Evening Bible Study
Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel
preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid
to die? Does it speak to the broken
hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision
Is the church loved? Target 3300 words
Video = 75 wpm
The history recorded in the book of Acts ends around AD 60, with Paul being
confined under house arrest in his own apartment in Rome.
We believe that Paul was released after a couple of years, and would travel
to Ephesus, Macedonia, Crete, Nicopolis, and then be rearrested in Troas and
taken back to Rome.
In AD 64 Nero burned Rome, blamed it on the Christians, and kicked off a
period of persecution.
This time, Paul would be confined in the Mamertine Prison.
Everyone has abandoned Paul except for his friend Luke the physician.
(2 Timothy 4:11
NKJV) Only Luke is with me.
It’s from here that Paul writes this letter, his final letter somewhere
around AD 66-67, just prior to his death.
Paul is hoping that Timothy would
come to him, but that isn’t going to happen.
Paul will shortly be taken outside the city of Rome where he will be
When people speak their “final words”, sometimes it’s worth paying
attention to, other times not so much.
In her 2014 memoir, Ginger Alden revealed then-fiance Elvis Presley’s final
words before his death in 1977. During a night of sleeplessness, Presley told
Alden, “I’m going to the bathroom to read.” The rest, as they say, is history.
Convicted murderer Thomas J. Grasso
used his last words to complain about his last meal. He said, “I did not get my
Spaghetti-O’s; I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this.”
When Sir Isaac Newton died, he was humble. He said, “I don’t know what I
may seem to the world. But as to myself I seem to have been only like a boy
playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother
pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth
lay all undiscovered before me.”
That’s a little better.
In her 2014 memoir, Ginger Alden
revealed then-fiance Elvis Presley's final words before his death in 1977.
During a night of sleeplessness, Presley told Alden, "I'm going to the
bathroom to read." The rest, as they say, is history.
Poignant, funny, sad, weird or
mean—last words can make quite the impact as we shuffle off the stage of life.
Here are 64 notable examples.
1. Joseph Wright was a linguist who
edited the English Dialect Dictionary. His last word? “Dictionary.”
2. Italian artist Raphael’s last
word was simply: “Happy.”
3. Composer Gustav Mahler died in
bed, conducting an imaginary orchestra. His last word was, “Mozart!”
4. Blues singer Bessie Smith died
saying, “I’m going, but I’m going in the name of the Lord.”
5. Composer Jean-Philippe Rameau
objected to a song sung at his bedside. He said, “What the devil do you mean to
sing to me, priest? You are out of tune.”
6. Frank Sinatra died after saying,
“I’m losing it.”
7. George Orwell’s last written
words were, “At fifty, everyone has the face he deserves.” He died at age 46.
8. William Henry Seward, architect
of the Alaska Purchase, was asked if he had any final words. He replied,
“Nothing, only ‘love one another.’”
9. Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre
turned to his partner Simone de Beauvoir and said, “I love you very much, my
10. Birth control advocate Margaret
Sanger’s last words were, “A party! Let’s have a party.”
11. Rainer Maria Rilke said, “I
don’t want the doctor’s death. I want to have my own freedom.”
12. Nostradamus predicted,
“Tomorrow, at sunrise, I shall no longer be here.” He was right.
13. Author Vladimir Nabokov was
also an entomologist, particularly interested in butterflies. His last words:
“A certain butterfly is already on the wing.”
14. Author Herman Melville died
saying, “God bless Captain Vere!” referencing his then-unpublished novel Billy
Budd, found on his desk after he died.
15. Marie Antoinette stepped on her
executioner’s foot on her way to the guillotine. Her last words:
16. Richard B. Mellon was a
multimillionaire. He was the President of Alcoa, and he and his brother Andrew
had a little game of Tag going. The weird thing was, this game of Tag lasted
for like seven decades. When Richard was on his deathbed, he called his brother
over and whispered, “Last tag.” Poor Andrew remained “It” for four years, until
17. When Harriet Tubman was dying
in 1913, she gathered her family around and they sang together. Her last words
were, “Swing low, sweet chariot.”
18. When Sir Isaac Newton died, he
was humble. He said, “I don’t know what I may seem to the world. But as to
myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and
diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell
than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before
19. Leonardo da Vinci was also
overly modest, saying, “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not
reach the quality it should have.” I guess the Mona Lisa isn’t good enough?
