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Finishing Well - Bible Survey Part 14

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
September 18, 2021 7:00 am

Finishing Well - Bible Survey Part 14

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Today were going to go on and were going to cover the books of first and second Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.

So are you ready -2 Philemon 1st the shortest of Paul's letters. Philemon was a believer who lived in Colossae, a friend of Paul's and Amanda Paul had led to Christ personally will show you a map so that you see where Colossae is located in fact we learn from verse two of the letter to Philemon that the church there in Colossae actually met in Philemon's house now Philemon had a slave whose name was own estimates for slave stole money from him ran away, came to Rome where somehow he met the apostle Paul became friends with the apostle Paul and the apostle Paul leading to crisis is during the time when Paul was incarcerated in his first imprisonment in Rome, 61 to 62 A.D. and now Paul is sending own estimates. This newly born again, this newly come to Christ's runaway slave back to his owner. Paul's friend Philemon verse 10, Paul says I appeal to you writing to Philemon for my son own estimates, who became my spiritual saw on while I was in chains in Rome.

I am sending them back to you even though I would love to keep him with me. Perhaps the reason Paul says to Philemon that he ran away was so that you might have them back again for good, not as a slave but as a dear brother in the Lord.

So Paul says Philemon if you consider me a friend of please welcome him own estimates back as you would welcome me that we need to stop for a minute and understand that this was no small thing that the apostle Paul was asking Philemon to do the general rule for runaway slave.

At this time of the Roman Empire was death. No questions asked.

They just killed you. Because they wanted to send a message to every slave in the Roman Empire. Don't you even think about. And so, in asking Philemon to take on estimates back and not killing but restoring him this was tremendously out of the ordinary. What Paul was asking Philemon to do verse 18 Paul says and if he own estimates has done you any wrong or if he owes you anything. Charge it to me. I Paul will pay it back to you. Not to mention, of course, Paul said that you owe me your very life. Paul said I just want to remind you Philemon that if it wasn't for me you wouldn't be going to heaven. But if you think I'll you something. Put it on my bill. I think that's hysterical.

That's a little humor in their did you get that yeah okay so being confident of your obedience. Paul says I write this to you knowing that you will do even more than I ask. No I look at this and I see a great example here of what Paul said in Colossians chapter 3 when he told us to forgive one another as the Lord forgave you and me and friends. Let's just say all of us have own estimates is in our life.

We've all got people of heard us taking advantage of us use does done rotten things to us and the message of this book to us is that we are to do the same thing with them that Paul was asking Philemon to do with own estimates and that is to forgive them, as the Lord forgave us. It is an easy I've got those people in my life and it is hard to do that. But hey, when I think of how the Lord forgave me fully freely without any condition. Well folks, that's how I have to forgive other people, then so I hope you'll take this lesson the hard as I do from the book of Philemon now you got that book we got it. Okay, let's move on to first and second Timothy and Titus now and when we dig into these books. It's important we know a little bit about the men to whom they were written first Timothy, let's talk about him. In acts 16 verse one at the beginning of the second missionary journey. The Bible says in acts chapter 16 that there was a certain disciple bear in Lysistrata and Derby named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer. She was, but his father was a Gentile that show you a map so that you see were Lister and Derby are Paul was there on his first missionary journey and now on his second journey. He's coming through town to encourage the church there and he had led Timothy to cries when he was there in his first journey, but Timothy has grown like a weed verse two and he Timothy was well spoken of by all the believers in Lysistrata and I Cody him so Paul wanted Timothy to go with him on his second missionary journey, and Timothy did and became Paul's right hand person for the next 17 years of Paul's life until he died in 66 A.D. now. By the way church historians tell us the Timothy ended up becoming the Bishop of Ephesus, where he was martyred for his faith by Emperor Domitian somewhere between the years of 81 and 96 A.D. about Titus well Titus was a full on Gentile. His mother wasn't Jewish.

His father wasn't Jewish and are Paul had led him to Christ.

