(2 Timothy 4) My Departure

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"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand." (2 Timothy 4:6)


My departure = "loosing" (Greek).(Not my death) from this life. Acts 20:29 "After my departure savage wolves will come in among you." This is the work of pastors, to protect the flock from wolves.

Paul's second letter to Timothy was the last letter that he wrote. He had already appeared before Caesar and escaped death (2 Tim.4:16-17). He wrote this letter from the Mamertine dungeon where he was imprisoned in Rome. "There was one desire for the fulfillment of which he yearned." (F.B. Meyer). He longed to see his dear pastor friend, young Timothy. "It was this that led Paul to dispatch this second letter, filled with advice and exhortation in case Timothy could not come, but specially full of desire that he should come before winter set in and traveling became difficult." (F.B. Meyer). (2 Timothy 4:9 & 21).

His second arrest under Emperor Nero's orders had been so sudden, that he did not have time to collect his basic belongings - his books, parchments, and his warm coat. The "lion" in verse 17 probably refers to Emperor Nero or to Satan. (1 Peter 5:8).

1 My Testimony (verses 6 & 7)

There are three illustrations here of a soldier, an athlete, and a steward.

a. I have fought the good fight. Life is a spiritual battle of right versus evil. This battle began when Satan rebelled against God. The Lord Jesus has conquered Satan on the cross. We too may have the blood bought victory over Satan and sin. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds." (2 Corinthians 10:4) Therefore we should "Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemings of the devil." (Ephesians 6:11) Our spiritual weapons are: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, prayer and perseverance. (Ephesians 6:14-18)

Paul testifies to Timothy, that he had indeed been in this spiritual battle and used the whole armour of God. His testimony to King Agrippa (Acts 26:12-23) starts out how the spiritual battle in his own life had been won, when he stopped kicking against the pricks of God in his own life and accepted Christ as Lord.

2 Timothy 4:8 Illustration" There was an old soldier who carried on his chest several medals of which he was very proud. For one medal in particular, he would rather die than part with. If you asked him, "Why do you think so much of it?" He would reply, "Think much of it!" "Why, Queen Victoria herself with hr own hand pinned that medal on my chest, and I would rather die than part with it!" Likewise, Paul looked forward to the time when his Lord was going to place on his brow, before all heaven, with His own pierced hand, a crown of righteousness." (1000 Tales Worth Telling, page 100)

Paul was looking forward to receiving Christ's commendation to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter in to the joy of your Lord." (Matthew 25:21,23)

To the Corinthians, Paul shares some of his experiences he went through to bring the gospel to them. Five times he was whipped 39 times, by the Jews. Three times he was beaten with rods. He was stoned once, three times he was ship wrecked, he had spent a night and a day in the sea. He was frequently traveling, in many dangers, hurt by false bothers. Often he was hungry and thirsty and without sleep, having great weariness. (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). His motive for enduring all this was the love of Christ. "For the love of Christ compels us." (2 Corinthians 5:14). He had been a faithful soldier for Christ.

And now Paul encourages young pastor Timothy "You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one who engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier." (2 Timothy 2:3 & 4)

b. I have finished the race In Hebrews 12:1-16 there is a clear picture of how we are to run the race of life. Run with endurance, without any hindrances, without sin, looking unto Jesus, accepting chastening, strengthening the weak hands and knees, running in straight paths, pursuing peace and holiness, and looking carefully to avoid falling short and bitterness.

Paul was testifying to Timothy that he had finished the race, an athlete for Christ, and was awaiting the finish line of the entrance into heaven. Just like in the Olympic arena, We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses" of the saints who have gone on before us.

And the reason we should be looking unto Jesus, is that He is "the finisher of our faith." That means the Lord Jesus is at the finish line to greet us and hug us.

c. I have kept the faith A good steward acts faithfully on his master's behalf and obeys his instructions. The Lord Jesus told a parable of the two stewards (in Luke 12:41-48). The faithful and wise steward "knew his Master's will" and "prepared himself" and "did according to his (Master's) will."

Keeping the faith does not mean just keeping it to yourself and for yourself. Part of the faith is to take the gospel to every person in the world. "Go and make disciples of all the nations." (Matthew 28:19) is part of our Master's will.

The Lord's will for Paul was "To bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel." (Acts 9:15) and to be "a minister and a witness" for Christ among the Jewish people and the Gentiles. "To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me." (Acts 26:16-18). Paul had been a faithful steward of the faith for Christ - all the way from Jerusalem to Rome.

2 My Reward (verse 8)

My reward is the crown of righteousness. Not because he had earned it, but because it would be a gift from the Lord. And this crown will also be given to all who have loved His appearing.

In the Olympic running, athletes who won received merely a laurel wreath on their head, to acknowledge them. "They do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we do it for an imperishable crown." (1 Corinthians 9:25)

"Also, if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules." (2 Timothy 2:5)

What is the Crown of Righteousness? James 1:12 calls it "the crown of life" which will be given to those who endure temptation, those who have been approved, those who love Him.

3 My Lord (verses 8 & 17)

a. Is "The righteous judge." This refers to the umpire (brabeus) in the Grecian games who announced the victor and gave the crown. (Adam Clarke) According to God's Word in Romans 14:10-12, "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, each of us shall give an account of himself to God." Paul was looking forward to standing before Christ, the righteous judge because "Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear." (1 John 4:17-18a). Paul loved Christ, and therefore looked forward to standing before Him. We too can love Christ.

b. Is the One I love "To all who have loved His appearing." "The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5)

3 Stood with me at my defense

The Lord Himself stood with Paul and strengthened him. There were other times the dear Lord stood with Paul. (Acts 23:11, Acts 27:23) The Lord will always stand by those who love Him.

My Need

  1. For your friendship (v. 9 and v. 21) Hurt by Alexander, forsaken by Demas. Only Luke is with me.
  2. For the cloak (v.13) Winter was coming on. (v. 21)
  3. For the books and parchments. (v. 13)

My deliverance

  1. Out of the mouth of the lion.
  2. From every evil work.
  3. For his Heavenly kingdom.


"My departure is at hand." What will your departure be like? You are preparing for it now, whether you know it or not. Paul testified earlier (to the Philippian Christians) "Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14).

So when the time came for his departure for Heaven, he was prepared, because he had daily been preparing for it.

What are you doing to prepare for your departure. You might say, "I'm too young, I've got the whole of life ahead of me yet." How do you know that?

Preparing for my departure - here are some practical things to do:

  1. Write out your will.
  2. Complete Enduring Power of Attorney forms for husbands/wives.
  3. Stop - and love your children and family members today and every day.
  4. Let go of all past hurts and sorrows.
  5. Get right with God in every area of your life today.
  6. Be consistently faithful to God and show it by faithfulness to your local church.
  7. Spend time with the Lord every day.


Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.

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