Summary: Paul had settled eternal issues. For him death wasn’t the end, but a new beginning. A change of address only. He lived life. He had one goal in life. He wrote about it. II Thessalonians 1:12, “…the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified...”
• Nobody in Scripture talked as much about their death as Paul, except maybe Jesus.
• Paul lived his life on the edge and so he knew he was always in danger, but covered by the Father.
• What a way to live life to the fullest.
• Not in fear, but in faith…that was Paul.
• Not shrinking back as so many of us do, but pressing into life.
• He was able to do this because he had settled eternal issues. For him death wasn’t the end, but a new beginning. A change of address only.
• He had one goal in life. He wrote about it.
II Thessalonians 1:12, “…the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified...”
• The last eight chapters of Acts cover 2.5-5 years.
• Those eight chapters cover the closing years in the life of Paul.
• He came to Jesus around 33-35 AD and was killed somewhere around 63-65 AD 30 years later.
• Clement of Rome says of Paul (whom he said he sat under) - “He was imprisoned seven times.”
• Paul spoke often of dying.
• He wrote the letter to the Philippians likely from prison in Rome around 60-63 AD.
• He was released from jail and then rearrested a year or so later
• By Nero who was using Christians as scape goats to save himself after Rome burned.
• He would die in the next three to five years there between 62-67 AD.
• Nero died June, 68 AD, so Paul was executed before that date. Perhaps in the late spring of 68 or 67.
I. WHAT DO YOU LIVE FOR?
Philippians 1:13-26, “…my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else…21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.”
• To live is Christ, to die is gain.
• Wow! We don’t think like that often do we?
• Obvious the guy is sold out?
• He knows why he lives and what he lives for.
• That settles so many issues most of us spend years wrestling over.
• Why am I here? What is my life about?
• Do you live in fear? I often hear people make statements about - “Why would you go there?” or “Why do that?”
• The safest place on earth is living in faith with the Father, not fear trying to grip your life.
• No greater example of that than Paul.
• When he was prophetically warned that danger was in Jerusalem he went anyway.
• And was arrested and sent to Rome.
• He knew his life was a mission.
After he was warned in Acts 21:11-13 he said, 11And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘in this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the gentiles.’” 12When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
II. RUN YOUR RACE
• Paul was amazing in that he never saw obstacles as ends. They were often of little or no consideration in his decision to undertake a task or call.
• He was called and controlled by conviction that God was God and He would win.
• Through it all he kept a soft heart and a gentle spirit. He was driven by the mercy he received.
• That others would know Jesus as he knew Him.
• Whether they were Jews or non-Jews. He loved his people, but he loved all people.
• He saw life here as a journey that ran a course. It had a beginning and an ending.
• This didn’t ever seem to bother him.
• He said it was a short course, soon over.
• So run well.
• It cannot be repeated so run well.
• It will not be run again.
• So he said at the end of his life…
II Timothy 4:7, “...I have run the course, I have kept the faith.”
• He had as he said, given up everything for the call of Christ: wealth, human position.