As well, which is why Paul says Titus one verse four Paul says to Titus, my trousseau on in our common faith. Now Titus's name is never mentioned in the book of acts, but we do know a little bit about Titus. We know from Galatians 2 that he went with Paul and Barnabas to the Jerusalem Council in acts 15. We know from second Corinthians 8 that he was with Paul on Paul's third missionary journey and we know from Titus chapter 1 verse five that Paul, after he was released from his first imprisonment in Rome 62 A.D. he left Titus in Crete to oversee the churches there will show you map so that everybody knows where the island of Crete is and as far as we know, Titus died there of natural causes overseeing the churches that Paul had commissioned to his care. Now, the letters of first Timothy second Timothy and Titus are commonly called the pastoral epistles because Paul wrote them to these two men regarding the pastoral care of these churches that Paul had entrusted to them and particularly first Timothy and Titus are chock-full of information about how God wants his church to be wrong. Dear McLean Bible church. One of the ways we decided how to build this church is we took the Bible we opened up the first Timothy and Titus we read those letters and we said now this is the fullest explanation anywhere in the Bible how God wants his church. Ron and this is how we try to run McLean Bible church. So that's first Timothy and Titus. Then we come to second Timothy which was Paul's last letter written in 66 A.D. here's the situation in 64 A.D. July to be exact. Rome burned to the ground and Nero Emperor Nero blamed it on the Christians. Most people think Nero did it himself, but he blamed it on the Christians and so for the first time empire wide persecution broke out against Christians and as part of that. Nero arrested both Peter and Paul incarcerated them and then killed them both in 66 A.D. so when Paul was in jail in Rome.

This second time he knew that the end was near. That's why he wrote Timothy and said second Timothy 46 the time of my departure is at hand.

Paul knew it was over and that he was going to be with the Lord.

And so the main purpose of second Timothy is Paul writing to challenge Timothy to faithfully carry on for the Lord in Paul's absence as far as we know this letter.

Second Timothy was the last time that Timothy ever heard from the apostle Paul here on earth. Now that is the fastest overview of the pastoral epistles you will ever get but you get an idea of what they're all talking about you with me.

Okay good. Now it's time for us to stop and ask our most important question and you know what this is so all of you guys at Loudoun all you guys of Prince William, all of you guys at Bethesda and around the world.

The Internet you ready everybody are Tysons we ready or not. Listen, you gotta make this a long enough so what's a lifetime to take a drink of water.

So this gotta be a good one. All right ready Juan to pray perfect. That was perfect. All right now guys these letters are full of so much amazing information that we could spend weeks and weeks and weeks talking about the content of first and second Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, so I just had to pick one thing for us to talk about today and I think it'll speak to your heart because it definitely spoke to my heart you know when my boys were young and growing up I used to always say to them, the fellas I want to listen. It's not how we start the race that matters is how we finish the race. They don't hand out metals at the starting line fellas. They hand out metals at the finishing line you guys understand that right. I mean everybody looks good at the starting line and got the little trunks on and are all shaking their hands and shaking their legs and advise ready to go by looks great at the start line is that the finish line you find out who really ran the race well well here in second Timothy Paul is at the finish line. He said second Timothy chapter 4 the time of my departure is at hand.

I have thought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. And it's almost as though Paul was saying, you know, I started the race well on the road to Damascus and now 30 years later I by God's grace and finishing the race.

Well now folks I think all of us recognize this is not the easiest thing in the world to do. I mean we can all think of people in the Bible right who started the race well and finished terrible people like lots people like Samson people like King Solomon. People like Judas Iscariot, and we don't even have to go all the way back to the Bible to think of these kind of people we all can think of Christian leaders in our modern world today who started the race grade and finished it terrible and that's why often people will come up to me andwhat can I do for you and I say pray for me and then they always asked me what you want me to pray for you and I always tell them the same thing.

Pray that I finish well. Pray that I finish well, I mean Outlook folks we all understand you can do a thousand great things, but if you do want really bad thing people forget the thousands of good things you did and they only remember you for the one really bad thing you did. That is not how I want to end my life. I don't want to be remembered for the one catastrophe that happened to me at the end of my life and and I'm not kidding myself. You know, I know I'm not a young man anymore, not in the start gate. I'm not going around the first turn. I'm not going around the back turn coming all the way around and heading down the finish line. I'm 65 years old you say when you don't look like it all.

God bless you I love you but I am in folks. I understand how tragic would it be to trip in the home stretch. How tragic would that be. That's why I say people prayed for me and I mean it with all my heart that I finish well and that should be a prayer every one of us have Autocare where we are on the track. Lord, please let me finish. Well, it doesn't matter how I started nearly as much as it matters how I finish now.

In that regards the Bible has for suggestions to help us finish well and I want to give them to us and then were done so here we go. Suggestion number one is if we want to finish well. We need to stay vitally connected to the word of God.

