Today Paul draws a stark contrast between those with the spirit of the last days and his intended recipitient Timothy, and by application you and me.
10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness,11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.
Pau begins with you, however…Maybe your Bible has the words ‘But you’, drawing an even clearer contrast, but even if they don’t the point is clear – what has gone is not for the believer, what follows is.
As a man so totally sold out to the cause of Jesus and building His kingdom, of making Jesus known to all he could, and of full-life devotion, Paul could say with a clear conscience that it was good for Timothy to have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings…He could say this because Jesus was at the center of them all. Paul’s teaching was Christ-centered, his conduct was Christ honoring, his aim in life was to preach Christ crucified, his faith was unshakingly in Jesus.
Do you have a leader like that in your life? Is there someone who you can follow (Hebrews 13.7) with clear conscience because you know they are 100% sold out to Jesus and His cause and His kingdom?
No matter what Paul has been through and was going through at the time of writing, he knew that the Lord rescued him from all. This is an interesting thing to say whilst in prison awaiting execution, isn’t it. See, Paul knew the difference between being rescued and given victory over his circumstances or in his circumstances.
The Lord never guarantees to rescue and deliver us from every situation that trials us. He does, however, promise to rescue us in spite of them, to rescue us despite what is going on around us unto eternal life with Him. Paul had the proper perspective here, and believed in a God that can work miracles to deliver His people, but never guarantees it. Paul knew that even though he was in prison, even though he was awaiting execution, that the Lord would never leave nor forsake him, would always be an ever present help in times of need, and even if earthly circumstances seem to have defeated him, that his Lord and Saviour had overcome the world and had something far greater waiting on the other side.
Is that something you know?
Do you know that regardless of what is going on around you, this doesn’t change the fact that you are known by God, loved by God, purchased by the blood of His Son, and that He so desperately desires to enter into a relationship with Him?
If your earthly circumstances are telling you otherwise, I would encourage you to listen to this message, and to rest in the truth that you are known, you are loved, and that no matter what is going on around you, this will never change.