A Man Poured Out, A Ministry Filled Up (2 Timothy Sermon 8 of 9)
November 29, 1998 | Andy Davis
2 Timothy 4:1-8
Walk by Faith, Perseverance
I. The Words of Dying Men
Please take your Bibles and turn in them to 2 Timothy 4 as we continue in our series boldness and faithfulness in the gospel. We're going to be looking at 2 Timothy chapter 4 verses 1-8, and considering some of Paul's final words to Timothy and to the church. I know, it's interesting, the final words of dying men and women are usually stripped away of hypocrisy, and pretense and they really do get to the true heart of what people really believe. There's no time anymore for putting on a show and some of those final words, even of famous people can be quite revealing.
I came across some of these this week, Napoleon right before he died said this, "I die before my time, and my body will be given back to the Earth to become the food of worms, such is the fate which so soon awaits the great Napoleon." It's a word of discouragement isn't it? A word of regret? How about Mahatma Gandhi... Mahatma Gandhi, who is a world renowned Hindu leader, not long before he died, he said this, "My days are numbered. I'm not likely to live very long perhaps a year or a little more. For the first time in 50 years I find myself in a slew of despond. All about Me is darkness, I'm praying for light." Isn't that fascinating? Mahatma Gandhi said that, right before he died, he rejected Christ and at the end of his life, words of regret.
19th century French statesman, Talleyrand wrote these words on a scrap of paper, and put them on his night stand right before he died, "Behold 83 years passed away. What cares, what agitation, what anxieties, what ill will, what sad complications and all without results, except great fatigue of mind and body, and a profound sentiment of discouragement with regard to the future and of disquiet with regard to the past." Now here's a man that people said had accomplished great things he looked back and said, it was worthless he died with regret.
Paul’s Death Speech: Triumph
The Apostle Paul was not this way. When he reached the end of his life, he died with a note of triumph with a trumpet sound of victory he points the way to Christians, throughout all generations, how they may live may serve Christ and may die with no regrets. I want to live that kind of life don't you? I want to reach the end of my life and have no regrets. The Apostle Paul in these verses and in his whole life, shows us how. Listen to the words of Chapter 4, Verses 1-8 and note the tone of triumph in Paul's words.
"In the presence of God who will judge the living and the dead and in view of his kingdom and his appearing. I give you this charge, preach the word. Be ready in season and out of season. Correct rebuke, and encourage with great patience and careful instruction, for the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, instead to suit their own desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. But as for you keep your head in all situations, endure hardship do the work of an evangelist. Discharge all the duties of your ministry for I'm already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in-store for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."
Isn't that a triumphant thing to say at the end of your life? And Paul, as you know, in this book has been giving Timothy final words of advice to get him ready to take leadership in the church. And these are some of the final words of that final letter but here we see no regret, we see triumph. Paul did not have a ministry of tickling ears, but rather of transforming lives and because of that, he had no regrets at the end of his life and he's going to give to Timothy, one central charge here.
II. One Final Charge: Preach the Word! (vs. 2,5)
Well he is given a series of charges up to this point. But one charge kind of sums it all up. In verse 2 he says, "preach the word." And he's going to give a series of motivations that buttress that charge. The first one's in verse one, he says, "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who will judge the living and the dead and in view of his kingdom and his appearing, I give you this charge." Do you see what Paul's doing here, in Verse 1? He's opening Timothy's eyes to an invisible spiritual world that's around us all the time. He's bringing Timothy right into the very throne room God. He's reminding him that Jesus Christ someday, will judge everything that he's done, he will assess all of his life works.
Do you think that was very real to Paul? Of course, he was about to die, he knew that very soon he would be facing that invisible God whom he had loved and whom he had served. So it's the work of a pastor, of a preacher to bring the people right into the presence of an invisible God. None of you has ever seen Jesus Christ. And yet all of you who are true believers in him you love him and you yearn to see him. Well the word in the mind brings you right into the presence of that invisible God. And that's what Paul seeks to do is motivation number one, in the presence of God, he says, "and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead." He reminds Timothy of what he said earlier in 2 Corinthians. He said, "All of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account for the things done in the body, whether good or bad." every one of us has to do that.
