Monday, November 29, 2021

Love, Sacrifice and Thanksgiving – Psalms 116:1-19

 Love, Sacrifice and Thanksgiving – Psalms 116:1-19

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This Thursday is the time we celebrate Thanksgiving.  A time to gather with family and friends in thankfulness to God for His blessing in our life.  How do show thankfulness towards God?

Turkey jokes,

What do you get when you cross a turkey with a centipede?  A thanksgiving with no arguments over who gets the drumstick.

What do you get when you cross a turkey with an ostrich?  A turkey that sticks its head in the mashed potatoes. 

What would you get if you crossed a turkey with a ghost?  A poultrygeist! 

What do you get when you cross a turkey with the office machine? A turkey with all the faxings.

What do you get when you cross a turkey with a rubber chicken? Pranksgiving!

What do you get when you cross a turkey with a space telescope? A turkey that says, “Hubble, Hubble.”

What do you get when you cross a turkey with an internet search engine? A turkey that says, “Google, Google.”

What do you get when you cross a turkey with ballroom dancing? The turkey trot.

What do you get when you cross a turkey with a banjo? A turkey that can pluck itself.

What do you get when you cross a turkey with a Baptist preacher? Inbreeding.


 Now lets turn to Psalm 116

Psalms 116 is part of a collection of Psalms called the Hallel. Hallel literally means “praise” and is the word Hallelujah comes from. The Hallel is a collection of Psalms from 113-118 and it is included in the morning service on Jewish holidays, Rosh Chodesh (the new moon), Sukkot, Chanukah, Passover, and Shavuot. They are psalms of praise and thanksgiving to God. Most of the Psalms in the Hallel end with Hallelujah (Praise Jehovah) in the KJV it is translated as Praise Ye the Lord.  

Psalm 116 is very personal. The pronouns, “I,” “my,” and “me” used over thirty times. It is also a Psalms that was written later in Israel’s history, we don’t know the author, but it borrows its idea and some of its wording from other earlier Psalms, like Psalms18, 27, 31, and 56, and is influenced in its tone by the prayer of King Hezekiah prayer in Isaiah 38 when he was healed of a deadly illness.

Because of it personal, intimate tone, it is a good Psalm for us to meditate upon for our own personal thanksgiving for God’s salvation to us.

Loving The Lord - Psalms 116:1-11

1  I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. 2  Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. 3  The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. 4  Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. 5  Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. 6  The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. 7  Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. 8  For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. 9  I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living. I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted: I said in my haste, All men are liars.

The Psalmist Expresses His Love the Lord

The first thing that the psalmist expresses is his love for the Lord and the wonderful reason why he loves God. “I love the LORD, because he hath heard, my voice and my supplications.” This love is a very personal, intimate love. It is not just the love of God from a member of the nation of Israel, but it is a love based upon what God has personally done for him.

He loves the Lord because He heard his cry in vs 1-4. This was a cry of desperation at a very bad time. He says, “3  The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.” The word sorrows in Hebrew is literally the word cords or rope. David is saying he could feel death wrapped around him like being bound with.

One writer put it this way, “The pains of death surrounded me, And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me;  I found trouble and sorrow. - The New King James Version, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Ps 116:3.4

In such hopelessness despair he calls out to Jehovah for salvation, “Adonai, I beseech thee, deliver my soul!”

Vs. 5-7 And verse five tells us that Adonai, the Lord, answered that desperate cry. The Lord, “has delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.”

Now with that answered prayer and the life that the Lord saved, the Psalmist will “walk before the LORD in the land of the living. The idea here is that “he walks forth, in the presence of Jehovah with nothing to hinder his feet or limit his view. His Deliverer is always before his eyes. - Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 5:715.

Vs 10 and 11 are a testimony and a vow. This is what the psalmist has learned and will now do because his experience of despair and God’s deliverance. It is like saying, “I will keep on trusting even when I say, “I am utterly miserable,” even when, in my panic, I declare, “All men are liars.” - David H. Stern, Complete Jewish Bible: An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament), 1st ed., (Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications, 1998), Ps 116:10–11.

Love Because The Lord Hears Us

In the midst of deep despair, terrible pain and intolerable conditions of life, we can cry out to God and we know that God will hear our cry. God promises that if we call, He will hear. In the midst of our troubles, in the depths of our sorrow God hears. Even when we call out to Him in the midst of our sinfulness, our rebellion and our doubt and our fears, still He will hear.

Psalms 18:3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

Psalms 50:15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

Psalms 55:16 As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.

And the most important cry we can utter, when we call out for the salvation of our souls, God has promised, He will save us.

Isaiah 55:6-7  Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Roman 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

If We call, we are promised redemption by the death of Jesus Christ. Justification by His righteousness. Eternal security by His power and a eternal life by His resurrection.

Romans 5:1-2, 8-11  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  ….But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

And along with the saving of your soul, Jesus also saves our life, giving it meaning and purpose and just wonderful joy. We are saved to live a life with purpose and power, with joy and grace.

John 10:10  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Nothing illustrates this better than the story of Matthew Henry when he was robbed.

When the famous commentator and preacher Matthew Henry, was robbed, later that day he wrote in his dairy, "Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before, second because although he took my purse, he did not take my life. Third because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed."

