"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Friday, September 30, 2022

CROSSING The T’s Study in 2 TIMOTHY – Biblical Precepts & Principles for Pastoral ministry: Ch. 4 – PART One & Two.

by James Fire

INTRODUCTION: In the epistles to the Thessalonians as well as here in these epistles to Timothy, mention of the LORD’s return and the impending JUDGMENT of all souls is clearly seen. In speaking of these last days, the trademark condition is that of an absolute intolerance for the truth (ISA 59:14), that is, biblical doctrine.

How ironic in this era where “tolerance” is supremely esteemed, that the most important thing in this world – the WORD of GOD – is vehemently refused and in no way tolerated. One could say that this is an INTOLERANCE born of INIQUITY!

After addressing these issues, the apostle catches Timothy up on the happenings in his most recent days and his responses to them.

So, we’ll continue now in this last epistle of apostle Paul, covering this last chapter – these words being the very last writings of the apostle Paul before [his body’s] execution, and deliverance from this evil world and into the welcoming presence of our LORD Jesus Christ Who Himself elected this religious zealot, this persecutor who martyred many in His church, and transformed him into an apostle, and inspired him to write an entire third of our New Testament!


I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:

Paul uses this word “charge” eight times in his epistles to Timothy: These may be found in 1 TIM 1:3,18; 5:7,17; 6:13,17; 2 TIM 4:1,16. Different Greek words are employed in these verses:
Paragello (#3853) – meaning, to transmit a message, to enjoin, a charge, a command, to declare. This word is used in 1 TIM 1:3,18; 5:7. Then there is a closely related word, paraggelia (#3852) – a direct command, used in 1 TIM 1:18.
Diamarturomai (#1263) – to attest to something, to protest earnestly, testify to, witness, charge. This is used in 1 TIM 5:21; 2 TIM 4:1.
Autos (#3049) – a baffling wind, something backward, a reflexive pronoun for self (alone or in compound [with others; i.e., themselves, or ourselves]’ this may be in the third person or used as a personal pronoun This is found in 2 TIM 4:16.
In our text, the word is diamarturomai; Paul is adamant that Timothy continues to preach the Word, and he charges him before GOD and the LORD Jesus Christ – the One that the Father has committed all judgment to (JOHN 5:22,27). That’s one seriously serious charge if ever there was one! Would that every pastor took this charge as seriously!

Most people carry on with all the iniquity and rebellion as is common on what I call “Planet Rhebyl [pronounced “Rebel”] and joins in with it, or at the very least agrees with it as being good (ISA 5:20) or normal or “a person’s right” – and never consider that their words, actions – even thoughts, will one day be under the scrutiny of the Holy GOD of all creation, Who alone holds the sacred right of determine what is good and lawful, and that which is evil and perverse!

The false prophet and soothsayer Balaam thought he could curse GOD’s people for profit but was disallowed by the LORD; the GOD of Israel compelled him to speak blessings over his people instead, much to the chagrin of King Balak who hired him to speak against his enemies (the Hebrew people).

Where he couldn’t earn his wages through curses, he sought it out by corruption. He conspired with King Balak to send his beauties into the camp of Israel, seduce the men and while in the act, bring out their idols to be worshiped and incur the wrath of GOD.

GOD’s chastening wrath did come down, but He didn’t wipe the nation out as Balaam had hoped. At the end of the day, defeated and discouraged – Balaam and Balak went home. And they thought that was the end? That there would be no consequences for their actions?

Eventually, the judgment of GOD came down upon the Amalekites as well as upon Balaam – they were slain. For the details on this, check out this study on NUMBERS 31.

Also from the FOUR PRIMARY OFFICES of GOD, look at The LORD GOD YHWH Who is JUDGE.

There is no such thing as eternal injustice:
Bad news for the unredeemed (good news for us, for any injustice perpetrated upon us as the church of Jesus Christ) who will be judged for every wrong that they’ve committed or even thought of doing. They will answer to the LORD Who will judge righteously in every respect. Outside of Christ any hope of escaping judgment is utterly hopeless!