Now, if you're a Christian, you're free from having to stand before him and suffer condemnation for your sins, Jesus did that on the cross. If you're a Christian, you're free from that. But none of us are free from the assessment of that final day. Well we have to give an account for how we spent our time. What we did with our spiritual gifts. For everything we have to give an account. And Paul as his final motivation to Timothy is reminding him that very soon he Timothy would have to stand before God and given account and he's saying, Timothy. Be ready. Be ready for that day. I'm ready for it you be ready for it too. And so he says I give you this charge. Now, the word I give you this charge is a solemn charge a sense of warning. A sense of assessment coming and therefore the need to be ready for it, a charge. And he says I'm giving it to you in view of Christ's kingdom and his appearing.
So we've got the view of the judgment seat or the judgment throne of Christ and also the kingdom, and the appearing of Christ, this can only mean the second coming of Christ, by the way. Christmas time, we celebrate the first coming of Christ. Paul mentioned that first coming earlier in his letter here. But now he's definitely talking I think about the second coming of Christ, and he says either way Timothy your life is going to end in one or the other way, you're going to die and you're going to appear before the judgment seat of Christ, or Jesus Christ himself, will return and set up his kingdom Jesus Christ will return in Kingly power. Either way, you have to stand and give an account so be ready.
Centrality of God’s Word (vs. 2)
Do you see what he's saying in verse one it's a strong motivation. But then he gets in verse two to the central charge, he says, "Preach the word." Preach the Word. Now again, we see the centrality of God's flawless word. Now, you know last week we looked at just four verses on that. There's so much more we could have said. But in 2 Timothy 3:16, he says that All scripture is God breathed. Do you remember? And it's useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, training in righteousness. That's where we ended up last week. And now he's saying take that, perfect word, that pure word of God and preach it, preach it all. Don't just preach, your favorite parts, preach everything so that the body of Christ may be built up. Remember, we saw the two-fold aspects of the Word of God.
It's to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. It's also to take us newborns who don't really know Christ as well and bring us on in maturity, it's even to take those who are more mature and bring them on into Christ-like perfection. That's the purpose of the word of God. And so, he tells him. Preach the word. Now I can imagine some kind of a PR executive from an ad firm or ad agency in New York, sitting God down and saying, "You know something we're entering the 21st century, we can't do this preaching thing very much, longer. People's attention spans are always getting shorter. We need a kind of a multi-media presentation here. That's what's going to really build the church. Yeah, that's what we need. Some churches actually are going that way. They feel that the time of preaching has ended. God said, no. Actually, in the very first century, the Apostle Paul called it the foolishness of preaching, he acknowledged that it's just a simple thing that God uses to build the church, but for 2000 years, he's been building the church this same way, preach the word Timothy, preach the Word.
Preparedness of God’s Messenger (vs. 2)
And then he says in verse two, "Be prepared in season and out of season." Be prepared. Really, you could say a better translation would be urgent. Have a sense of urgency in your preaching, Timothy. Be urgent in your preaching. Now, why is there a need for urgency? Preaching should never be cold or listless but always with a sense of urgency. Why is that? Well, it's very simple. If you look through the scriptures of the many promises of God, and God has made many promises, hasn't he? Rich promises, promises of eternal life to all who believe in Christ incredible promises, but, you'll search the Scriptures in vain for a single promise that any of us will be here tomorrow.
None of us has that day promised to us we have today, we have now. But none of us certainly has tomorrow. James chapter four says this what is your life? It is a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Where I live out in Durham, there is a man-made lake out there, and sometimes when I drive, I see a steam or a mist coming up off the lake I don't know what causes it. I think there's probably a meteorologist that could explain it to me, but it's always kind of mysterious going over that bridge, I hope to not take a left or a right and go into the lake.
But there's this kind of steaminess. When I come home in the late afternoon or evening it's gone. It's disappeared. It was there for a little while and then it's gone. James says, that's what our life is like. Just here for a short time and then we're gone. And so he says, "Be ready in season and out of season." What that means is, whether it's a convenient time for you, Timothy, or not, the ministry is not always convenient. It's not always convenient for the hearers either. God's timing is not our timing. Be ready all the time Timothy to preach the Word.
Variety of God’s Methods: All Verbal
And then he gives a series, of methods here in verse two, a variety of God's methods, and you're going to notice that they buttress that first charge to preach the word, he says, "Correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction." Notice that the... All of those are words. You're using words to do every one of them also notice how similar it is to 2 Timothy 3:16. Go ahead and look 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is God breathed. And it's useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." Well, you get pretty much the same list here in chapter four, verse two. So, Timothy, as you preach the word, you're going to be doing in people's lives, the very same thing that the Word of God was meant to do.
You're going to correct them. You remember last week I got a lot of compliments on my gyroscope illustration, so I'll use it again, second week in a row. But you remember the gyroscope was always true to its axis never turned off, and then if the ship would turn or lean one way or the other, the gyroscope would tell a computer and it would right the ship. Well, that was the purpose of the Word of God. Now it's saying that the servant of God. A brother or a sister in Christ, is supposed to do that in each other's lives. We're supposed to come along and say, "Hey brother, you're leaning a bit. There's something wrong with what's going on in your life. You need to correct your course. Are we really supposed to do that for each other? That seems kind of nosy. Maybe even a little judgmental.
Well, if you feel that about correct how much more about the word rebuke, see rebuke is what you use when correct doesn't work correct, means you come in there and you say, "Hey something's wrong, you might want to attend to this and the person in humility and just with that Christ like attitude says, "You're right, I want to hear that." And so they're ready to accept the wisdom. Does that always happen? No, ask my wife a number of times she gives me well-founded advice. And I say, "You know, you're right, that's a good thing. I need to do that. Sometimes, I do. Sometimes I don't. Why? Because I've got pride. I don't want to hear that. But I need to hear it. And then... So we get the correction of the Word of God. Sometimes we need a rebuke.
Now, what is to rebuke? Well, I think probably if you went to the locker room at half-time of a basketball coach, any basketball coach in the area whose team had been a little flat in the first half, wasn't playing defense. Maybe throwing the ball away a little bit, getting lazy. You'd hear a string of rebukes that would make your ears tingle. You see? We accept that, from a coach don't we? The coach has our best interest at heart. We're even willing to let him yell at us because we know that he's really pulling for the team, and if we'd listen to him, we'll make the change. Maybe I'm the point guard and I have been sloppy with the ball throwing it away. Or maybe I'm supposed to do rebounding I'm not boxing out. The coach gets right in my face and says, "You're not doing your job!"
Now, that's okay for a coach, but is it okay Timothy for a minister of the Word of God. It's not just Okay, it's commanded here, correct and rebuke it says. What that means if they don't listen to correction you need to use stronger medicine. Sin is the enemy of the church, Timothy. So get busy and do it. Now, did Jesus do this kind of thing? Did Jesus use rebukes? All the time. In Revelation 3:19, he says, "Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline, so be earnest and repent." I hope that doesn't blow your image of the gentle Jesus, and mild. Jesus was constantly rebuking his disciples when they were sinning and he shaped them and formed them, to be like, himself. I think as I look at American culture today and I were to circle the one virtue that we in popular culture, hold to be the highest, it would not be truth, would it? It would be tolerance. Acceptance of one another. Won't you agree. As you look at the polls, today and as you look at the situation in our culture wouldn't you say that tolerance is a thing we hold... Hold to be the greatest virtue? But tolerance in this sense is harmful to the church. If we just accept one another's sinfulness, the church careens down, a path from which is very difficult to get it back. Now Timothy, you need to speak the truth to brothers and sisters, you need to speak to them honestly, and truthfully. How many of you can testify to a good friend, a good brother, a good sister in Christ, that is willing to come alongside you and tell you the truth, when you need to hear it. Now, that's a true friend, but we're supposed to be that way with each other. But then he says those two may be considered negative correct and rebuke, but he also says encourage.
