4 1I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, 2so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. 3You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. 4They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. 5But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant. 6You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. 7This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. 8All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming. 9Get here as fast as you can. 10Demas, chasing fads, went off to Thessalonica and left me here. Crescens is in Galatia province, Titus in Dalmatia. 11Luke is the only one here with me. Bring Mark with you; he’ll be my right–hand man 12since I’m sending Tychicus to Ephesus. 13Bring the winter coat I left in Troas with Carpus; also the books and parchment notebooks. 14Watch out for Alexander the coppersmith. 15Fiercely opposed to our Message, he caused no end of trouble. God will give him what he’s got coming. 16At my preliminary hearing no one stood by me. They all ran like scared rabbits. But it doesn’t matter—17the Master stood by me and helped me spread the Message loud and clear to those who had never heard it. I was snatched from the jaws of the lion! 18God’s looking after me, keeping me safe in the kingdom of heaven. All praise to him, praise forever! Oh, yes! 19Say hello to Priscilla and Aquila; also, the family of Onesiphorus. 20Erastus stayed behind in Corinth. I had to leave Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21Try hard to get here before winter. Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all your friends here send greetings. 22God be with you. Grace be with you.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About