Thursday, August 10, 2023

2023.08.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Timothy 4:9–22

Read 2 Timothy 4:9–22

Questions from the Scripture text: What is the first/primary command in 2 Timothy 4:9? What would this diligence hasten? For whom would Timothy be making up (2 Timothy 4:10)? Why did Demas leave? Where did he go? What other men have had to go? Who is with Paul (2 Timothy 4:11)? For whom else does Paul ask? Why? Whom did Paul send to make up for Timothy’s absence in Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:12)? What four things does Paul ask Timothy to bring (2 Timothy 4:13)? Which, most of all? Who did what to whom (2 Timothy 4:14)? What does Paul call down upon him? Whom does Paul warn (2 Timothy 4:15a)? Why (verse 15b)? What happened, when Paul defended himself against Alexander’s words (2 Timothy 4:16)? What does Paul desire for them? Who stood with Paul (2 Timothy 4:17)? What did He do to Paul? Why? From what has Paul already been delivered? From what else will he be delivered (2 Timothy 4:18)? Unto what end? To whom does he send greetings (2 Timothy 4:19)? About whom does he provide information (2 Timothy 4:20)? What does he reiterate in 2 Timothy 4:21 (cf.2 Timothy 4:13a )? Who greet Timothy? Finally, Who greets Timothy through the apostle (2 Timothy 4:22, cf. 2 Timothy 4:17)? 

What does a dying apostle desire? 2 Timothy 4:9–22 looks forward to the second serial reading of in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these fourteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that a dying apostle desires companionship in the ministry, Scripture, a healthy church, the spread of the gospel, and continued expression of the grace of Christ. 

The apostle has just announced his imminent death in 2 Timothy 4:6-8. So, what does he want from Timothy?

Companionship in the ministrỵ. The Lord has designed fellowship with Him to be enjoyed in fellowship with each other. This is true of the ministry as well. Paul was down just to Luke (2 Timothy 4:11). Galatia and Dalmatia needed help, so Crescens and Titus were sent. Someone had to carry this letter, and who better than Tychicus (2 Timothy 4:12), who had carried Ephesians (cf. Ephesians 6:21) and Colossians (cf. Colossians 4:7)? 

Sadly, Demas found some sort of earthly advantage in continuing his ministry in Thessalonica—and that leaves Paul with just Luke. Gloriously, there has been a wonderful conclusion to the tragedy of Acts 15:37–39. Either Mark has grown, or Paul has softened (or, probably, both), and now he is “useful for the ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). This is how we know the greater purpose for desiring Timothy to come. Throughout the letter, Paul has addressed him as an affectionate father to a son, but Paul still has his eye on the mission, “the ministry” (article in the original). 

Scripture. Winter is coming (2 Timothy 4:21), which is why diligence and quickness is needed on Timothy’s part (2 Timothy 4:9) so that Paul’s thick, wool wrap (2 Timothy 4:13) will arrive in time. But Paul’s spiritual needs are as important as his bodily needs. The books (papyrus rolls) and the parchments were happily not on the boat to be ruined, but providentially back in Ephesus with Timothy. Now, the apostle would like to handle holy Scripture one last time in this world. It is likely that he knew the text by heart. But the fact that God has inscribed, inscripturated, His Word for us is a physical miracle to be treasured. (Even for us after the age of the printing press; perhaps the digital age will make the precious inscriptions too rare once again). 

A healthy church. Paul has warnings for Timothy about Alexander. We can see that he’s not being vindictive, by his prayer for the forgiveness of the rest of the church, who had all forsaken him (2 Timothy 4:16). But it is in behalf of that church that he cries out for justice in 2 Timothy 4:14. And it is important, for the sake of the church, that Timothy be prepared to do word-battle (2 Timothy 4:15) against Alexander’s teaching. This may cost Timothy personally, as it had done Paul (2 Timothy 4:16, cf. 2 Timothy 3:10–13), but if he is going to continue in the ministry and the faith (cf. 2 Timothy 3:14–4:5), he is going to have to identify those who threaten her with their false teaching. Timothy can count on the Lord (2 Timothy 4:17) to Whom that ministry belongs.

The spread of the gospel. Paul knew the personal love and help of the Lord Jesus, to be sure. But, it was from Christ Himself that Paul had obtained the great priority in 2 Timothy 4:17: “that the message might be preached fully and that all the nations might hear.” Personally, Paul was already delivered from the lion that is death itself (verse 17, cf. Psalm 22:21), and he was about to be delivered even from remaining sin (2 Timothy 4:18). Believers who are sure of current justification and the coming completion of their sanctification ought to devote themselves to the service of the Savior, unto the glory of the Savior! Are you sure of justification and sanctification in Christ? Are you devoted to His service, unto His glory?

Continued expression of the grace of Christ. One lovely way that His glory is displayed is in the care of the saints for one another. Paul greets Prisca and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 4:19). He knows that Timothy will be lovingly interested in how Erastus and Trophimus are (2 Timothy 4:20). Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren care about Timothy. Where did all of these saints get this love for one another? From the Lord Jesus Himself. The Lord Who loves us and has given His Spirit, that He might be with our spirit. The Lord Whose blessedness has replaced our cursedness, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weakness… which is to say, the Lord Whose grace is with us (2 Timothy 4:22). May He be glorified in the graciousness of His people to one another!

If you were about to die, what would you want? How does your life show Christ’s love for His Word and His church?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your grace to us to save us from the lion that is death and assure us that we will one day be rid of evil completely. Forgive us for how easily we fall in love with this world, and grant instead that we would be devoted to Your work. Forgive us for how small our love for Your church is, and grow that love by the grace of Christ, Whose love it is, and in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

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