – how to perform miracles? No! They asked Him to teach them to pray. When they saw and heard Him pray, they realized that His life of power was the product of His life of prayer.
It was said that the Queen of England trembled when John Knox went to his knees. He prayed with such power that Scotland was awakened and kept from Roman Catholicism. He prayed with such intensity and power – “Lord give me Scotland or I die”, that God answered.
There is a deplorable lack of intense prayer today. (20-30 mins per week) There is little real waiting upon God. The time has come when we must see prayer as fundamental and foundational or we will continue to drift. To avoid this drift many assemblies are trying all kinds of programs. God does not bless through programs, He blesses through holy men of prayer.
The gold-silver-costly stones refer to the enduring quality of the builders work. The wood-hay-stubble suggest what is temporary and valueless.
The three expensive materials suggest the sound doctrine which the builder “builds” into people’s lives. The valueless materials are false or negative things.
The first three materials refer to the builders worthy motives. The other three point to his unworthy motives.
Heb 9:27 – It is appointed unto man once to die – judgment. 1 Peter 5:8 – Roaring lion. 2 Cor. 11-14 Angel of light. James 4:7 Submit yourselves to God; resist the devil and he will flee from you. 1 Cor. 11 - “Let a man examine himself. If we judge ourselves, we will not be judges.” Phil. 1 – For me to live is Christ. Gal. 6:7-8 – “Be not deceived etc. Whatever a man sows that shall he reap.”
Romans 14:11-12 As I live saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, every tongue shall confess to God, every one shall give an account of himself to God.”
The Judgment Seat
Believers will be judged by their Lord in respect of their stewardship of the spiritual gifts given them. What “sort” (kind of quality) it is. Quality will predetermine the reward, not quantity (1 Cor 3:13). There are no differences between the Lords sheep; but there are differences among the Lord’s servants.
Saved through fire – The thought here is of one rushing through the fire to safety as the building crumbles. Snatched as a burning stick from a fire.
A Broken Vessel
“A broken vessel and a contrite heart Thou wilt receive” (Psalm 51:17). God can only use broken things. A little boys lunch – Mary’s box of ointment – the Lord’s body. The breaking of the earthen vessels by Gideons men (32,000 – 22,000 went back: 10,000. Judges 7 – 300 who lapped the water). – Saul of Tarsus.
The secret of Murry McCheyne’s ministry. “Behold the Lamb of God.”
“Thy tears” said General Booth of the salvation army. The old time evangelist, broken in spirit, soaked his pillows as he pled for souls. “They that go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again rejoicing bringing their sheaves with them.”
Andrew Bonar wept and cried, “O God they perish, they perish.”
God said to Hezekiah, “I have heard thy prayers – and seen they tears” (Isa 38:5)
Job said, “Mine eyes poureth out tears.” (Job 16:20)
David said, “I make my bed to swim, I water my couch with tears.” (Psalm 6:6)Jeremiah said, “O that my eyes were a fountain of tears” (Jeremiah 9:1)
Are you for real? Are you what you appear to be? Are you putting on a show, and masquerading as a spiritual Christian? Many are hiding under s façade. Many are acting their part well. “They honor God with their lips, but their heart is far from Him.”
The Word admonishes us to drop the façade, take off the mask. Stop trying to impress others. Stop covering up your coldness, lethargy, and sin. Stop pretending to be spiritual and ‘victorious.’
Let us demonstrate unfeigned faith, sincere, genuine faith and walk among men as a prince of God.
Luke 7 “and began to wash His feet with tears”
Acts 20 “Paul warned everyone for three years with tears night and day.”
Heb 5:7 “With strong crying and tears.”
Tearless hearts can never be the heralds of the passion of Christ.