GROUNDED IN SACRIFICE

2 Timothy 4:6–8 (KJV)

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.

No one knows for certain what happened to the Apostles after the Biblical record.

There is only one inerrant book in all the world — the Bible.

Everything else is subject to the mistakes of men and the degeneration of time.

We don’t know for sure what happened to the Apostles.

But tradition says that every one of them, with the exception of John, was martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ.

We don’t know for sure what happened to most of the Apostles but, from what we see in the Word of God we do know for sure that, much like our heritage as Americans, our faith as Christians is grounded in sacrifice.

John the Baptist, the man sent from God to point men to Jesus Christ, was beheaded for his faith.

Mark 6:25–27 (KJV)

And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.

And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.

And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,

The very Gospel we hold to for salvation is a Gospel of sacrifice,the:

· Death

· Burial and

· Resurrection

Of Jesus Christ.

The book of Isaiahprophesied of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 53:5 (KJV)

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Jesusearly pointed to His own crucifixion

John 12:32–33 (KJV)

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

This he said, signifying what death he should die.

Peter’sPentecostal message reached its climax at the cross.

Acts 2:22–24 (KJV)

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

By Paul’sown admission, the sole subject of his message was the crucifixion,

1 Corinthians 2:2 (KJV)

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

And the book of Hebrewsrevolves around the message of Christ’s sacrifice

Hebrews 9:24–26 (KJV)

For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Our very faith is grounded in sacrifice

Stephen, the deacon in Jerusalem, gave his life as he preached Jesus Christ.

Acts 7:59–60 (KJV)

And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Peter, James and John were all imprisoned for their faith and, Apostle James was beheaded for his faith.

Acts 12:1–2 (KJV)

Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.

And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

Our faith is grounded in sacrifice.

We have the hope of eternal life

· Because One gave His life for ours and

· Because countless others gave their lives to keep the faith

The Bible never gives us an account of the death of Apostle Paul but does bring us to the very point of his death

Paul himself wrote, 2 Timothy 4:6–8 (KJV)

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.

Paul had prepared himself for this sacrifice for three decades before it happened.[1]

· He said that he died daily[2]

· He said that he had been crucified with Christ[3]

· He said he had rather to be with the Lord[4]

I find in Paul’s accounting of his own death

I. POISE

2 Timothy 4:6–8 (KJV)

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.

Can you not sense the calm resolution in Paul’s voice as he says, For I am now ready….”

These are the words of a hero.

There have been some amazing last words

Nathan Hale

“I regret I have but one life to lose for my country”

Horatio Nelsonat the Battle of Trafalgar

“Thank God I have done my duty.”

James Wolfe, British commander in the assault against

French Quebec in 1759 is reported to have said

“Now God be praised, I die contented.”

And Stonewall Jackson’s, an ardent Christian, last words were

“Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”

But none of those have the serenity, coolness and poise of Paul’s, “For I am now ready…”

I wonder, are you ready?

· Are you saved?

· Is everything the way it ought to be between you and your God?

Notice also what I will call

II. PURPOSE

2 Timothy 4:6–8 (KJV)

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.

Paul said he had finished his course.

A course implies order, direction and purpose.

Paul didn’t live accidentally, haphazardly or casually.

Everybody needs some “time off” and I think Paul took some of that — for instance when he first reached Corinth.

But he lived his life with purpose and direction.

I remind you that the children of Israel were under judgment: during those 40 years of wandering.

· They had everything provided for them every day

· Even their shoes never wore out

· They never had to do much of anything

· They had almost no problems

They just got up every morning, ate their food and walked around aimlessly the rest of their lives.

And God called it judgment.

Paul had a course for his life.

But notice it was his course.

· I advocate living on purpose.

· I do not advocate living someone else’s purpose.

Find your purpose and be faithful to it.

And don’t try to force your purpose on anyone else.

I notice thirdly

III. PROMISE

2 Timothy 4:6–8 (KJV)

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.

He’s going to see Jesus.

Paul was confident, expectant.

There was no fear in his future, only a certain assurance that to depart of this world is to enter into that heavenly one.

And I notice

IV. PRIZE

2 Timothy 4:6–8 (KJV)

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.

Paul knew there was a crown laid up for him.

He had laid up his treasures in heaven and he was about to claim them for his own.

I like that Paul included the rest of the faithful in this promise too.

The Bible is filled with passages like this, that teach us that whatever was written for the original reader was written for every believer in every age.

Whatever poise, purpose, promise and prize Paul had coming, any one of us may have as well.

So long as we are:

· Saved

· Serving and

· Seeing His coming

Then we too can confidently expect to be,

· Satisfied

When the time of our departure is at hand.

Our faith is grounded in sacrifice.

· John the Baptist

· Jesus Christ

· Stephen

· James

· Paul

As well as an innumerable company of others sacrificed their lives so that you and I could be saved and know God’s truth.

Conclusion

What ought to be our response?

Romans 12:1–2 (KJV)

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.

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.

We ought to present our bodies a living sacrifice.

But how?

This passage and one other describe this sacrifice:

· Don’t be conformed to this world

· Be renewed through the Word of God and

Hebrews 13:13–17 (KJV)

Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

· Bear the reproach of Christ

· Be thankful in all things

· Do good and

· Obey those God has set over you in the house of God

[1]He was converted AD 33–36 and was executed AD 64–67

[2]1 Corinthians 15:31 (KJV)

I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

[3]Galatians 2:20 (KJV)

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

[4]Philippians 1:23 (KJV)

For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

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