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2 Timothy

This book is another letter written by Paul to Timothy.  A few things have changed since he wrote the first letter.  Even though the first and second letters to Timothy are side by side in the bible, there was actually a few years between the letters, maybe up to 4 or 5.  Think about how much our world has changed in 4 or 5 years.  The same was true back then, the world was different when Paul wrote 2 Timothy.  Christianity was spreading throughout Europe and Asia.  The Roman Empire was as strong as ever.  Nero was Emperor and he was popular among the faithful Romans.  It was 64AD when Rome burned and it was rumored that Nero himself started the fire to clear the land for his building project.  Yet, he blamed the arson on the Christians.  And this started the persecution of Christians.
 
Nero's persecution or Christians was demonic.  The torture and death of Christian men and women was a form of entertainment and amusement to him.  Christians were killed with the tunica molesta.  The victim was dressed in tunic soaked with a flammable substance and lit on fire.  Christians were crucified in satanically creative ways.  One report says they were dressed in the tunica molesta, mounted on a stake and lit on fire so they could be used as garden torches for Nero's parties.  And of course we know they were fed to wild animals.  They wrapped them in the skins or carcass of an animal and the dogs would rip them to shreds.
 
So, in Paul's first arrest and trip to Rome he was placed under house arrest where he was free to move about, to write letters, to minister to others, entertain visitors and so on.  Paul was then released for a short time where he wrote the letters of Titus and First Timothy.  Now, as he writes 2 Timothy, just a few years later, Paul is back in Rome in prison.  This is no house arrest this time.  He is in prison.  He is in chains.  Paul is awaiting his execution.
 
As we move through this letter you'll hear references to his imprisonment and chains and see that Paul was in a cell.  He no longer was surrounded by his Christian friends because of the persecution that was going on in Rome.  Paul is by him self now.  This is his last letter before his martyrdom at the hands of Rome
 
As we begin to study 2 Timothy you'll notice a couple things.  Paul knows his time is short, there won't be any deliverance from prison this time.  And it's time to pass his mantle to Timothy.  Paul expected Timothy to carry on the ministry started by him.  We'll see him exhort Timothy to carry on in faithful ministry; Continue in sound doctrine being careful to avoid error; hold onto the truth and to scripture; accept persecution for the gospel; and never quit...... no matter what.
 
The other thing you'll notice though is that Paul had concerns.  He was concerned that Timothy had weakened spiritually or there was a concern with his commitment.  Or that Timothy had compromised the gospel teaching or was questioning the call to preach.  It may have been some of these or all of these things in part.  Watch for them as we work our way through this study.  But we need to be cautious with this.  Don't look down at Timothy as if he was failing.  We should look at Timothy as one of us.  Paul doesn't say he's failing.  He just wants Timothy to not dip his toe in and wade into his faith, he wants him to go all the way in, wholly and completely.
 
Paul addresses Timothy saying, don't be afraid, kindle afresh the gift, don't be ashamed, hold to the truth.  These are the words of a wise old man offered to a younger man in the heat of battle.  These are the words of a dying man; one who has nearly fought all his battles; who fought all the good fights and is preparing to go home to the lord.  These are Paul's last words to pass along, to build up Timothy, to encourage him in the Lord.  It's Paul passing the mantle, putting the expectation on Timothy to take over the oversight of the church.  In this letter Paul will sound like a Father, a pastor, a mentor, and a friend to his son in the faith Timothy.
How Onesiphorus-like are you?
Paul encourages and Exhorts Timothy (and us) using the pictures of a soldier, athlete and farmer.
There is a time coming........
There has always been a choice in the world. Satan is always offering a counterfeit or an alternative that will appeal to our flesh or sinful nature.
There is a time coming.......that's why we need to be ready.