Psalm 119 verse nine.

How shall a young man or an old man keep his way clean by taking heed to it according to your word.

Verse 11. Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you folks why we study the word of God. Why do we memorize the word of God here at this church why we urge you to meditate on the word of God, because the more we study it, memorize it, and meditate on it.

God says the less we will sin against him. God's word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path to keep us from ending up in the ditch pay, you can slice it anyway you want but spending serious time in God's word result in our sending glass results and are making better choices in life and maximizes our chance of ending our life well so let me ask each of us. The question I asked myself this question. How you doing on this. Are you really vitally in the word of God each and every week or have you gotten sloppy and just a little bit slovenly and just a little bit inconsistent friends when we get inconsistent in the word of God. We are opening ourselves up to go down somewhere on the track number two suggestion number two want to end well in life.

The number two don't minimize how evil your human heart is Jeremiah 17 nine the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked friends. My heart is this way your heart is this way and to make matters worse, we all have this amazing capacity to justify what our evil hearts want to do. So my question to us all is have you have a high accepted the truth about your heart in my heart that it's our worst enemy and that only with the Holy Spirit's help, can we defend ourselves from our human heart is what David pray Psalm 139 search me oh God, and no my heart try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me and show me what that wicked way is Lord before I fall prey to it.

Psalm 26.

David pray to examine me oh Lord, and try meet past my mind and my heart friends. God can expose to us the evil schemes of our hearts before they lead us into disaster. But we've got to be asking God for that. We've got to be warning God to do that in prayer and so let me ask you when's the last time you got on your knees and said, Lord, examine my heart, test my heart. Show me what wicked ways are in there and don't let me be deceived by my heart.

Number 31. Finish well conferred Joe overestimate yourself. Romans 12 three says do not think more highly of yourself than you ought the needle. God is always beaten on me with this verse. I'm telling you because I have a bad tendency to do this. God is always saying to be lawn do not think more highly of yourself and you all. Thank you Lord. I appreciate that five minutes later long.

Do not think more highly of yourself that you are this goes on all day long. This may be my life verse. I don't know what look folks.

The reason that God stresses this so much is because when we start thinking more highly of ourselves and we all listen we start believing that the rules are for everybody else and not for us and that is a sure formula for spiritual disaster. I'm of the mind that spiritual arrogance is the mother sin of all of the sins. Every other sin you can think of gets traced back to arrogance in our own life, which is why God calls us to think soberly about ourselves. That's what the verse goes on to say, but use sober judgment friends. The only permanent thing in this universe is the Lord Jesus not you and not me, and realizing that order may cause a lot less arrogant than we all are its dangerous and that's why God says hey don't think more highly of yourself and your status will knock you off your horse faster than anything you ever saw number four and finally one not have a chance of finishing well then friends. Number four. We should think about the consequences of our actions before we act one my favorite verses in the Bible is Proverbs 22 three. It says the wise man sees evil coming and gets out of the way, but the full keeps going and suffers for pay.

One of the best ways to avoid self-destructive choices is for us to slow down long enough and think what that choice may really mean before we make it to remember. Galatians 67 where God says nobody makes a fool out of God. Whatever a person sows, that is precisely what the going rate you know I been on the board of Jews for Jesus as you know, for many years now in a number of years ago we were having a meeting, a board meeting in New York City and now during the meeting we could went to take a dog like a half-hour break in one of the other board members to take it. I got some I need I need some pastoral advice.

We take a walk around the block and possible short so we went out walking around the block there in Manhattan and he said to me well now you got understand this guy on our board very well known Christian testimony owns a huge company is on many other Christian boards has a godly wife and two wonderful godly daughters.

I mean, just, you know Greg, I would start walking around the block and is and will is that here's what I need pastoral advice semi-he said I been acting in this community theater nearby my house and he said, and I've sort of gotten the infatuated with this lady that we are. It is a bit in the plays and he said I'm thinking about leaving my wife and marrying this woman is.

I need pastoral advice know so you don't need pastoral advice. I said you don't need a pastor to help you with this. I called you by name.

I said my teenagers could help you with this.

This is so simple you you you might not my boys to tell you the right answer this one don't do it.

I said to him, are you out of your mind.

Have you thought through. What this is going to mean. I said, you gotta think this through your wife is going to leave you you going to be estranged from your children, your Christian testimony is going to be damage there going to throw you off all these Christian boards-I'm personally going to make the motion we throw you off the board of Jews for Jesus. I just want to know that I said don't do this, don't do this. This is not worth it. Think about what this is going to cost you know what he did take a guess. He left his wife that's exactly right and went off and married this other woman is Avalon that's great.

