Monday, June 18, 2007

Day 16 - Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy - Part 3

The Preacher And His Graduation

The Apostle Paul was a faithful preacher - he was a preacher that fulfilled this nine-fold charge of preaching the Word of God - and he exhorted Timothy and all other men of God to be likewise faithful to this charge.

1) Preach the Word - nothing else is as powerful and lifechanging!
2) be instant in season, out of season - be ready always!
3) reprove - confront and correct the sinner!
4) rebuke - restrain and check their sin!
5) exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine - be patient as you preach the Word!
6) watch thou in all things - be spiritually alert!
7) endure afflictions - be faithful in the midst of the trials and tests!
8) do the work of an evangelist - keep reaching out to the lost!
9) make full proof of thy ministry - fulfill God's will for your life!

2 Timothy was written near the very end of Paul's life, and contains his conclusion (and the Lord's) of Paul's walk with his Saviour. Perhaps Paul's next statements may one day be said of us as well:

2 Timothy 4:6-8 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 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.

His Offering

I am now ready to be offered...

Verse six describes a devoted servant of the Lord who is now ready to depart, and to be with Christ, ready to go home to his Saviour.

I love the way J. Vernon McGee explains this verse:

“'I am now ready to be offered.' If you had gone into that execution room in Rome, you would have seen a bloody spectacle. Very candidly, it would have been sickening to see him put his head on the chopping block, to watch the big, burly, brutal Roman soldier lift that tremendous blade above his head, then with one fell swoop sever the head from the body and see the head drop into a basket on one side and the body fall limp and trembling on the other side. But Paul says if that’s all you saw, you really didn’t see very much. That happened to be an altar, and his life was being poured out as a libation, a drink offering. Paul used that figure of speech before in his letter to the Philippians, when he was arrested for the first time and thought death was before him. He wrote in Philippians 2:17, 'Yea, and if I be offered [poured out as a drink offering] upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.' He wanted his life to be poured out. Now he could say at the end of his life that his life had been poured out like a drink offering.

"What was the drink offering? There were no specific instructions given by God to the Israelites concerning the drink offering. However, it is mentioned again and again in Exodus and Leviticus. The wine was taken and poured over the sacrifice, which, of course, was really hot because it was on a brazen altar with fire underneath it. You know exactly what would happen. The drink offering would go up in steam. It would just evaporate and disappear. That is exactly what Paul is saying here. 'I have just poured out my life as a drink offering on the sacrifice of Christ. It has been nothing for me but everything for Him.' Paul’s life would soon disappear, and all that could be seen was Christ. This is one of the most wonderful figures of speech he has used. So many Christians try to be remembered by having their names chiseled in stone or by having a building named in their memory. Paul was not interested in that type of thing. He says, 'My life is a drink offering poured out; Christ — not Paul — is the One who is to be exalted.' This is a very rich passage of Scripture." (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, [Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers] 2000, c1981.)

The Apostle Paul wanted his life to be a sacrifice for the Lord Jesus Christ, an offering poured out in service and worship to the Lord - a life lived in complete dedication to the Lord, so that all who saw him in life or in death would see his Saviour living through him at all times. What a goal to strive for! What an example to emulate, to follow with all our heart!

Dying To Self

Matthew 16:24-25 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

John 12:24-26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

1 Corinthians 15:31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

A Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Romans 6:5-7 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Romans 6:11-13 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Following Christ

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

1 Corinthians 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

Hebrews 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Walking In His Steps

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

2 Corinthians 12:18 I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?

Romans 4:11-12 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

Steps in the New Testament means "a track," ie. following a path already laid out. The word for walk means "(to range in regular line); to march in (military) rank (keep step), i.e. (figuratively) to conform to virtue and piety." We are to follow the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2; 5:9), the Captain of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10), the Lord Jesus Christ, the Pioneer who blazed the trail for us to follow spiritually - and we are to also follow faithful believers inasmuch as they are closely following the Saviour's example, carefully walking in the Saviour's steps.

Psalms 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

Order means "to set up." Jesus has already set up the path for our lives in His Word - all we have to do is follow.

Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Philippians 3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

Are you dying daily? The flesh needs to be mortified - nothing good can come of it.
Are you a living sacrifice - willingly placing yourself on the altar in dedicated service to the Lord?
Are you following the Saviour? Following the example of godly believers?
Following in their steps? Following in Jesus' steps?
I truly believe the Apostle Paul was doing all these things - he was walking in the footsteps of faith. Are you?

His Departure

The time of my departure is at hand...

For a wonderful commentary on 2 Timothy, see To My Son by Guy King. The following is taken from chapter 15, At The End Of The Road :

"The Departure - the 'unloosing,' as the word literally means. This is a most interesting word, and most illuminating.

It may be said to have at least five connotations, each of them throwing a flood-light on death.

