2 Timothy 4:1-8 (NIV)
1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
In WWII, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was imprisoned for taking a stand against Hitler. While in a German prison, he continued to urge the Christian believers to resist Nazi tyranny. A group of these Christians, believing that Hitler was the Antichrist, asked Bonhoeffer, “Why do you expose yourself to all this danger? Jesus will return any day, and all your work and suffering will be for nothing.” Bonhoeffer replied, “If Jesus returns tomorrow, then tomorrow I’ll rest from my labor. But today I have work to do. I must continue the struggle until it’s finished.”
In this passage, the Apostle Paul also writes from a prison. He is aware that his final days are drawing near and proclaims an incredible vision of grace for Timothy to also pursue – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Timothy is urged to continue the hard work of forwarding the Gospel to the next generation; and once more, Paul encourages him to endure hardship with patience and careful instruction. But over this all, Paul reminds Timothy of the Lord, the righteous judge – the one full of grace and mercy – who will vindicate all who set their hearts to trust Him and live and suffer for His kingdom.
Responding to the message:
The Apostle Paul lived with one sole passion of advancing the Gospel, which then motivated him to work hard. He was absolutely relentless and held onto the Gospel even in the toughest of situations. Let’s spend time in prayer asking for the Spirit’s empowerment for the endurance to fight through even the tough times so that the Gospel will be proclaimed with our lives.