Not so for the saints: our sins were already judged and the fullest punishment for them all (past, present, and yet future) have been “paid in full” by Christ Jesus (JOHN 19:30) Who died for the sins of the world. Those who place faith in Christ receive this salvation that can be found nowhere else (ACTS 4:12).
Reject salvation in Christ and by default you (the unrepentant sinner) will face the wrathful judgment of the Holy GOD Whose Holy Law you’ve violated, but GOD so greatly desires for you to avoid this fate, that He offered up His Own Beloved Son as the Supreme Sacrifice for Sin for your sake!!

Check out The Evangelist’s Poem that ably demonstrates the truth of this!

For the believer, we face an entirely different kind of judgment: Not upon our sins, but upon our service in our lives as we disciples serve Christ Jesus our LORD. We will be examined at the Bema Seat of Christ. Our conduct, obedience, the motives with which we have lived will be scrutinized by the LORD and Head of the Church Whose eyes are a flame of fire, and as fire tests all that’s placed in it, so He will test the quality of our service (REV 1:14; 2:18; 19:12).

How can we tell whether or not we’re on track with our conduct so that on that Day we will hear, “Well done good and faithful servant”?

The Scriptures themselves are a mirror that reflects back and reveals our hearts, our motives, and thoughts, so prayerful meditation will solicit such revelation about this (JAMES 1:23-25; HEB 4:12-13) but there are specific portions that I personally have found to be excellent “spiritual barometers” as it were with which I can measure the progress (or not) of my walk:

MATTHEW Ch’s 5-7 (The Sermon on the Mount); 1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-8; GAL 5:22-25; and the Seven Love Letters from JESUS to His Churches (REVELATION Ch’s 2 and 3).

Those deeds done out of motivation of love – for the LORD and upon those upon whom these deeds were done shall be rewarded (gold, silver, precious stones – idioms for reward which incidentally not only withstand fire but are purified by it).
Those deeds performed by disciples done with any other motive (selfishness, self-exaltation, self-worth/esteem) will not be rewarded (these are represented by wood, hay, and stubble – which are not refined by fire but ravaged and turned to ashes!) See 1 COR 3:10-15; 2 COR 5:9-11.

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

The admonition here is for young pastor Timothy to preach the Word!
An admonition that goes unheeded by too, too many pastors today, who are exchanging the truth of GOD’s Word for various lies: an emergent, progressive/liberal, green, social justice, Word-Faith, Dominionist lie that supposes to be the Gospel and is definitively not!

What these are promoting, knowingly or not, is the kingdom of antichrist who will be honored by all religions, worshiped by all, and will promote the Big Lie (GEN 3:5); Humanist Evolutionary ideology of man becoming ‘God’. This is so absolutely contrary to “sound doctrine” (1 TIM 1:10; 2 TIM 4:3), which can and should be apprehended by a simple and steady study of Scripture, venerated for what it is: the GOD Inspired and Holy Word, from GENESIS to REVELATION!

It is NOT the prerogative of the preacher to amend, soft-soap, alter, abbreviate, much less to deny and desecrate the Holy Scriptures! And if I sound like a Bibliolater (one who worships the Bible) let me say, I do not – but I DO worship its Author, the LORD Jesus Christ!

You’ll want to read/watch this teaching by pastor Sonny Islas of SHINE BRIGHT Church (the place I currently fellowship); this is a very powerful and convicting presentation that is especially geared for pastors and preachers – evangelists too and any that teach the Scriptures!


It’s a sad state of affairs that one is hard-pressed to find a biblically sound fellowship where the fundamental and core doctrine is rightly divided, and where elders in ministry are busy about “convincing, rebuking, exhorting, with all longsuffering and teaching”.

Another aspect in church ministry that is sorely lacking is church discipline (follow the link to a FROM The MIND of FIRE article on this), where action is taken by the eldership upon those who are consistent in disobedience to the Scriptures. See the following article by A.M. Kisly: CHURCH ASSEMBLY: HOW IMPORTANT IS IT?

Any minister of the Word ought to “be ready in season and out of season” or in other words, ready at any given time to preach the Word! Whether that’s in a pulpit or a parlor, in the school or on the street.

