Be a link in the chain of Gospel work! The apostle Paul was passing leadership on to Timothy - who for his part was required to entrust the ministry to 'reliable men' (v. 2)... who, in their turn, were to teach that same message to 'others.' The purity of 'the pattern of sound teaching' (ch. 1:13) is the issue. In our own generation we too can be involved!
1. Be the enlisted soldier - getting the loyalty right (v.3-13).
We are responsible to one Commander alone, 'Christ Jesus.' But the imagery moves on to the ATHLETE (v.5), who must abide by the rules; also to that of the FARMER's hard work (v. 6). It's the risen Messiah we serve (v.8); also the elect church (v. 8-10). But a further image!
2. Be the approved worker - getting the word right (v. 14-19)
Verse 15 is key - 'Do your best... Make every effort... Study to show yourself...' The responsibility to the Scriptures is enormous. It is a life discipline. But then Paul goes on to picture God's work as a household:
3. Be a clean vessel ('utensil') - getting the character right (v. 20-22)
We can be the 'utensils' in God's household. Whether we will be of 'noble' use, or 'ignoble' depends on whether we are 'cleansed' vessels!
4. Be a fruitful servant - getting others right (v.23-26)
Essentially we are not called to be disputers but messengers, 'able to teach' and to win others from the trap of the Devil.
The kingdom of God cannot afford to skip a generation of workers!