Saturday, May 09, 2009
2 Timothy 4:8-18 How to Keep On Keeping On
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.
9 Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
12 And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
13 The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
19 Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
21 Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.
22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
Of course everyone over 50 remembers the old add by Rolf Harris.. the paint that keeps on keeping on.
My dad worked for the paint company at that time. Someone had made a mistake at Dulux with a batch of brown paint. They had poured too much of one of the components into the batch. The paint didn’t look right when it was poured into the containers so they retested it and found it wasn’t up to expectations. I think the product supervisor was in strife and all these thousands of gallons of paint had to be tipped out. Someone gave a young kid the job of painting the back fence of the factory with the paint… a few years later someone noticed something interesting. The back fence never needed repainting. Subject to the weather, it just never needed repainting. So they had come up with a brand new product.. weathershield paint. Paint that would keep on keeping on. Even in the midst of tragedy you can keep on keeping on.
One of the easiest things for any of us to do when it seems like nothing is "going our way", is for us to just give up and QUIT, just "throw up our hands" and walk away. At the time, it seems the easiest way out, I know. And all the while, we'll be telling ourselves, "It's the thing to do. I've all the reason in the world to quit. I'm justified in my actions." Moreover, the enemy of our soul will be there, ever ready to pat us on the back and "console" us with, "You have good excuse to quit.” Winter is coming, and many times that feels like the time to quit. I am getting older..and so are you.. and I find winter hard.
The Apostle Paul was in prison in Rome, and he tell s Timothy , Come before winter.. its getting cold.. bring the cloak.. Paul is there as the result of persecution under Nero. He realized when he wrote this letter that his death was near. Alone and cold in his dungeon, the veteran missionary wrote this letter of encouragement to his beloved son the ministry, Timothy. Soon afterward according to tradition he was beheaded on the Ostian way. (Just outside of Rome) I am sure that there were times in the life of Paul, when he would like to have retreated, but on his greatest moments of human despondency we always find these words of encouragement, I CAN GO ON. There will be times in your life as a good soldier of Jesus Christ that you will feel like retreating, you will ask the question, "Is it really worth it?" and you feel just like giving up. Here are some reasons Christians feel like giving up:
People Wouldn’t life be wonderful if weren’t for people. Then again, our greatest delights and our deepest regrets come from people.
Problems Illness restricting us. Worries that destroy us.
Pressure Thlipsis.. cutting like. Pressures. Stress. 2 Cor 4:8We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Position Erwin Lutzer: Pastor to Pastor writes A friend of mine, fresh out of Bible College, became the pastor of a small country church. One day the elders asked him to visit a wealthy member who hadn’t been attending regularly but continued to contribute to the church coffers. “We don’t think he’s even a Christian,” they said. So at their insistence, he visited the old gentleman and asked him point-blank if he was saved. The man became incensed at the pastor’s audacity to suggest that he, a self-made man, was not a Christian. Several weeks later, the church building burned down. The congregation met in a schoolroom to decide what to do. After the decision was made to rebuild, the man whose salvation had been questioned stood up. “This young man had the nerve to question whether I was a Christian-what do you suggest we do about it?” He sat down with an air of importance, waiting for a response. –Silence. “I move we terminate him as pastor,” the man said. There was some discussion, but not one of the elders rose to defend their pastor and explain that he had been acting on their requests. Later a vote was taken, and the young man was given two weeks to resign. After the meeting, no one came to speak to him except a school janitor, who heard over the public address system what had happened. The pastor left the building and began walking in blinding rain mile after mile… That was 35 years ago. He never pastored another church.
2 Tim 4:17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; …But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, Endunamoo in simple terms means "to put power in" (like a car needs gas for power) and so to make strong, vigorous, to strengthen, or to be strengthened, enabled or empowered inwardly. This word is found only in biblical and ecclesiastical Greek. The idea is to cause one to be able to function or do something. It can refer to physical strengthening as in (Heb11:34) but more often endunamoo refers to spiritual or moral strengthening.
Verses 17, 18, and 22 all begin with, “the Lord.” These verses reveal five things about our Lord:
A. He is the sovereign Lord. He was sovereign over Paul’s circumstances, as unpleasant as they were. If the sovereign Lord had chosen to do so, He easily could have rescued Paul from that dungeon and given him more years of effective ministry. Some commentators interpret Paul’s words in 4:18, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed,” as referring to his being rescued from personal temptation to sin. While it is true that God does that, I do not think that that fits the context here. Paul was referring to the evil deeds of wicked men. As it turned out, the Lord did not choose to deliver Paul from such evil deeds, although He did deliver Paul through them. We see the same thing in Hebrews 11, where the author chronicles how many were delivered from great trials by faith in God. But without skipping a beat, he also tells how many suffered horrible deaths as they trusted in God (Heb. 11:35-37). In both cases, God still reigned on high. Even if evil people do terrible things to us, we can trust in the sovereign God, whose plans cannot be thwarted.