The state of the average professing Christian is no less deplorable – too, too many are not consistently, regularly, methodically, systematically going through the Scriptures in a disciplined study. Not everyone is called to be a pastor (the one we typically assume has such a responsibility), but if we consider ourselves to be disciples of Christ – and everyone who claims to be born again fits this description – but only if they “continue in His Word”. To be students of the Word is everyone’s responsibility! But truly, it’s a joy!. Are You A Disciple of Jesus Christ?
As well as this, every disciple is duty bound to examine every teaching from any teacher in the light of Scripture with an open mind, and then verify its truth from examining Scripture for themselves, just as the Bereans did with the apostle Paul (who was not offended by this, as these televangelists aka wolves in sheep’s clothing are, but the apostle commended them for it; ACTS 17:11)!

It is my fervent prayer for us all as disciples to acquire a new and fresh hunger for holiness – for if we have such hunger, just as those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (MATT 5:6), we shall be filled! And being filled, we will certainly crave the Bread of Life – the Holy Manna of GOD’s Word, we will labor joyously, ardently in prayer and exult in the fellowship of the saints!

2 TIMOTHY 4:3-4
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables.

“Fables” is mentioned in the epistles a total of five times: 1 TIM 1:4; 4:7; 2 TIM 4:4 (our text here); TITUS 1:14; 2 PET 1:16. In each case, the word is defines as “a tale that is fiction, a myth, fable (from the Greek word muthos). That is, any writings outside of the Scriptures themselves that purport to bring us spiritual truth and, or insights.

Today we have many who extol the virtues of the book of Enoch, the book of Jubilee, the Apocrypha, etc. While these may provide legitimate insights into history, customs, the nature of angels and their ranking, ultimately in order to live a victorious Christian life, adept at holy living and spiritual achievements we only need the Bible.
I know there are some who disagree with this assertion, but we have the Word of GOD itself that says, “… His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 PET 1:3-4).

All things by divine power that grants us knowledge of Him within the canon of inspired Scripture. And also:

2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Note in these two passages the LORD has given us: “all things that pertain to life and godliness” and “all Scripture [that] is given by inspiration of GOD” – and for what purpose? So that we may be “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”.
So in the final analysis all we need is GOD’s Word (contrary to what Universalist Rob Bell has stated),
There are those who refer to the Bible as ‘Owner’s Manual for life’, that all we need is the Bible. Let’s agree to drop this term. It sounds nice, but it’s not true. When people say that all we need is the Bible, it is simply not true.”
I beg to differ – I believe the Bible, not Bell!

Having said this about extra-biblical works, I also want to reaffirm that these books do have their uses and can amplify things about the Bible (which the Spirit may grant apart from such writings; insights given by Him through the Bible). These books become a matter of convenience and learning about such things as angels and certain historical settings that can be placed in the context of inspired Scripture.

One might ask, Who’s to say that these 66 books are inspired, and that the Apocrypha is not? Or the book of Enoch? Or these other works? Wasn’t it the church that decided these things? No – it wasn’t that the decided, but rather recognized…

First of all, many of these extra-biblical books are under pseudonyms (false or fictitious names) something none of the authors of the Bible have done.

Second of all, most of these manuscripts were written much, much later than they purport to be (another falsification).

Third, last of all, and most importantly, these extra-biblical works don’t compare to the received canon of Scripture (they don’t “measure up”). There are certain characteristics to the Bible that are consistent in all 66 books that are absent from these other works. Those characteristics prove the fingerprints of GOD are all over these pages.

To illustrate, imagine you have a jigsaw puzzle, and some mischievous child swapped out a few pieces of that puzzle and replaced them with an equal number of pieces from a different jigsaw puzzle.

By the time you had the whole thing put together, you’d have some missing spaces, and would quickly determine that those other pieces just don’t belong. The colors and shapes simply don’t match. Now suppose you found the missing pieces; you’d be able to put those in place in quick fashion, recognizing that they most certainly belong, and complete the picture!

For more on this, check out this three part series on The CANON of SCRIPTURE: SECTION ONE: ARTICLES One, Two and Three. (SECTION TWO will be written some time forthcoming, based on F.F. Bruce’s book entitled, The Canon of Scripture.

Getting back to “fables” there are some quite outlandish fables today: such as The Lost Years of Jesus (the silent years between Jesus at 12 years of age and when He began His ministry at age 30 – supposedly He traveled to India to learn from the yogis and gurus of India, and no – I’m not making that up!). Other fables have Jesus as a Space Brother, a member of a very powerful god-like alien race that became a renegade and left ‘His appointed mission” (to guide our evolutionary process to become gods ourselves) and decided to start His own religion instead.

