Summary: The time of our departure is at hand. Will we cross the Finish Line alone, or will we bring others with us?
THE FINISH LINE
Sunday, November 05, 2006 – AM
By Pastor Jim May
2 Timothy 4:1-8, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
The Apostle Paul was coming down to the final days of his life on this earth. In this letter to Timothy, his young protégé, Paul expressed his final words of testimony and instruction. I can only hope and pray that we will all have the same testimony as Paul.
Paul knew that after his ministry had come to an end, but that life would go on. It was his greatest desire to see the Kingdom of God grow as souls were won to the Lord.
But while he was here, he continued to serve the Lord faithfully. His last days on this earth would not be days of sorrow and self-pity. Paul intended to go out with a bang. He wasn’t about to let the hope of Heaven grow weak after he had gone this far. When he left this world, he wanted to know that his life had not been in vain.
Now this isn’t a message about the fact that all of us are facing the grave someday. I don’t want to dwell on the physical aspects of our lives. I want to dwell on the spiritual things.
While we are able to do so, let us ever keep in mind what Paul says in these verses.
First he says, “Preach the Word”.
We are not all called to be Pastors, teachers and evangelists. Most Christians will never stand behind a pulpit, or teach a class, or hold a tent revival. But all of us are called to “Preach the Word”. We are commanded to “go into all the world and preach” to every one who will listen. You are a preacher today, whether you realize it or not. You preach every time you bow your head to say grace over a meal. You preach every time you refuse to follow the crowd into the arena of sin. Your life is the greatest message that you could ever preach.
What message is your life preaching right now? Are you preaching Jesus, or are you preaching about the world and the things of Satan? You are preaching, the question is, what are you preaching?
I don’t care to talk much about the things of this world. I figured out a long time ago that people really don’t care what I think about politics, sports or the economy. It may sound strange to others, but I have a different focus. My focus is on the eternal life to come. I try not to dwell on what I don’t have, what I’ll never get in this life, and the places I will never go. I love to travel. I love to see all the sights wherever I go. I love to have new cars, and to live a comfortable lifestyle. But none of these things are all that important. God meets our needs. He is watching over us and He knows what we have need of, so why should I overly concern myself with it when God is already handling it? He is the best financial planner I could find. He is the best banker I know. God is the best Physician that money can’t buy. God is my Everything and my all in all.
If I am consumed with the cares of this life, then my life is preaching that “this life, and the things of the world” are the most important things of all. But if I’m focused on things eternal, then that’s what my life is preaching.
I must live according to the Word of God. I must remain as faithful and true to God’s Word as I possibly can. Even my best efforts may fall short, but I want people to see my life as a testimony of God’s grace and mercy, as a testimony of God’s love and power to save, set free and deliver.