We can read scriptures to find out what they say or we can read scriptures to find out what they mean. The latter takes us into studying; discovering answers to all the who, where, when, what, why and how questions. Here, Paul, an apostle of Jesus is writing to Timothy, his protege. Paul is shivering, imprisoned in a cold dungeon with no body covering, by order of Emperor Nero. The date is around 66-67 AD. At this time in history, Christians are first - and horribly - persecuted by Nero who’s heinous acts anecdotally include burning Christians alive on poles to light up his garden parties as if they were nothing more than tiki torches. This is, or may be presumed to be, the last letter he will write, as he will be executed soon, and he knows it. His words to Timothy are short and to the point. And the message is, without a doubt, just as much a letter to us as it is to Timothy.
Message points: Fan into flame the gift of God. Don’t be ashamed of God or of anyone who is imprisoned for the sake of keeping the Gospel. Join with me in suffering for the truth as our hero, Jesus, suffered for the sake of the truth. Don’t be afraid because you won’t have to endure suffering by way of your own power, you have been given the power of God. Jesus has entrusted this ministry to you, not because you deserve it - you don’t - but because of His unmitigated grace. Therefore be a good steward of what’s been entrusted to you, protect it with your life. If it dies with your generation, it dies forever.
From his place in heaven, Paul is pleading with us to be imitators of Timothy, as Timothy is an imitator of Paul, as Paul is an imitator of Christ Jesus. We wouldn’t have the Gospel today except for suffering. Therefore, as those who walk in Jesus’ footsteps, we should absolutely expect to suffer for the sake of the next generation, so that they may have the truth as well. Our suffering might not be at the end of a flaming pole, but whatever the world throws at us to kill our testimony won’t be pleasant. It will be tempting to just keep silent rather than endure the suffering. But, no. The Holy Spirit endows us, not with a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power. Under His power, and with our yielding permission, He will boldly speak the Gospel through our mouths well into the future. Being a great disciple is the most essential step to becoming this generation’s disciple maker. You’re the current star in the cast. So, burn brilliantly; reflect the awesome light of Jesus.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Matthew 28:19 (NKJV)