We can forego such nonsense, and stick with the Word of GOD, amen?


But “…the time [is coming and is now upon us] when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves [false] teachers…”

Apostasy was around for millennia; Israel had her own apostasy when they left the worship of YHWH and served foreign gods and received the just judgment due by their captivity in Assyria and in Babylon. That apostasy reasserted itself in the religious leadership during the days of the earthly ministry of the LORD Jesus the Messiah of Israel.

Even today, as a nation – while they don’t worship false gods by name per se, they are for the most part, agnostics, or advocates of other religions (such as New Age). Even those who advocate Judaism, subscribe to unbiblical Talmudic disciplines (a religion of works, apart from sacrificial offerings and a Temple which no longer exists – for now). Yet GOD is going to draw them back to become a faithful nation by breathing His Spirit into them (EZEK 11:19-20; 37:14).

Israel has been ‘put on the bench’ for a time while the church has been ‘put in the game’ and did well for the most part, but even in the days of the apostles Peter and Paul, there was need of correction (via various epistles, including the seven in the Book of REVELATION, Chapter 2 and 3) of false teachings, even heresies, and it was at this time, that some Hebrew believers apostatized from the faith, going back to the Law, willfully sinning by rejecting the Messiah (HEB 10:26).

Now, two thousand years later, the church is in the very throes of apostasy, where people are not leaving their churches (for the most part) but are leaving the Bible, all the while claiming to believe in Jesus (another, an imposter Jesus).  Pastors who are hirelings, who care nothing for the sheep, but promote false teaching whereby wolves come in, not sparing the flock.




There are countless numbers of discernment ministries out there, but the very best and most solid in my view is The BEREAN CALL (www.thebereancall.org) – not to say that I agree with everything that they teach, but in the vast majority of them, I am in full agreement!

What a sad state of affairs, that there are those who name the Name of Christ, and yet they will not tolerate biblical teaching. They adhere to their pastors (and ‘apostles’ and ‘prophets’ but see the Bible as secondary, and where it disagrees with their teacher, they side with their teacher!

I had one young woman who was part of the New Apostolic Reformation movement tell me that “the Holy Bible is Satanic” – it was several seconds before I found my voice and asked her for an explanation.

She said that it was “of GOD” back then, but now GOD is doing a “new thing” much of which contradicts how He did things then – so Satan is taking advantage by asserting the “old ways” (she didn’t read JER 6:16 apparently) and leading people astray from “the new move of GOD”.

She was so absorbed into deception that no Scripture I pointed out to her penetrated; she found Scripture to be intolerable. How alarmingly tragic!!

I find it dismaying that there can be anyone who dares to call themselves a Christian, but dismiss with the greatest of ease and confidence, the claims of Christ, and the validity of all the counsels of GOD as given to us in Scripture.

There is the question about whether those who apostatized were those who were once saved but lost their salvation (hence they “fall away from the faith” 1 TIM 4:1).

Scripture speaks of tares (MATT 13:25-40), of those bearing bad fruit (MATT 7:17-19), of false brethren (GAL 2:4) and false teachers (2 PET 2:1) – and these false apostles (and teachers) can appear as angels of light, being transformed via Satanic deception (2 COR 11:13-14). Like tares that look just like wheat, these false brethren and teachers can look just like genuine believers (for a time!) – but at some point, they reveal themselves – they no longer believe the Bible and fall away from “the faith” – note that: it doesn’t say “fall away from faith” by which we are saved, but “THE faith”. Do a word search on this phrase and you will find that in the great majority of cases, this refers to the body of doctrine that are found in the Holy Scriptures (example, JUDE 1:3).

One might give intellectual assent to the virgin birth of Christ, His Deity, His atonement, and understand that it’s by faith in Christ who died for our sins, for the forgiveness of our sins, the authority of Scripture and in believing in these things (“in vain”; see 1 COR 15:2), never receive Christ as LORD and Savior, never truly be born again – but merely “a church goer”.