Only a person who has been delivered body and soul by the grace of God, could express such thankfulness. I really don’t want to find out firsthand, but I hope I could be as thankful after such an experience as was Matthew Henry.

After the Psalmist expresses his love for the Lord because God has delivered him, he then responds to that love with sacrifices for the Lord. Look at verse 12.  

Sacrifices For The Lord - Psalms 116:13-16

What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.

The Psalmist Gives Sacrifices of Thanksgiving

First, the cup of salvation vs 13, “I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the LORD

Drink Offering – This is the drink offering, a sacrifice poured out, as a symbol of being giving to God. It accompanied the peace and burnt offering. It was something extra, above and beyond what was expected offering. All of it was poured out, none was kept back, it could be offered at anytime and it could be offered everyday.

Next the Psalmist, in his thankfulness, promises to “pay my vows in presence of the people. This was like the out poured cup and act of worship and sacrifice.

There  are different types of vows in the Old Testament. Foolish ones like Jepthah’s bargain made with God. There were vows of service such as the Nazarite vow. There were also vows of self-dedication and sacrifice for attainment of certain goals, like Saul refusing to eat until all the Philistines had been defeated in a certain battle.

Finally, the Psalmist renders to the Lord, that which the Lord had saved, his own life.

He makes this beautiful statement, Vs. 15 “Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.” This expresses what the Psalmist knows and now better understand because of his near death and God’s deliverance. He knows that to God, the life on of His own is costly, precious, of great value. It is not spent lightly, nor without purpose or reason.

And I think the Psalmist mentions it here because he is saying His life, as precious as it is, should be given into the care and keeping of God. Trusting Him to use that valuable life and make it count now and for eternity. He gives his unconditional, life’s service even unto death. “Precious is my life and my death in the sight and service of my Lord and Savior.”

Live A Life of Thanksgiving

We no longer make sacrifices at the temple, but we can make very strong applications of these sacrifice in our own lives.

In my thankfulness to God, I should give an outpoured life, nothing reserved and nothing held back.

Paul used this same application of his own pending death when he wrote to Timothy, 2 Timothy 4:6  “For I am now ready to be offered, (poured out) and the time of my departure is at hand.”

This sacrifice should be our service to the Lord, which be offered at all times and at every opportunity.

And yes, there is still a place for vows in a New Testament believers life. Not a bargain with God but a recognition of what I owe and what I must render to God who has so blessed me. Whether it be my tithe, my attendance, my separation from sin or my willingness to forgive others, there are things that I owe to my Savior and I should pay those vows as I serve Him.

Philippians 3:7-13 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ,  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

And yes, each and every one of us should understand what our life is worth in the sight of God. There can be no more fitting sacrifice that our life of service and our death after a life of service to our Lord.

When we realize how much God loves us and values our lives as His most precious possession in this world. So valuable that He gave His own son to purchase it, then shouldn’t I invest my life into His care and keeping? Shouldn’t I give my life wholly and completely without reservation to the One who can use it to its fullest potential and to His greatest glory?

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

The Last Supper and the Last Hallel

In Matthew 26 we have the story of the last supper and at the end of that passage in Matthew 26:29-30 we read, “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”

In the introduction we told you that Psalm 116 is part of the Hallel and that the Hallel is recited or sung on the eve of Passover. Here Matthew tells us that Jesus, after the Lord’s Supper sang a hymn with his disciples. I think we can rightly interpret that that hymn was the Hallel. This would be the last time Jesus would share the Passover and the last time they all would sing the Hallel together. To them at this time it must have had a deep and significant meaning. Verses like Psalm 116:13 use the word salvation in the KJV which is a translation of the Hebrew the word, yeshuah. It was also the Hebrew pronunciation of Jesus’ name. When the Angel spoke to Joseph, in Matthew 1:20-21 “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Now that doesn’t say as much to us in English as it does in Hebrew. In Hebrew it is closer to this “She will give birth to a son; and you shall call His name Yeshua (salvation), for He will save (yesh) His people from their sins.” - Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society, Holy Scriptures: Tree of Life Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2015), Mt 1:21.

Jesus and the disciple sang the Hallel and those Psalms of salvation were all about Himself.

In Psalms 116:13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. Jesus was the cup of salvation that would be poured out for our sin.

In Psalm 118:14 The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation (yeshuah). Jesus would become their salvation by his death for their sin.

Later in Psalm 118:21-24, I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.  The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Probably the most obvious Messianic verses in the Hallel.

This last supper, final Passover and last singing of the Hallel, had to mean so much the apostles, they knew, they understood the Hallel as they had never understood it before. What was happening right before their eyes was “the day that the Lord has made. Their Rabbi was the outpoured cup of salvation, he was the stone that the builders would reject, but he would become the chief cornerstone.

He would be the reason for them and for us giving our lives as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.

The final part of this Psalms from vss. 17-19 is a continuation and a summation of what the Psalmist has said earlier.

Thanks To the Lord - Psalm 116:17-19

I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people, In the courts of the LORD's house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.

The Psalmist Reinforces His Thanksgiving

He summarizes and repeats his commitment to be thankful for all that the Lord has done.

