Pastor M. Beecroft, 10/18/2009
“By all appearances, it was not going well for Paul. It was AD 68 and he is imprisoned in Rome. He just lost his first legal hearing and knows the end of his life is at hand. He is going to be martyred. Paul knew that the time of his departure had come, but he was not in despair. He had fought the good fight and finished the race. Paul had kept the faith handed over to him by Jesus Christ. So he looked forward to the “crown of righteousness,” which the Lord would award to him by grace. So he writes to Timothy, his beloved child, and encourages him to “follow the pattern of the sound words” (2 Tim. 1:13) he had learned from Paul in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. In his second letter to him, Paul exhorts Timothy to remain faithful and work diligently in the proclamation of the Gospel. He also warns Timothy that in these last days “there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:1-6). As such, Timothy must be prepared to preach the Word of God, to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2), even though the people will “not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). Paul knew what he was talking about.
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