Summary: Paul Looked Around, Paul Looked Back, Paul Looked Ahead.
THREE IMPORTANT LOOKS OR PAUL'S LAST TESTIMONY
INTRODUCTION: Just looking in department stores. Often looking with no purpose.
II Timothy 4:6-8 Paul was looking with a definite purpose.
As Paul awaited execution, he wrote a farewell letter to his dear comrade in service, Timothy. He knows he faces death, but this does not frighten him. He knows that his work is almost over, but this does not discourage him. His words come with courage and calmness, and in this statement of faith, Paul looks in three directions and bears witness to his confidence in the Lord.
I. PAUL LOOKS AROUND AND BEARS WITNESS THAT HE IS READY
A. Phil 1:23-24 (60-64 A.D.) Abiding not departing – needful for you
II Tim 4:6 (66 A.D.) Departing not abiding -- far better
B. Not a prisoner being executed, but a sacrifice being offered
Phil 2:17. Eph 5:2 Christ a sacrifice to God for Paul. Paul a sacrifice to God
because of Christ.
C. Paul's life is not being taken, but offered to the Lord.
John 10:15 Jesus -- I lay down my life for the sheep.
Paul now lays down his life for the Shepherd.
Jim Elliot, one of the martyred missionaries of Ecuador,
wrote in his journal: "He is no fool to give what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose."
D. Departing Not Dying
1. Means to take down your tent and move on, the way a
soldier would do when the army strikes camp.
II Cor. 5:1 Earthly tabernacle dissolved-- a house -- eternal in heavens
2. Means to loose a boat and set sail
II Cor 5:8 Absent from body, present with Lord
Use Spurgeon Morning and Evening Illustration pg 222
O child of God, death has lost its sting, because the devil's power over it is destroyed. then cease to fear dying. Ask grace from God the Holy Ghost, that by an intimate knowledge and a firm belief of thy Redeemer's death, thou mayst be strengthened for that dread hour. Living near the cross of Calvary thou mayst think of death with pleasure, and welcome it when it comes with intense delight. It is sweet to die in the Lord: it is a covenant-blessing to sleep in Jesus. Death is no longer banishment, it is a return from exile, a going home to the many mansions where the loved ones already dwell. The distance between glorified spirits in heaven and militant saints on earth seems great; but it is not so. We are not far from home--a moment will bring us there. The sail is spread: the soul is launched upon the deep. How long will be its voyage? How many wearying winds must beat upon the sail ere it shall be reefed in the port of peace? How long shall that soul be tossed upon the waves before it comes to that sea which knows no storm? Listen to the answer, "Absent from the body, present with the Lord." Yon ship has just departed, but it is already at its haven. It did but spread its sail and it was there. Like that ship of old, upon the Lake of Galilee, a storm had tossed it, but Jesus said, "Peace, be still," and immediately it came to land. Think not that a long period intervenes between the instant of death and the eternity of glory. When the eyes close on earth they open in heaven. The horses of fire are not an instant on the road. Then, O child of God, what is there for thee to fear in death, seeing that through the death of thy Lord its curse and sting are destroyed? and now it is but a Jacob's ladder whose foot is in the dark grave, but its top reaches to glory everlasting.
E. Are You Ready?
If you have trusted Christ as your Saviour, then you
II. PAUL LOOKED BACK
Paul could look around without fear, and he could look back
A. Not to sin or failures. (There is a wrong way to look back.) He had forgotten those in Phil 3:13
B. Not with regrets, but with delight
C. Paul had fought -- the task of faith in persevering amid
temptation and opposition. It came also to mean to take
pains, to wrestle as in a prize contest, straining every
nerve to the uttermost towards the goal.
With a Purpose:
1. I Cor. 9:26 "so fight I, not as one that beateth
Phil 3:14 "I press toward the mark"
a. World I john 2:15-17 "Love not the world"
world -- order opposed to God
Even though Demas forsook him for the world
II Tim. 4:10
b. Flesh I Cor 9:27 "But I keep under my body" –
the lust of the flesh