Summary: In his final letter, Paul gives his "son in the faith" Timothy a series of charges to ensure that his ministry in Ephesus will be firmly grounded on Jesus Christ and to never bow to the pressures brought on by the world.
My calling to the Lord's service occurred at the same time I gave my life to Him in December of 1975 while I was in high school. Like a lot of new believers, I was ready to share my new found faith with everybody and anybody who would stop to pay attention. I wish I could tell you that my journey with the Lord Jesus continued to grow, mature, and become more serious as it pertained to the Word of God and continually living a life that was dedicated to Him. It almost came to a screeching halt for good just as it was starting. I quickly found out that my friends and family were not exactly all that supportive or understanding of what had taken place in my life. The church I attended did not give me any direction, advice, or counsel on what to do or where to start in this new venture. My calling was not taken seriously by the pastor or the deacons when I wanted to talk with them after the service to let them know what had happened to me. They probably thought that either I was not that serious, or that I was doing this to please my grandparents, or some other reason. So, I ended up in a five-year long spiritual "limbo" and level of immaturity that crippled any desire to continue with the venture.
It was not until 1980 when I left everything and everybody to go work in the oil fields of the Arabian gulf coast that I got back on my spiritual feet. I joined an Anglican church in Dubai and came under the preaching and care of the local vicar. He taught me the basic doctrines of the faith, gave me opportunities to lead Bible studies and present messages to the congregation every so often. I learned how to study the Scriptures and I grew rapidly in not just my faith, but also gained maturity in my behavior as well as responsibility in how I did my job. As time passed and I completed my education, I made it my goal to never stagnate as it pertained to growing in my faith and the continual need to study, strengthen my prayer life, and to do my best for the Master's service. It has not always been smooth or easy, but He has been faithful, patient, and merciful as my journey has progressed.
The duty of a man of God, called to serve as either a pastor, elder, or teacher in a church is to study and affirm the truth of God's Word and protect the flock from any and all doctrines and beliefs that contradict and change the words of the Lord. He is remaining true to the calling that is upon him and to never compromise, add to, or be embarrassed about the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. Paul himself gives this advice to Timothy in a series of pastoral "charges" that resound through the centuries. Timothy was to grow in the grace of Christ and to learn as much as he could about Him (2 Tim. 2:1). He was to instruct the next generation of believers and pass on the wisdom of Christ that was bestowed upon him (v.2). He was to take a lesson from soldiering and to dutifully obey the orders of the LORD (vv.3,4), to look at the farmer and see from his example that when the seeds of the Gospel are planted, the harvest will come (v.5). He was to observe the dedication and training of an athlete to run the race and obtain the prize. The lesson Paul showed Timothy was to not allow anyone or anything to hinder him from effective ministry, and not bow to compromise or failure.
Paul's desire was for Timothy to heed what he had been taught (v.7). The message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ cannot be hindered or stopped due to dire or unexpected consequences. Timothy had travelled with Paul over the years and knew that this man of God had never let anything get between him and the commission Jesus bestowed on him after the encounter on the road to Damascus years before. Paul expected Timothy and the generations that would come after him to follow the example set by the apostle. The Gospel is to be proclaimed regardless of any circumstances or opposition that would see it stopped or eliminated. It has outlived every empire, kingdom, dictatorship, and nation that has attempted to destroy it. The world still has not learned this lesson. Why, then would we want to bow to their demands and decrees that would water down the message of repentance and salvation only through Christ? Who gave these reprobates the authority to even think about thwarting the will of God anyway? They will bow to Him one day, and not to some tin-pot nose-wipe tyrant (Philippians 2:9=11). That goes for you as well if you deny or reject Jesus.