Summary: Few emotions are more painful than the emotion of loneliness. Deep loneliness is often experienced right after the holidays. The gifts have been opened. The parties have been given. All of the friends and family have returned home and the cookies have bee
SERMONIC / WORSHIP THEME
Opening Statement: Few emotions are more painful than the emotion of loneliness. Deep loneliness is often experienced right after the holidays. The gifts have been opened. The parties have been given. All of the friends and family have returned home and the cookies have been eaten. Being alone after the holidays feels like a cold January wind that cuts through the layers of our warmth and security. Think of the single person enduring the pain of a broken romance. Think of the divorced person who doesn’t know what to do with his or her time over the holidays. Think of the inmate behind the bars of solitary confinement. Think of the military person overseas. Think of the widow whose table is still set for two. Think of the parents whose arms ache for a missing child. Think of the person who may be around acquaintances everyday but still has no vital connection. We’ve all been there – a part of the crowd but not of the community. There’s never a time in life when we can completely escape from loneliness. It will sneak upon all of us, even in the midst of a crowd and can last for a few moments or for a lifetime.
Transition: These thoughts will prepare you for the passage that we’ll be looking at today. A cold January wind cuts through 2 Timothy 4 as we look at several factors that contributed to Paul’s loneliness. Deserted by friends, opposed by an enemy, and unsupported in his court appearance by Christians who were perhaps afraid of imprisonment themselves, Paul writes…
Text: 2 Timothy 4:9-21
Recitation: 4:9 Make every effort to come to me soon. 4:10 For Demas deserted me, since he loved the present age, and he went to Thessalonica. [Demas was caught up in the materialism of the day] Crescens went to Galatia and Titus to Dalmatia. 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is a great help to me in ministry. 4:12 Now I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 4:13 When you come, bring with you the cloak I left in Troas with Carpas [Perhaps Paul was being pursued by Roman officials and left it behind in a rush. Whatever the reason for being without it, now he really needs his coat while in the Mamertine Dungeon in Rome.] and the scrolls, especially the parchment ones. 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him in keeping with his deeds. 4:15 You be on guard against him too, because he vehemently opposed our words. 4:16 At my first defense no one appeared in my support; instead they all deserted me—may they not be held accountable for it. 4:17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message would be fully proclaimed for all the Gentiles to hear. And so I was delivered from the lion’s mouth! 4:18 The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed and will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever! Amen. 4:19 Greetings to Prisca and Aquila and the family of Onesiphorus. 4:20 Erastus stayed in Corinth. Trophimus I left ill in Miletus. 4:21 Make every effort to come before winter [When you try to travel in winter, there are too many delays. This is the second time he asks Timothy to come to him. Look at 2 Timothy 1:3-4)]. Greetings to you from Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers and sisters. [Those who probably visited him in prison.] 4:22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
Title: Living with Loneliness…Even in A Crowd
Background: Due to persecution, Paul was in prison in Rome, more than likely in the Mamertine Dungeon, located just across the street from the old senate building in the Roman Forum. You can still visit there today. There is a circular cell you enter by descending some steps; its only light is an open hole in the roof. There, beside the river, damp and dark and cold, was very likely where the Apostle Paul wrote this last letter to Timothy, his dear son in the faith. Writing from prison in Rome and sensing that the end was near, Paul gave his final words of encouragement, challenge, and caution to a young man that he had mentored and discipled in the faith. Paul sent this letter hoping that Timothy, who was in Ephesus (2 Timothy 1:18), would receive it in time to come to him in Rome before anything bad happened or winter set in (2 Timothy 4:9, 21). But if not, then this letter would serve as Paul’s last will and testament and would prepare Timothy to do the work of ministry in Paul’s absence and to ensure that the gospel was extended to the next generation. According to tradition, Paul was beheaded shortly after this letter was written. Whether Timothy made it to Rome in time is not known, but we know that his letter was preserved.