Summary: As the Apostle Paul wrote his last letter before going Home to Glory, he summed up his autobiography in the three short clauses found in verse 8. They tell us of the 3 Times that were at hand in Paul's life. The same is true for each of us.
TITLE: THE TIME…AT HAND
TEXT: 2 Timothy 4:6-8
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 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.
As the Apostle Paul wrote his last letter before going Home to Glory, he summed up his autobiography in the three short clauses found in verse 8; “I Have Fought a Good Fight” (which was of first importance to him at his hour of approaching death). “I Have Finished My Course”. “I Have Kept the Faith”.
In verse 6 Paul speaks of “…the time…at hand” as the time of his departure, but he also tells us in these three verses about the three different time zones which we as Christians will live through. All of us are in one of these zones in our life. Let’s see what Time Is At Hand.
1. THE TIME OF DUTY (V.7)
The Apostle Paul was coming to the end of his time of active duty in the Lord’s Army on the battlefield of life. As he looks back over his life he tells us that the Christian life is a Time of Duty to our dear Lord and Savior. He saw his Time of Duty to consist of three parts.
A. The Fighting
Listed first and foremost by the Holy Spirit is the term, “I Have Fought a Good Fight”. It would be impossible to claim the next two statements as fact if he could not first say that he had fought a good fight. Paul not only fought these foes, but he always put up a Good Fight, he was always a worthy foe.
For Paul, living for and serving Jesus in the Time of Life was a constant warfare. He had many enemies, all of which were the enemies of the one he served, the Lord Jesus and his writings speaks of each of them.
2. The Devil’s Children, Who Are the Enemies of All Righteousness (Acts 13:10)
3. The Enemies of the Gospel
We could only imagine how different our nation would be if even one half of those who claimed to be a Christian would have put up a good fight against these same foes.
A man always comes to admire any foe who has shown him to be a worthy opponent, he also always ends up detesting the cowards and the timid for. No doubt, that is the reason America no longer has respect for the Church and is so detested by our world.
The Time at Hand, is the Time of Duty. We must put up a good fight against the foes of Christ. We must see His foes as our as well. Too many have surrendered to their flesh and watched the enemies of righteousness and the Gospel march forward conquering our nation and we have done little to restrain them. Now we stand at a point where we are facing the last great battle to save America and still most of the Lord’s army is no where to be found, unless you find them in the camp of the enemy.
B. The Finishing
Many start well, but soon become a casualty on the battlefield. It seems that fewer and fewer can get back up after getting knocked down.
We are not promised an easy life, just the contrary, there is much suffering to serving in the Lord’s army and not every battle will go well, but the victors, the Good soldiers, are only those who have learned to endure the hardships without waving the white flag of surrender before their foes.
I read of many in the Church today who believe the battle against the homosexual movement and marriage is all but lost and we now must learn how to coexist with them when in fact they mean to win the battle and subject us to their rule.
I cannot ever see the Apostle Paul waving the white flag of surrender and telling the Church to learn to coexist with the foes of Christ. His admonishment would be that of the song writer:
ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS
1. Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
forward into battle see his banners go!
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.
2. At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee;