II Timothy 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.
Paul continued his words of encouragement to Timothy by reminding him that God had committed a good thing to Timothy.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
God’s gift of salvation is certainly a good gift. God’s gift that He gives to His child after salvation is also a good gift. God never calls a person into a ministry that He does not provide the means to meet that calling. Timothy had received the good gift of salvation. He knew that and Paul had reminded him of that fact. Timothy had also received the good gift of meeting Paul and being trained for the ministry by Paul.
I Timothy 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
Timothy was called to be an evangelist. He was called to proclaim God’s Word. He was equipped for this calling by God. He would naturally face opposition as a godly evangelist. However, he also needed to remember that his message was a necessary message.
We tell people that our services are essential services. Any true church is of greater importance than the local hospital or grocery store. We need hospitals. We need good doctors. We also need grocery stores. However, we need God’s truth more than anything else. We need to know true fellowship with God the Father and with the Lord Jesus Christ. The true local church preaches and teaches the Word of God.
Paul further reminded Timothy that the gift he had was given to him by “the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” The Holy Ghost dwells in every believer. He comes into a person’s life at the moment of salvation. No one needs to ask for the filling of the Holy Ghost. What is required is to yield to the ministry of the Holy Ghost. God’s work can only be accomplished when we are yielded to the ministry of the Holy Ghost.
In verse 15 Paul reminded Timothy of the reality of rejection. Rejection does not mean the preacher was wrong. Paul was not wrong in his preaching. He pointed out that all those in Asia had turned away from him. Paul had a very important message that was given to him by God. Yet large numbers of people refused to hear that message. Paul did not take that personally. He was serving God. Jesus reminded us in John 15:
John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
A preacher must be sure he is preaching God’s Word. If he is doing that, then just keep preaching! Those who reject the truth are accountable to God, not man. The flesh says, I want to see positive results from my preaching. The flesh is motivated by visual positive results. However, the spirit seeks to glorify God and accepts the consequences of serving God, whether that be pleasing to the flesh or not. Paul acknowledged that all they of Asia turned away from him. He was led by God to name names. We are not given any further details on these men. We understand they must have been influential men who were able to turn many away from the truth.
Paul could have taken offence at this reality. He could have been ashamed because people were rejecting his message and were not supportive of his work. However, because Paul understood his call from the Lord, he could use this fact to encourage Timothy. He was not boasting in the fact that people were rejecting him. He was simply stating the reality as it was.
In verse 16, Paul also noted the house of Onesiphorus. This man chose to identify with Paul’s ministry and he was an encouragement to him. In verse 17 we see that this man came to Rome and purposely sought out Paul. He was not ashamed of the fact that Paul was in prison. He understood why this was the case. We read that this man often refreshed Paul. He was a blessing to Paul. It does not take many people to refresh a true saint. It just takes a faithful saint. God blessed Paul with some faithful saints along the way. Timothy was also blessed in the same way. He needed to recognize that.
In verse 18 we see that Paul wished Onesiphorus well. He knew he could never repay him. He also knew it was not necessary for him to repay this faithful servant. The Christian life is not about payback for blessings received. The Christian life is about accepting blessings received and knowing that God’s reward for the giver of the blessing is what is important. Knowing that God is pleased with my actions and my attitude is of much greater importance than whether people are pleased with it. Paul was thankful for this man and he knew that God would look after this man in a just manner.
As we see here, the Christian life is the only life. Those who walk in the spirit will recognize the blessings of serving God. Those who allow the flesh to interfere with God’s Work, will rob themselves of God’s blessings. Learning to draw nigh to God and serving Him faithfully is very important. Personally I have seen people who seemed to love the Lord, turn their back on the Lord and take it out on me. In my earlier years, this hit me pretty hard. I wondered what I was doing wrong. I believe I have learned some things through these occasions. It is not that it does not bother me anymore, but I understand better that they have rejected God and they take it out on His messenger.
We need to take stock of Who we are serving and why. If we understand our calling, then we will remain faithful regardless of our circumstances. We will be content to serve the Lord and pray for those who oppose Him. If and when they get saved, they will have a completely different attitude to the servant of the Lord. What is of greatest importance is to be faithful to the Lord.