Summary: This sermon is in an ongoing series where I take snapshots from Pilgrim’s Progress and develop a message around it. I have no idea how many sermons will be in this series.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 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.
l. INTRODUCTION – PILGRIM’S PROGRESS
-It is an incredible story, but it is far more than just a story, it is a parable, it is an allegory, it is a mind absorbing and soul stirring classic. It is Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.
-The opening chapter of that classic provides some great nuggets of truth and principles for life.
-Christian who starts out on his journey finds himself facing a difficult task. He had a very fearful burden on his back and he feared that it would cause him to sink lower and lower into the grave and then he knew he would descend into Hell.
-He relates these thoughts to Evangelist and tells him that knowing such things as this makes him want to cry. Evangelist asked him, “Sir, if this is your condition then why are you just standing here?”
-Christian responds back to him, “Because I don’t know where to go.” At that point, Evangelist hands him a Letter (which in the parable is the Bible) and points out to him a verse that tells him to flee from the coming wrath.
-With that thought looming in his soul, Christian asks, “So where am I supposed to go?” Evangelist points across a very wide field and asks, “Do you see the narrow gate (Matt. 7:13)?” To which Christian answers back to him, “No I do not see it.”
-But Evangelist persistently asks, “But do you see the Shining Light beyond the field?” “I think I do,” replies Christian. Evangelist patiently tells him to keep the Light in his eyes and go directly toward it. When he walks toward the Shining Light, he will find the Narrow Gate. He further tells him that when he finds the Gate, the Keeper will tell him what he is to do.
-John Bunyan states that in his dream, he notices the man running toward the Gate. However, he has not gone very far before the cries of those within the City began to call out to him. Some mock, some threatened, and some plead with him to return. But the man does a very commendable thing. He places his fingers in his ears and begins to cry out, “Life, Life, Life, Eternal Life!”
-So the man starts his journey and far off in the distance, he can see the Finish Line. It concludes in the Celestial City and that is his life’s purpose and goal. To make it to Heaven. If we can ever get such a thought and passion within us. . . . . . .To make it to Heaven, not many things in this life can dissuade us or turn us back.
ll. THE AREA OF THE TEXT
-Every Scripture written in the Word of God is important. But there seems to be a few that stand out even more than all the rest. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 are two of those verses. If an epitaph could be placed on Paul’s life, this would be the choice.
-His life demonstrated:
• A fought fight.
• A finished course.
• A kept faith.
-Nothing more than that really matters. But there are some great and valuable lessons to be pulled from these two verses.
-I want to focus on Paul in this message. Not Paul the theologian who wrote the majority of the New Testament. Not Paul the missionary whose passion for the Gospel took him all over the then known world. Nor Paul the great man of faith, who had part in healing many. But I want to preach about the hopeful Paul, who was looking forward to a day that would come.
-He wrote this to the Corinthian saints:
1 Corinthians 15:51-58 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.