Throughout history, we find the famous last words of mortal men. Voltaire, when asked by a priest to renounce Satan, said, “Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making new enemies…” Julian, the Apostate, when contemplating his failure at reversing Christianity as the official religion, said, “Thou hast conquered, O Galilean…”
Paul’s last words are found in 2 Timothy 4. His parting words to the next generation of Christian leaders reveal four truths that are just as relevant for us today.
God’s work will always be resisted.
Paul knew resistance. Stoned, imprisoned, beaten – he had seen it all. He mentioned Hymenaeus and Alexander. As the apostle wrote his final letter, he wanted Timothy to know that he could expect resistance.
Two thousand years later, this principle is still unchanged. God’s work will always have those who stand in resistance.
The Lord is always reliable.
Paul had sent his co-workers around the known world. Crescens had departed in Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Others had departed in a negative way such as Demas. As he sat in a Roman prison alone, he considered the fact that the Lord was still by his side…
In our world, times come where we may have to stand alone. Yet, in those moments where we are seemingly alone, the Lord is right there with us. He is always reliable.
Friends are refreshing.
In this chapter, Paul hopes Timothy will be able to see him one more time. He wants John Mark to get to his cell before his execution. He’s thankful that Luke is still with him. What is he saying? As Paul contemplates the end of his course, he isn’t thinking about the accomplishments of ministry; he’s thinking about relationships. Godly friendships are refreshing.
In our day, friendships are a source of encouragement and edification. Friendships are refreshing.
There are rewards.
Paul mentions the crown available for those who love His appearing. Demas didn’t finish well; but Paul did. The challenge from Paul’s last words is for us to finish well and he provides a motivation: there are rewards available for the faithful finishers.
Paul’s final letter provides four truths that are just as relevant today as they were 2000 years ago. God’s work will be resisted; the Lord is reliable; friends are refreshing; and there are rewards for those who finish well.