01 September 2009

Paul’s Last Words – 9.1.09

The epistle of 2 Timothy was written by the apostle Paul from a jail cell not long before he took his departure (4:8) and appeared in the presence of his Savior (Philippians 1:21-23; 2 Corinthians 5:8).

As you read the final chapter of the final book that he wrote, it is interesting and instructive to note the things that he requested as he awaited his coming fate.

He desired a visit from Timothy (v. 9), and when you and I get to the end of our lives it will be easy to see that's what's really important is not the things we've acquired but rather the relationships we've enjoyed. Somebody who's getting ready to leave this world generally doesn't ask for someone to bring them all their possessions so they can enjoy them. What they want is the people they love and care about. If that's what's important then, surely we ought to devote more of our time and attention to the people around us and less of it to the things that don't last and won't matter.

He asked Timothy to bring Mark with him when he came (v. 11). What's great about that is the fact that Paul and Barnabas had parted ways back in Acts 15 because Mark had departed from them on the previous journey and Paul didn't think it was wise to include him this time around (see Acts 12:12, 24-25; 13:5, 13; 15:36-41). This lets you know (1) that Mark had grown, matured, and proven himself and (2) that Paul was humble and gracious enough to recognize this, maybe even admit to a former mistake, and give this brother a commendation (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24).

He also asked Timothy to bring the cloke he left at Troas (v. 13) – he probably didn't have a heater in his jail cell – and the books, BUT ESPECIALLY THE PARCHMENTS. In the final days of his life, Paul still considered himself a student. He never lost his appetite for truth or his desire for study. And what an example for us. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

In order for ANY Christian to be approved of God and without shame on the day of judgment, he must be diligent in his study of the scripture. I'm afraid we often relegate this verse to the pastor or the Sunday school teacher, but according to the Bible, it's the duty of every Christian. Yes, the pastor should feed you when you go to church, but you've got to eat the rest of the week as well. None of us would dare think of surviving physically on 2 or 3 meals a week so what makes us think we can survive spiritually for 6 or 7 days on a Sunday morning feast?

1 Timothy 4:13 says, Till I come, give attendance to reading… Young men, you'd do well to give less attendance to video games and TV shows and big trucks and fast cars and powerful guns and goofing off and use that time to get your nose in THE BOOK. Young ladies, you'd do well to give less attendance to facebook and makeup and shopping malls and shoe collecting and celebrity watching and movie going and beach combing and use that time to get your nose in THE BOOK. Have you ever read God's word from Genesis to Revelation? Are you working on it every day? Do you really want to stand before God and try to explain why you didn't think the words He recorded and preserved were worthy of your time?

Isaiah 34:16 says, Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read… I believe we'd all be better off if we took less time to seek out the newspaper or the magazine or the catalog or the website and more time to seek out God's book.

Let's learn from Paul's example, and let's not allow what doesn't matter to stand in the way of what does matter, and let's be sure to spend our time doing those things that'll be important when the time comes to make our departure and stand before our God.

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