TODAY’S READING: 2 Timothy
Second Timothy is considered Paul’s last epistle before his death in Rome. Writing around 67 A.D., Paul encouraged Timothy to be a faithful missionary pastor, enduring in the face of opposition from false teachers. Timothy was also encouraged to carry on gospel ministry and to train up others who will carry on the work when he was gone.
Paul was clear about his assignment right to the end. He reminded Timothy: “I was appointed a preacher, a missionary, and a teacher of the Gentiles” (2 Tim. 1:11). Paul’s point was that Timothy too was appointed a preacher, missionary, and teacher who should not fear, who should not be ashamed of the testimony of Jesus, and who should not shirk suffering for the gospel’s sake. We are fearless, unashamed, and willing to suffer because we know whom we have believed and are persuaded that He is able to keep what we have committed to Him until that day. What day? The day of the Lord when Jesus comes back to judge us regarding whether we obeyed Him and glorified Him to the ends of the earth among all peoples by preaching, missionizing, and teaching.
Let us be under no illusion about Paul’s last words to Timothy which are of first importance to us. Paul understood the Scriptures and the intention of God to be glorified by every people group. Paul gave his life to this and expected his disciples to do the same. What Timothy heard and saw in Paul among many witnesses, he was to pass on to faithful men who would then teach others. The hard fighting warrior, the hard running competitor, and the hardworking farmer are all in the context of Timothy being instructed to live and die in missionary focus as Paul did. Missionary oriented Christianity is the biblical expectation for all men and all women from all nations across all time of all vocations. Timothy was a pastor, yet Paul urged him to live and die for the glory of God among the nations. All Timothy’s fighting, running, and laboring was to be focused on Jesus being glorified by every tongue. Timothy was to remind and charge all he discipled that they were to focus on this grand goal and not get pulled down into silly disputes. The defense of good doctrine and the call to holy living are for this purpose: that we might in unrestrained power make Jesus famous among the nations.
Paul closed his life with one last reminder of two missionary essentials: First, persecution is normal and all who desire to be missionary hearted like Jesus will suffer. Second, preaching is primal and when Jesus comes we will be judged according to whether or not we were faithful preachers of the Word and whether or not we did the work of evangelism among the nations.
If we summarize half of Acts, Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and possibly Hebrews, it would simply be these final words of Paul: “The Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear” (4:17). Amen. Maranatha.
 The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 1377.