I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving

I will pay my vows in the presence of the people, in the courts of the Lord’s house in the midst of Jerusalem.

Finally, the Psalms ends with the word that gives the Hallel its name. Hallelujah, Praise ye the Lord.

Giving to God, our life and service as our Thanksgiving Offering

In the Old Testament, the Thanksgiving sacrifice was an offering that showed the worshipper’s thankfulness for blessings received from God. The offering was given not only to the Lord,  but also it was meant to be shared with the priest and his family, then also with the family of the one who brought the sacrifice and with the Levite in his community.

And a vital part of our rendering to God is to be our own life, offered as a Thanksgiving. A life lived in such a manner as to show my thankfulness by giving back to God and by sharing and giving to those God has placed in my life. A thankful, sacrificial life must be seen by spending and investing that life for the Lord and on behalf of others.

Conclusion, Thanksgiving: A word or A life?

To the child of God, to the redeemed of the Lord, to the church of the Jesus Christ. Thanksgiving must be more than just a word, or a holiday that rolls around once a year. Thanksgiving to us should be, as it was to the Psalmist, an outpoured life of sacrifice given as an thanksgiving offering to the One who has delivered our soul and our life.

That life of thanksgiving should be given until our deaths in service to God, in paying a debt of gratitude for all He has done and in sharing those blessings with those God has placed in our lives. There is no other, more appropriate way to thank God for His gift of salvation, than to take that life that was saved and offer it to Him in lifelong service.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Going For the Mountain Joshua 14:6-15

 Going For the Mountain (Senior Saints Sunday 2021)

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Text: Joshua 14:6-15

 Introduction:  Triple threat Sunday. We are celebrating our Senior Saints, the 5th anniversary of my  and LeeOra’s ministry here at Calvary and next week is Thanksgiving and we always want to give  thanks to the Lord for His blessing in our lives, families and church.

I want to focus my sermon on our Senior Saints. We are going to give thanks and honor them today for their faithful service for our Savior. The Bible is filled with stories of faithful servants for the Lord. It is a book filled with men and women who history, time and eternity recognize as great and notable men and women. One of the interesting thing about many of these heroes of the Bible is their age. God’s service has no age requirement nor age limit, many of the greatest servants of the Lord were also some of the oldest.

Ages of Bible characters. Moses, Aaron and Miriam were all over 80 when they began the work to bring Israel to the Promised Land and over 120 when they arrived at the border. Joshua would have been over 68 when he began the campaign to conquer the land. And never forget that Colonel Sanders was 80 when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken.

So let me tell you a story that illustrates why old people can be a lot smarter and tougher than you think. “The Game”

On an overseas flight, a lawyer and an senior citizen were in adjoining seats. The lawyer asked the senior if he’d like to play a little game. The older man was tired, and he told the lawyer he only wanted to sleep. But the lawyer insisted the game was a lot of fun and he would give 20 to 1 odds if the senior would play.

“Here’s how it works,” he said. “I’ll ask you a question. If you can’t come up with the answer, you just have to give me a dollar. Then it’s your turn to ask me one. But if I can’t answer it, then I have to give you $20.”

The senior figured it’d be worth a dollar just to get to sleep, so he agreed to play. The first question from the lawyer was “How far apart are the earth and the moon?”

The  old guy didn't say a thing, he just reached for his wallet, grabbed a dollar, and gave it to the lawyer. Then he said, “Okay, my turn. What walks upstairs backward and comes downstairs forward?” After pausing for a moment he then closed his eyes and took a nap.

The lawyer was stumped. He thought and thought. He tried to remember all the riddles he knew. He searched every corner of his brain. He even cheated and asked the flight attendants and other passengers and pulled his smart phone and googled it, but nothing. Finally he gave up. He woke up the older man and said, “I can’t figure it out, here’s your twenty.” The senior stuffed the twenty in his coat and turned to go back to sleep..

But the lawyer said, “Now wait a minute. I have to know. What walks upstairs backward and comes downstairs forward?”  The senior got out his wallet, gave the lawyer a dollar, and then went back to sleep. The moral of the story is don’t mess with an old guy who wants to take a nap.

Now let's turn to Caleb. As a younger man, along with Joshua, they were the only two who came back after spying out the Promised Land and said, “We can win.” He was probably in his late 30s if not 40’s then but I want us to consider Caleb at the end of the conquest of Canaan. He along with Joshua and the Hebrew Army, have conquered the Promised Land. It may have been promised but Caleb knew it was not gifted. It was deeded to them by God but they had to claim their heritage. Now after 40 year in the wilderness, Caleb comes to Joshua as the land is being divided. He has the right to expect some special treatment. He was one of the faithful spies, he has been at Moses and Joshua’s side for 50 years or more. No one would think anything of it, if Caleb requested the most well watered verdant valley in all of Israel as his reward, but instead, this now 80 year old hero, asks for a mountain filled with giants. That is a super senior saint. And I can’t think of a better subject for our senior saints Sunday.

Throughout the life of Caleb there is one great trait that we see exhibited over and over. Caleb is a man of faith. That is a lesson that is greatly needed at all stages of life from 8 to 80.  At any stage of life we can be confronted by crises and battles and it will take the courage of faith to go forward into the fight. We need people like Caleb, who by faith, claimed a mountain filled with giants and then won that mountain.

Caleb’s Faith: The Commitment -  Joshua 14:6-9 

Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadeshbarnea.  Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.   Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God. And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's forever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.

Caleb's Faith Began In Obedience 

The First thing I see in Caleb’s request to Joshua is the key to his faith. It is found in his obedience to God. An obedience that is demonstrated in three ways.

First, Caleb’s obedience was a full commitment to God -

Joshua 14:8 I wholly followed the LORD my ,

2nd Caleb’s obedience was clear and evident to others

Joshua 14:9 Moses sware…thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.

3rd, Caleb’s faith was not daunted by seemingly impossible difficulties. When they found out about the giants in the land, his response was…

Numbers 13:30 “Let us go up and possess it”

 People of Faith are Committed

The first lesson you must  learn about faith is that it is one act of obedience built upon another act of obedience. One commitment leads to a greater commitments.

In this case faith is a kind of deductive learning. We move from the general to the specific, from general obedience that applies to all to specific acts of faith that only deal with us. We move from just living the Christian life to fighting in the battles and crises of our own life.  and if you can't be obedient in the small things, like church attendance, or  tithing or praying then you will not be able to handle the real battles of faith that come in all our lives. You can't claim the mountain filled with giants if you did not obey God at the border of the Promised Land!

Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Romans 1:17 tells us that the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith    

Faith is a learning, growing part of our spiritual life, it begins in small acts of obedience then grows to great deeds of faith in the spiritual battles of our life.

Romans 10:17 Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God 

Faith is based upon hearing God's word, and then acting upon what we hear.

The key to faith is committing to be obedient to the commands of God, no matter the cost, fear, risk or difficulty of the task..  You will never be faithful, never, until you first commit to be obedient.

Illustration: The Three Hebrew Children

Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. 

This was the first time they had been in a fiery furnace. But not the first time they had obeyed God.  They could not know exactly what God would do, but they absolutely knew exactly what they would do. They would obey God!


So the key to faith, heroic faith is obedience and commitment, if we could count that as a lesson learned today, we could say that today was a good day in the Lord’s house. However,  we can’t count it as a finished sermon, because I’ve got two more points. For the next one we have to go back to beginning of the Exodus when Caleb was a much younger man and first met Moses.

Caleb’s Faith: The Foundation Exodus 3:8 

And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

Caleb’s Faith Built On God's Will

This passage is first heard by Moses during his experience at the burning bush.  He had fled Egypt for killing a slaver overseer, who was beating his kinsmen. It has been 40 years since he ran away that day. He had a new life, a new family a new outlook. He is now 80 years old and suddenly, God is commanding him to return to Egypt to the old life and challenge the Pharaoh to “Let my people go.”

This statement in Exodus 3:8, is Moses’ commission and when the Hebrews are told this is what Jehovah has said, this is the will of God, then it becomes the foundation of their faith. For Moses, Joshua and Caleb, everything they will do from this point forward, is based upon what God had spoken through Moses.

Caleb also had God’s promise through Moses to him personally. He had moved from general faith for all the people of God to that which was specific to him.

In Numbers 14:24 – The Lord spoke through Moses and said, “But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

This was the promise, the foundation Caleb now stood upon as he came before Joshua to claim his mountain. It was the reason he believed that if God was with him, then he could take a mountain filled with giants protected behind fortified city walls.

This bring us to our next application about faith. …

People of Faith Know God's Will

You can’t have faith, real mountain moving, mountain claiming, mountains conquering faith, unless that faith is based upon God’s will.

Now God’s will is not vague or hard to comprehend. It is not an emotional feeling or a dream or a vision. Nor is God’s will determined by circumstances you encounter in your life. Let me go a little further and state that we are to pray for God’s will to be done but we are not instructed to prayer for God’s will to be revealed because it has already been revealed here in God's written word.

Not it is true that many people believe that God leads us by the signs, circumstance, open and closed doors of life or feelings and emotions.

But I think they are a little like the country boy who was out plowing on his daddy’s farm.  He stopped in the middle of the field and was overheard praying, “Oh, Lord. This cotton field is big and so full of rocks, it’s hot , this ol’ tractor ain’t got no air-conditioned and I am so tired. Lord, I think I’ve been called to preach.”

To be able to claim mountains climb mountains, and conquer mountains, you must know and believe that God’s will is revealed in His Word. 

Deut 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. 

Romans 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

Deut 30:11-14 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

So, what was God's will for Israel?  Go,  conquer the land, and possess it. That is what Caleb knew and that is what he did. That is what his faith was founded upon.

Then what is God’s will for the Church? It is not any harder to know than what God told Moses. Matthew 28:19-20  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.  

It is simply “Go, make disciples, baptize, and teach.

What about God's will for me?  Here is a quick list from 1 Timothy, that we can spend a lifetime trying to fulfill. (Ready for another sub-sermon? Here we go 4 S’s of God’s Will from the epistles to Timothy)

Be Saved  1 Tim 2:4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Be Strong 2 Tim 1:7-8 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 

Be Separate 2 Tim 2:3-4 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Be Studious 2 Tim 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

What we see is that God’s will is revealed and built upon God’s Word, when I know God’s Word, I know God’s Will and when I know God’s will I have a sure foundation for my faith.  God’s Word must be the foundation of my faith or it will not stand.

