Sunday, May 17, 2009
2 Timothy 4 The end of a life
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on bthat Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Ross Sams' neighbor's cat was run over by a car, and the mother quickly disposed of the remains before her four-year-old son Billy found out about it. After a few days, though, Billy finally asked about the cat.
"Billy, the cat died," his mother explained. "But it's all right. He's up in heaven with God."
The boy asked, "What in the world would God want with a dead cat?"
In PNG, “ I’ll race you to the corner” ..I looked behind and there were three others running too. Why? Well we thought you knew something we didn’t!” I’m a nuclear bomb maker.. if I’m running you better catch me.
When you're near death, your final words will tend to be stripped of any hypocrisy and reflect your view of life. Near the end of his life, the notorious French statesman Talleyrand wrote, "Eighty-three years have passed! I am not sure I am pleased when I think back over how those years were spent. How many useless uproars there were; how many failures; how many outrageous complications; how much wasted emotion and energy, and how much wasted ability! Hatreds have been aroused, illusions lost, tastes jaded. And with what result? Moral and physical exhaustion, complete discouragement with respect to the future, deep disgust with repect to the past" (J. F. Bernard, Talleyrand: A Biography [N. Y. : G. P. Putnom's Sons, 1973], pp. 599-600).
Paul's response to his imminent death is a stark contrast to that of the despairing unbeliever: "I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Tim. 4:6-8). His words convey hope, joy, and victory, not despair or frustration.
1. Look at the present--the close of Paul's life--and reveals his readiness.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close.
Phil 1: 21 For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. 23 I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ—which is far better— 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. For me to live is Christ.
A Personal Experience .. Tramp.. “have you got anything for a cold?” to chemist.. “Have you brought a prescription?” “No, but I brought my cold!”
A Present Experience
A Practical Experience
and to die is gain. A Possible Experience “Safe In the Arms of Jesus!” yes it can be true!
Instead of being terrified by death, Paul viewed it as a "departure" (Gk. , analusis). His positive outlook reminds me of an African funeral custom. When a Christian dies, the people there say, "He's arrived," not "He's gone. " Furthermore, Barclay noted four ways that analusis pictures death
a) Loosening an animal from its yoke "It is the word for unyoking an animal from the shafts of the cart or the plough. Death to Paul was rest from toil. " He would be glad to lay the burden down.
b) Loosening a prisoner from his chains "It is the word for loosening bonds or fetters. Death for Paul was a release. He was to exchange the confines of a Roman prison for the glorious liberty of the courts of heaven. " Death would release Paul from the bondage of indwelling sin and set him free to enjoy the glorious liberty of righteousness.
c) Loosening the ropes of a tent "It is the word for loosening the ropes of a tent. For Paul it was time to strike camp again. Many a journey he made across the roads of Asia Minor and of Europe. Now he was setting out on his last and greatest journey; he was taking the road that led to God. " Paul was a tentmaker by trade (Acts 18:3) , so he knew how to pull up stakes and break camp. Soon his own bodily tent would be taken down that he might embark on a heavenly journey.
d) To loose the ropes from a ship "It is the word for loosening the mooring-ropes of a ship. Many a time Paul had felt his ship leave the harbour for the deep waters. Now he is to launch out into the greatest deep of all, setting sail to cross the waters of death to arrive in the haven of eternity. " You secure a ship in its harbor by tying it to sturdy poles with rope. When it's time for the ship to leave harbor, the ropes are released. The ropes of Paul's earthly life would soon be let loose that he might set sail for the harbor of heaven.
For us as Christians, death lays down our yoke of sin that we might receive our heavenly rest. Death lays aside our shackle of sin that we might be free from its presence. Death takes down our earthly tent that we might take up our heavenly residence. Death casts off our ropes of sin that we might set sail for heaven. Those pictorial truths give us all the more reason not to fear death (cf. 1 Cor. 15:55-57).
