Summary: I realize that this text is a very common text, is preached often. yet how many of us stay in the fight to finish it, can we say that we have truly finished the race,
TO KEEP, TO CLIMB, TO FIGHT
(So, to understand the text, we need to know that Paul and Timothy were speaking to each other as student and teacher with Paul trying to inspire and encourage but with warnings.)
Turn with me to 2 Timothy 4:1-7.
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is going to judge the living and the dead in accordance with His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and teaching. For there will be a time when they will not put up with sound doctrine, but according to their own lusts, they will heap up for themselves teachers, tickling their ears, and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to myths. You however be watchful in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has arrived. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.
Paul starts this chapter with a final charge, an urging for Timothy to fulfill his role in the ministry God has appointed him to, as he will one day stand before God who will judge, yet Timothy is at tipping point, be ready in season and out of season, be on standby always, to preach the word, to announce, to make known the truth about Jesus, yet at the same time Paul is telling Timothy to rebuke, call attention to wrongdoing and assign responsibility, replace incorrect ideas with the correct one by preaching the Word of God.
As we know, people only want to hear, what they want to hear, so, instead of listening to the truth, they are going to go and listen to fairy tales, they will turn from the truth, yet Paul is now encouraging Timothy to keep his head, be cool, calm, and clear, be watchful and alert. Do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Paul is teaching Timothy all he knows, as his death will be his final offering, he has run his race, it is now time for Timothy to do his race.
Have you ever wanted to bail when the going gets tough? Or wanted to pull out of something that is too hard?
I recall a time when my cell and I went to Suikerbos Rand, all excited, ready to go, up the mountain we walked, I was at the back of the row, I could see all the others up ahead, all I felt like doing was to turn around and go back down, I did not thanks to the encouraging shouts from the others, I carried on, my reward, spending time with God on the mountain top.
If we were to be all honest, we would all want to go back to the comfort zone, allow our human nature to drag us back down the mountain, saying it is too tough, cannot do this. Isolation, disappointment become our daily companions, taking over our daily lives, now I am not speaking about the pandemic isolation but the isolation that you place yourself in by going against sound judgement, we start thinking irrational thoughts, it is not worth it, might as well give up.
If you are a person that aspires to be someone or do something in your life… you dream about what would be…. instead, you wake up to what is…it is hard…you want to climb this mountain…but.
You want to know what I think…that tough times do not just reveal what is in you, it can reveal what is God’s character in your life. I mean if you are in that place, always fighting, arguing, questioning should I carry on? If you are about to turn your back then just maybe you are in the right place at the right time…BECAUSE MAYBE GOD WANTS TO MOVE IN YOUR WEAKNESS, TO DO SOMETHING FOR YOU RIGHT THEN.
As we look at this text, Timothy is climbing his mountain, he must decide, he needs a push…to carry on or to bail out. (sometimes when we get stuck and need a push) so, people are leaving his church, there are problems in his ministry, people turn away from the truth and on and on it goes, here Paul encourages Timothy to be ready, to take a firm stand, dig deep, keep the truth, keep faithful to what God called you to.
How many of you have retreated? Even stopped? The kingdom of God is advancing, not in the way you would like it but you have to stay at your post, remember it tells us in Ephesians 6 that we are not fighting about something we can see, THE ENEMY WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO GIVE UP, FOR YOU TO TURN AND RUN.