It's my personal opinion that the great apostasy of the church is from the visible, not the invisible church – that is, from among the visible members of any church you may see when you walk into the place, there are those who (invisibly) are indwelt by the Spirit of GOD as born again children of the LORD who will remain faithful because of the Spirit of GOD.

THIS IS WHY it’s crucial that we “examine [ourselves] as to whether [we] are in THE faith. Test [ourselves]. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless indeed you are disqualified.” (2 COR 13:5). There are too many who base their salvation on a spoken prayer – when they’ve not repented of a life of sin, turned to Christ, and received Him as LORD and Savior!

2 TIMOTHY 4:5-7
5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Imagine a sentry guard for a maximum security prison who is constantly being caught drunk while on duty – he wouldn’t keep his job for long would he?
Paul is admonishing young pastor Timothy to be watchful – the implication here is sobriety that enables vigilance – something a person who’s intoxicated is incapable of.

Needless to say, it’s inappropriate for any Christian to “be intoxicated” – come under the influence of this wicked world system, or by the kingdom of darkness, to be compromised in any way by the insidious infiltration of false doctrine or sin or specifically pride; how much more so for those (pastors and elders) who’ve been given the care of the bride of Christ by the LORD Himself Who purchased her with His own blood!

Paul elsewhere warned Christians to the point of anguished tears:
ACTS 20:29-31
29 "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 "Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 "Therefore watch and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
Why is the church then inundated with so much spiritual leaven? One must ask, Why Are Our Watchmen Wavering? Why has the discernment gene become recessive in the body of Christ?

While church goers who are not born again in Christ, won’t endure truth, we as the saints of GOD are to endure afflictions – in all of their unpleasant varieties – physical pain and suffering from sicknesses, poverty, persecution, tribulations and troubles, loneliness, isolation, the myriad of woes and heartaches that souls in this world are subject to.

We endure them for Christ’s sake; regardless of any suffering, we worship the LORD with joy unspeakable (remember Job? JAMES 5:11):
1 PETER 1:6-9
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
Worship of GOD is never sweeter to our LORD than when we are going through suffering. This reveals that we love the LORD for Who He is, and what He has done in order to redeem us – and not whether or not we have “our best life now” on ‘easy street’.

Even though Timothy was a pastor, nonetheless his mentor reminds him that we are to do the work of an evangelist.
God has selected some to be evangelists (EPH 4:11) and has provided spiritual gifts for them; I’ve been witness to many godly men who are notable evangelists, and I marvel at their skill in guiding conversations with such grace towards the Gospel and make a delivery that yields fruit.

GOD has gifted me (so I’ve been told, and witnessed in my life) as a teacher, and an able encourager; that is my calling. Yet I am just as much a heralder of the Gospel as any evangelist. We are all of us called to evangelize, to bring the Gospel to lost souls, whether that’s across the street, on the street or the other side of the fence or the world.

Preaching the Gospel to lost souls is part of “the Great Commission” (MARK 16:15); we are also to “teach all nations” – that includes the Gospel, but also discipleship in the study of the Scriptures (MATT 28:19).

Paul encourages Timothy to fulfill his ministry and in the same breath declares that he has just about fulfilled his own! “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” One might say that the apostle Paul’s ministry was good to the last drop!

Notice once again, that Paul had kept “the faith”. He isn’t saying that he kept believing (expressing faith) to the end (though that certainly is true!) but rather that he was true to the Word, the doctrinal truths of Scripture, as opposed to others who had abused or abandoned it!

8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

How many crowns (as rewards given to the church) are mentioned in Scripture? I count five. There is the incorruptible crown (1 COR 9:25); the crown of righteousness as spoken of here (vs. 8); the crown of life (JAMES 1:12; REV 2:10); the crown of glory (1 PET 5:4); and the crown of faithfulness (“holding fast” REV 3:11).

Note the crowns that the LORD wears in REVELATION 19:12: these are diadems – lasting crowns of ruling, such as kings wear. He wears “many crowns” because He is the King of the Jews, the King of Israel, the King of Glory, the King of Righteousness – I remember fondly the preaching of pastor Samuel Lockridge in the video presentation of:

THAT’s ~ MY ~ KING!!

