2 Timothy 4 Lesson

Staying Faithful In Times Of Adversity

PAUL’S FINAL MOMENTS

As Paul concludes his letter to Timothy, he understands that he will be executed soon, and he makes his final requests.  Even as Paul prepares to die, his mind is not on himself. His focus remains on others, and on spreading the gospel. 

Paul wrote to Timothy:

  • “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4:5.

To make matters worse, Paul seems to have been left by himself except for Luke who stayed with him:

  • “Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.  Only Luke is with me.” – 2 Timothy 4:10-11.

PAUL’S EXAMPLE

Paul’s example of keeping God first during times of adversity is a powerful one.  We all are going to face hard times.  We should not be surprised by this.  Paul wrote about this in the following verse:

When trouble comes our way, we are fortunate if we have strong mentors in our lives like Timothy to encourage us to remain strong in our faith and to keep serving God.    

ENDURANCE AND PERSEVERANCE

Endurance and perseverance go hand in hand. We have just read about how as Christians, we are all going to suffer. God wants to see how we will respond. When adversity strikes, do we complain and feel sorry for ourselves? Do we accept God’s plan and continue to seek ways to glorify Him and serve others? Or are we somewhere in the middle? Wherever we are in our own lives, we can always challenge ourselves to have a more Godly attitude about suffering.

Consider the following three verses:

  1. “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” - James 1:12,
  2. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” - Galatians 6:9,
  3. “We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” - Romans 5:3-5.

PERSPECTIVE

As we battle through life’s challenges, we need to remember two things:

  1. Our struggles are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us in Heaven,
  2. Whatever pain we are experiencing, it is only temporary. There will come a time when the pain subsides.

Keeping our suffering in perspective allows us to have hope in a lost world that is filled with sin. As Christians, we need to educate ourselves on what the scriptures say, and keep our suffering in its proper perspective:

  1. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18,
  2. “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” – 1 Peter 5:10,
  3. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:3-4.

CONCLUSION

At certain times in our lives, things are going to get downright hard! When we find ourselves caught in the storm, will we be able to exude grace under pressure the way that Paul did? 

Staying grounded in God’s word during these moments is critical to our salvation.  To protect ourselves against Satan’s attacks, we need to put on the full armor of God that Paul wrote about in his letter to the Ephesians. In this letter, Paul mentions six things that make up the full armor of God:

  1. Girding our loins with truth,
  2. The breastplate of righteousness,
  3. The Gospel of Peace,
  4. The shield of faith,
  5. The helmet of salvation,
  6. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

We will end today’s lesson with the following words spoken by the Apostle Paul at the end of his life. They are the same words that we hope to be able to say when our time on earth is done:

  • “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 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.” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

Comments

Pat Dermody
Dan

Timothy was probably nervous about proceeding without Paul. Would he be able to continue Paul’s work of spreading the Word? But Paul reminded Timothy that even when we think we’re all alone in life God is always there and will give Timothy the courage to carry on these works. 17:“But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear.”

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Michael

It seems like they had a very strong relationship and a lot of respect for one another. Paul acts as a great mentor in trying to prepare Timothy and keep him from repeating some of the mistakes that Paul has seen in his years of experience.

And Timothy is a great mentee - receptive to the advise of Paul, hard working and driven.

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Heather Ann
Michael

I think that it is worth mentioning that Paul is preparing Timothy to take over. Paul is giving Timothy the education and training to go on without him. I think that while there is a great strength in their relationship, there is also preparation for loss.

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Dan
Heather Ann

Hmmmm... how would Timothy “take over?

Reply
Pat Dermody
Dan

Timothy was probably nervous about proceeding without Paul. Would he be able to continue Paul’s work of spreading the Word? But Paul reminded Timothy that even when we think we’re all alone in life God is always there and will give Timothy the courage to carry on these works. 17:“But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear.”

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