Summary: The true church has a clear call to preach the Word in these last days of earth.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, 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 has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up 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 loved His appearing.”
Clarion = A kind of trumpet with clear, shrill tones. Loud and clear. Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary – Fifth Edition
I wonder if it is possible for us to get even the slightest sense of the passion in the heart of this great Apostle, for the preaching of the gospel, for the churches spread out across Asia and around the Mediterranean which he and his fellow ministers had started and nurtured, for this young preacher, Timothy of whom Paul speaks with such loving concern.
He calls Timothy his beloved son. His first letter that we have addresses Timothy as ‘my true child in the faith’, and in verse eleven of chapter 6 Paul proudly calls him, ‘you man of God’.
When we read the opening verses of this second letter we can get the sense of how fond Paul was of this protégé of his, who is pastoring this difficult church in the very difficult circumstances of Ephesus, home of the great temple of Artemis, where pagan worship and demonic ritual abound.
Now this is important for us to take notice of as we skip to the later portions of this letter from Paul to this pastor to whom he says things like, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” and repeatedly urges and encourages him to stand firm in the faith and to stay true to the things he has learned from the scriptures; to avoid foolish arguments and steer clear of divisive men who seek their own glory.
It is important because this is Paul’s last letter and he knows it. In verse 9 of chapter 4 he says, “Make every effort to come to me soon”, but he must have known Timothy might not be able to get to Rome before it was too late. We don’t even know if Timothy got there before it was too late.
Paul wrote, ‘…the time of my departure has come…’ He was writing some of the last words he would write, and the last letter he would write to this beloved son in the faith, and he was choosing his words carefully.
That is not to say Paul did not always choose his words carefully in order to convey precisely what the Holy Spirit laid on his heart to say; but wouldn’t anyone who knows they are writing their final words on earth to possibly the person who has been most caring and faithful to them think very carefully and endeavor to pen the words that are from the very center of their heart?
Of course they would.
If you think about the one person who means the most to you right now in your life, and imagine that you knew you were soon to depart this world, you know without question or pause that you would leave them with the most intimate thoughts – the most passionate words you could frame. Nor would it be a difficult task, for knowing you were in your very last days all else would fall away as insignificant.
All of the secondary issues, all of the petty concerns that so often steal our moments in the course of our days, any long-term plans or trivial pursuits would flee from our thinking for they would not matter any more.
Now why do I go on about this? Because I want you to see, as Christ-followers, that these admonitions and instructions and warnings in the closing portions of this letter to Timothy, because they are Divinely inspired and preserved down through the years, are as much for you and for me as they were for the preacher of old. These are the things nearest and dearest to the Apostle’s heart as he bids farewell for now, and we should receive them with the gravity and the sense of urgency with which they were first put to parchment.