Summary: Sensing his impending death, Paul gives us a motivational model for living our lives in anticipation of finishing well.
Title: You’re Not Down Yet!
Text: II Timothy 4:6-8
Thesis: Sensing his impending death, Paul gives us a motivational model for living our lives in anticipation of finishing well.
I-70 originates in Baltimore, Maryland and terminates at Cove Fort, Utah. Here in Colorado I-70 crosses
the eastern plains, passes through Denver and then wends its way through the Rockies to Grand Junction.
Coming from west to east, in addition to seeing natural beauty at its best we also see a couple of engineering wonders. In Glenwood Canyon engineers somehow, someway managed squeeze in a railroad line and I-70 along and over the Colorado River while preserving the beauty of the canyon. At one point the interstate is suspended over both the Colorado River and the Union Pacific Railroad Line.
The Eisenhower Tunnel is the longest, at 1.7 miles in length and highest point in the interstate system where I-70 crosses over the Continental Divide. (I read in the paper yesterday that a $10 million fire suppression system has been approved to increase safety in the tunnel.
When traveling home from having been in the mountains I am always glad when we pass Genesee and begin our descent down Mount Vernon Canyon toward the city. It’s along this stretch of interstate we know as Floyd Hill that we see a memorable sign: “You Are Not Down Yet.” “Trucks, Don’t Be Fooled – 4 more miles of steep grades and sharp curves.” I like that sign. “You Are Not Down Yet.”
In other words drivers need to continue to be diligent and pay attention. You can’t just breathe a sigh of relief and recklessly let the horses run.
In our text today we hear the Apostle Paul at the point in his life where he has made it all the way to the bottom of Floyd Hill. He has lived his life and his death is imminent. But as we read this text we need to read it in light of the fact that we are not down yet. So we need to remind ourselves that there are still 4 more miles of steep grades and sharp curves ahead of us. We are not down yet and until we are we need to be diligent in the way we live as people of God.
So what can we learn from the Word of God today about living?
I. Plan to die well!
As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time for my departure is near. II Timothy 4:6
Jerry Seinfeld jokes about how the #1 fear of most people is public speaking while the #2 fear is death… suggesting that it is better to be the deceased than the person giving the eulogy.
Isaac (Eye-zek-i-mov) Asimov, well known science fiction author once said, “Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that is troubling.” Woody Allen once said, “It’s not that I am afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
For many, death is something to avoid at all costs. But the fact of the matter is this: Everyone is going to die. In light of that fact, Paul gives us a window into his life and impending death that may be helpful to us.
While the Apostle Paul may have realized that the Roman government would soon execute him… he chose to see his impending death as the end of a life being poured out as a sacrifice to God. They were not taking his life from him, he was giving his life for God.
We can die well when we know we have lived life as a sacrifice to God.
A. View life as a sacrifice to God… my life has already been poured out as an offering to God.
Gk. Spendesthai: to pour out a libation to the gods
In Roman culture, historically it was common for the host to pour out a cup of wine as an offering to the gods at the completion of a meal.
In Jewish culture a cup of wine would be poured out over the sacrifice being offered on the altar. When the wine was poured over the sacrificial lamb it is said that a sweet smelling aroma would rise up from the altar as a special gift offered to God. Exodus 29:40-41
In Leviticus the bible speaks of sacrificing a grain offering of four quarts of flour moistened with olive oil along with a quart of wine as a special offering, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Leviticus 23:13 and Numbers 15:4-10
In Numbers 28:7 it says they were to offer along with their burnt offering a present a quart of alcoholic drink with each lamb as a gift with a pleasing aroma to God.