As Paul comes to the end of his letter he wishes to invigorate and challenge Timothy as to the task before him.
To do this he reminds him of some things about the Lord Jesus.
1. “I charge you before God, etc.” The Lord Jesus is the Judge of the living and the dead. The Lord Jesus will judge the believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Lord Jesus will judge the unbelievers at the Great White Throne. Believers today must perform every task in such a way that they can offer it to Christ. We must strive to attain the commendation, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”
2. I charge you, says Paul, by His appearing. We should live our lives and perform our Christian duty in the conscious nearness of Christ’s return. “He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure.”
Our work must be such that it will stand the scrutiny of Christ. Our lives must be such that they will welcome the appearance of the King. Our service must be such that it will demonstrate the reality of our citizenship on the kingdom of God.
Nowhere in the New Testament are the duties of the teacher and preacher set forth more clearly than here. V. 2 gives us the nature of the charge—before God and the Lord Jesus Christ. There are five imperatives set forth with the force of military commands. There is an authoritative ring and a deep sense of urgency.
1. Preach the Word. Teach the Word. Preach the Gospel. The picture here is of a herald making a proclamation on behalf of another. God has committed to us the message of reconciliation. To us, upon whom the end of the age is come. Stress the urgency of this, the whole counsel of God.
2. Instant in season and out of season. One thing that is demanded of a herald is consistency, insistency and urgency. Whether circumstances are opportune or inopportune, we have to sow beside all waters. Redeem the one, or buy up opportunities. Ephesians 5:16
3. The next three commands follow in quick succession.
Reprove—convict of convince those who are erring.
Rebuke—an erring saint or an unregenerate person must be reprimanded using the Word. This must be done in love. The heinousness of sin must never be toned down.
Exhort—the true teacher must encourage the discouraged. He must strengthen the feeble knees, and lift up the hands that fall down. Comfort. He must do these things with all longsuffering, self restraint, patience.
Verses 3-4 give us the reason for this charge. The time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine. They will seek out teachers to satisfy their itching ears.
They will turn from the truth, and seek after myths, and man-made fiction.
In the light of these ever-present evils, the exhortation of verse 5 is important.
1. Watch those in all things. Be on the alert, constantly for error. Titus 1:9. Be calm and cool and steady. I Corinthians 15-“Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding, etc.” Joshua 1
2. Endure Sufferings—difficult days ahead. Suffer unflinchingly every hardship. Chapter 3-12. “Endure hardness as a good solider, etc.” Chapter 2-3
3. Do the work of an evangelist. The manifold tasks…the harassing difficulties…the hostility and opposition…must not hinder from being an evangelist. See sheet.
4. Fulfill thy ministry. Leave no act of service unfulfilled. “Make full proof of thy ministry.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Verse 5 is a ministry fulfilled. Timothy, Paul.
These verses constitute one of the greatest testimonies of all times to Christian fortitude and victory, especially when given in the face of impending death.
V. 7-Gives us Paul’s life in retrospect.
V. 8- Gives us Paul’s life in prospect.
V. 9- Gives us Paul’s life in introspect.
V. 6-“See I am no ready to be offered.” I am already being offered. Paul sees himself as already being poured out as a drink offering. All hopes of liberation had been shattered at his first trial before Nero. V. 16-17
Paul doesn’t refer to his maturation in grim terms of death, but rather pictures his death as a drink offering being poured out for the glory of God.
The apostle’s life had been a living sacrifice. His death is comparable to the pouring out of the wine as the last act of the sacrificial ceremony. What was a grave possibility in Phil. 2-17 is now a solemn certainty. “Even if I am to be poured as a liberation upon the sacrifice and offering of your faith.”
“And the time of my departure is at hand.” The word “departure” is a common expression for death. It means a loosening. It was used to depict the loosening of tent cords when breaking camp or the loosening of the ropes that tie the ship to the dock.
Paul thinks of his death as the departure after a brief camp. Or the sailing of a ship after a short stay in port.
Such was Paul’s evaluation of his present grim circumstances. Not a doubt, nor a fear. Philippians 1:20, “That Christ may be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.”
V. 21-“To live is Christ…to die is gain.” Such was Paul’s life in retrospect. He summarizes his life in three concise statements:
1. I have fought a good fight
2. I have finished the course
3. I have kept the faith
(1) I have fought a good fight.
The picture here is of a contest in the well-known Goal games. The athlete struggling for supremacy in the wrestling area or boxing ring. Paul literally is saying, “I have fought the grueling, agonizing contest to the bitter end.”