(i) It is a prisoner's word - meaning his 'release.' What especial comfort that would bring to Paul, shut up as he is in that foul Roman dungeon: he is about to be let loose. It carries that thought also to us who are imprisoned within this mortal body, and who that day will be set free from all its restrictions and disabilities.

(ii) It is a farmer's word - and would signify the 'unyoking' of an ox, when its long hard day's work was done. Paul had ploughed a toilsome furrow all through his life's long day, and now comes rest. A thing that we too shall greatly esteem if our life has been strenuously occupied in God's service.

(iii) It is a warrior's word - the encampment has been pitched here, and a fierce battle joined; now that is victoriously over, he strikes his tent, 'unloosing' its cords and stakes, and is on the march again to the last great conquest of the campaign. How true of the battle-scarred old veteran who pens the words, and of all who follow in his steps.

(iv) It is a seaman's word - and would be used for the 'unmooring' of a ship that has been tied up to the quayside, and which must now put to sea again. In Paul's case, and in ours, it is the setting sail upon the ocean of our last voyage, our vessel Homeward Bound.

(v) It is a philosopher's word - suggesting the 'unraveling' of a knotty problem. How many puzzles have agitated our minds, and disturbed our hearts, while we have pondered upon our life here, and its mysteries; 'but then shall I know even as also I am known,' as Paul himself said in 1 Corinthians 13:12.

How utterly grand to have all our questions satisfyingly answered. Well now, our 'departure' implies all this - and more, much more, besides. It is true, of course, that Death is an intensely solemn thing - that comes out in Paul's first figure of the 'outpouring'; but, looked at in this second way, it is an unimaginably glorious thing."

To use the fourth description found above, Paul's departure was as a ship leaving the harbour and heading out to sea, sailing home at last! This is expressed so eloquently in the the poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:

Crossing The Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

Like the Apostle Paul, are you ready to see your Pilot face to face? Can you look back on a life of faithful service since you came to know the Lord, or will there be regrets, tears, fears, when you stand before Jesus Christ at His Judgment Seat? If you are still alive and eagerly awaiting the Saviour's return, there is still time to repent and do the first works, there is still time to come back to your first love and serve Him again with all your heart. There is still time to make that choice NOW to glorify the Lord in all that you do.

1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Philippians 1:21-23 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

You may have heard this illustration before, and it certainly captures Paul's life of dedicated service to the Lord:

"A Roman coin was once found with the picture of an ox on it; the ox was facing two things - an altar and a plough; and the inscription read: "Ready for either." The ox had to be ready either for the supreme moment of sacrifice on the altar or the long labor of the plough on the farm."

Are you ready for either? Ready to serve the Lord or ready to give your life for His cause? Paul was ready for either.

2 Timothy 4:6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

5 comments:

Julie's Jewels said...

I think the Lord has something for me to be focusing on about this subject of sacrifice and dying daily. My husband preached a message yesterday afternoon along these very same lines. It is definitely something that is needed in the lives of every believer. I know I'm not seeing this accomplished in my life like it should be and I know God is zeroing in on it in my life...thank you for this post!! I needed it!!

Jerry Bouey said...

When we face times where our joy is gone (or diminished) or our peace of mind is missing, then we all need the reminder to get our eyes fully back on the Lord, and give Him back those areas of our lives we have taken again.

The last few days I have been struggling with some things - and I needed the Holy Spirit to show me yesterday that I had taken the reigns of my life back from Him in certain areas. Working on this study was the reminder and focus I needed to die to myself again. We (especially me!) sometimes forget that we are to die to ourselves DAILY - and we go through the motions of our Christian walk, wondering what has changed inside - why am I fretting, or getting discouraged, or getting annoyed/angry with people, or getting stressed out, etc.? Not enough time spent with the Lord and/or not yet dying to myself TODAY.

Maranatha said...

"Steps means "a track," ie. following a path already laid out. The word for walk means "(to range in regular line); to march in (military) rank (keep step), i.e. (figuratively) to conform to virtue and piety." We are to follow the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2; 5:9), the Captain of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10), the Lord Jesus Christ, the Pioneer who blazed the trail for us to follow spiritually - and we are to also follow faithful believers inasmuch as they are closely following the Saviour's example, carefully walking in the Saviour's steps."

It made me think of:

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. (Psa 119:133) Your comment above really opened this verse up to me :-)

Jerry Bouey said...

That's a great verse! Certainly fits.

Order means "to set up." Jesus has already set up the path for our lives in His Word - all we have to do is follow.

I am going to add this verse to the study. Thanks Kate!

Bro Tim said...

Amen is all I can say I echo what Mrs Julie said and what you have said in your comment . I too sometimes forget how important is to die to self every single day. I pray I can have Paul's testimony when I die. Good Series on Preachers.
Bro Tim

Post a Comment