II Timothy 1:1-9 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
When we come to our text, Paul is not that youthful convert fresh from his Damascus Road experience; he is Paul “the aged” (Philemon 9). His faithful service will culminate in a final sacrifice as he awaits a vocal word of approval, “Well done.” Paul knows that the memory can either buffet or bless; therefore there are some things worth forgetting; “forgetting those things which are behind” (Philippians 3:13), and somethings worth remembering, “I thank God . . . I have remembrance.” Within the text Paul makes reference to somethings worth remembering; this is revealed in his use of the word “remembrance.” Three times Paul will use the word to emphasize the thoughts of somethings worth remembering.
In verses 3-4 there is the remembrance of friends. The Greek word here has the idea of a general recollection. Paul is making no effort, but like waves in a steady flow to the shore, the blessed memory of friends floods his mind! While they are not present in the confines of his habitation, they parade through the corridors of his heart. As the light fades in this world to give place for its raising in the next, the thoughts of friends make the crossing much easier.
In verse 5, there is the remembrance of faith. The Greek word here has the idea of calling forth to one’s remembrance; to take hold as a conscious effort. Their faith was a reminder of his faith, because there is but one faith (see Ephesians 4:4-6). His faith had not failed in conversion, consecration, commitment, continuance, and it would not fail in the crossing; “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:8).
In verse 6, there is the remembrance of one’s function. The Greek word here has the idea that it’s time to put oneself in remembrance. Paul tells Timothy when you get to where I am in the journey, it’s not the time to be thinking about what God called you to do. At conversion, Paul was enlightened to the will of God for his life; “for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:15-16). As Paul reflected upon the purpose for his life; his memory was not tormented with remorse, but triumphant with rejoicing; “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (II Timothy 4:6-7).
When the finish line gets in sight, things of true worth begin to be emphasized and remembered. It’s a time to remember your friends, your faith, and your function; there are somethings worth remembering!