Paul’s last Message
2 Timothy 4:6 “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.”
Paul is in a Roman prison: he has been sentenced to death.
He has a few things to say to Timothy, who was like a son to him. Instruction, and testimony.
But notice, when Paul talks about his soon execution, he talks as if he were waiting on a train to take him away.
And it is true. The same second Paul’s body died, he was in heaven, meeting Jesus face to face. Experiencing the beauty, rest, and love of God.
Paul speaks of being offered; and he was offered on the altar of hate. They wanted to be rid of this one who preached Christ, even though he had done no wrong to the Roman state.
He had no one of importance to stand for him before Caesar. And as he testified, all men forsook him; no one stood up for him, because of fear of retaliation from the men around Caesar.
Yet Paul forgives them and asks God to forgive them, too.
2 Timothy 4:16-17 “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.
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 writes Timothy, not just to notify him of his execution, but to instruct him.
He lets him know that he is ready to go. That he has finished the Purpose of God for his life.
2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”
Paul used these illustrations before, when talking about his life as a preacher of the gospel.
1 Corinthians 9:26-27 “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air.
But keep under my body, and bring it in to subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
As a runner in a race, he was to keep the goal of God in front of him, and finish what he started.
He was to preach salvation to all,…….and exhort them to grow in the grace of God.
And show them how to do it.
And he was a fighter. He had real enemies, he was not fighting the air.
His enemies were from within himself…..(We always need to resist sin.)…
And from without. Many sought to kill him, slander him, and ruin the simple gospel message; yet he withstood them,…..often face to face.
But he had fought the good fight. He had finished his course.
He had kept the faith. The word “kept” here is “to guard from loss, by keeping our eye upon”.
And he had instructed Timothy in his former letter to do the same:
1 Timothy 6:11-12 “But thou, O man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, wherein thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
Paul also looks forward to what God has promised:
2 Timothy 4:8 “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day:….”
And if he had stopped there, we would absolutely understand. Paul had done many things, suffered many things for Christ Jesus.
But he does not:
“…and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
Any Christian, who loves the appearing of Christ Jesus, will receive a crown of righteousness.
It is difficult, not to get wrapped up in this world……It’s anger, greed, and vengeful spirit.
Then we forget to love Jesus……and we stop looking to Him.
When that happens……we don’t “keep” our faith active.
Paul warns all of us, to “fight the good fight of faith”. And keep our eye on,…and guard our faith,…..which will always lead us on, with the Lord.
Yet, if we do love and wait for Him, there is a crown waiting for us in heaven.
Paul’s last message, was one of instruction and testimony:
“If I, who once was an enemy of Jesus,…….can be saved…..and come to love Him through out my life; in good times, and bad: So can you.
He stood with me,……and Jesus Christ will stand with you no matter what comes.”
So ended Paul’s bodily ministry…..and so began his eternal joy with Christ!