B. He is the ever-present Lord. Paul writes (4:17), “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me….” Also (4:22), “The Lord be with your spirit.” Whether the Lord actually appeared to Paul or whether he knew in his spirit that the Lord stood with him, I don’t know. But as Hebrews 13:5 assures us, “for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’” No matter how difficult your circumstances, if your trust is in the living Lord Jesus Christ, His promise is, “I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20).
C. He is the saving Lord. He “will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom” (4:18). Jesus promised (John 6:39), “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me, I lose nothing; but raise it up on the last day.” If by God’s sovereign grace, you have trusted in Christ to save you from your sins, then His promise to you is sure. He won’t lose you on judgment day!
D. He is the glorious Lord. “To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (4:18). As Paul clearly shows in 1 Corinthians 1, you had nothing to do with your salvation. It originated in God’s sovereign choice (three times in 1 Cor. 1:27, 28), “so that no man may boast before God” (1 Cor. 1:29). Since God ordained your salvation before the foundation of the world, since Christ willingly came to save all that the Father had given Him, and since He promises that He will not lose any of those, all praise and glory go unto Him!
E. He is the gracious Lord. Paul’s final written words are, “Grace be with you.” John Stott (Guard the Gospel [IVP], p. 127) says that grace is “the word in which all Paul’s theology is distilled.” The word your in the first half of verse 22 is singular in Greek, but when Paul writes, “Grace be with you,” you is plural. This means that Paul expected us to read Timothy’s mail. God’s grace is for you! He saved you by His grace. He wants you to walk daily by His grace. Because salvation is all of grace, He gets all the glory. Concerning 4:22 and 4:18, Stott observes (ibid.), “It would be difficult to find a better summary than these two sentences of the apostle’s life and ambition. First, he received grace from Christ. Then he returned glory to Christ. ‘From Him grace; to Him glory.’ In all our Christian life and service we should desire no other philosophy than this.” Since we all face the inevitability of death, it is crucial that you share Paul’s commitment to the living Lord Jesus Christ. If He has saved you by His grace, then death will usher you into His glorious presence, where you will glorify Him throughout all eternity!
I. I CAN GO ON EVEN THOUGH I AM FORSAKEN
2 Tim 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Paul had written three years before requesting that someone would come to his defense but no one cared enough to respond. Look at the many people he had won to Jesus. Look at the many people he had ministered to. Look at the many people he had clothed and fed. But in his hour of need seemingly no man cared for his soul.
Matthew 10 : 23 When they persecute you in one town, escape to another. For I assure you: You will not have covered the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 24 A disciple is not above his teacher, or a slave above his master. 25 It is enough for a disciple to become like his teacher and a slave like his master. If they called the head of the house ‘Beelzebul,’ how much more the members of his household!
Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.37 The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; the person who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
There will be times in your life that you will need someone, you’ve been a friend, you’ve loved, you’ve ministered and you’ve been faithful. But in your hour of need you will have to walk alone. Think of Jesus, on the path of Gethsemane , His disciples fell asleep. Surely the heart of the Saviour was broken but He knew he must fulfil the will of the Father.
II. I CAN GO ON THROUGH FORGIVENESS
2 Tim 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Demas had forsaken Paul, Titus was busy ministering, and now Paul asks that no blame be laid to their charge. Paul was willing to forgive and forget, the mark of a great man.
Many times when we feel we have been betrayed, we say, " I’ll get even" but the true mark of the Christian is to forgive. Three sorts of people had forsaken Paul.
(1) The believers there in Rome had not been as helpful as they could and should have been.
It was a tense time, when Nero was torturing and killing Christians. To testify in court on Paul’s behalf would have been extremely dangerous, if not deadly. So at his preliminary hearing, no one stood with him. I don’t know where Luke was; perhaps he had not yet arrived at Paul’s side. But Paul is patient with their weakness, graciously echoing the words of Jesus, “may it not be counted against them.”
I cannot honestly say that I would be willing to step forward as a martyr if I had the chance to hide. It would require God’s special grace to give me such courage. But I know that I will never take such a stand if I am unwilling to be bold for the gospel in situations of lesser consequences. If I don’t speak out for Christ just to save myself a little embarrassment, then I won’t speak out for Him when my life is on the line.
(2) Then there was Alexander, who was superficially committed, but in reality opposed to the cause of Christ. Paul warns Timothy about Alexander the coppersmith, who had done him much harm. Perhaps as Timothy traveled to be with Paul, he would be passing through the city where Alexander lived.
It may have been Troas, where Paul’s coat and books were left behind, perhaps when he was suddenly arrested. Alexander was a common name, so we don’t know if this is the same man that Paul had delivered over to Satan (1 Tim. 1:20). But it is likely that he had professed to be a believer, but he had turned against Paul, vigorously opposed his teaching, and had informed the Roman authorities about him, leading to his arrest. The best manuscripts of 4:14 read, “the Lord will repay him according to his deeds,” not (as KJV), “may the Lord repay him.” Paul was stating a fact, not calling down a curse on him. The fact of God’s judgment of the wicked is a source of comfort and even joy for God’s persecuted people (Rev. 18:20). Calvin points out that it was not personal revenge that led Paul to say those words, but rather his love for God’s truth. Alexander had opposed Paul’s teaching, and Paul knew that such opposition to the truth would cause great spiritual damage to many people. There are people who join the church for anticipated benefits. When the truth confronts their sinful motives, they become dangerous enemies, like Alexander, who cause much harm. Beware of a superficial commitment to the cause of Christ, when really your motive is just to get something for yourself!
