2 Timothy 4:13

“The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus,
when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books,
but especially the parchments.”

~ 2 Timothy 4:13

Upon first glance, this verse may seem of no great consequence. Paul is simply asking his young friend Timothy to come to him and bring some of his personal possessions with him. However, I believe “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). More than once, A. W. Pink wrote that the Bible was not written for a lazy man. The Word opens up its treasures only for those who “labour in the word and doctrine.” The Holy Spirit has not moved “holy men of God” to speak in vain and, therefore, nothing trivial is bound in “the volume of the book” that God has given. With this in mind, let us meditate upon God’s Word and receive profit thereby.

Paul the aged confesses that his days are ending writing, “the time of my departure is at hand.” Our text somewhat reveals the mind of a man facing the reality of his own death. He tells Timothy in verse 9, “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:” and in our text says, “when thou comest.”

One by one all of his companions had left him. They all had their reasons and maybe even plead their work as sufficient grounds. In verse 11, he says, “Only Luke is with me.” He is here urging Timothy to come with haste. Paul certainly had no time to waste and he longed for his truest friends to be with him.

He also told Timothy to “Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” Paul had once called Mark “Apostate” (ref. Greek Acts 15:38) and refused to take him on a missionary journey. He was so strong in his conviction that it caused a sharp contention and separated his chief friend Barnabas from him. Now Paul considers him useful and wants his presence with his closest friends. Time and labor have a way of healing old wounds. Paul shows grace and wisdom is not holding on to an old grudge. He acknowledges that Mark has made good and overcome the defect that Paul early detected.

I was talking with a couple of older brethren once and the name of a certain man came up in conversation. The oldest fellow was asked if he knew this man. “Yeah, I know him” was his reply with obvious distaste. He proceeded to tell us that he “didn’t care anything for him.” He had said something nearly 20 years ago that upset this now elderly man. He could not remember what was said, or even what it was about, and he had not seen him in almost 20 years, but he was determined as ever to hold on to his grudge and dislike for the man.

What an amazing waste of energy, emotion, and time this is to remain angry over forgotten offenses. Paul had told the Philippians, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). Part of reaching forth is forgetting what is behind. Furthermore, in an attitude of brotherly kindness let us be “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Colossians 3:13). In this Paul is a great example.

Paul furnishes us with another great example in his dwindling hours. Paul had requested Timothy to bring his coat and also “the books.” He desired to have another look at his old books. Almost every preacher realizes the value of good books and especially The Book. Paul is a bound prisoner and the sun is setting quickly on his life, what should he do? Maybe Paul should retire and rest. I mean, what can he do? His request for his books gives an insight into his mind in his waning hours. He told Timothy that God had put him “into the ministry.” I believe he is resolved that with whatever time, health, and strength he has, he is going to stay at it.

He took a great interest in young preachers and endeavored to encourage and help them along as he could. He told Timothy, “make full proof of thy ministry.” He sent word to Archippus to “Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it.” He had said of himself, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). He is a tremendous example and testimony. Paul was faithful unto the end, faithful even unto death. His words carry a great weight when viewed in the light of his own steadfastness. Whatever time he had, he was going to improve it for the work of the Lord.

Paul here provides us with a key to a successful ministry and Christian life. We should forget and forgive past infractions. We cannot move forward always looking back. We also should stick to the work at all times, and in all places and conditions. If God has put us into the ministry, then He is also one day going to take us out. If we have done all to stand, we can one day reflect with joy that we have finished our course and fought a good fight.

Proverbs 24:16

“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:
but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”

~ Proverbs 24:16

Probably nothing manifests the fact of our frail frame more than the stumblings we suffer. This is no teaching that we ought to fall, but we do sometimes. It is a mark of the righteous that when they fall, they rise up again. This remarkable resilience confounds the wicked. “They lie in wait” for the righteous and rejoice when they fall, thinking that it is the end. The righteous “riseth up again.” It is not so with the wicked, they “fall into mischief.” Their stumbling and fall is ultimately their destruction. They are never recovered out of the snare. In truth, both are susceptible to falling, but it is the righteous that “riseth up again.”

Now the wicked may be glad at the fall of the righteous but the word to the righteous concerning the fall of the wicked is, “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth” (Proverbs 24:17). Never let just men assume the posture of the ungodly. Never let them sing the same songs of mirth over one that is fallen. Yes, the standard is higher for the child of God. We are not to rejoice at the fall of the wicked, and we should not rejoice at the fall of our brother. Let us have the “spirit of meekness” and restore one who is “overtaken in a fault.” Now let us turn to our text and consider the falling of the righteous and their subsequent rising again.

Firstly, we observe that the saints do fall. The narrow way is not without its difficulties. Though we sometimes walk with joy, we many times tread in sadness. We believe in the absolute sovereignty of God, which affords us comfort. We might be perplexed if not for the good providence of our Father. Paul knew that “bonds and afflictions” were abiding for him wherever he went. We also know “that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Suffering is the peculiar lot of God’s people in the earth. However, these sufferings are temporal, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (I Corinthians 4:17). Often through trials and perils we stumble and fall. But the good man of God will rise up again.

Many times our greatest occasion of stumbling is the flesh. No matter how hard we strive, we have not escaped the body of sin just yet. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8). Only the Holy Lord Jesus lived a life completely without sin. No one of us can match His impeccability. We have not reached the mark. When sin has laid us low we must go to the Father, confessing our guilt for “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

We have not fallen to where the Lord cannot reach us. He told Israel that His arm was not shortened. Have faith. He can reach all the way. Sometimes we have confessed and felt God’s forgiveness, but the fall lingers in our memories. Our own frailty and inadequacy mock us. They seem as a great weight that holds us down. Christian, “Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?” (Numbers 32:6). How long shall you wallow in the mire of self-pity and use your past failure as an excuse for your present inactivity? We have an advocate with the Father. Do not question His ability to forgive sins. In the name of Jesus Christ, rise up! Simon Peter stumbled, as did John Mark, to name a couple. But they were restored to greater service. Our verse says, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.”

Secondly, we see that the righteous fall “seven times.” Our first trial is sure not to be our last. Having begun on the way, let us hold on without wavering. We can be certain that trials wait, so long as we tabernacle in this body. There is warfare within and the battle shall not be over until we leave this world. There is hope in our verse. No matter how oft we stumble, the righteous “riseth up again.” We sing the glad song of the righteous:

They may on the main of temptation be toss’d,
Their sorrow may swell as the sea;
But none of the ransomed shall ever be lost;
The righteous shall hold on his way.

Surrounded with sorrows, temptations and cares,
This truth with delight we survey;
And sing, as we pass thru this valley of tears;
The righteous shall hold on his way.