Monday, February 4, 2013

Keeping the Faith


"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."  2 Timothy 4:7

Paul was instructing Timothy before his departure.  The Christians were being persecuted and killed for their belief in Christ.  Paul knew that God had set Timothy aside as an instrument to carry on the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The apostle Paul knew he had little time left to continue to encourage Timothy to remain faithful knowing that the road ahead would be full of challenges.    Timothy was young and he knew that he would need to understand that his age was not to hinder him and that God had appointed him to carry on the work of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul instructs Timothy to preach in season and out of season, to correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.  The gospel was being watered down and the deception was coming greatly into the church.  He began to see men turning away from sound doctrine looking to their own desires.  He knew that false teachers were rising us preaching another gospel that would lead believers astray.  These had itchy  ears and no longer wanted to hear the truth but turn aside to myths.  He knew that Timothy would see this departure and delusion.  He was concerned for him remaining faithful in his walk with Christ.

He encouraged Timothy that no matter what he saw that he needed to keep his head and be sober in all situations.  He also spoke of him enduring hardship and doing the work of an evangelist.  He knew that Timothy needed to keep on doing what he was called to do.  He reminded him of what God had imparted to him and that he was anointed to do the work.  He also encouraged him by his own testimony that even though he encountered trials and tribulations and was now facing death for his beliefs that he had finished the course and kept his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  He was affirming that God's word was truth and that he was ready to meet his Lord and Savior.  He was heading home now.  

He also reminded him to be careful.  Some had left the faith and turned away from the truth.  They have gone back into the world.  They have caused him great harm.  But he also encouraged him by letting him know that God would vindicate him and deal with those that have caused him pain.  He reminded Timothy how God gave him strength to withstand these people even in the midst of such great opposition.  

So today amid all of your trials, persecution and rejection of the truth, Paul's message in 2 Timothy reminds us to keep preaching the gospel in season and out of season.  It also teaches us that there will be people who will want to hear things that appeal to them and that they will not receive the truth.  People may oppose us and cause us harm, but God will give us strength to overcome this opposition and he will be the one who will deliver us.  We just have to keep the faith by believing in the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ and hold firm to the truth.  Praise be to God who is the author and finisher of our faith

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