I believe Paul faced death the same way Christ did. Jesus said, "No one has taken [my life] away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative" (John 10:18). As for Paul, he didn't avoid death by denying the faith or compromising his situation. He didn't become frustrated and ask, "How can this happen?" Rather, he willingly took up his cross by following Christ even to the point of death (cf. Matt. 16:24).
For the clock of life is wound but once. And no one has the power, To tell just when the hand will stop, At late or early hour.
Now is the time we have. Live, love, toil, work with a will, Do not wait for tomorrow, For the clock may then be still.
Over 1300 years ago in the portion of pagan England called Northumbria, the first Christian missionaries arrived. They came to the courts of King Edwin of Northumbria, and in his great hall ablaze with the light of many torches these Christian missionaries gave their first sermon on the Christian faith. When they had finished, one old chieftain asked -
"Can this new religion tell us anything of what happens after death?
The soul of man is like a sparrow flying through this lighted hall.
It enters at one door from the darkness outside, flits through the
light and warmth, and passes out into the dark again.
Can your new religion solve for us the mystery?"
2. Look at the past--the course of Paul's life--and reveals his faithfulness.
2 Tim 4: 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Faithful to the Fight, Faithful to The Finish and Faithful to the Faith!
He didn’t give up, he didn’t Quit. Greatest preacher 1,600 years ago - Chrysostom. “Golden mouthed.” Very popular with people, and a brilliant scholar.
Chrysostom was bold when it came to condemning sin and he was called before the Emperor, whom he had offended. He threatened Chrysostom with exile unless he apologized. Chrysostom replied, “You cannot exile me because this world is my father's house.”
“I will kill you,” said the Emperor. “No, you cannot, because my life is hid with Christ in God.”
“I will take away your treasures.” “No, you cannot, for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there.”
The Emperor was furious at this point. “I will drive you away from man and you shall have no friend left.” “No, you cannot, for I have a friend in heaven from whom you cannot separate me... “I defy you; for there is nothing that you can do to hurt me!”
From Henry Hart Milman, “History of Christianity,” (New York: Crowell, 1881), 4:144
The Mission was too great!
Acts 9: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
Acts 26: When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’15 “But I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ “And the Lord replied: ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of things you have seen, and of things in which I will appear to you. 17 I will rescue you from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ 19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.
Henry Lyte's hymn "Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken":
Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee;
Destitute, despised, forsaken, Thou, from hence, my all shalt be:
Perish every fond ambition, all I've sought, and hoped, and known;
Yet how rich is my condition, God and heaven are still my own!
Haste thee on from grace to glory, armed by faith and winged by prayer;
Heaven's eternal day's before thee, God's own hand shall guide thee there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission, swift shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition, faith to sight, and prayer to praise.
The Message was too good!
18 to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
That’s why Paul says Prach the Word, do the work of an evangelist! Evangelist… evangellion… gospel.. good news! The message is too good.
darkness to light
power of Satan to God PNG, Newcastle.
receive forgiveness of sins reconciled to God!
a share heaven!!
This world is all a fleeting show For man’s illusion given; The smiles of joy, the tears of woe, deceitful shine deceitful flow There’s nothing true but heaven.
And false the light on glory’s plume As fading hues of evening. And love and hope and beauty’s bloom As garlands gathered for the tomb There’s nothing bright but heaven!
3. Look at the future--the crown of Paul's life--and reveals his reward.
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
“Well done!” 2 Cor 5 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad.
In his book Dying Thoughts the Puritan Richard Baxter, a preacher for over forty years, wrote, "Many serious Christians, through the weakness of their trust in God, live in this perplexed strait, weary of living and afraid of dying, continually pressed between grief and fear. But Paul's strait was between two joys, which of them he should desire most. And if that be my case, what should much interrupt my peace or pleasure? If I live, it is for Christ, for his service. . . . If I die presently, it is my gain; God, who appoints me my work, limits my time; and surely his glorious reward can never be unseasonable, or come too soon, if it be the time that he appoints" ([Grand Rapids: Baker, 1976], pp. 19-20). Can you say with Paul, "To live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil 1:21) ? Ask the Lord to help you have a biblical attitude toward life and death.