2 Timothy 4.6-8 – The Stephanos Crown

Do you ever wonder what you will be given upon arrival to heaven?

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Here Paul tells Timothy he is being poured out as a drink offering (Genesis 35.14), and that as drinks flow from a cup until empty, Paul knows that his time of…departure has come. Throughout his writings Paul often refers to life here as a struggle, a conflict, a battle or a race, and the marker of a life well lived, so we read, is that we have kept the faith

This is where we read of our heavenly welcome-gift, Paul writes that there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing

If we are loving His appearing, we are keeping the faith, and we are promised the crown of righteousness. This is not a crown given to royalty, rather a crown given to the winner of a contest, like this;

Image result for stephanos victory crown

Upon passing from death to life, from time to eternity, those who have fought the good fight, those who have finished the race, those who have kept the faith will be given the crown of victory from the Lord.

This was huge motivation for Timothy to fulfill his ministry (v.5), and should help each of us to keep going towards the upward call of God in Christ, all of us to fight the good fight, to finish our race, and to keep the faith.

Jude 1.8-9 – The Example of Michael

So far in Jude we have talked about contending for the faith, and being in the fight for the long haul. Today, Jude gives us a contrast and an example from which to draw.

Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

These people are those referenced back in vv.5-7, those who fall to unbelief and indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire. Here, Jude says that they also rely on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.

Simply, the worldly way of living focuses on self and our desires, uses our bodies to gratify these desires rather than glorify God, rejects the idea that anyone can tell us what to do with our life, and actively and vehemently speaks out against those who offer an opinion contrary to their own. 

In huge contrast to this we are shown the archangel Michael

Archangel is an interesting term, used only twice in the New Testament (here and 1 Thessalonians 4.16), it signifies a chief angel, one of first place, one with authority, one who is head of others. So Michael the Archangel is, basically, the number one angel in the ranks of the heavenly host. He is no doubt powerful and able as leader of heaven’s armies (Revelation 12.7).

Here is the takeaway for us:

look how Michael contends with the devil.

Rather than use his own might and power and strength and ability to fight the battle, to contend for the faith, to fight for Him that he serves, he says 

“The Lord rebuke you.”

It is far better for us to be on the side of God than to try go it alone. Rather than fight for the faith and rather than contend for truth in our own strength and power, we are far better following the example of Michael, who despite having the highest rank among angels, did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgement, but instead called upon the name of the Lord and said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

Point to ponder – How can I follow the example of Michael today and call upon the powerful name of the Lord?

Prayer – Father, we thank you for this example in your Word of where the true power lies. We thank you for this example of Michael who despite having a position of power and prominence, called upon your name when fighting for you. Help us today, and every day, to do the same. Amen.