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Parting Thoughts (2 Timothy 4:14-22)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 06 January 2013 00:00

We considered Paul’s “parting thoughts” in 2 Timothy 4:14-22 on Sunday.

Paul warns his young friend Timothy to be aware that there are those who, like Alexander the coppersmith, will be in opposition and seek to harm him because of the message he brings (4:14-15).

If we are walking with the Lord and someone reacts to us in a harmful way, we need to remember that “It’s not about us!” That person may be hostile and try to hurt me because he or she is reacting against the One I represent. My job as a believer is to keep walking close to the Lord Jesus, be honest with the Lord in prayer (He knows what we are really thinking, anyway!) and to trust Him to deal with His (and my) enemies in His own time and way.
 
Paul was practicing what he preached when he prayed the way he did in 4:14. Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Rather than seeking to avenge himself against Alexander, he expressed his heartfelt feelings to the Lord in prayer, but then left “getting even” in His hands.

This requires us to submit to His will in the matters of fairness and timing and not take these into our own hands. It is always the best choice to pray (to just be honest with God), then leave our concerns and cares in His hands, and trust Him.

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight – He will direct your paths. This requires the kind of inward heart transformation that only God can accomplish in our lives. Consider Paul’s attitude toward those who had hurt him by forsaking him at his first defense (4:16-18). He says, May it not be charged against them. This speaks volumes to the change the Lord Jesus had brought about in Saul’s life.

Consider Acts 9:1-6 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” “Arise, and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

How had Jesus, whom Saul was persecuting, responded to “persecution?”
Luke 23:33-34 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

While Paul probably did not hear Jesus utter these words from the Cross on that dark Friday, he had heard very similar words uttered before, back when he was holding the coats of those who were stoning Stephen to death.

Acts 7:55-8:1 But he (Stephen), being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57Then they [the high priest and the Jewish people, elders and scribes (6:12) who were listening to Stephen’s sermon (7:1)] cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59And they stoned Stephen as he was calling as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. 8:1Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Now here we hear Paul say, “May it not be charged against them.” Wow! What a change! The Christ-persecutor has become conformed to Christ and is now a Christ-imitator!

As the hymn-writer penned: “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart! I have light in my soul for which long I had sought, since Jesus came into my heart!” And the final stanza of the chorus: “Floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll, since Jesus came into my heart.”

Paul ends his letter with a two-part benediction (4:22). Part One is Paul’s desire that  22The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (“your” is singular, and thus refers to Timothy).  Paul wants the Lord Jesus to sustain Timothy.
 
Part Two is the apostle’s wish for the whole church at Ephesus:
Grace be with you. Amen. (“you” is plural and thus refers to the entire church in Ephesus).  The use of the plural here shows us that Paul expected Timothy to share this letter with the church at Ephesus.

Is this not what we need today? Nearness to Jesus and the experience of His grace! We might summarize with the following line: The presence of Jesus and the power of God’s grace is just what we need for winning the race!

May we run with endurance the race that is set before us today, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Don’t forget that thrones are meant for Kings and that Kings are meant to rule. Does that remind you of 2 Timothy 2:12a? “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.”

Remember that this present life here, with all of its trials and temptations, is meant to prepare us for service both now and in His coming kingdom! As Dr. Radmacher says, This life is “training time for reigning time!”

 

 

 

 

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