Final words from a Faithful man
Much has happened from the first letter Paul wrote to Timothy and this letter. Somewhere around A.D. 58 Paul was arrested in Jerusalem. For three years he goes from one trial to another. We can read about these trials in the book of Acts. From A. D. 61-63 Paul undergoes his first Roman imprisonment, which is where the book of Acts leaves off. It appears that from A. D. 64-67 Paul was released from prison. During this time he covered a good deal of territory preaching the gospel. It was also during this time in which he wrote his first letter to Timothy.
In A. D. 67 Paul is arrested again. He stays in prison for about one year. In A. D. 68 Paul is beheaded in Rome, but just before he does he writes one last letter know as Second Timothy. It will not be long before Paul will send Tychicus to Ephesus to take over for Timothy so that he can come to Rome, visit Paul one last time and take over his ministry.
There are two verses that tell the theme of this letter.
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2
The main word of the epistle is the word “loyal.” Paul tells Timothy to be loyal in suffering, loyal in service, loyal in face of apostasy, and loyal to his servants.
The words of 2 Timothy are the final written words from Paul. I believe that a person’s last words should be paid close attention to. If a man or woman is on their death bed and they breathe a few last words, they are valuable. I have been blessed in that I have not experienced death often in my 31 years. There have been however, a few loved ones that I have had to stand next to their bed as the Lord called them home. I can assure you that I will forever remember those moments.
These final words have a mark of sadness that we do not see in other letters. In spite of this sadness there is also the tone of triumph.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” 2 Timothy 4:7
As Paul pens these words you can almost picture a dark cloud beginning to hover over the church. This dark cloud will soon turn into a storm. This dark cloud is apostasy. Webster defined apostasy as a “total desertion of the principle of faith.”
You and I would like to believe that the gospel message will eventually save the whole world, but this cannot be supported in light of the scriptures. Speaking of the time in which he returns to the earth our Lord asked the question:
“When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
The way this statement is phrased in the Greek it demands a negative answer. The answer is “No, he will not find faith on the earth.” Soon the true church will be raptured away and so called church that is left behind will go into total apostasy.
When you look out onto the horizon of the church you can see this same dark storm brewing. In the world in which we live is getting worse, and will continue to do so. In chapter three Paul will list 19 words or phrases to describe these terrible times. He will say things like “men will be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God”. Paul says that in the last days men and women will go against nature speaking of the sin of homosexuality. Children will be in rebellion against their parents. These are just a few, but we will cover it in more detail when we get to that chapter.
If you cannot see the storm on the horizon then you are not looking. Please, I urge you, be prepared to meet God. I believe the next big event on God’s time-table is the return of Christ to call His church away. I will warn you along with Paul that dark days are ahead. If you think things are bad now, you do not want to be here when the true church leaves.