Life’s lessons from the apostle Paul
2 Timothy 4:9-18
By Ysrael De la Cruz
When you think about your own life, you can see why people would define life as an elevator, a box of chocolate that you do not know what you will get. Rocky Balboa “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” The writer of Ecclesiastes said that there is a time and a season for everything in this life. Times to weep and time to dance, time to plant and time to harvest. Time to be born and time to die. A time to speak and a time to be silent. Ecc.3:1-8
I would like to tell you this morning about the life of a great ambassador of the gospel; he is a great example of perseverance; who ran his Christian race well. Let’s see what we can learn from the apostle Paul to help us life our lives as victorious Christians.
2 Timothy 4:9-18
This is the second letter Paul wrote to his young protégé or (son in the faith) while he was in prison in Rome. Around 67 AD This was Paul’s last letter written.
Listen to the words of the aged apostle Paul “Do your best to come to me soon For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.”
1) There will always be people who disappoint you. (v.9-10)
Demas was a ministry partner of Paul.
Colossians 4:14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.
Philemon 1:23-24 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
Demas had deserted Paul when he needed him the most, during his time in prison. We see why Paul is requesting Timothy to go see him as soon as possible. In life and ministry, you must understand that some people will abandon you; there will always be people who disappoint you.
2) One person cannot meet all your needs (v.11) Luke alone is with me.
Luke was a faithful companion of Paul; he wrote the gospel according to Luke and the Book of Acts. Luke got to witness the work of Paul and the trials he faced. Luke accompanied him on some of the missionary journeys. Even here while Paul is in prison, Luke is still with him. He is one friend Paul had who was with him through thick and thin. But it was obvious that Paul needed Timothy and others to come along side of him. Luke could not meet all his needs of Paul even though he was always with him.
3) Some difficult relationships can be mended. (v.11)
“Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.”
During Paul’s first missionary journey around 47/48 AD. Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas. He did not continue with them but returned home to Jerusalem. Paul was hurt by Mark’s actions since he did not prove to be trustworthy. He was the reason Paul and Barnabas parted company. (Acts 15:36-41) However, it appears that Mark proved himself to the apostle Paul throughout the years and Paul forgave him. Paul said that Mark sent greetings when he wrote Philemon (1:24) 61 AD
Now Paul tells Timothy to bring Mark because he is useful in ministry. Yes, through Christ, some difficult relationships can be healed, reconciled. Mark deserted Paul twenty years earlier, but now he is useful to him and he requested him to come.
4) You will always have people who oppose you (v.14)
There will be those who would work against. Alexander the coppersmith did a great deal of ham to Paul. The Lord will repay him according to his deeds .
Paul is now warning Timothy about him because he lived in the town where Timothy was a preacher, Ephesus. (v.15)Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.
Paul himself said that those who want to live godly lives will be persecuted. There will always be those who work against you, those who oppose you in life. Be aware of them.
2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
5) There are times when you must stand alone. (v.16)
When Paul was being tried by the Jews no one came to his rescue. “No one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!”
This was part of Paul’s legacy. He was left by himself during his trial. He had to endure all that by himself. When we look at his life, we wonder how he could continue with such determination and perseverance.
The following verses tell us why.
6) God will always be with you. (v.17) In those moments when you feel disheartened, alone and even helpless. God is with you. Paul acknowledged this when he said. They all deserted me, but the Lord stood by me to strengthen him so that through him the gospel would be fully proclaimed.
Paul recognized, how the Lord rescued him time and time again from those who attempted to him. We have been seeing this in our study of Acts chapter 22/23. The Lord rescued Paul from the Jews who intended to kill him.
It was in this context that Jesus spoke to Paul to encouraged him to continue to bear witness for him. God will always be with you in those moments when you feel lonely, hopeless, or helpless.
v.18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen
I hope you can see the determination in Paul, regardless of what he encountered in life. He was a true champion of faith; a great example of what it means to run with perseverance despite the circumstances in life. Paul experienced disappointments, loneliness; betrayal from friends, opposition, and hardships. However, he never stopped running his race with perseverance.
What was constant in the life of Paul is also constant in our lives. God’s presence and faithfulness will accompany us everywhere we go.
Now I understand it more, why this man said. “I can do all things through Christ, who is my strength.” Php.4:13