Good morning! I’m glad to welcome you to worship today at Hillcrest Baptist Church.
Before addressing our text this morning, I would be greatly remiss if I did not first say thank you to the entire Hillcrest family. Because of your prayers, my surgery and recovery have gone beyond expectations. Because of your patience and encouragement, I have not felt pressured to return before I was able. Because of your acts of kindness, expressed by calls, meals, and many cards, our family has been greatly blessed by your love for us. So, thank you for your prayers and your expressions of concern, support, encouragement and love for these past six weeks.
Now, as we turn to 2 Timothy 4:1-22, we basically come to Paul’s final words. I am in total agreement with what John Piper stated about this passage: “The text itself seems choppy to me. It is a collection of assorted personal concerns…”
In these last words of Paul, he has just finished giving a charge to Timothy to be faithful in preaching and teaching the Word of God, regardless of the response of people or circumstances. Then in verses 5-18 Paul shares from his own life experiences of affliction, staying faithful to his call, being abandoned by friends and his present need for friends to be with him, being forsaken by all but the Lord, and how the Lord stood with him and strengthened him; and it was all for the purpose of taking the gospel to the Gentiles for the glory of God.
As we have been “called” to be followers of Christ, we must understand that we are not in a sprint but a marathon, and there will be moments in the marathon of the Christian life that we will be ridiculed, afflicted, and abandoned, but the Lord will always stand with us, especially for the fulfillment of the purpose for which He has called us, because it is in fulfilling our calling that we will introduce others to the gospel and God will be glorified.
Paul gave a glimpse of this in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, those who are the called according to His purpose.” The word “called” means those that have been saved. This verse tells us that if we are “called”, then we were saved to fulfill “His purpose”, God’s plan for all that are called.
So the question for every follower of Christ this morning is–will you be faithful to the call? If so, you will discover from the “choppy” text great encouragement, as we learn from the Apostle Paul, who was writing with the end of his purpose in this life in sight.