How do you want to be remembered? How will your obituary read? Who have you impacted simply by being who God has called you to be? You don’t need to be up in age to make a difference. As long as you’re a born again believer in Christ Jesus, you should be impacting someone else’s life with the hope that’s in you. You should be standing out as an ambassador for Christ. What will your last words say about the life you’ve lived? Let’s look at a life that has and is impacting us children of the Kingdom and his last words.
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
II Timothy 4:1-8 NKJV
Wow! Paul writing to Timothy from a Roman jail under Nero, was among many Christians being used as a scapegoat for Nero’s coverup of a fire in Rome. He blamed Christians and set out to destroy them. Many Christians died during his reign including Peter. This was a horrible time for believers in Jesus. This may have been the reason why many Christians avoided visiting Paul except for Luke and Onesiphorus.
“This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me.”
II Timothy 1:15-17 NKJV
He shared the heartache caused by the actions of a few. It’s like adding insult to injury. We draw on the strength and prayers of others when we’re facing difficulties. This was a very challenging time for the apostle as well as for his son in the faith, Timothy. But nevertheless Paul sought to build the faith of this young man with words of encouragement, admonition and warnings. This would be Paul’s last words before being poured out. He wouldn’t give Nero the final word. He saw everything through the eyes of his Savior. He honored Jesus even in the way he described what was about to happen to him. He warned Timothy to look out for those who turned against him to save their own lives.
“for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words. At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.”
II Timothy 4:10, 14-16 NKJV
This man is so gracious with his words. I can’t imagine the pain he was feeling having to write these words to Timothy. He encouraged him to not be ashamed of what he, Paul, was going through. He knew that at some point he too would face the same thing for living godly. What about us? Will we turn on each other or deny being a follower of Jesus when persecution visits us? We’d better take a position now, or we won’t be able to stand when the day comes. If we’re wishy washy now we’ll be wishy washy then. If you’re fearful now you’ll have no courage then. What will be your last words? How will you be remembered? Opposition is coming. Cancel culture is as alive today as it was in the days of the apostles and the prophets. There is nothing new under the sun.
Paul told Timothy that everyone forsook him, no one stood with him except for a trusted Friend.
“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”
II Timothy 4:17-18 NKJV
If we don’t run away, if we don’t back down, Our Helper will come. Throughout the books of Timothy, Paul used every opportunity to prepare young Timothy for what lay ahead of him. As we read his words of caution and warning, We too are being told what to expect as we live in this present culture of darkness. We shouldn’t be shocked or alarmed. Someone who’s passed through the fire has taken the time to record for us what to expect. And boy was he spot on.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,”
II Timothy 3:1-14 NKJV
Don’t read the news to find out what’s happening, read it to see how much of what the Bible says is coming to pass. Read it to see just how close we are to the return of Christ and be ready to give an account for why you believe what you believe. The time isn’t coming, the time is here! So what are your famous last words? How will you be remembered? Paul and those like him, stood out like a sore thumb. They called Paul a pestilent fellow. Acts 24:5 He was always shaking things up wherever he went. He made this bold statement;
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
Romans 1:16-17 NKJV
We will never back down when we’re fully persuaded by what we believe. Our words will live on in the lives we’ve impacted with the truth of the Gospel. Our famous last words should be the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our lives must closely mirror that of our Savior. These words were among some of what Paul reminded Timothy of. May they be reminders to us as well. I close with his famous last words and encourage you to read first and second Timothy with fresh eyes knowing that these books were written during some of the hardest times for Paul. You’d never know it, because he stood convinced that the Gospel must be preached no matter what the cost. What will our last words be famous for?
“Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”
II Timothy 2:7-13 NKJV
Famous last words:“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
II Timothy 1:7 NKJV
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit
November 9, 2021