“THE FIGHT” (2 Tim. 4:6-8)
In the dispensation of grace, we are Christ’s ambassadors (agents, ministers), God’s mouthpiece. In previous lessons we have examined “the two fold privilege of our ambassadorship,” and “our responsibility.”
# 1. (A) The Privilege: the authorization by God that enables (empowers) us to tell men about the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, “ (B) And, The Privilege: to make our impact (influence) upon the principalities and powers (angels) in heavenly places of the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10).
# 2. Our Responsibility: begins with proper training to do the work of the ministry, evangelism. And we find our training in the first five chapters of Romans (1-5). When we read, study Romans chps. 1-5, and are trained, we have a responsibility, a duty to share the gospel with the lost. But Paul tells us, as ambassadors for Christ, the issue of faithfulness is what God is concerned with. It is essential to understand faithfulness to understand the fight which is coming next. This is why Paul wrote to the Corinthians, and to us (BOC): 1 Cor. 4:1-2 “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. it is required (essential) in stewards (managers) that a man be found faithful (loyal).”
The ambassador must be faithful to the message (do not change the message!) The ambassador must be faithful to God who chose him to be His messenger. The ambassador must be found faithful to the cause of Christ. Recognizing & taking advantage of every opportunity to witness to the lost, regardless of the response.
“The Fight” is sponsored by the satanic policy of evil (SPOE) against the body of Christ (BOC), & is designed to cause the ambassador NOT to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God. “For we wrestle not against flesh & blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12).
2 Tim. 4:6-8: This is Paul’s last pastoral epistle. “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 on that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” Paul is writing to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon his fellow pastors & co- laborers with God. Paul is charging them to “stand fast” against the fiery darts of the devil, aimed at them & their assemblies. Stand fast! Don’t be deceived & led astray by the SPOE.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” These verses contain the three phases of the policy of evil. Paul wants Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (pastors) to know he stood his ground against the fiery darts of the devil. Paul was grounded, fortified, in the doctrine. Paul had put on the whole armor of God so that he was able to withstand in the evil day and having done all to stand anyhow. Paul was found faithful to the message, faithful to the one who had chosen him as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. And faithful to the opportunities to speak(open his mouth boldly) to make all men, and angels, in heavenly places, see the fellowship of the mystery.
Paul had withstood phase one. “He had fought a good fight… he endured hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Paul did not change the message to please men, he only wanted to please God who had chosen him to be a soldier.
Paul had withstood phase two, when he said, “I have finished my course,” he had withstood Satan’s attack on him personally, with the hope to place fear, to intimidate Paul.
Paul had withstood phase three, when he said, “I have kept the faith.” Paul stood his ground for the truth when Satan tried to discredit and discourage him, and when people turned away from him. Although Paul had been discouraged and discredited, Paul remained faithful to the message, God, and the cause of Christ, and the opportunities. Vs 8. Henceforth, (from this point forward) there is laid up for ME a crown of righteousness (At the judgment seat of Christ), which the Lord shall give me at that day: and not to me only, (to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, as you stand fast), and to all of the Saints that love His appearing.
The Fight: Satans goal is to attack the message given to us about the dispensation of grace, to corrupt the message in our hearts and minds. Satan’s goal is to corrupt our understanding, so we do not present the gospel clear and plain. He wants Saints to wrongly divide the word of truth. Satan wants us to distort, change the message, thereby presenting the wrong gospel to the lost. Satan wants us to distort the gospel to new believers, so they won’t be established properly. And Satan wants us to walk disorderly. Not in line with the message of grace. he wants us to pervert the gospel of grace wittingly or unwittingly, mixing law with grace.
Paul is saying to us, stand fast, present a pure message of grace, “teach no other doctrine” and then defend the doctrine. 1 Tim. 1:18-20 Paul is charging Timothy: “This charge I commit unto thee, my son Timothy, that thou might war a good warfare. Holding the faith, and a good conscience, which some having put away concerning the faith have made shipwreck. Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; Whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. There were two false teachers in the assembly. Paul accused them of blasphemy. (Blaspheme here means: to teach something other than the glorious gospel of Christ entrusted to Paul, thereby insulting, or showing contempt, or lack of reverence for the Godhead). Phase One of the satanic policy of evil, is designed to attack the message in hopes to get the messenger to inject doctrinal corruption, to pervert, to change the message. And to keep people from keeping the Pauline doctrine pure and unfeigned (genuine).
1 Tim. 4:1-2 The purpose of this letter from Paul, is to help Timothy know what to do as pastor of the Church of Ephesus. Paul told Timothy, in the latter times (of grace), “Some shall depart from the faith (Sound doctrine, The mystery), Giving heed to seducing spirits, And doctrines of devils, (applying Israel’s program to the body of Christ). That’s what happened to Hymenaeus and Alexander. That’s why Paul said in 2 Tim 4:7, “I have fought the good fight.” Paul never wavered, he engaged in the fight, he remained faithful and defended the message. Paul endured hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Phase Two: Attack the Messenger: “I have finished my course.” the time for Paul to depart from this life, and be with the Lord, had come. The Lord counted Paul faithful putting him in the ministry. When it came time to die, Paul took it gracefully like God’s man. As Paul writes to Timothy sitting in his cold prison cell, Paul told Timothy, stir up the gift of God which is in you, stir up the doctrine in your inner man. Timothy, God does not give us a spirit of fear, Satan does! God gave Timothy, and us, a spirit of power, and of love, and a sound mind. There is No Fear or cowardice in Jesus Christ, Timothy. Satan attacked Timothy because he would not back down from the message, or change the message, or pervert the message, so Satan attacked Timothy personally. All this is designed for Timothy not to finish the course, to shut down his ambassadorship. Paul reminded him be not ashamed of the testimony of the Lord nor of me his prisoner but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.
Phase three: Discredit and Discourage the Messenger: “I have kept the faith.” If Satan cannot get the messenger to corrupt, pervert (deviate), change the message, he cannot stop you from running the course. Then Satan will try to discredit & discourage the messenger by spreading rumors, smear campaigns, false accusations, lies, slander, insinuations. All of this happened to Paul so he would be discredited in the eyes of others, and so no one would listen to him. Phase three’s goal is designed to discredit & discourage the messenger until he becomes weary, discouraged, and voluntary quits the Fight, retreats, throws in the towel..
2 Cor. 4:1-4: “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not. But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully….Paul is saying, he didn’t change the gospel of grace, he didn’t preach “another gospel,” or “another spirit,“ or “another Jesus.” The gospel of grace could not be blamed. If our gospel of the grace of God be hid, it wasn’t because Paul preached “another gospel.”
Saints, If our gospel be hid, make VERY SURE it is because Satan has blinded the minds of them which believe not. And NOT because we preached “another gospel,” or a perversion of the gospel. God will judge the secrets of men’s hearts by JC. Rom 2:16. James 3:8 “My brethren, be not many masters (teachers) (of the word of God) knowing that we shall receive greater condemnation (if we teach incorrectly, which is Satan’s policy of evil, Wrongly dividing the word of truth! We who are preachers & teachers of the word of the God will be judged at JSC by a higher standard because we have assumed greater accountability & more condemnation (loss of rewards) if we teach incorrectly.
Philippians 3:17-19; “Brethren, be ye followers together of me, & mark them which walk so ye have us for an example .For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.” THE PRIVILEGE! THE RESPONSIBILITY! THE FIGHT!