Fulfill Your Ministry and End Well
2 Timothy 4:1-22, Part 4, Defending the Truth Series
From the beginning of Paul’s ministry, towards its end, Paul have encountered hardships because of the enemies of the gospel of Christ. He was not hoping anymore to be released from prison, as Emperor Nero would use him to blame for the chaos in the Roman empire. Thus, 2 Timothy chapter 4, is sort of, Paul’s last will and testament for Timothy and the Ephesian church. As you know, a last will and testament is a document that directs how assets will be distributed to children and or to dependents, when one pass away. Sometimes, only a key is given. Perhaps a key that would unlock, the front door of a house or a key to unlock treasures of the departed. And so, from this last chapter, we will learn the three keys Paul passes down to us, to help us fulfill our ministries and end well.
1. Cultivate your intimacy with Christ.
He says, “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. 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.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8.
Paul uses an image of the final drink offering to intimately link himself with the Lord.
In the OT, the final drink, along with the burnt and grain offerings, are part of God’s decrees to His people on how to properly approach Him.
The drink offering is also linked to the sacrificial offering of Christ, his precious blood that poured out on the cross.
See 1 Cor. 11:23-25, the Lord’s Table, and everything it symbolized, peace and unity with God, forgiveness, and life together in Christ, brought intimacy between us and the Lord. But it is our duty to cultivate such intimacy by obeying His commands. See Jn.14:15 also.
2. Don’t neglect the preaching of the Word.
“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: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. “ 2Timothy 4:2, NKJV.
Usually, the ministry of the Word is sidelined by many of our daily activities, like dealing with problems, work, family, hobbies, social media, travel, even ministry activities like church meetings, trainings, and practices.
So, Paul issued a forceful directive to Timothy not to neglect the preaching the Word.
He gave the reasons for preaching the Word in verses 3 to 5, that time will come, people’s ears will turn from itching to hear entertaining messages, to being deaf to God’s truth.
Most people think that God’s judgement always come in terms of “natural disasters of biblical proportions”, but it is not the case here. The most terrifying judgement of God to people is to be left alone to their rejection of God’s truth, thus, opening them to more brokenness and eventually eternal damnation.
The duty of every Christian is to preach the Word, on season and off season, even when things are inconvenient simply because we are commanded to.
How do we prepare to preach the gospel? Pray, memorize verses, and decide to be gentle. See 2 Tim. 2:24-25.
3. Complement each other’s spiritual gifts.
“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.” 2 Timothy 4:10-16
Paul did not wish to take revenge against those who wronged him. God will do it for him.
He mentioned several ministry partners who complemented his ministry and made it possible for him to fulfill it and end well.
Crescens, Titus, Luke, Mark, and Timothy all contributed to the spread of the gospel and the coming of God’s kingdom to people’s heart.
We must also work to complement each other’s spiritual gift.
The kingdom of God is also about God’s people working in harmony together to glorify God’s name.