Illustration: Jesus Himself Holds His Word as Paramount in our lives

When Jesus warned his followers about the end of this age in the book of Luke, this is what He told them to give them strength and comfort.  Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.


So far, what we have seen in the life of Caleb so far is words, good, powerful words but it  requires more than words to prove faith. It requires deeds to give evidence of faith. As James 2:18 said, “…shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

 Caleb’s Faith: The Test - Joshua 14:11-12

As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. (that means I’m can start the fight and you better believe I can finish the fight.) Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.

  Caleb's Faith Tested on Mt Hebron

Because of His commitment, because he believed God’s Word, Caleb was established in faith and that faith grew and that strong faith meant that after 40 years fighting and surviving in the wilderness, Caleb was still strong. He claims he is as strong as when they first began the journey. And he is willing to prove it.

Caleb has claimed the hardest possession in the land, Kirjatharba. That name literally means the city of Arba. Arba who was a giant and this city was his home and all his large family of very large warriors lived there behind high thick walls. But Caleb says, “Give me that giant mountain, with that giant city at the top, filled with giant people behind giant walls. I am strong enough to conquer it in the name of the Lord!”

The Bible says in Vs. 13-15 And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh, Hebron for an inheritance.  Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel. And the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.

This is the highest city in Palestine, this is the very place the spies looked at and said, “We are as grasshopper in their sight.”  Caleb with his action said, “You got it wrong we are not grasshoppers, we are giant killers. Give me that Mountain and I’ll prove it.”

Years later in this same mountain, after Caleb had conquered the giants, David who killed the giant Goliath, would be crowned King of Judah and King of Israel. The city of Kirjatharba went from a fortress of enemy giants to Hebron, the footstool of a conquering King, and it began with the faith of Caleb.

Let me give you this last maxim for mountain conquering faith.

  People of  Faith Are Battle Hardened

Faith is our most important spiritual muscle, it is a spiritual skill and like all muscles and skills, it must be put to use in order to become strong.

Paul says we need to understand, we are in a battle. Ephesians 6:12-13 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Jesus didn’t hide this truth, he also warns us of the battle. John 15:18-21 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.  But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.

So it comes down to this reality regarding strong faith. If there have been no fierce battles then there can be no strong faith. The battles of life for a Christian are fought with the shield of faith and if you haven’t or are afraid to enter into those battles, then you can't possibly handle your shield. No wonder so many Christian's fail the crucial tests of life, they were never willing to go to battle for the Lord.

  Conclusion:  The Faith of Adoniram Judson and his family.

Adoniram Judson and his wife Ann were missionaries to Burma, they endured unbearable hardships trying to reach the lost for Christ. They lost several children, to small pox, disease and malnourishment. When Burma went to war against Britain, Adonirom was thrown into Ava Prison, and for 17 months was subjected to horrific mistreatment. Adoniram was bound during nine months of this period with three pairs of fetters, suspended with his feet higher than his head so that this weight was centered on the small of his back at all times. He suffered from fever, intense heat, hunger, repeated disappointments when denied realease and cruel punishment by the pagan keepers.  On one occasion, pitifully weak and emaciated, he was driven by whip in chains across the burning tropical sands, until, his back was lacerated and his feet covered with blisters. He fell to the ground and prayed for a speedy death. The stench of the prison place was terrible, with vermin crawling everywhere, and men rotting in their own filth and disease. Judson would have died then except for the tender, persistent ministrations of his wife Ann. Bribing the jailer, under cover of darkness, she crept to the door of Judson’s den, bringing food and whispering words of hope and consolation. He was finally taken from the prison in order to serve as a slave  to the Burmese government interpreting for the peace treaty with Britain. During this time he lost all contact with Ann. When he was finally released he found Ann and his only living child living in a hut with a kind native woman, who was nursing their baby as Ann lie dying in a nearby cot. Sickness had left her unable to care for herself or her baby. Even her hair had fallen out leaving her bald and almost unrecognizable as the beautiful woman who had left American with her husband years ago. Now Adonirom cared for his wife and with a Christian doctor who at one time had been imprisoned with Judson, Ann was nursed back to life from the very edge of death.

As a result of the almost 2 years of imprisonment and beatings Judson wore the livid, ugly marks made by the beatings of the rods and rubbing away of his skin by the chains. Still wanting to win the lost in this truly God forsaken land, Adonirom asked for permission from a new ruler to enter another province where he might resume preaching the Gospel. The godless ruler denied his request, giving this reason, "My people are not fools enough to listen to anything a missionary might say, but I fear they might be impressed by your scars and turn to your religion!"

But that was not the end of the battle for Judson. He continued to fight despite terrible cost to himself and his family. His first wife Ann died of a fever, alone while he was off doing God’s work. Three months later he buried his third child next to her grave. He remarried a widow, Sara Boardman, whose missionary husband had come to help in the Burmese work and had also died due to the disease and climate. They had eight children during eleven years of marriage, three of those babies died at an early age. Sara also died in 1845 while trying to return to America for her health.

