Friday after the Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:1-22 (NKJV)
1 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. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
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.
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. 17 But 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. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!
19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick. 21 Do your utmost to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren. 22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
Timothy is to fulfill his ministry strenuously, insistently, and courageously in the face of men’s indifference to sound teaching and in spite of their itching desire for false teaching. He is responsible, not to men, but to the Christ who will return to judge all men. It is Timothy who must now do the work of an evangelist. Paul’s course is run, his fight finished; he looks to the reward that awaits him and all faithful men who look in love for their Lord’s appearing, His return to reign.
Timothy is called to always be steady, literally “be sober in all things”—to not allow emotion and fleshly concerns to distract or sway his course. Paul points all believers to eternity with his reference regarding the “crown of righteousness.” Righteousness, the final verdict of the God who “justifies him who has faith in Jesus” is the crown all the Elect will receive. The “crown of life” that all who have loved Christ’s appearing shall receive through grace and faith.
Paul concludes his letter with a request for fellowship with a fellow soldier of Christ as he awaits his being called home to the Lord. Thankfully, in the fellowship of the Church we all receive what is most needful in facing the trials of life and death: Christ’s blessed Means of Grace.
We pray: Merciful God, we humbly implore You to cast the bright beams of Your light upon Your Church that we, being instructed by the doctrine of the blessed apostles, may walk in the light of Your truth and finally attain to the light of everlasting life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.