We often admire those who have overcome adverse circumstances:
- The athlete who, although disadvantaged, keeps striving for victory
- The soldier who, although appearing defeated, battles on
- The musician who, with physical handicap, continues producing
- The broken who, although helpless, keeps hoping and praying
With almost his last breath, the apostle Paul reflects on his life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith!” (II Timothy 4:7). He speaks of his fight, his finish and his faith.
Looking back to the previous chapter (II Timothy 3), we find 3 commands the aged apostle gives us to TIMELY TRIUMPH over TODAY’S TROUBLES:
I. The 1st triumph deals with AWARENESS (2 Timothy 3:1)…
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:” (2 Timothy 3:1)
A. We are to know (Gr. by experience) that we are living in the last days
- These times are perilous (fierce) – – chalepos (χαλεπός) (cf. Mt. 8:28)….
- These times are worse than in the past – – verse 13…
B. Paul commands Timothy (and each of us) to be habitually aware of this.
C. These last days are characterized by 24 traits (verses 2-13), with the first one heading the list, “men will be lovers of themselves” (verse 2)!
II. The 2nd triumph deals with AVERSION (2 Timothy 3:5)…
having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:5)
A. Timothy is commanded to intensely turn away from people who have a form of godliness, but no spiritual power, dunamis (δύναμις) ! They are empty!
B. Rituals, traditions, innovations, religious talk (even biblical quotes out of context) and secular adaptations lack power. Turn away from them!
III. The 3rd triumph deals with ABIDANCE (2 Timothy 3:14)…
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,” (2 Timothy 3:14)
A. You must continue to remain, “stay the course!” And that’s a command!
B. You are to continue in the things learned & assured of, (SCRIPTURE)! – – Divine revelation is to be RECALLED (v. 15); REFLECTED UPON (v. 15); REWARDED (v. 16); and RESPONDED TO (v. 17)…!
In these last days, we are to be more than conquerors! Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)