Summary: Let’s think about how Paul was going to leave this world and how this applies to our exiting this world. 1- He wanted to exit while serving the Lord 2- He wanted to exit while preaching strongly 3- He wanted to exit while compelled by God’s Spirit
INTRO.- ILL.- There was an elderly man at home, upstairs, dying in bed. He smelled the aroma of his favorite chocolate chip cookies baking. He wanted one last cookie before he died. He stumbled down the stairs and crawled into the kitchen where his wife was busy baking cookies.
With his last remaining strength he crawled to the table and was just barely able to lift his withered arm to the cookie sheet. As he grasped a warm, moist chocolate chip cookie, his favorite kind, his wife suddenly whacked his hand with a spatula.
Gasping for breath, he asked her, "Why did you do that?" "Those are for the funeral."
22"And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.
25"Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.
From these words, it sounds like Paul didn’t expect to be around much longer. He was thinking about possibly exiting this world.
When you leave this world, how would you like to leave?
ILL.- A few days before his death, Dr. F. B. Meyer wrote a very dear friend these words: "I have just heard, to my great surprise, that I have but a few days to live. It may be that before this reaches you, I shall have entered the palace. Don’t trouble to write. We shall meet in the morning."
ILL.- Hudson Taylor, founder of China Inland Mission, in the closing months of his life said to a friend, "I am so weak. I can’t read my Bible. I can’t even pray. I can only lie still in God’s arms like a little child and trust."
Leaving this world is not particularly a nice thought, is it? How would you want to leave this world if you had a choice? You would probably want your family with you, to love you, and comfort you as best they could.
ILL.- My mother, Juanita Shepherd, left this world quoting scripture. She lived the last 10 months of her life in a nursing home in Joplin, MO. Early Sunday, June 30, 2002, she was taken to the Freeman hospital. A lady from the nursing home went to be with mother. It was not job but she always said that no person should have to die alone. She and mother quoted the Lord’s prayer together and especially, the 23rd Psalm. She said that mother’s voice was weak but it was strongest when she came to that part, "And yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me..." She then said that probably 20 minutes before mother left this world she sort of went into a coma. No struggle. No pain. No fighting. No worry.
Now you know that this had to make me feel somewhat better. I committed and trusted my mother to the Lord and it appears that she, too, trusted the Lord to take care of her. THANK YOU, LORD! Bless you, bless you!
HOW WOULD YOU WANT TO LEAVE THIS WORLD?
PROP.- Let’s think about how Paul was going to leave this world and how this applies to our exiting this world.
1- He wanted to exit while serving the Lord
2- He wanted to exit while preaching strongly
3- He wanted to exit while compelled by God’s Spirit
I. HE WANTED TO EXIT WHILE SERVING THE LORD
17From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18When they arrived, he said to them: "You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews.
Paul served the Lord with great humility and tears. Life is tough and living the Christian life can be tough but it pays eternal dividends. We should always serve the Lord in humility because He is the one who gives the ability to serve. He alone deserves the glory for the good we do.
ILL.- General William Booth, the founder of the salvation Army, had lost his eyesight. His son Bramwell had to tell his father there would be no recovery. "Do you mean that I am blind?" the General asked. "Yes, this is apparently so," his son replied. The father continued,"I shall never see your face again?" "No, probably not in this world." "Bramwell," said General Booth, "I have done what I could for God and for His people with my eyes. Now I will do what I can for God without my eyes."
That’s the humble attitude of a true servant of the Lord. I will do whatever I can do with whatever I have or don’t have.