Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5
The book of 2 Timothy is the final letter the Apostle Paul is known to have written while in prison for preaching the Gospel and written just prior to his execution for his faith in Jesus. Paul is writing to Timothy, who is his son in the faith -someone in whom he has discipled and invested. The letter to Timothy is a bold charge to persevere for the Gospel despite suffering (which is mentioned in every chapter of this letter: 1:8, 1:12, 2:3, 2:9, 3:11, 4:5). And what Paul was telling Timothy about 2,000 years ago applies to all who claim to follow Jesus Christ today as well.
Paul tells Timothy in verse 2 that, at the end of the day, we are going to be held accountable before God and give an account of what we have done. Do we believe what we claim? It is of eternal importance to preach the Word and to proclaim the Gospel. Paul says we should be ready in season and out of season. We are to be so saturated by the Word of God in our lives that, when an opportunity presents itself for us to proclaim the Gospel, to share the truth, to share the reason for our hope, we are ready!
Paul also says to “rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching”. This may sound intimidating to some. The Greek for rebuke is epitimao meaning to warn or correct. Pastor Voddie Baucham Jr says, “I don’t write the mail, I just deliver it”. We are to share with complete passion and patience. If someone does not understand it, explain it to them.
Teach them and don’t give up on them.
In verse 5 we read “but as for you, exercise self-control in everything”. The Word of God should be so in our blood stream that it floods out the word to men. This way, when we face any situation, we can ask ourselves, “What does Christ want of me?” I have heard it said before that you may be the only Bible a person reads. People are watching your actions. People are watching how you respond to all sorts of things. People are watching the things you post on social media. People are watching how you are handling the current events.
Do you handle it in a way that lines up with the Word of God?
As the apostle Paul writes this from a Roman jail cell, he also tells Timothy that he will endure hardship. Think of the faith witness and testimony of Paul, the Apostles and the early church. Many of them faced persecution and hardships. Faithfulness to God will typically come with some sort of suffering.
Putting your faith in Jesus will cost you something.
We are reminded to do the work of an evangelist, to proclaim and share the Good News. By doing these things we are fulfilling our ministry. Every Christian is in ministry. We all have a gift and a calling. And this final charge that Paul wrote to Timothy also applies to each of us who follow Jesus today.
Starting today, pray for opportunities to share the hope that you have with others! Is there anyone in your sphere of influence that you can share such hope with now?
Are you ready?