His life had been one continuous conflict against wicked men and Satanic forces. Ephesians 6, “We wrestle.”
The words, “I have fought” denotes completion, the contest is over. Oh the glory and grandeur and wonder of such a statement.
(2) “I have finished the course”
The figure here is specifically that of the fast race. He compares his apostolic career to that of a strenuous race. With his eyes fixed on the goal, he had driven himself relentlessly to win the prize. Philippians 3:13-14. Now the race is over, he rests at the goal and looks back over a completed course.
(3) “I have kept the faith”
He drops the figures now and states the literal face. This is “the faith” which is the whole spectrum of divine revelation and Christian doctrine. Amidst diabolic opposition and despite attacks from foes and false friends, he held tenaciously to the truth revealed to him by God.
Now he is ready to give account of his stewardship to God. He feel sincerely that he had fulfilled every obligation every laid upon him. I have fought a good fight, I have run a good race, I have kept the faith.
With one foot in the grave…but with his hear already in heaven, he raises this cry of victory to encourage young Timothy and us, just as the last dying cry of the mortally wounded general inspires his flagging troops to new courage and daring.
V. 8-“Henceforth there is laid for me a crown of righteousness,” etc. We have considered Paul’s life in introspect—retrospect. Now we will consider his life in prospect.
Paul contemplates the future with intrepidity, he rejoices at what lies before him. A crown of righteousness.
He will receive this crown from the Lord—the righteous judge. He will receive it “at that day”—the Judgment Seat of Christ.
This crown is for all those that love Christ’s appearing.
V. 9-12-As we draw to the conclusion of this exquisite letter we are confronted with a sad set of circumstances. First of all, we see a lonely warrior of Christ. Quote verse 9.
V. 13-When you come, bring my cloak with you. Bring the books and the parchments. Shivery in his cold, damp cell, Paul longs for his cloak, his books, and his parchments. He longed for the companionship of Timothy and Mark. Before anyone reached him, he was decapitated.
In verse 10 thru 12, Paul describes some of his companions. Paul was hurt at the departure of Demas. Demas had been his trusted friend and fellow worker during his first imprisonment. Colossians 4:14, Philemon 2:11. Now he “forsook” Paul—abandoned him—in the face of adversity. The reason for leaving Paul gives “as he had fallen in love with the present world.”
Crescens and Titus probably had been sent by Paul on missionary journeys. “Only Luke is with me.”
Faithful Luke was Paul’s constant companion. As the beloved physician (Col. 4:14) he was Paul’s doctor—friend—confidant—fellow worker.
Apparently he wrote this letter for Paul, faithful to the end.
V. 11-Mark had redeemed himself. It was overheard that Paul and Barnabus had fell out. Paul now had full confidence in him and urged Timothy to bring him along, as he would be very helpful in the ministry.
V. 12-Tuchicus had been sent to Ephesus. Delivered the letter to the Colossians. Col. 4:7.
V. 14-Alexander the coppersmith probably bore false witness against Paul.
V. 16-18-Describe the scene of Paul standing alone. Just like the Lord, he prayed that those who could have helped, but didn’t, will not be charged with their sin.
Though forsaken by his friends, triumphantly he announces, “The Lord stood by me, and gave me strength to proclaim the Word fully.”
This veteran warrior gave no quarter and expected none, he knew no compromise. Boldly he stood before his foes, principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places. Though literally pleading for his life, he uncompromisingly proclaimed the unsearchable riches of Christ.
The Lord delivered him and honored him on this occasion.
V. 19-The Lord will deliver me from the vicious activities of my enemies. Please note—not deliverance from death.
Soon Paul will lay his head on the executioner’s block, and pass into the presence of God through gates of splendor.
The knowledge of what God has done and would yet do filled his soul with praise, giving birth to the doxology. “To Him be the glory forever and ever, Amen.”
V. 19-21-Paul sends greetings to a few of his friends. Priscilla and Aquilla-husband and wife, lifelong friends of Paul, mentioned six times in the N.T.
Oneisephorus who had sought out Paul diligently and ministered to him in peril of his life.
V. 20-Paul explains the absence of two of his companions. Erastus was still in Corinth. Trophineus was sick and had been left in Miletos.
V. 22-He names several in this verse of whom we knew little about, but Paul knew them and loved them and sent their greetings to Timothy.
All the brethren in Rome sent their greetings to Timothy.
V. 22-The closing benediction. “The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy Spirit.” “Grace be with you.”
This may have been the last message that Paul gave to Timothy.