20. Louise-Marie-Thérèse de Saint
Maurice, Comtesse de Vercellis let one rip while she was dying. She said,
“Good. A woman who can fart is not dead.”
21. Drummer Buddy Rich died after
surgery in 1987. As he was being prepped for surgery, a nurse asked him, “Is
there anything you can’t take?” Rich replied, “Yeah, country music.”
22. Johnny Ace, an R&B singer,
died in 1954 while playing with a pistol during a break in his concert set. His
last words were, “I’ll show you that it won’t shoot.”
23. Richard Feynman, a physicist,
author, musician, professor, and traveler, died in Los Angeles in 1988. His
last words? “This dying is boring.”
24. As Benjamin Franklin lay dying
at the age of 84, his daughter told him to change position in bed so he could
breathe more easily. Franklin’s last words were, “A dying man can do nothing
25. Albert Abraham Michelson
dedicated his life to measuring the speed of light and was the first American
to win a Nobel Prize for physics. Even as he was dying at age 78, he was
measuring light. He wrote in his log: “The following is a report on the
measurement of the velocity of light made at the Irvine Ranch, near Santa Ana,
California, during the period of September 1929 to—.”
26. Thomas B. Moran was a
pickpocket, known by the nickname “Butterfingers.” He reportedly stole as many
as 50,000 wallets in his career. He died in Miami in 1971, and his last words
were, “I’ve never forgiven that smart-alecky reporter who named me Butterfingers.
To me, it’s not funny.”
27. Murderer James W. Rodgers was
put in front of a firing squad in Utah and asked if he had a last request. He
replied, “Bring me a bullet-proof vest.”
28. Charles “Lucky” Luciano was a
mob leader who helped the U.S. work with the Sicilian Mafia during World War II
in exchange for a reduced prison sentence. His last words were, “Tell Georgie I
want to get in the movies one way or another.” And it worked! His life story is
told in the movies Lucky Luciano, The Last Testament of Lucky Luciano, and many
more. He also appears as a character in HBO's Boardwalk Empire.
29. John Arthur Spenkelink was
executed in Florida in 1979. He spent his final days writing these last words
on various pieces of mail: “Capital punishment means those without the capital
get the punishment.”
30. Convicted murderer Thomas J.
Grasso used his last words to complain about his last meal. He said, “I did not
get my Spaghetti-O’s; I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this.”
31. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who
wrote the Sherlock Holmes stories, died at age 71 in his garden. He turned to
his wife and said, “You are wonderful,” then clutched his chest and died.
32. Writer T.S. Eliot was only able
to whisper one word as he died: “Valerie,” the name of his wife.
33. Actor and comedian W.C. Fields
died in 1946. He last words: “God damn the whole friggin’ world and everyone in
it but you, Carlotta.” He was speaking to Carlotta Monti, his longtime
34. Percy Grainger was an
Australian composer who, with his dying words, told his wife Ella, “You’re the
only one I like.”
35. Actor Michael Landon, best
known for Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven, died of cancer in
1991. His family gathered around his bed, and his son said it was time to move
on. Landon said, “You’re right. It’s time. I love you all.”
36. Football coach Vince Lombardi
died of cancer in 1970. As he died, Lombardi turned to his wife Marie and said,
“Happy anniversary. I love you.”
37. O.O. McIntyre was an American
reporter. He died at age 53, and spoke his last words to his wife Maybelle:
“Snooks, will you please turn this way. I like to look at your face.”
38. When he was 57, Edward R.
Murrow died while patting his wife’s hand. He said, “Well, Jan, we were lucky
39. John Wayne died at age 72 in
L.A. He turned to his wife and said, “Of course I know who you are. You’re my
girl. I love you."
40. Humphrey Bogart’s wife Lauren
Bacall had to leave the house to pick up their kids. Bogart said, “Goodbye,
kid. Hurry back.” Not quite, “Here's looking at you, kid,” but close.
41. Before Ernest Hemingway
committed suicide, he told his wife Mary, “Goodnight my kitten.”
42. Donald O’Connor was a singer,
dancer, and actor. He also hosted the Academy Awards in 1954. O'Connor died at
age 78 with his family gathered around him. He joked, “I’d like to thank the
Academy for my lifetime achievement award that I will eventually get.” He still
hasn’t gotten one.