(3) Demas was formerly committed, but deserted the cause of Christ for the world. Paul was probably more disappointed over Demas than with any of the others. When he had written to Philemon (v. 24) a few years before, Paul included Demas among his “fellow workers.” He had been a part of Paul’s team (see also, Col. 4:14). But now, when identifying with the apostle may have meant death, Demas had deserted him. Rather than loving the Lord’s appearing (4:8), Demas had loved this present world. Paul was left shivering without even a warm coat, while Demas took off to pursue “the good life.” We don’t know whether Demas later came to his senses and, like Peter after his denials, repented.
III. I CAN GO ON BECAUSE MANY FOLLOW ME
2 Tim 4:17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
Paul had won many converts to Christ and he knew that if he did not go on many would follow in his footsteps. He didn’t want to be a stumbling block. So many times I have seen many retreat and return to the world and watch as young Christians are hurt and disappointed , soon they follow in their steps.
4:11: “Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.” The NIV puts it, “he is helpful to me in my ministry.” In your ministry? Paul, don’t you ever quit? No! Look at 4:16-17: At Paul’s preliminary hearing, none of the Roman Christians were willing to risk their necks to stand with him. If there was ever a time for a man to think about saving his own skin, this was it. Surely, Paul would not say anything to endanger his case! Yet here he is, proclaiming the gospel in the Roman court, “that all the Gentiles might hear.” Stott (p. 125) observes, “If ever there was a sermon preached ‘out of season,’ this was it!” God graciously delivered him from death at that hearing (“the lion’s mouth” is probably a general expression for death; Roman citizens were not thrown to the lions in the stadium). We can apply this by realizing that whatever circumstances God puts us in, no matter how difficult, are an opportunity for proclaiming the gospel. As long as we are mentally able, if we end up in the hospital or a nursing home, it’s a new audience to tell about Christ.
A young preacher was leaving his church for a new work. Someone said, "preacher I guess you are packing". The preacher said that he had only a few things to pack into boxes. Then this person said, "there is on thing that you will not be able to pack and you will have to leave it behind." "What is that", the preacher asked. "Your influence".
Paul was not a Lone Ranger. These verses brim with the names of Paul’s fellow-workers in the cause of Christ. Timothy is foremost, of course. But also there is Crescens (4:10). This is all that we know of him, but he was faithful enough for Paul to send him to minister in the difficult Galatian region. Titus, another faithful man, had finished his assignment on Crete and now was off to Dalmatia (the Balkan area).
Luke, ever faithful, was by Paul’s side, probably taking down this letter. Paul asks Timothy to bring Mark with him. Mark had accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, but had deserted them and returned home. Later, Barnabas, who was Mark’s cousin, wanted to give him another try, but Paul adamantly refused, leading to a split between the two great missionaries. So Barnabas had taken Mark and gone to Cyprus. His patient encouragement with Mark had paid off. Now Paul wants Mark to be with him as he faces the end. Tychicus (4:12) probably delivered this letter to Timothy and stayed on in Ephesus as his replacement (“sent” may be translated, “am sending”). Carpus (4:13) was Paul’s host in Troas, perhaps where he had been arrested. Prisca and Aquila (4:19) were Paul’s fellow tentmakers, who often hosted the church in their homes. Paul greets the household of Onesiphorus (see 1:15-18), who either had not yet returned home after visiting Paul in Rome, or who may have lost his life ministering to the apostle in his imprisonment. Erastus (4:20) was the city treasurer of Corinth. Trophimus (4:20) was a Gentile native of Ephesus. He was with Paul in Jerusalem, when Paul’s enemies falsely accused him of bringing a Gentile into the temple, leading to Paul’s arrest.
Paul sends greetings (4:21) from Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, and Claudia, along with all the brethren in Rome. Irenaeus and Eusebius mention a Linus who was the first bishop of Rome after the deaths of Paul and Peter (Stott, p. 118). Tacitus, the Roman historian, mentions a Roman noble named Pudens who married a British princess named Claudia (William Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon [Westminster Press], rev. ed., pp. 222-223). If these are the same people, then we have here a link to British Christianity. Paul was not a loner. He was committed to the cause of Christ with many others, and they labored together.
IV. I CAN GO ON BECAUSE I HAVE A FUTURE
2 Tim 4:18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Paul knew somewhere in his heart that heaven would be worth it all. The day of great exchange:
LONELINESS TO LIGHT Rev 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Rev 7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
SADNESS TO SATISFACTION 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
HURTS TO HALLELUJAHS and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying
DESPERATION TO DELIGHT neither shall there be any more pain:
HIS CROSS FOR A CROWN, for the former things are passed away.
2 Tim 4:7