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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE PATTERN OF PAUL

2 Tim 4:5-8 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.

Paul warns Timothy to be ever alert and watchful for anything that detracts from, compromises, or opposes the will of God. From previous teachings we know that Timothy was especially warned to be vigilantly aware of the false doctrines taught by covetous preachers that, for personal fame and fortune, deceived men and women all over the world. In order to do this work pleasingly in the sight of God, Timothy must expect to suffer and endure afflictions that would surely come from all people that refuse to submit to the will of God and, in turn, are influenced by the anti-Christian works of Satan.

Timothy was not to neglect the gifts conferred on him by the laying on of the hands, not only by the approving hands of the presbytery of the church in Ephesus, but also by the miraculous-imparting hands of the apostle Paul (See 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6). To fulfill the mission for which he was ordained, Timothy was to continue to do the work of an evangelist. Timothy, and all other Christians having the ability to do so, are to teach the word of God. They were to teach then, as well as today, that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Savior of the world, the Son of God sent as the sacrificial atonement, for the sins of the world. This was the mission of Timothy, but even further, it was to make full proof of thy ministry, that is, it must also include preaching the true doctrine of God in a manner that will, as much as possible, prevent children of God from being led astray by false teachers, that try to turn away their ears from the truth, and ...unto fables (See Vss. 3-4 above).

With these admonitions made, Paul now tells Timothy, I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. At the time of this writing, Paul was imprisoned in Rome. More than likely, all of his appeals had been made and overruled. He realized the Roman government had rendered a civil judgment that would soon require his life. Paul was now ready to bravely face his impending death. Indeed this apostle, especially called by Christ to serve His cause, had completed his mission on earth. He was a chosen vessel of God, and His Son, Jesus Christ, to bear My name (the name of Christ) before the Gentiles, and kings, and thechildren of Israel (Acts 9:15).

Paul's mission was now accomplished; therefore he said I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Just as athletes contended in the ancient games of that day, so Paul had bravely, and valiantly, given his all to complete, and win, the race of life - the mission that was assigned him by his Savior, Jesus Christ. Paul battled, and overcame, all obstacles placed in his way by those that opposed Jesus Christ, and refused to accept Him as the Messiah sent from God. In spite of all the opposition he faced in preaching the gospel of Christ to the world, Paul had remained steadfastly true to the faith he had in God and Jesus Christ, His Son. He had finished the course laid out before him by Christ Jesus - the finish line had been crossed.

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing. Like the crown given to the winner of an athletic race, so Paul had awaiting him a crown of righteousness, which was reserved for him, and all that faithfully serve the cause of Christ, while here on earth. Unlike earthly crowns given for physical feats of speed, stamina, and strength, a crown of righteousness is awarded for spiritual accomplishments - for using one's talents and abilities given by God to faithfully complete the things He has given us to do. It is a crown that will never tarnish or decay. It is an eternal crown that will be presented to all that fight the good fight, finish the assigned course, and keep the faith. What a wonderful presentation ceremony it will be when the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give the apostle Paul and each faithful, loving child of God, a crown of righteousness.