43. Pulitzer Prize-winning
playwright Eugene O’Neill was born in a room at the Broadway Hotel on what is
now Times Square. He died at age 65 in a Boston hotel. His last words? “I knew
it! I knew it! Born in a hotel room and, goddamn it, dying in a hotel room.”
44. Jack Soo was an actor on the TV
series Barney Miller. On the show, there was a running gag about Soo’s
character making crappy coffee in the office. Soo developed cancer of the
esophagus, and when was being wheeled into an operating room, he joked to
Barney Miller co-star Hal Linden, “It must have been the coffee.” In a tribute episode,
cast members raised coffee cups in Soo’s memory.
45. Josephine Baker knew how to
party. She sang, danced, and acted. She adopted a dozen kids and lived in
Paris. On the last night of her life, she left a party being held in her honor,
saying, “Oh, you young people act like old men. You are no fun.”
46. Charles Gussman was a writer
and TV announcer, who wrote the pilot episode of Days of Our Lives, among other
shows. As he became ill, he said he wanted his last words to be memorable. When
he daughter reminded him of this, he gently removed his oxygen mask and
whispered: “And now for a final word from our sponsor—.”
47. When Groucho Marx was dying, he
let out one last quip: “This is no way to live!”
48. Groucho’s brother Leonard, who
was better known as Chico Marx, gave instructions to his wife as his last
words: “Remember, Honey, don’t forget what I told you. Put in my coffin a deck
of cards, a mashie niblick, and a pretty blonde.” For the record, a “mashie
niblick” is a kind of golf club.
49. Wilson Mizner is best known for
his bon mots, though he was a successful playwright. He’s known for the line,
"Be nice to people on the way up because you'll meet the same people on
the way down." When Mizner was on his deathbed, a priest said, “I’m sure
you want to talk to me.” Mizner told the priest, “Why should I talk to you?
I’ve just been talking to your boss.”
50. As he was dying, Alfred
Hitchcock said, “One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly
what happens after death, although Catholics have their hopes.”
51. Basketball great “Pistol"
Pete Maravich collapsed during a pickup game. His last words: “I feel great.”
52. Vladimir Ilych Lenin’s last
words were, “Good dog.” (Technically, he said “Vot sobaka.”) He said this to a
dog that brought him a dead bird.
53. Blues guitarist Leadbelly said,
“Doctor, if I put this here guitar down now, I ain’t never gonna wake up.” And
he was right.
54. Thomas Fantet de Lagny was a
mathematician. On his deathbed, he was asked, “What is the square of 12?” His
last words: “One hundred and forty-four.”
55. Derek Jarman was an artist,
writer, and filmmaker. His last words: “I want the world to be filled with
white fluffy duckies.”
56. Sir Winston Churchill’s last
words were, “I’m bored with it all.”
57. Actress Joan Crawford yelled at
her housekeeper, who was praying as Crawford died. Crawford said, “Damn it!
Don’t you dare ask God to help me!”
58. Bo Diddley died giving a
thumbs-up as he listened to the song “Walk Around Heaven.” His last word was
59. Baseball player “Moe” Berg’s
last words: “How did the Mets do today?”
60. Emily Dickinson’s last words
were, “I must go in, for the fog is rising.”
61. As Truman Capote lay dying, he
repeated, “Mama— Mama— Mama.”
62. James Brown said, “I’m going
63. Surgeon Joseph Henry Green was
checking his own pulse as he lay dying. His last word: “Stopped.”
64. And according to Steve Jobs'
sister Mona, the Apple founder's last words were, "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh
Note: the source for most of these
is the fantastic reference book Last Words of Notable People: Final Words of
More than 3500 Noteworthy People Throughout History by William B. Brahms. It's
literally filled with this stuff.
Paul’s letter to Timothy is of particular value to us because these are
Paul’s last words of instruction to Timothy, his “next generation” leader.
2:1-7 How to Serve
:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
:1 be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus
be strong – endunamoo – to
be strong; to receive strength, increase in strength
The Right Power
If you intend to serve the Lord in any capacity, you’ve got to learn from
the start where your strength is going to come from.
Some people expect to have all the
strength they need within themselves.
The problem is
that you will fail at times, then what do you do?
Others find their “strength” in the
people around them.
You will find that
people around you will let you down.
