I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of His appearing and His kingdom; Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not. 2 Timothy 4:1-2 HCSB
Paul was on the home stretch of his life as he wrote these words. He was imprisoned in Rome and he knew that he was soon going to be executed. He was writing to Timothy, a follower of Jesus that was at least 25 years younger than Paul. Paul had discipled him and now he was passing the baton on to Timothy and he wanted to ensure that the Gospel message wouldn’t be lost, watered down, or changed in any way.
Paul was giving Timothy the charge of maintaining the most important things because he knew he was soon to be executed. Timothy was to carry on the torch that has been eventually passed on to us, almost 2000 years later. Why was Timothy to keep the Gospel message going? Paul gave Timothy three reasons why he should take the baton and run with it, and those reasons apply to us today.
- Because of the judgment that awaits all of us. 2 Corinthians 5:10 states, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” Paul included the judgment in his presentation of the Gospel. In Acts 24:25 we find that for two years Paul shared with Felix the governor while imprisoned, reasoning about righteousness, self-control and the coming judgment.
- Because of Christ’s appearing. Jesus is coming back, this we know for sure. In the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25, Jesus told about how five were foolish and five were wise. The wise ones were ready for the Bridegroom’s returning. The foolish ones slept and the groom said, “I don’t know you.” In 2 Timothy 4 Paul talked about receiving the crown of righteousness, not just for him, but “for all those who have loved His appearing.”
- Because of Christ’s kingdom. Most of the parables that Jesus told, especially toward the end of His ministry, were about the kingdom of God. After Jesus returns and defeats Satan, He will establish an 1000 year actual physical kingdom here on earth. According to Luke 19 and the parable of the ten minas, what we do during our lives determines our lot in His kingdom.
All three of the things that motivated Paul to proclaim the message of the Gospel must motivate us. We don’t want to get to the end of our lives and find that we had wasted our words on things that have absolutely no eternal value. We aren’t all called to be pastors and teachers, but we are all commanded to proclaim the good news of Jesus in our own way, using the gifts that God has given us–whether convenient or not, in season and out.