Summary: These are the last recorded words of Paul. One’s last words often tell us where his priorities were.
It is significant that Paul’s last recorded words were to another preacher. Paul placed a great emphasis on the proclamation of the Word of God. He insisted on a certain level of job performance for himself and others who did the proclaiming.
Since it is necessary for those who proclaim the Word to maintain high levels of performance - then they must have hearers supporting and cooperating with them in the effort.
As Paul nears the end of his life he has no regrets. He could testify that he had done his best.
Nearing the end, he spoke of the things that mattered most.
I. The Preaching of the Word. 2 Tim. 4:1-4
The word "preach" in verse 2 means "to proclaim like a herald." A herald’s job was simply to proclaim the will of the ruler. This was not the same as the role of ambassador that Paul mentions elsewhere (2 Corin. 5:20). A herald did not negotiate; he proclaimed the word of the ruler.
A. Because Christ will judge by the standard set in the Word. (Verse 1)
This means clear instructions must be given; "plain preahing". The Word must be spelled out. Hearers need to know what is expected of them by their Lord.
B. Because people need the Word even when they don’t realize it. (Verse 2)
The hearers will not always be served their favorite doctrines. If we eat our favorite food at every meal our diet will be insufficient for the maintenance of good health.
C. Because the Word is the only defense against fables. (Verses 3-4)
Beware of preaching that always offers "instant relief". Usually this is a tell-tale sign of false doctrine.
II. The Fulfilling of the Ministry. 2 Tim. 4:5-8
A. By guarding against false teaching and by enduring affliction. (Verses 3,5a,10)
Some things you just look for under certain circumstances.
When you go through tall weeds in summer you look for snakes in the grass.
When you go through rough times look for false teaching to appeal to you.
B. By doing the work of an evangelist. (Verse 5b)
The proclamation of the Good News is always needed. A faithful preacher will insert the Gospel in his menu of preaching often.
The church needs to help the pastor by bringing the lost to hear the Gospel!
C. By remembering the time to minister is limited but rewards await us. (Verses 6-8)
A "crown...not for me only". For everyone that loves His appearing!
III. Diligence and Faithfulness - 2 Tim. 4:9-22
A. Some forsake their preacher. (Verse 16)
B. Many are loyal - Paul lists several people by name who were loyal to him.
Without diligence and loyalty future generations will not have the privilege of hearing the Gospel.