Judson returned to America after 38 years on the field for his first and only furlough. He was met with huge crowds and great interest about the work, which had been peaked by a book written by Ann and the work of Luther Rice who had been faithfully raising support and interest for the work in Burma since he and Adonirom had set out together as young men for India.

While in America he married Emily Chubbock, who was a brilliant Christian writer. They sailed back to Burma. He finished a Burmese-English dictionary, printed tracts and continued to preach and oversee the mission work. In 1850, after just 3 years back in Burma, Judson and Emily were both very sick. He was carried by stretcher onto a ship to return back to America while Emily recuperated on the coast. He died enroute back home and was buried at sea. Emily lived only until 1854 before she also died.

Though there was not a great deal of success during his lifetime, thirty years after the death of Judson, his three wives and several children, the native work which he started numbered 7,000 converts and 63 churches. There was a Bible translation in Burmese, the first of its kind. The working staff over which he had oversight during his life now consisted of 163 missionaries, native pastors and assistants. There was a publishing house, schools where natives were taught to read, and testimonial in the thousands of the value of his and his family’s life works. One hundred years later, on the anniversary of his death, Burma had some 200,000 Christians and American mission work was inspired as it never had been before to reach lost souls on the foreign missions field.

Most would have quit but Judson, Ann, Sara and Emily along with their children would not and did not. They had made the commitment to obey, they knew God's will and their faith was strengthened by battle.

Shortly before his death Adonirom Judson wrote: I am not tired of my work, neither am I tired of the world; yet, when Christ calls me home, I shall go with gladness.

In spite of sorrow, loss, and pain,
Our course be onward still;
We sow on Burma’s barren plain,
We reap on Zion’s hill.
-Adoniram Judson


Monday, November 15, 2021

Fight The Fear #6: Final Fight – 2 Timothy 4

Fight The Fear #6: Final Fight – 2 Timothy 4


Word Doc


Paul the aged apostle, writes from a prison cell to his son in the faith, his successor to instruct and encourage him before he, Paul is put to death at the hands of a Roman emperor trying to overcome negative criticism over the way he is taking care of Rome after a massive fire. He pours into this last letter, all he can think to fortify Timothy for the fight that is coming. All the letter is very personal, but the fourth chapter we will look at today is by far the most personal. You can hear the finality of Paul’s words as he prepares to fight his own final fight.


Chapter 1 Fearlessness 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Chapter 2 Faithfulness 2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Vs 2 Faithful Steward, vs 3-4 Faithful Soldier, vs. 5 Faithful Athlete, Vs 6 Faithful Farmer, Vs 8 - 11 Faithful Preacher of the Gospel. Vs. 14 - Faithful Workman, Vs. 19 -26 Faithful In The Great House (Vessels of honor and dishonor)

 Final Charge - 2 Timothy 4:1

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

The Charge

Paul begins these last thoughts with a strong statement, “I charge thee.” The idea here is a solemn passing of authority from one to another. It is Paul passing his calling and work to Timothy.

The Bible is filled with such “charges”

Moses charged Israel - Deuteronomy 29:10-12 Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water: That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day:

Moses charged Joshua - Deuteronomy 31:7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.

Joshua charged Israel - Joshua 23:6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left

Samuel charged Israel - 1 Samuel 12:20-21 …turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart;

David charged Solomon - 1 Kings 2:1-3 …I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses,

Ezra charged Israel (Neh 8-10);

Jesus charged the apostles - John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

And Jesus charged or commissioned the church - Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

All these have the same ring and follow the same formula and serve the same purpose, authority and a calling, a purpose, a duty, a divine task is passed on. Now Paul is charging Timothy, passing on his authority and his calling to preach and spread the Gospel.

He brings the letter to a focal point with the statement, “I charge thee.” Literally, the words are “I solemnly witness.”

What Paul is proceeding to do is so serious, so grave that he calls God the Father and Jesus Christ the Lord to be witness to what he is about to say. Not only does he call the Father and Son to witness what he is charging Timothy, but he reminds Timothy of just who these witnesses are in the affairs of men. “Jesus who shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.” It is not Paul that Timothy will answer to for quitting, it is not Paul that Timothy will be reward for be faithful, it is the judge of all the world, time and eternity. Jesus is witness and he will also be the judge one day of both Paul and Timothy.

Next Paul specifically tells Timothy what he is charging him to do, what actions he is to carry out if he is to stand one day and be found faithful before Jesus Christ. He gives him five commands of action. In English, or Greek this form of speech is called an imperative. It is a command, an order but I’ve always like the term imperative because it has the sense of do this, it is important, it is vital, it is essential.

Five Imperatives. - 2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine

Now Paul gives these five short, direct imperatives, commands, later in this chapter he will give four more, but these first five give us the basics of the work of the ministry that Timothy must continue after Paul is gone.

1st Imperative - Preach the Word. This is the first and overall task that Timothy must be faithful to carry out. Preach the word. The rest of the imperatives all flow from this first command.

The word preach in the Greek is κηρύσσω kēryssō and it means to be a herald, to  proclaim a message from the king with the gravity and bearing of one who must be heeded because he speaks with the authority of the King. The herald was commissioned and sent by the King, not to parley but to proclaim. He carried a message, and he must be heard.

