Summary: The Apostle Paul serves as a fine example of how Christians at times can feel overwhelmed by the circumstances they are facing even loneliness.
Cornerstone Church October 15, 2006
“ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE, WHERE DO THEY
ALL COME FROM?”
2 Timothy 4:9-13, 16
Most Christians cannot deny the profound effects that the Apostle Paul has had upon their lives.
He is a fine example or how God can transform an individual’s life.
He is a fine example of devotion for the cause of Christ (he gave 110% plus).
He wrote under inspiration of the Holy Spirit 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament.
Life changing and glorious works like Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Hebrews!
But the Apostle Paul also serves as a fine example of how Christians at times can feel overwhelmed by the circumstances they are facing. In this case, loneliness.
Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.
At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.
2 Timothy 4:9-13, 16 NIV
Paul had given his life as a living sacrifice to Christ.
He lived out daily what he preached about in Romans 12:1.
He was stoned, beaten, criticized, tired, hungry and shipwrecked in order to proclaim the gospel message.
Now he is in a dark, damp, cold, Roman dungeon waiting for the outcome of his trial which will result in his execution. While in prison loneliness is gripping at his heart!
“DOES ANYONE CARE?”
Paul might have asked himself!
I wonder if this is how Martin and Gracia Burnham, New Tribes Missionaries, felt during their year of captivity as missionaries in the Philippines?
Wondering whether they were going to be released or whether they, like so many other of God’s Servants would give their lives as martyrs for Christ.
Martin was martyred for Christ.
Today Gracia speaks about their captivity
You do not have to be faced with these extreme conditions to have loneliness gripping your heart. As I was reading about loneliness I found that people all around us can silently be drowning in loneliness. Ready to go under without anyone even caring to notice.
Maybe that is how you feel this morning!
It can happen right here in church. You come hoping someone will notice, but they don’t.
It is so easy to go unnoticed. Listen!
Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?
All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?
Father McKenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near.
Look at him working.
Darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there
What does he care?
Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved
Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
Many songs in our society have reflected this theme:
“One Is The Loneliest Number”
Three Dog Night
“Only The Lonely”
WHERE DOES LONELINESS COME FROM?
It comes from geographical separation
Moving to a different city or even a different country (individuals in business, missions or college). Perhaps you are away on a business trip or at a conference and you miss your family and friends.
I’ve been to the Moody Pastor’s Conference by myself before. The fellowship is great. The messages, fantastic. But you can be in the midst of 1,500 of God’s finest servants and feel alone along way from home.
It comes from physical or emotional separation
The one you loved and spent your whole life getting to know is suddenly gone.
The one you love is now in nursing care, assisted living, or is mentally gone.
It can come because the time of the year (seasons)
Holidays: Christmas or Thanksgiving
Key dates: Birthdays or Anniversaries
It can be a personal choice
You quickly slip out the door at church or at work avoiding interaction with others preferring solitude to relationships.
It can be a result of personal actions
Too busy doing your own thing
Too rigid and unbending
Avoiding relationships for fear of getting hurt
It can happen when the future looks bleak
The darkness of the winter months.
The traumatic situation the Apostle Paul was facing in prison.