For my life has reached the point when it must be sacrificed, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight: I have completed the course: I have kept the faith. As for what remains, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which on that day the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me – and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Paul, who has put on the armor of God and fought the good fight lays it aside that Timothy might pick it up, put it on and continue the good fight. Paul has poured out his life to God, he has offered everything he had and now had only his life to offer and he would do that with great joy. Paul had made many journeys, sharing the good news and gospel of Jesus Christ. The journeys had taken him to Asia Minor and Europe through stormy seas and the confines of Roman prison but now he was to set out on his last journey from this life to haven an eternity. This journey would end in the presence of God. The old warrior had no fear. This faith, courage and joy of Paul is open to everyone who also fights that fight and finishes the race and keeps the faith.
2 Timothy 4:9–15
Do your best to come and see me soon. Demas has deserted me, because he loved this present world, and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Take Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful in service. I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring with you the cloak which I left behind at Troas at Carpus’ house, and bring the books, especially the parchments. Alexander, the coppersmith, did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will reward him according to his deeds. You yourself must be on your guard against him, for he hotly opposed our words.
Paul makes known his displeasure with some of those who have let him down, and of course makes mention of the fact that only Luke is still there with him. So what happen to Demas? Paul says he loved this present world more. The first mention of Demas was in Philemon 24, he is listed as a fellow worker. The next time he is mentioned it is without any comment at all. The finial mention is here in Timothy as a deserter. We don’t really know what happen but I would suspect it would fit many a situation of these present times. The years of service, the pressures of the world at that time and the constant temptations of that world might have caused him to walk away. The frustrations of just coping with the needs of the faith were overwhelming. To live a Christian life these days is a demanding task and one that requires a close relationship with God. It could also have been that he underestimated the cost of living contrary to the standards of the world, the constant conflict between that which is holy and that which is not. Do you and I run the risk of falling away? Take heart….the grace of God can once again lay hands on us and bring us back…we have only to ask.
2 Timothy 4:16–22
At my first defense, no one was there to stand by me, but all forsook me. May it not be reckoned against them! But the Lord stood beside me, and he strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation of the gospel was fully made so that the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the mouth of the lion. The Lord will rescue me from every evil, and will save me for his heavenly kingdom. Glory be to him for ever and ever. Amen.
Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the family of Onesi- phorus. Erastus stayed in Corinth. I left Trophimus at Miletus. Exibulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens, Linus and Claudia, and all the brothers.
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
I guess the place to start with these verses would be how Paul was utterly deserted, not one of his friends stood by him. It was too dangerous to proclaim oneself the friend of a man on trial for his life. Paul knows and does three things even in this dangerous situation. Everyone had forsaken him; but the Lord was with him. Jesus had said that he would never leave his followers or forsake them, and that he would be with them to the end of the world. Jesus kept his promise. Paul was alone but he was alone with God….. that was a good thing. Even during the trial he would continue to proclaim the message of Christ. At that moment he might well be a victim, considered a criminal and condemned by Roman justice but he knew he would be rescued. There was the present danger of judgement by the Romans but what ever the outcome he would be safe for eternity. Paul ends this letter to Timothy by invoking the Spirt of the Lord upon his friends, his last words being Grace,the spirit and peace be with you all.
Drop by the pew again next week
Life is Good