Daily Reflections April 21, 2017
2 Timothy 4
In chapter three of 2 Timothy, we heard how the world would become increasingly hostile towards that gospel and the followers of Jesus Christ, and then how Timothy should stand firm in his faith in spite of those persecutions. Chapter four opens with those words firmly planted in the front of the reader's minds. We are living in the same time that Paul said Timothy lived, and as such, we are subject to the same animosity that the world has towards the gospel. Yet, like Timothy, we are to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to be ready at all times share the hope we have in Christ to anyone who will listen. Some will hear and be saved and others will turn from the gospel and seal their fate as enemies of God. In the age of the internet, we are already seeing an exodus from the truth of the gospel. Popular “Christian” books like “The Shack” are being touted as eye-opening towards scripture, when, in fact, they are full of ideas that contradict the word of God. Mainstream Christianity is moving away from an orthodox view of God’s word in favor of theology that makes them feel good about themselves. And yet, we are called to:
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2 ESV)
As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:5 ESV)
We can tell by his writing that Paul is an older man now. We can see that both from the announcement of his coming death and from the requests at the end of the chapter. Paul has worked for the Lord through many hardships and trials. He knows that what is waiting for him is by far better than what he has endured thus far. This section is an encouragement both to Timothy and to us. We also must be convinced that what is to come is better than what we have now. Otherwise, we will live for now and not for then.
Lastly, we see that Paul is feeling alone. Most of his companions have either deserted him or have been sent elsewhere to proclaim the gospel. This is a side note, but many of us have felt alone at times. It is in those times that we must lean heavily into the grace of God. It is also alright to feel alone at times. Paul did here, and he asks for help from his fellow believer in this time. I think we need to remember that in our times of trial, whatever they may be. When trials come run to Christ and His church.
Thanks be to God for His good provision!
Associate Pastor Jonathan Welch
Sometimes it is difficult in a fallen world to see God as righteous. The wicked are praised and even honored at funerals. Their lives are even prolonged by some of the evil things that they do. And delay of their punishment looks as if God is indifferent or impotent in carrying out deserved justice. Therefore, the natural man reasons that they can continue in their sinful ways without fear. The Preacher succinctly says,
“Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11)
However, he proclaims that this is foolish and vain. The wicked will be judged and it will not be well for them if they do not fear God. They only appear to be escaping the Almighty’s hand. He is the just judge of all mankind without partiality. Similarly, we see in 2 Peter that scoffers will come in the last days questioning the promises of coming judgement. And he gives the response to these scoffers:
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” (2 Peter 3:9-10)
So, as we see thieves prosper more than us without penalty, deceivers promoted above us without consequence, or liars celebrated without rebuke, let us hold fast to the character and promise of God. He is patient and longsuffering, not out of indifferent but because of his heartfelt desire for repentance. And although the wicked may for a time be more worldly successful, we can be confident that a time is coming when their deeds will be exposed and God will be shown as righteous.
So, brothers and sisters, fear the Lord and it will be well with you. Do not envy the wicked but rather display the eternal fruits of the Spirit. And deal with others in gentleness, trusting the Lord to execute vengeance in his perfect timing. What a glorious witness to a vain world this would be!
Yours in Christ,
Assistant Pastor Evan Webster