Summary: The believer can be comforted in knowing, regardless of where this life and our Lord takes us, that God is there and will see us through.
TEXT: 2 Timothy 4:16-18 (KJV)
16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
It seems that forget many of the wise words people say to us. They may offer us much wisdom, love, and other necessary things in their words and sayings to us, but oftentimes, these get forgotten, left by the wayside. However, it seems we are much more apt to remember the last words that people speak to us.
Such was the case with a dear friend of mine. A godly man, and a man that was so close to our family we actually called him our grandfather, in spite of no earthly relation. The man, who had spoken so much wisdom and love to me throughout the course of my life, found himself dying with cancer in a hospital bed. A few days before his passing, the chaplain came in to visit him, and while we were in there, had prayer with him. The last words my grandfather ever spoke, were to this chaplain "i'd like to thank you for this prayer." He never spoke again, and I have never forgotten those words. They were his last words, and I treasure them.
Here in 2 Timothy, we have found ourselves reading the last words of Paul. According to the context of 2 Timothy (2 Timothy 2:9), we know that Paul has been incarcerated for the 2nd time. We also know he was no longer on house arrest, but that he was in a cold, empty cell facing imminent judgment from the Roman government.
Paul knows his time has come according to 2 Timothy 4:6-9 in what is one of the most quoted Scriptures from New Testament preaching. Paul knew he was about to be killed for the faith. He was facing certain execution, and he was lonely.
Friend there are times in this life when the Christian walk gets just a little bit lonely. When we've been deserted by those whom we love. When everyone has turned their back on us and we're left alone to toil in the field. This has happened to Paul as he is sitting in this cold, dark, jail cell. We can imagine that Paul was terribly lonely, being forsaken by so many.
I want you to notice first that "Paul was lonely."
I. PAUL WAS LONELY. (v. 16a)
"At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me..."
In addition to this verse, if we read the aforementioned verses back to verse ten, we can see that most everyone has abandoned Paul. Demas forsook him and only Luke was with Paul.
Paul comes to verse 16 and states that no one stood with him.
This Greek word refers to a verbal defense used in a court of law. As a Roman citizen, Paul would receive two trials. The Prima Actio and the Secunda Actio. The prima actio is the first charge and it is just to state and establish the charges against Paul. This could be viewed as a western version of the prosecution in a trial. The secunda actio is the second trial, and it states the guilt or innocence of the prosecuted.
Paul says, "at my first answer" that no one was with him. Literally, as he was being prosecuted for whatever crimes they had penned against him, no one stood for him. He didn't have a defense attorney. As Paul was being prosecuted, he found himself alone and without anyone speaking a word on his behalf. He sounds terribly lonely. However, in lieu of the fact that Paul was lonely, we can see certain high points of the text.
II. PAUL WAS LONELY, BUT HE WAS NOT BITTER. (v. 16b)
"At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge."
Paul had been abandoned by most everyone, he had been forgotten and neglected but here in the text, he states he was not bitter about it! He prays the forsaking of brothers and sisters would not be "laid to their charge."
Bitterness isn't in the kingdom of God, forgiveness is. There is no room for bitterness in the kingdom of God. Bitterness cannot dwell in our hearts when Christ has encouraged to have forgiving mentalities.