2nd Imperative - Be instant in season, out of season. Timothy was to seize any and every opportunity to preach. Wherever there was a person,wherever there was a place, whenever there was a time, there and then should be a proclamation.

The first imperative told Timothy what his task was, the 2nd told him when he was to carry out that task and now the next three are about the elements of his message.

3rd Imperative, Reprove. The word means to convince of error. It is the same word used in Tit 1:9 translated “convince” and in  I Tim 5:20 as “rebuke.”

4th Imperative - Rebuke has much the same idea but here has the added element of what should take place after a person is reproofed or rebuked. It is translated charge,  in Mathew 12:16; Mark 8:30; 10:48; and Luke 9:21. It means to lay a value or charge on. The basic idea is often the implied demand for restitution when error is pointed out. Timothy reprove them and them tell them how to make it right.

5th Imperative - Exhort is the final of these first 5 imperatives. It is often translated comfort or beseech.

I like what Warren Wiersbe said about this word, “It is an earnest entreaty in any of life’s circumstances, and is possible because of the presence of the Comforter, whose name (paracletes) is a different form of the same word. (parakaleo)”  In a sense Timothy, do the work of the Holy Spirit through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The last phrase, “with all longsuffering and doctrine” is the manner in which  Timothy was to go about reproving, rebuking and exhorting. “Timothy, carry out your charge with unlimited patience and intimate instructions.”

The Fight Against the Falling Away - 2 Timothy 4:3-4

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Here is why Timothy must be God’s man, with God’s message and be ready instantly to preach that message whether it called for reproving, rebuking or exhorting. Timothy must be faithful because there would be always be the danger of apostasy, of falling away from the truth in the churches and among God’s people.  

Paul says the time is coming when they will not endure sound teaching. The word endure means to hold oneself up against, to put up with, to bear. The time was coing and certainly now is that people will not measuring themselves by the truth of God’s word, but instead, driven by lusts, by carnal, selfish desires they will they will heap, will gather up and accumulate teachers that will tell them things that will satisfy their itching ears. The ideas is they will pick and choose from those who instead of preaching the truth will tell them whatever they want to hear. These speakers will be tickling or scratching their ears.  

The problem existed in the Old Testament as well and Isaiah 30:9-11, describes it perfectly. “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.”

In this future Timothy is being warning about, people who call themselves Christians will turn away from the truth and instead turn to fables, myths, and feel-good stories that have nothing to do with the truth of God’s Word.

Final Four Imperatives. 2 Timothy 4:5

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Paul turns his attention away from these fable followers and returns to Timothy the  fearless faithful follower of Christ and he give four final imperatives, four final fortifications against that fight that is coming.

6th Imperative - He tells Timothy to “Watch” Literally this is the word be sober, to abstain from intoxicating drinks, but the expression every time it is found in the NT conveys the idea of being watchfulness and alert. Just as a faithful watchman would not be drunk at his post, neither would a faithful watchman for the Lord let anything distract or impair him.

1 Thessalonians 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

7th Imperative Next, he says, “Endure afflictions.” This is the note that Paul has sounded throughout this last letter.

In 2 Timothy 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 2:9 Wherein I suffer trouble

The same word compounded with the preposition with in 2 Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions

8th Imperative - Then Timothy is told, “Do the work of an evangelist.” This word means “a bringer of good news.” If there is any kind difference between an evangelist and a preacher, it would be the idea that an evangelist would be someone who first brings the gospel.

There seems to be this understanding in Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;.

Here evangelists and pastor/teachers are separate. I in the New Testament and evangelist was a missionary, especially to those who had never heard the Gospel before. So not only was Timonty to pastor, but he was also to bring the Gospel to those who had never heard.

9th Imperative - The final thing that Paul tells his son in the faith is to, “Make full proof of thy ministry.” Most of the newer translations change this last command to “fulfill your ministry.” That’s not wrong, but it sure isn’t powerful, it sure doesn’t sound like the kind of phrasing that Paul would make as the final exhortation to Timothy.

The word is πληροφορέω (plērophoreo) it somes from two words πλήρης plērēs; which means complete or full and φορέω phoreō; which means to have a burden, (by analogy) to wear as clothing, to bear, wear.

To make full proof is a better translation here because it means not only fulfill but bear this ministry as one would bear an outer garment. Here is the clearly seen evidence of who and what you are, a child of God, a preacher of the truth and an evangelist of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yeah, I like that much better.

Because this phrase doesn’t stand alone, no it encompasses every command that Paul has given from preach the word, to rebuke, to exhort, to evangelize. This phrase stands as the climactic,  comprehensive command of the whole series of commands. Timothy, make full proof of your service, calling and faithfulness.

Final Fight - 2 Timothy 4:6-8

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Facing Death. 2 Timothy 4:6.

Paul now turns the letter from his empowering and encouraging Timothy for the fight of the future to Paul’s final fight as he faces death by the power of Rome. His moving and beautiful words, a kind of elegy before his own death are also a reminder of all that Paul has asked of Timothy.

He says, “ I am now ready to be offered, literally he says, I am being poured out.  He is using this verb, occurring only here and in Philippians 2:17, in a figurative sense. Being poured out was the picture of the drink offering.