Yet in REVELATION 6:2, we see the rider on the white horse (one of the four horsemen) and he wears a crown as well, but in this case, it’s not a diadem, but a stephanos – these are laurel-leaved, temporary crowns dipped in gold, reserved for winners of the games, not suitable for a king at all. And he bears a bow (as in bow and arrow – possibly something different?) – not a sword. And he seems to be in rather bad company here.

For these and many other reasons, I don’t believe this is a picture of the Man from Galilee, that is Christ (as many assert) but rather, the son of perdition, the beast, the man of sin.

The crown that Paul awaited is available to all who love the appearing of our LORD Jesus Christ. And don’t we all!? BUT if we love His appearing, then we expect His appearing, and if we truly have this expectation – what will the effect be on our lives? What will be our attitude and the method of our conduct in this life?

Scripture states clearly that any who have this (genuine) hope and expectation of the return of the King will experience a purifying, sanctifying work of the Spirit in their lives (1 JN 3:3), truly, as a bride prepares to meet her bridegroom, her supreme love (ISA 61:10; 2 COR 11:2; EPH 5:26-27)!

May we honor our LORD by living holy lives, with tender, usable hearts led by His own that minister His grace to those around us. May we be faithful witnesses of Christ, His Gospel, and the coming Judgment!

2 TIMOTHY 4:9-18
9 Be diligent to come to me quickly; 10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica--Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. 12 And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come--and the books, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. 15 You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words. 16 At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

This would be the last time that Timothy would see his beloved father in the faith; the young pastor realized that the world was about to lose this apostle to the Gentiles. Having finished his course, the LORD was about to bring His faithful servant Home.

And he was prepared for the LORD to do so; how prepared are we – that given notice by a long-faced physician that we have only six months to live due to an aggressive cancer, how would we respond? Let’s live every day as though it could be our last, that is, to the fullest we can for Christ, by the power of Christ!

Demas is contrasted here with Paul the faithful – this young protégé forsook the Apostle, not at all willing to suffer reproach for the LORD’s sake. He was used in ministry previously as indicated in PHILEMON, but detoured his faith, and didn’t initiate a course correction.

John Mark, nephew of Barnabas at one time fled from Paul and company (including his uncle!) and when Barnabas suggested that they give him another chance and bring him along on another missionary journey, Paul resisted, to the point of contention and the dividing of the company. But later on in Paul’s ministry we find that he desires to have Mark brought to him for “he is profitable to me in the ministry” (2 TIM 4:11).

Notice also how he requests books, parchments, his cloak, etc. Strange requests for someone soon to be executed, don’t you think? But understanding Paul’s mind set, we could say he believed “it isn’t over until it’s over!” While there was an albeit slim chance that he might yet be delivered, he requested these things, and even if he wasn’t, the apostle coveted every available moment. If Paul was anything, he most certainly was not an idle procrastinator!

And he most certainly realized that he wasn’t a one man show (thinking that once he was gone “there would be no hope for the church without me involved!). Observe how he dispatched Tychicus to Ephesus; Carpus to Troas; how he poured so much of himself into Timothy to carry on the apostle’s work.

In the midst of opposition by enemies, and abandonment from allies – so that none stood with Paul, he declares that the LORD stood with him; rather like Daniel’s three Hebrew friends (Daniel was nowhere to be found while these were in serious trouble with King Nebuchadnezzar – possibly out of state on official business?). They were all alone to face the condemnation from the king, and yet when dumped into the fiery furnace, the LORD stood with them, and delivered them so that not even the smell of smoke was upon them!

May we remember this when we face opposition, troubles and trials, persecution, and perils; though none may go with us, still He is with us and will never forsake us (HEB 13:5).

2 TIMOTHY 4:19-22
19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick. 21 Do your utmost to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren. 22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.

May we walk in step with the Spirit of the LORD so that like Paul, at the hour of our death, we may recognize that we have finished our own race of life as we cross the finish line, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of the faith (HEB 12:2)! Amen!

So ends this tremendous epistle to Timothy! Next we will see another protégé of Paul’s, another pastor named Titus! Upon completing that epistle we will have crossed the T’s in expositing 1st and 2nd THESSALONIANS; 1st and 2nd TIMOTHY and TITUS.
Afterwards, we will delve into the Old Testament for one of my favorite books, NEHEMIAH!

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