Remind me to come to you for counsel. Next, look all my fault. I told them the right answer did not telling the right answer yes. Not my fault and everything I told them what happened did we kicked him off the border Jews for Jesus. They kicked them off all these other boards.

His wife left him. His daughters didn't even invite him to their weddings. I mean it was a disaster and I learned a really important lesson folks. I learned that hey it's always good to do what I call a fallout study before we do something to really sit back and say now if I do this, what will the fallout be in my life not God sometimes is merciful and doesn't let all the fallout come the good, but we have to assume the worst. What could happen here and you know when you do that it is help me so much not to make terrible choices in life because I'm able once I take the time to think it through to say to myself, some of the five most important words in life. Here they are. It just a worth it.

It just a worth it. Yeah, now let me just say I wish I could tell you I was smart enough that I can always do this all by myself, but I'm not. Sometimes you get so you know like we want to do something that you can even reason with yourself and this is why we need friends. This is why we need godly men and women around us.

This is why we need godly spouses and this is why we need to listen to them.

This is why if we have godly grown children. We need to be able to go and talk to them and say give me some advice because when was sometimes were already so far down the line that we can pull ourselves back. We need help. This why we encourage you to have accountability relationships with Melamed and other women who could come along and say to you, hey, this is the stupidest idea ever heard in my life. What you do, lost her mind crazy and we listen to. I tell you I really thank God for some people like this in my life.

One of them is my good friend Gordon Langley. We were in Israel together couple years ago. He goes with me almost every year.

Just as a friend and as a helper and there was a thing on the trip that I was thinking about doing and I had it all worked out of my mind how exactly this was it was right it was good this the right thing to do and I thought well I'll ask Gordie and when Gordie heard about it is it what you think he salon tested dumbest thing I've ever heard.

He said you're not really thinking of doing that. Are you and I said well you about the one about what I was in the and he said don't you dare do that don't dare do that you will regret that the rest of your life, and there will be no way to ever turn it around the hurt that you don't do that. I'm so glad I listened to him.

I've gone back to Gordie so many times and said oh Gordie, thank you thank you thank you thank you so much for having the courage to tell me what you really thought, because looking back I can see now, you are actually right. It would've been the stupidest thing I could ever done and the damage I would've caused would've been I would've been lifelong folks have some friends liked her in and listen to them because of fallout study before we act always helps us to make better choices, so let's summarize showing God wants every one of us to finish well friends just like the apostle Paul.

He wants us to have the testimony of the end of our life that hey I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.

While some suggestions to help us get there.

Number one, we need to stay vitally connected to the word of God.

Number two. We need to not minimize how evil our hearts really are. There are worst enemy number three. We need to be careful we don't overestimate ourselves and begin to think the reason for everybody else, except for us and number four. And finally, we need to think through the possible consequences of our choices before we make and let me just say finally, we can do all four of these things friends and we can still end up in the ditch. You know that, because ultimately you and I making it to the finish line is all about the grace of God is just about the grace of God, his mercy to us his kindness to us his graciousness to us and so yes, these are good suggestions. And yes, we should follow them but friends. Please don't think that if we just mechanically go through these four things that guarantees a good ending. It doesn't would guarantees a good ending is the mercy and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in kindness to our life protecting us from ourselves.

So we can get on our knees and say Lord help me do this. But don't you ever forget to say and Lord Jesus. Above all, to show mercy on the Lord show mercy on me and protect me from me and you know what I believe God loves to answer that prayer. Let's pray Lord Jesus, thank you for the wonderful example of the apostle Paul who ended well.

In spite of all the suffering and the brutality. The mistreatment did. He went through, and more. That's our aspiration is to be able to end like he did and crossed the finish line, not having disgraced you or ourselves or family or the faith or church or anyone else. So God we throw ourselves on your mercy today. We realize these principles are good, but that no one finishes will apart from the grace and the mercy in the benevolent kindness of Christ. So Lord, show us that kindness help us Lord Jesus to finish in a way that you will be able to say to us. Well done good and faithful servant and Lord made the credit for that. Not go to four principles that we talked about today, but may the credit go to the mercy and the power of Almighty God, and we pray these things humbly before you in Jesus name. What are God's people say amen amen

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