Timothy is to find his power in
churches give a narrow definition of “grace” as the magical thing you receive
when you receive the elements of the eucharist, the mass, the bread and the
These same churches will then say that you are “saved by grace” because
you took communion.
definition of grace is a bit broader than that.
grace – charis – favor,
goodwill, undeserved gift
that has been given but not necessarily deserved.
It’s all the good
that God does for us, despite who we are or what we deserve.
It describes Jesus
1:14 NKJV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and
He was constantly
giving to those around Him, despite whether or not they deserved it.
It is at times
connected directly to the power of God:
(Acts 4:33 NKJV) And with
great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
And great grace was upon them all.
14:3 NKJV) Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the
Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and
wonders to be done by their hands.
God displays His
power even when we don’t deserve it.
We are saved because of God’s
(Ephesians 2:8 NLT)
saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this;
it is a gift from God.
We are saved from
our sins because God gave us the gift of salvation, despite our sin.
He gave it to us
because we believed.
It’s not through the priest’s faith when he serves us the Eucharist.
We are sustained in life and
ministry through grace.
When Paul was tormented by some
sort of “thorn” in the flesh and he prayed to be delivered from it, God
Corinthians 12:9 NKJV) And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength
is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I wish I could
feel “strong enough” to do all the things that are before me, but I’m not.
I can get quite discouraged
when I am aware of my own weakness.
allows me to grow more dependent on God – that’s what “grace” is all about.
We need to keep growing in grace
(2 Peter 3:18 NLT) Rather, you
must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Don’t be satisfied
with your understanding of what “grace” is.
We need to expand
our capacity to receive more and more grace.
The grace I receive from God allows
me to give the grace I need to give to others around me.
(Ephesians 4:32 NKJV)
be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in
Christ forgave you.
The words for “forgive” and “forgave” are the Greek verb
forms of charis.
We ought to “grace” each other as God has “graced” us.
Healthy ministry stays connected and empowered with grace.
:2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit
these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
:2 commit these to faithful men
Timothy has been entrusted with the truths of God from Paul, and he must
now pass it on to another generation.
This verse is at the core of how the church has survived for two thousand
Each generation is called to raise up a new generation of believers and
turn things over to them.
commit – paratithemi
– to place beside; to deposit; to entrust, commit to one’s charge.
The word describes what is known as
“stewardship”. It’s having someone put
their wealth in your hands, and you are to protect and even multiply that
It’s like a stockbroker. Paul has invested in Timothy’s “mutual
funds”, and Timothy now is to turn around and take all the money that he’s
earned and invest it in someone else.
Paul has invested time, words, and
an example in Timothy’s life, and Paul is now reminding Timothy that he needs
to do the same with other men.
faithful – pistos
– faithful; of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of
business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties; that
can be relied on
able – hikanos
– sufficient; many enough, enough; sufficient in ability, i.e. meet, fit
Looking for faithfulness
Paul doesn’t tell Timothy to find men that have an exciting testimony of
how they came to Christ.
Paul doesn’t tell Timothy to find handsome men that people will be drawn
Paul doesn’t tell Timothy to find men that are gifted speakers or
Paul tells Timothy to look for faithful men.
Some of the translations carry the
idea that the persons Timothy should look for should also be “qualified to
teach”, but I’m not sure that this is what Paul is saying.
The Greek could also be translated,
“commit this stuff to faithful men, these will be enough to teach others also”.
It’s nice to have people that are
good at teaching, but if there is no faithfulness in a person’s life, being a
good teacher is worthless.
Timothy himself was a “faithful” man.
Paul wrote to the Philippians,
2:22 NKJV) But you know his proven character, that as a son with his
father he served with me in the gospel.
How could Timothy find people he could depend upon?
I see plenty of people get excited about serving the Lord. I have heard many pledges through the years
of what people intend to do for the Lord.
But I’m at the point where I’m kind of cynical about “pledges”.
NLT) —28 “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the
older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 The son
answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. 30 Then the
father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he
didn’t go. 31 “Which of
the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” Then Jesus explained his
meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get
into the Kingdom of God before you do. 32 For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but
you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when
you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.
Faithfulness is demonstrated by actually doing something,
not just promising it.
It’s nice that the second son said that he’d obey his dad,
but it was the first son that actually did it.
It was the actual obedience that counted, not the promise.
:2 who will be able to teach
It is good that God has raised up
people like Greg Laurie with a gift of evangelism – many have come to Christ
through his ministry.
