Summary: In this text, Paul gives us great insight into death as well as great comfort for grieving families.
Paul’s Farewell Message
2 Tim 4:6-8
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
In this passage of Scripture, the Apostle Paul was writing to Timothy, his son in the faith. This man who wrote most of the New Testament ended his writings with a letter to his son in the faith. He tells him in this letter that he is about to die.
Paul expected to die. He knew it was coming soon. Some deaths that we face are not expected. This makes these times very difficult. But I believe today in Jesus Christ. I believe in His Word. I believe that in a time like this, the Word of God will speak to us and bring us comfort and direction.
I think in this passage we see some things that will help us today deal with this death we are facing.
II. Paul’s Departure- vs. 6
Paul said, “the time of my departure is at hand. That word “departure is very interesting. Understanding that word will help us understand death.
A. It was a Nautical Term-
This word was used by sailors to speak of untying a ship so that it could sail. Have you ever watched a ship go over the horizon. You see it slip out of sight, but in truth that ship is still sailing even though you can’t see it. You see when a ship leaves a harbor, it will soon be entering another harbor. On this side we say goodbye, on the other side someone is saying hello!
B. It was Military Term
This word was used by the military to refer to taking down your tent in order to move to another place. The last words of Robert E. Lee were “Strike the tents.” That is just what death is, a folding up of the earthly tent in order to make a journey elsewhere.
C. It was an Agricultural Term-
The word “departure” to a farmer meant the time of day when he would take the yoke off the back of his farm animals. When he laid that burden off its back, they used the word departure to describe it.
Like a ship, our loved one today is sailing toward another port. Like a camper, they have folded up their tent, like a beast of burden, they have laid off their heavy burdens.
III. Paul’s Declaration- vs. 7
A. I have fought a good fight
Life at times can be a fight! There are many battles on this side of heaven. A big key to success in the fight of life is to never quit! Our loved one has had a quite a fight through life. They learned the lesson of perserverance!
B. I have finished the race
He finished the assignment given to him by God. Speak of the tasks that the loved one completed. This was an athletic term. Paul had finished the course set before them.
C. I have kept the faith
Speak of the faithfulness of the departed loved one. We must be faithful until the end.
IV. Paul’s Destination- vs. 8
A. A Place of Revelation
At the destination point is Jesus Christ. I believe when a Christian dies, he closes his eyes in death on this side, and opens them to behold the face of Jesus on the other side! Let us remember what the Bible says about the death of a Christian.
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
Is the death of His saints.
B. A Place of Reward
Paul said that there was laid up for him a crown of righteousness. God will reward each of his children based on their works when they arrive in heaven.
C. A Place of Reckoning
Paul called Jesus, the Righteous Judge. We will all one day give account for the lives we have lived. You don’t have to be old to die. You don’t have to be sick to die. You have to be ready to die.
A young child was diagnosed with a terminal disease. The parents knew that he would die soon. The child as well knew that his death would be soon. One night he was sitting in his mother’s lap watching television with her. He looked up into her eyes and said, “Mommy does it hurt to die?” The young mother was overcome with grief and had to leave the room for a moment to gather her emotions. She stood in the bathroom and prayed, “God what can I tell him?” She felt that the Lord gave her a word for him. She went back into the room and said, “Honey do you remember how so many times you have fallen asleep in front of the television and then the next morning you wake up in your room? Well I will tell you what happens. When you go to sleep your father comes in and with his strong arms he picks you up and carries you into your room. And then the next thing you know you wake up in your room. Well death is just like that. When you die, you fall asleep and Jesus Christ gathers you up in His strong arms and carries you to heaven. And then you wake up in another room!”
Are you ready? You can be by knowing Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life!