Summary: Paul knows he will soon go to be with the Lord. He shares three things Christians need to do.
“When it’s All Been Said and Done”
July 27, 2008
”In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:1-8
The “fireball” of the New Testament is getting old. God has used him in wonderful ways. How many people came to the Lord because of his ministry we will only know when we get to heaven. He has given up everything for Jesus. He was a successful, up-and-coming young religious leader before he committed his life to Jesus. He was trained by the best teacher in the land. Some say he was a part of the ruling body of the country. He had influence of life and death over people. He had taken part in the stoning of the first martyr – Steven.
Then came that day on the road to Damascus. He was intent on doing his duty and on his way to arrest some more of those pesky ‘Christians’ when God struck him off his donkey. Listen to Paul’s account of what happened.
"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
"About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ’Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’
" ’Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.
" ’I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.
"’What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.
"’Get up,’ the Lord said, ’and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ Acts 22: 3-10
Everything changed for Paul after he saw the light. His world was turned upside down when he heart the Master’s voice. Instead of persecuting Christians – he, himself, was persecuted. Listen to an accounting of his experiences.
“I have worked much harder(than other evangelists), been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” 2 Corinthians 11:22-28
I begin with all that to let you know that persecution and hard times are not new to the Christian. Maybe I should say that they are even ‘normal’. And if that’s true, and I believe it is, because Paul said,
“…everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2 Timothy 3:12