Yet this is spiritual “addition”,
God “adding” to the church.
I think God would prefer
“multiplication” to addition.
If a person leads one person to the
Lord each year, then after ten years, there will be eleven believers. But if each of those people had been taught
to lead others to the Lord themselves, you don’t have spiritual addition, you
have spiritual multiplication.
female dog and her descendants can produce 4,372 puppies in just seven
generations, and one unspayed cat and her offspring can produce 80 million
kittens in ten years.
-- Tim Beougher & Alvin Reid, Evangelism
for a Changing World (Shaw, 1995), p. 169.
Paul now gives three pictures of what ministry is about using a soldier, an
athlete, and a farmer.
:3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
:3 endure hardship as a good soldier
endure hardship – kakopatheo –
to suffer (endure) evils (hardships, troubles); to be afflicted
This is very similar to the word
Paul used in 2Tim. 1:8,
(2 Timothy 1:8 NKJV) …share with
me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
Perhaps Timothy was a little
reluctant to suffer. Just like me.
You don’t sign up for combat duty if you don’t expect to experience some
As Christians, we will suffer.
That’s part of what you have signed up for.
The more you step up to serve the Lord, and the more impact you want to
have on the lives of others, you will suffer.
Why will you suffer? Because there’s
an enemy that doesn’t want you on the battlefield.
There was a story of a British soldier in the First World War who lost
heart for the battle and deserted. Trying to reach the coast for a boat to
England that night, he ended up wandering in the pitch black night, hopelessly
lost. In the darkness he came across what he thought was a signpost. It was so
dark that he began to climb the post so that he could read it. As he reached
the top of the pole, he struck a match to see and found himself looking
squarely into the face of Jesus Christ. He realized that, rather than running
into a signpost, he had climbed a roadside crucifix. Then he remembered the One
who had died for him -- who had endured -- who had never turned back. The next
morning the soldier was back in the trenches.
If you’re having a hard time in the battle, it doesn’t hurt to stop for a
minute and look into the face of Jesus.
NLT) —2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates
and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross,
disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s
throne. 3 Think of all
the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and
Lord Joseph Duveen, American head of the art firm that bore his name,
planned in 1915 to send one of his experts to England to examine some ancient
pottery. He booked passage on the
Lusitania. Then the German Embassy
issued a warning that the liner might be torpedoed. Duveen wanted to call off
“I can’t take the risk of your being killed,” he said to his young
employee. “Don’t worry,” said the man,
“I’m a strong swimmer, and when I read what was happening in the Atlantic, I
began hardening myself by spending time every day in a tub of ice water. At first I could sit only a few minutes, but
this morning, I stayed in that tub nearly two hours.”
Naturally, Duveen laughed. It
sounded preposterous. But his expert
sailed, and the Lusitania was torpedoed.
The young man was rescued after nearly five hours in the chilly ocean,
still in excellent condition.
-- Cited in Christianity Today, February 1979, p. 25.
There is value in practicing the spiritual disciplines.
Be ready for the hardships.
:4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this
life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
engaged in warfare – strateuomai
– to make a military expedition, to lead soldiers to war or to battle,
(spoken of a commander); to do military duty, be on active service, be a
soldier; to fight
life – bios
– life; the period, means, manner, of existence.
the affairs – pragmateia
– prosecution of any affair; business, occupation
him who enlisted him as a
soldier – stratologeo – to gather (collect) an
army, to enlist soldiers; of the commander
please – aresko
– to please; to strive to please
:4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself
entangles – empleko (“in”
+ “weave”) – to inweave; to entangle, involve in
You’ll be in trouble trouble if you get your life tangled up in the wrong
This is part of the “hardship”. It
can be a hardship to be disentangled from things in this world.
When a soldier signs up to fight, he has to be “all in”.
He doesn’t come and go on the battlefield for just any reason.
Imagine what the battlefields of World War II would have been like if the
soldiers decided in the middle of a battle they needed some “personal time”.
Desmond Doss served as a medic on Okinawa – he didn’t even carry a gun –
but he still was “all in”.
Could you imagine Desmond Doss asking for a coffee break
in the middle of the battle?
There was a story about a Civil War soldier who happened to be a
watchmaker. One day the bugle sounded and the men were told to break camp. “But
I can’t go now!” the soldier complained. “I have a dozen watches to repair!”
