Summary: To establish that this instruction is needed today for all the saints to remain faithful and committed to the cause of Christ. It provides assurance that the Lord is ever near us, even at our worst hours in life.
1. Paul’s Divine Counselor
2. Paul’s Divine Deliverer
3. Paul’s Divine Preserver
1. In our lesson today we will be discussing Paul’s first defense in Rome. We will be reviewing some great words of encouragement from this great apostle of Christ. We find him now in a Roman prison near the end of his life. He charges the young evangelist in a powerful way – to preach the word and follow his example of devotion and faithfulness to Christ. He informs Timothy that: “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.” He said earlier “do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica,” 2 Timothy 4:9-10.
2. First, we will discuss Paul’s divine counselor. He says: “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.” Paul advises the Timothy that the Lord stood with him and strengthen him during his first appearance before Nero. He was on trial for his life. He reflects on his entire Christian ministry from his call and conversion to Christ in Damascus; till now, his pending conviction and death for the cause of Christ in Rome. “And when they bring you in…take no thought of what you might say,” Luke 12:11-12.
3. Secondly, we will note Paul’s divine deliverer. He says: “I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work.” He recounts his first appearance before the most powerful man in the world. During his first appearance, those that laid charges against him were unsuccessful. He escaped the ax and the sentence of death from the Magistrate. The Lord delivered me from the “mouth of the lion.” Delivered him from the chopping block; from which he would soon suffer death. We can be confident, that the Lord will at his good time deliver us from all of our trails and temptations.
4. Lastly, we will discover Paul’s divine preserver. He says: “And the Lord will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” He faces death – though ready to be offered, and the time of his departure was at hand. Paul was assured that there was laid up for him a crown of righteousness,” 2 Timothy 4:6-8. We can be sure that our Lord has also a crown of life laid up for us in that heavenly kingdom. With this brief introduction let’s consider Paul’s divine counselor.
BODY OF LESSON
I PAUL’S DIVINE COUNSELOR
A. At my first answer. It appears that Paul has made his first hearing before Nero in Rome in defense of his life and ministry for Christ.
B. No man stood with me. He stood alone without any of those that labored and worked with him in the faith. But all men forsook me. Notice earlier, “for Demas hath forsaken me, having the love this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia,” 2 Timothy 4:10.
1. What caused this decision for Demas to forsake his mentor in the faith? Was it fear of possible arrest? Persecution, trials of faith? No, it was his love for the world! It is one thing to become weak in the faith – yet another to depart from the faith.
2. Remember, John Mark departure Paul’s company in Pamphylia, Acts 13:12. John Mark finds favor with Paul in this letter. “Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry,” 2 Timothy 4:11.
3. Notice also: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; Phygellus and Hermongenes. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day,” 2 Timothy 1:15-18.
4. What causes a saint to forsake the Lord and the church? What is their first line of defense (excuse)! Here are some reasons you may have heard:
a. The church has not shown love to me or my family.
b. The preacher is too unkind and critical in all of his messages.
c. The leadership is disorganized and slothful in business.
d. There is no real leadership in the church.
e. My family members and friends are critical of my attendance.
f. The membership is too divided and hypocritical.
C. I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Paul grants unto all these his forgiveness. How reminiscent is this phrase. It was he who heard the same words from Stephen the first martyr in the church. It was before Paul that the mob laid down their garments during the stoning of Stephen, Acts 7:56-57.