Where They Stood II Tim. 4: 14-22 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
At the end of Paul’s second epistle to Timothy, Paul told Timothy where certain men stood in relation to him.
Alexander stood against Paul – 2 Tim 4:14-15 – men like Alexander, who stand against men like Paul, are very dangerous. Alexander shipwrecked the faith [1 Tim 1:19], blasphemed the word of God [1 Tim 1:20], did Paul much evil by withstanding his words [2 Tim 4:14-15], and posed a threat to Timothy [2 Tim 4:15]. For this Paul delivered Alexander to Satan [1 Tim 1:20] and prayed that the Lord would reward him according to his works [2 Tim 4:14].
Whenever the truth is preached without compromise, there will be men who will preach false doctrine against the truth and who will attack the men who preach the truth. They not only go after the man and his doctrine, but they also go after other men who follow the truth that they preach. You must beware of them and be careful not to follow their preaching.
Other men stood away from Paul – 2 Tim 4:16 – when a man who stands for the truth is facing death for his preaching, it can be hard to stand with him. The disciples were resolved to stand with Jesus, though he told them they would scatter [Matt 26:31-35]. Nevertheless, when the multitude showed up with swords and staves [Matt 26:47], “the disciples forsook him and fled,” [Matt 26:56]. Under similar circumstances, the men who had been with Paul forsook him at his “first answer.” And as Jesus forgave his disciples, so Paul prayed that their defection would not be laid to their charge.
Jesus Christ stood with Paul – 2 Tim 4:17-18 – Paul was not alone. The Lord was right there with him, and he knew it. The Lord did four things for Paul. First, he strengthened him [Eph 6:10]. Second, by Paul the Lord made the preaching fully known [Eph 6:19-20, Matt 10:19-20]. In other words, what Paul said was more for the furtherance of the gospel than it was for his defense and release. Third, the Lord reached more Gentiles through Paul at this time [as in Phil 1:12-13]. Fourth, the Lord delivered Paul out of the mouth of the lion [1 Pet 5:7, Dan 6:22].
Interestingly, Paul said that the Lord would deliver him “from every evil work.” Paul’s life of persecution and suffering seems to contradict this statement [2 Cor 11:23-30]. However, Paul is talking about evil work of the devil, in the context. Satan buffeted him [2 Cor 12:7], hindered him [1 Thes 2:18], and would have taken advantage of him [2 Cor 2:11], but the Lord delivered Paul and strengthened him by his grace. Paul knew how to stand against the devil in the strength of the Lord in the whole armor of God [Eph 6:10-18]. God preserved Paul; nothing is able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus [Rom 8:31-39].
In the final words of Paul’s last letter, where he offers some salutations and greetings, we glean some very important insights.
Paul had some cherished friends – 2 Tim 4:19 – he mentions Priscilla and Aquila [Acts 18:2], who were tentmakers like Paul [Acts 18:3], who were doctrinally sound [Acts 18:26], who were Paul’s helpers [Rom 16:3], and who had a church in their house [1 Cor 16:19]. He also mentions the household of Onesiphorus. Onesiphorus often refreshed Paul, was not ashamed of Paul’s chain [2 Tim 1:16], sought Paul diligently in Rome till he found him [2 Tim 1:17], and ministered greatly to Paul at Ephesus [2 Tim 1:18]. These are the kinds of friends a preacher loves to have.
Paul could no longer heal people – 2 Tim 4:20 – Trophimus was an Ephesian Gentile who accompanied Paul on his journey to Jerusalem [Acts 20:4, 21:29]. When Trophimus got sick, Paul didn’t heal him. Paul’s power to heal was special [Acts 19:11-12]. So, why didn’t Paul heal him? And why didn’t he heal Timothy [1 Tim 5:23]? The answer is that healing is a sign gift for Israel [1 Cor 1:22, Ex 4:6-8] and was one of the signs of an apostle [2 Cor 12:12]. When the gospel moved on from Israel to the Gentiles [Acts 28:28], the signs were no longer necessary because “the Greeks seek after wisdom,” [1 Cor 1:22].
Paul still ministered with some brethren – 2 Tim 4:21 – there were brethren with Paul when he wrote this letter, some of whom sent greetings to Timothy.
Paul commended Jesus Christ and his grace – 2 Tim 4:22 – Paul said, “The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit…” The greatest spiritual need we have is personal fellowship with Jesus Christ. He ministers to our spirit. The greatest provision from Jesus that we need is his grace [2 Cor 8:9].
Conclusion: you will never regret standing for the truth and standing with the men who stand for the truth. Be a friend to those who still stand for the gospel of Jesus Christ. And stick with Jesus and his grace. They can get you through anything.