Once again, the year is near AD67, evil Nero is the Emperor of Rome, Paul is believed to be about 62 years old and at the end of his second imprisonment in Rome. Now after 35 years of faithful ministry to Christ he is ready to die. This great Apostle to the Gentiles, forsaken by almost all of his disciples who were ashamed of his chains, has one last letter he wants to write so that he might give instructions to his spiritual son, Timothy.
At this time in history the Church is under tremendous attack from the government and Believers are being persecuted, tortured and executed for nothing more than a mad man’s pleasure. Despite the hardships and the impending martyrdom, Paul keeps his focus and stays on point with the message God had entrusted to him. Everything else pales when compared to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul had once determined that he would know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the sins of the world.
Now Paul’s challenge from the Holy Spirit is to leave a last will and testament, if you please, from the heart of God through this vessel of honor. Thus we continue our study of 2 Timothy by turning to:
2 Timothy 4
3 For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2 Timothy 4 NLT
5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation.
“Be watchful in all things”; “Keep a clear mind in every situation” – this is the admonition given by the Apostle Paul which has become the duty of every Believer without regard to estate, station, age, stage, calling or burden of life.
When Paul encouraged Timothy to be watchful in all things he was basically addressing two major concerns:
- Error of Doctrine
- Sin against God
Paul encouraged Timothy to be watchful so as not to fall into error concerning the set doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church. In that day, and perhaps even more so in our day, the doctrines of the Gospel of Christ have come under attack in efforts to minimize their importance and thereby rob the Church of their preeminence and power.
There is power in the Word of God. However: The Word of God is only the Word of God when it is the Word of God.
Therefore we are admonished to guard against: Error of Doctrine
In Paul’s day and even in the year 2014 there are still some “Non-Negotiable Absolutes” when it comes to the doctrines of the pure Gospel of Christ. We can ill afford to waiver or stray from these Fundamental Truths:
- Jesus of Nazareth was, is and will ever be the only begotten Son of Almighty God.
- He was with the Father from the beginning.
- He was born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem.
- He lived a sinless life.
- He died an atoning death.
- His sacrifice paid the eternal price for sin and redeemed all mankind.
- Jesus rose again the 3rd day victorious over sin, death, hell and the grave.
- 40 days later He ascended to the right hand of the Father.
- Jesus will come again at the command of the Father to gather His Bride and will ultimately destroy all evil and rule the earth in righteousness.
- Every person is born into sin and therefore must be born again to inherit a sinless eternal life.
- If anyone will accept this Gospel as the truth and call upon the name of the Lord they shall be saved.
- It is the duty of every Born Again Believer to let their light shine before others, to stay free from doctrinal errors and from sin against God.
- This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and these doctrines are absolute.
Paul told Timothy to “watch in all things” so as to not be easily taken with false doctrine or the daily temptations to sin. Paul continues to exhort us all to:
2 Timothy 4:5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. (NLT)
“The ministry God has given you” is a phrase that some imagine does not strictly apply to them. In the western religious culture some consider “the ministry” to be the responsibility of what they might call “full-time” or otherwise licensed and/or ordained members of the clergy. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Every Born Again Believer is called to be a witness wherever life finds them. At home, at work, in the exercise of daily life with friends, family and those whom we meet along the way, we are all called to work at telling others the Good News. Where we work and what we do are but opportunities given to us by God to infiltrate this world and let our light so shine before men that they might see that light and glorify the Name of Jesus.
You have a ministry! Fully carry out that ministry God has given you and serve the Lord with gladness. For the time will come when others will not endure sound doctrine but give way to fables and myths and all manner of falsehoods. Be careful to hold fast to the doctrines of Christ and keep yourselves free from the burdens of sin.