Summary: Last words are usually sad, but Paul’s last words, although serious, have an attitude of joy. The key to living for Christ with joy, is knowing how to die for Christ. In our text today, Paul is showing us how to die by giving us his view of death
Finding Joy in Serving Christ
Purpose: To explain why Paul had been so successful in serving Christ.
Aim: I want the listener to think more about being with Christ than they do about the hardships of serving Christ.
INTRODUCTION: The key to living for Christ with joy, is knowing how to die for Christ. In our text today, Paul is showing us how to die by giving us his view of death.
One of the most touching moments in the history of baseball was the final farewell of Lou Gehrig in Yankee Stadium. Suffering from an incurable disease that cut his career short, the great and revered first baseman stood at the plate and tearfully said farewell to the fans who had cheered him on for many years.[Demarest, G. W., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1984). Vol. 32: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 32 : 1, 2 Thessalonians / 1, 2 Timothy / Titus. Formerly The Communicator’s Commentary. The Preacher’s Commentary series (295). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc.]
Last words are usually sad, but Paul’s last words, although serious, have an attitude of joy.
“In his book Dying Thoughts the Puritan Richard Baxter, a preacher for over forty years, wrote, "Many serious Christians, through the weakness of their trust in God, live in this perplexed [world], weary of living and afraid of dying, continually pressed between grief and fear. But Paul’s [conflict] was between two joys, which of them he should desire most. And if that be my case, what should much interrupt my peace or pleasure? If I live, it is for Christ, for his service. . . . If I die presently, it is my gain; God, who appoints me my work, limits my time; and surely his glorious reward can never be unseasonable, or come too soon, if it be the time that he appoints"[Grand Rapids: Baker, 1976, pp. 19-20]
We will have the joy of saying "To live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil 1:21) when we learn: ✔ How Can a Christian Remain Faithful to Christ?
1:1-2:13 I. How Should a Christian React to Stress?
2:14-26 II. How Should a Christian Relate to Fellow Believers?
3:1-17 III. How Can a Christian Reside in a Hostile Culture?
4:1-22 IV. How Can a Christian Remain Faithful to Christ?
Vs.1-5 A. Put first things first
Vs.1 1. Believe the seriousness of the commands “solemnly charge you”
Vs.2 2. Know the importance of the Word “preach the word”
Vs.3-4 3. Accept the urgency of the commands “time will come...they will not endure”
Vs.5 4. Learn how to carry out the commands “But you...”
a. Be level headed “be sober”
b. Serve Christ when it’s hard “endure hardship”
c. Reach out to the lost “do the work of an evangelist”
d. Never give up serving Christ “fulfill your ministry”
Vs.6-8 B. Focus on the joy of our reward
The word FOR that begins verse 6 looks back to verse 5. Paul is encouraging Timothy to remain especially steadfast and faithful to Christ also because his own service for Christ was about to end.
In order to focus on the joy of our reward, we need to understand three things. Today we will look at two of them.
Vs.6 1. Sacrificing for Christ is temporary
Notice that Paul isn’t asking Timothy to do anything that he hasn’t done himself. ✔ A good discipler lives what he teaches. Others will not learn from us if we aren’t striving to do what we are teaching. We can’t tell others to endure hardship joyfully if we don’t endure hardship joyfully.
Paul gives us two pictures here. One has to do with serving Christ and the other has to do with being with Christ.
a. Serving Christ is our offering to Him “a drink offering”
BEING POURED OUT AS A DRINK OFFERING is just one word in the Greek. This same word is used in the Greek translation of, Numbers 15:10 and you shall offer as the drink offering one-half a hin of wine as an offering by fire, as a soothing aroma to the Lord. (NAU)
Pouring wine on the bottom of the altar was often the first thing done before the actual sacrifice was begun. Paul knew that his execution was close, but he didn’t look at his life as a failure. At this point in Paul’s life he was probably back in prison (he was under house arrest before) and all of his close friends had deserted him (see verse 16) except for Luke. He knew that evil was strong. But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. (2 Timothy 3:1 NAU) But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13 NAU). So how could Paul be optimistic?