After Jacob dreamed of the angels ascending to heaven, he poured oil on the stone he had slept on in Genesis 28:18. The place was then sanctified and consecrated for God had been there. Drink offerings accompanied many of the Old Testament sacrifices where the one coming to worship God would offer wine or olive oil along with the offering of an animal.

 Paul is seeing his imminent death as a drink offering a final giving that would accompany the life of sacrifice he had lived. He had been that living sacrifice that he beseeched the Romans to be in Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

The living sacrifice of his life would now be joined with his death. A drink offering poured out to completion his ministry.

Paul adds, “the time of my departure is at hand.” There is no doubt he understands this will be the last letter, written from the last prison cell he will have to endure and he is not afraid, instead he is ready.

Fulfilled His Calling - 2 Timothy 4:7.

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” When Paul gives this final testimony of his life and service, it is spoken with the understanding that he has fought the battles, he has run the races and he has been faithful through them all. No matter that the world saw Paul as a prisoner locked in a prison cell, with iron shackles on his hands and feet, waiting for death at the whim of an emperor, that was not the end of the fight, no it was but the beginning of his victory. He was not defeated. Nor could he every be defeated because through faith in and faithfulness to Jesus Christ, even death cannot prevent his coming victory.

Paul writing earlier to the Hebrew Christians encouraging them to be faithful said this about the Old Testament heroes of faith in  Hebrews 11:13-16 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Now Paul is ready to take his place among that great cloud of witnesses, in Faith’s Hall of Fame and there among that company will be…

The Final Prize  2 Timothy 4:8.

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day:

Paul is not afraid of his own final fight, he is not depressed by the bars of his jail, or the certain knowledge of his coming death. As you listen to his words all we hear is the confidence that comes from a true child of God and servant of Jesus Christ. As one of my commentaries put it, To Paul, “the greater the trial, the clearer the promise shines”.

The Bible describes many crowns that are waiting for believers. Crowns of “righteousness,” here in 2 Timothy 4:8,  crowns of “life” in Rev 2:10, crowns of “rejoicing” in I Thess 2:19; and crowns of “glory” in I Pet 5:4. I don’t think they are  different crowns but simply different descriptions of that final prize. The final prize that the righteous judge, the Judge who is never biased, never makes a mistake, who sees and knows the heart of man, that judge, the Lord Jesus Christ will award. Jesus will stand like a judge in the ancient Olympic games and as he comes to the end of his great race, Jesus will place upon the head of Paul the victor’s crown.

At the end of this elegy, Paul thinks not just of himself and his victory but also of us. He writes this final phrase, to Timothy and to all those who have heard the call of the Gospel and answered that call with their life’s service.

For All A Crown - 2 Timothy 4:8

“and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” The victor’s crown is not only for the great heroes of the Bible. It is not a crown that is reserved only for those who suffer martyrdom or endure the worst persecutions from the hand of evil men. Paul says there is a crown for all who love his appearing. What exactly does that mean?

Robertson’s NT Word Pictures explains it like this, “the perfect active participle of ἀγαπαω [agapaō], to love, who have loved and still love his second coming.”  

Those who have loved their Savior, who came in the form of a man, was born of woman, took our sin upon himself and died for us. Those who continue to love their Lord, who now sits on the right hand of the Father, ever interceding for us in heaven. And those who in hope will always love their coming King, returning to earth to rule and reign. That perfect, complete, unceasing love will be rewarded with a crown that shines in  righteousness, life, joy and glory when we stand before Jesus our Judge.

Quote: John Jasper said it like this, “I charge you, my people fix your feet on the solid rock, your hearts on Calvary and your eyes on the throne of the Lamb” – John Jasper , 1812-1901


Illustration: The Pouring Out of Polycarp, pastor of the church at Smyrna

Polycarp was born around 69 AD and died after being stabbed and then burned at the stake around 155 AD. He wrote some of the earliest church history and letters after the apostles and it is believed that he was a disciple of John and may have met Paul or at least was very familiar with Paul’s writings.

When he was tried by the Roman authorities, he was offered his life if he would but worship the emporer and the Roman gods. His reply shows the kind of love that Paul spoke of and that every child of God must have.

“Eighty and six years have I served Him, and he never did me any injury; how then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior.”- Polycarp, disciple of the Apostle John, and Bishop of Smyrna

This prayer he left behind in his writings before being killed. “Lord God Almighty, Father of your blessed and beloved child Jesus Christ, through whom we have received knowledge of you, God of angels and hosts and all creation, and of the whole race of the upright who live in your presence: I bless you that you have thought me worthy of this day and hour, to be numbered among the martyrs and share in the cup of Christ, for resurrection to eternal life, for soul and body in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. Among them may I be accepted before you today, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, just as you, the faithful and true God, have prepared and foreshown and brought about. For this reason and for all things I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved child, through whom be glory to you, with him and the Holy Spirit, now and for  the ages to come. Amen. – Polycarp’s prayer before being burned and stabbed at the stake


Paul and Polycarp may be more eloquent in their words, but if you are a child of God and have known the love of Jesus Christ, then your love is just as eloquent as their love, and that love will carry us through the battles of this life and right up to that final fight. And if we love Him with that perfect, complete love, then we will be able to say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”