He was too busy with the wrong things at the moment. He was supposed to be fighting a battle, but
he got caught up with other things.
I’m not saying that God doesn’t want us to have jobs, raise families, and
take care of needs.
But there are some things we can get caught in that aren’t helpful.
Jesus told a story to show how different people allow God’s Word to affect
(Matthew 13:22 NLT)
seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all
too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure
of wealth, so no fruit is produced.
Sometimes issues like the “lure of wealth” will get us off
track from what it truly important in life – serving the Lord.
We are in a race
(Hebrews 12:1 NLT) Therefore,
since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith,
let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so
easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before
Sin can certainly slow us down and get us “tangled” up.
Yet not all things that slow us down are “sin”. Sometimes we just have too much “baggage”.
:5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he
competes according to the rules.
:5 he competes according to the rules
competes in athletics – athleo
– to engage in a contest, contend in public games, contend for a prize; to
crowned – stephanoo
– to encircle with a crown, to crown: the victor in a contest; to adorn, to
rules – nomimos
– lawfully, agreeable to the law, properly
Do it right
If you don’t do things right, you might get tossed.
Paul is using the language of ancient athletic games.
You can’t win the prize if you don’t follow the rules of the competition.
Corinthians 9:24–27 NLT) —24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs,
but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes
are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade
away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline
my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear
that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
Lance Armstrong was known at one point as the best cyclist
in the world.
He won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times
from 1999 to 2005.
And then they found out about the doping.
And he lost all of his titles.
You can do ministry many different ways.
You need to be careful that you are doing things God’s way.
:6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.
:6 first to partake of the crops
hardworking – kopiao
– to grow weary, tired, exhausted (with toil or burdens or grief); to labor
with wearisome effort
farmer – georgos
– a husbandman, tiller of the soil, a vine dresser. A farmer.
must be – dei –
it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper
crops – karpos
– fruit; that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result
partake – metalambano
– to be or to be made a partner; to partake of, take [some] food
Receive then serve
Paul isn’t talking here about a pastor receiving a salary or benefits from
He’s talking about the crops or “fruit” of God’s Word.
Before you can share the things of the Lord, you have to have tasted and
eaten of the things of the Lord yourself.
Paul knew this himself. When giving
instruction about communion, Paul wrote,
Corinthians 11:23 NKJV) For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you…
Paul had received something special from the Lord, and
that’s how he was able to have something to write to the Corinthians.
If you want to teach others, you need to be taught by God yourself.
If God wanted to teach you something, could He?
Howard Hendricks shares this insight about the value of
learning: When I was a college student—I worked in the college dining hall, and
on my way to work at 5:30 every morning I walked past the home of one of my
professors. Through a window I could see
the light on at his desk, morning after morning. At night I stayed late at the library to take
advantage of evening study hours, and returning home at 10:30 or 11 o’clock I
would again see his desk light on. He
was always pouring over his books. One
day he invited me home for lunch, and after the meal I said to him, “Would you
mind if I asked you a question?” “Of
course not.” “What keeps you
studying? You never seem to stop.” His answer, “Son, I would rather have my
students drink from a running stream than a stagnant pool.”
Sit and listen
NKJV) —38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and
a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had
a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha
was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do
You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to
help me.” 41 And Jesus
answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about
many things. 42 But one
thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken
away from her.”
Mary did the best thing.
She sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word.
:7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all
:7 Consider … may the Lord give you understanding
consider – noeo – to
perceive with the mind; to think upon, heed, ponder
understanding – sunesis –
a running together, a flowing together with; understanding
Paul is praying that as Timothy keeps continually “considering” (present
tense imperative) what Paul has written, and that God will respond by giving
Years ago I remember Pastor Chuck saying that he had a file folder in his
brain marked “Waiting for further information”.
Whenever he came across something that he didn’t understand or didn’t make
sense, he’d sort of mentally file it away in that folder.
I’ve always loved that. I’ve found
that the longer I live and continue to study and follow Jesus, that He slowly
but surely has emptied many of those things out of that folder.
God does want you to ask questions.
NKJV) ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty
things, which you do not know.’
He doesn’t always answer all your questions right away, but God does
promise to teach you.
(John 14:26 NKJV) But the
Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach
you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
You keep pondering the Scriptures, and God will give you understanding.