II Timothy 4:9 Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
12 And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
13 The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
In the final verses of II Timothy 4 Paul was directed by God to give some further instructions to Timothy, as well as some warnings. Paul had a good relationship with Timothy. We learned earlier that Paul took Timothy as his son in the faith. That is not like the Catholics who want people to call their false teachers, “fathers”. Paul had been directed by God to be the spiritual mentor for Timothy. Every true saint needs a godly mentor. We need the encouragement of someone who has learned how to walk more faithfully with the Lord. We don’t need those who are more worldly wise. We need to know how to live righteously in the wicked world. That is again why the local church is so important. There are so many benefits to being saved and being a member of a true local church. Timothy had the privilege of working under the direction of the apostle Paul and learn how to stand faithfully for the Lord.
Now, as Paul awaited his soon departure from this life, he desired to have Timothy come to him soon. We see again that letter writing has its place. God directed Paul to write this letter to Timothy. It was necessary for Timothy to receive this letter, but it was also necessary for this letter to be preserved for future generations. There is also the place for in person meetings. The Bible teaches us that, and Paul desired to meet with Timothy in person one more time.
There is no substitute for a personal meeting. One day soon those who are saved will have a personal meeting with the Lord Jesus Christ. The end of this age is near. During this present age, it is necessary for God’s people to meet together. Physical meetings are important for so many things. It is encouraging to meet with a fellow believer to pray together and to talk together and to encourage one another in many ways. Just having a fellow believer in your company is a great blessing.
In verse 10, Paul mentioned that Demas forsook him. Demas was a fair-weather follower. Paul stated that he loved this present world. We are seeing many professing Christians who love this present world more than they love God. They are more concerned with pleasing ungodly governments or the police, than they are in walking faithfully with the God Who alone provides salvation for them.
There is an initiative being promoted by ecumenists right now to have as many “churches” as possible to preach a message on marriage and the family on January 16, 2022. The reason this is being promoted is because Bill C4 has been passed and that will be the first Sunday they figure that pastors can assemble their people for this sermon. They are wanting to use this Sunday as a protest Sunday against the ungodly design of Bill C4. There is no doubt that Bill C4 is an ungodly bill. Bill C4 suggests that the Bible is mythology. Sadly, there are too many “churches” that agree with Bill C4. They have no problem with the sodomite agenda. “To each his own”, they say.
What is missing in the initiative, is the recognition that a true local church must be under the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ. To join in such a joint venture with people who do not even know the Lord and then try to suggest to the powers that be that we are all united on this front, when we are not united on Who Jesus Christ is or even on Who God is, will not work.
The whole premise of this initiative is that there is power in numbers. As we see in our text, Paul was limited to one man with him at this time. Verse 11 tells us that Luke was the only fellow believer with Paul at this time. Luke was not someone who was “Christian” in name only. He was a fellow believer with the apostle Paul. There was no disagreement in doctrine between them. If there is going to be a coming together of people to speak to the government or anyone else, it must be a coming together of those who are in agreement on all the doctrines, not just one small part of a doctrine. God cannot bless a corrupted Gospel. He cannot bless a compromised doctrine. Every true church needs to examine itself and see if they are behaving like the pillar and ground of the truth as they need to be doing.
In verse 10 Paul mentioned two other men as well. Crescens left for Galatia. We are not told under what circumstances he left Paul. We also do not know who this man was. Some have suggested he was one of the 70 that Jesus chose in Luke 10:1. This is pure speculation. Paul also mentioned Titus. Paul had written a letter to Titus by that name. We know that Titus was a faithful servant of God as well. He was headed for Dalmatia. Dalmatia, was a country in Europe, a part of Illyricum.
In verse 11, Paul also asked Timothy to bring Mark with him. Mark was the one who had abandoned Paul and Barnabas on an earlier evangelistic trip. He was not prepared to suffer at that time. He had learned some things in the meantime, and now Paul saw him as an asset. Young men need to grow. It is encouraging when they do grow in the Lord and become profitable for the ministry.
In verse 12 we see another faithful servant of the Lord whom Paul had sent off to Ephesus. There was a need to go to some of the other areas where Paul had ministered and encourage the saints there. Paul did not have the freedom to travel at that time. However, these other men could travel and thus Paul sent them out. He desired fellowship with other believers, but he also understood the importance of sending out these men to be a blessing to other saints.
In verse 13 we see that Paul desired his cloak. Prisoners in those days did not get supplied with clothing by the prison. They needed to look after their own needs. It could be the weather was cooling off and Paul needed some extra warmth. Today, prisoners protest if they do not get what they want. They have it quite well unless of course they are imprisoned for preaching any form of the Word of God.
Paul was also studious. He wanted his books. We are not told what books those were. We can be assured they were not some type of fiction. They would have been books that were designed to encourage him in his Christian life.
The parchments would most likely refer to Scriptures. They might have included some of his earlier writings as well as those of other holy men of God. The ultimate source of encouragement for a child of God is the Word of God. It is important to spend quality time in the Word of God so as not to become discouraged. Paul had done this and now that his life was coming to an end, he wanted to be sure to finish strong. The strength for the child of God comes from the Word of God. Paul had been a faithful student of God’s Word prior to this time. However, we cannot put all of God’s Word to memory. We need to have it before us to read and re-read. Apparently the prisons of today are trying to keep the Word of God from those in prison. That is why so many prisoners come out of prison more hardened in sin than when they went in.
It is important to memorize God’s Word. It is also important to have a copy of God’s Word to read and find encouragement through It in any situation we face. I remember a time when I was in the hospital due to a major injury, that I found comfort in having God’s Word with me to read. At that particular time I was reading through the book of Job. It was encouraging to me to know that in the midst of what I was facing, God had not forsaken me. He was just as real then as at any other time in my life. I appreciated the visits from my wife and my children at that time as well as others who stopped by, but I also appreciated the opportunity to read and meditate upon God’s Word.
As we face the challenges of life, we need to have that vital and real relationship with the Lord. If we do, we will have that hope that God is with us and will keep us safe, regardless of what we face. If you do not know Him, you will not have that hope and you will need to try to manufacture some form of hope on your own. That is always deficient. Knowing the Lord is of vital importance. God has blessed us with His Word. He has also blessed us with a few good churches. Those who humble themselves and know the Lord and feed on His Word are equipped for anything that comes along.