Now, Mark Twain said about this, he said, "I can live a whole year on a good compliment. Are you like that? Could you live a whole year on a good compliment? I know I could. You have to be careful it doesn't go into your head. But how much more, if a brother, or a sister, filled with the spirit comes alongside and says, "You know, I really appreciate the ministry, what you're doing in our church..." We need you to do that. You're a valuable member of the church. So we correct and rebuke, but we also encourage we find what God is doing in that person's life.
And we bring it up like, fanning something small in a small flame up into a larger flame with the words of encouragement. But he says, "Do it with great patience and careful instruction." Great patience means you can't give up. People don't change easily, do they? It's not going to be overnight, with this process. Stay with it Timothy. Stay with it, don't give up so easily. And use careful instruction. Again, we see the role of the Word of God and of doctrine. You could translate careful instruction, the NIV doctrine, sound teaching, keep using it Timothy. It's what strengthens the church like a flow of pure water. Keep telling them the truth, and they will grow. So that is the central charge in Verse two. Preach the Word and do all these ministries, under that so that people grow in maturity in Christ.
III. People Will Resist The Sound Doctrine
But then he gives a second motive in verses three and four. The prevalence of false teachers. I really should say, the prevalence of false listeners. It's the bad audience syndrome. Okay. And this is what he gets to. He says, "The time will come when men will not... " look at this, "put up with sound doctrine…" They won't endure it. It's like a burden. To listen to good teaching, good Bible teaching. They're not going to put up with it anymore. Instead to soothe their own desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. Bible teacher Marvin Vincent put it so well. If people desire a calf to worship, a ministerial calf maker is readily found. You can always find somebody to build that idol for you if that's what you really want. People aren't going to put up with it. Put your finger here in 2 Timothy 4, and flip over to Isaiah chapter 30, and you'll see how long the same thing has been going on. The bad audience syndrome.
In Isaiah 30:10 it is talking about Israel. They are rebellious people, deceitful children, children listen to this, unwilling to listen to the Lord's instruction. They don't want to listen. And look at this, "They say to the seers, 'see no more visions' and to the prophets, 'give us no more visions of what is right. Tell us pleasant things. Prophesy illusions. Leave this way. Get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel.'" That is the bad audience syndrome. Stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel. I don't want to hear it anymore. Those people are not enduring sound doctrine.
They want pleasant things, they want illusions. They don't want the truth from God. And so these people are going to gather a large number of teachers. Maybe some of you have collections as a hobby, maybe a stamp collection, or a coin collection these days, people are collecting those sports cards with autographs on them. You're never sure if they're genuine autographs or not. But, people collect them. These people the bad audience syndrome, those people collect bad teachers, they don't want just one they want a whole number of them, they're going to heap up the number of bad teachers. Why? Because I think they know in their hearts that they're hearing bad doctrine. So if you get a lot of people saying, maybe it just might be true. So they heap up a large number of false teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear, that tickling of the ears. Now, what does it mean to tickle someone's ears? If I were to stand up here, and tickle your ears, what would I be doing?
Well, I think there's different things. I could use flattery for example. I could tell you all that you look wonderful, and that you're the best audience I've ever preached to and I just love your clothes. Every one of you look great and the attentive looks on most of your faces. I think it's just marvelous. You're a great audience. That's called flattery, Paul rejected it, threw it away like the garbage that it is. 1 Thessalonians, he said, "You know, that we never use flattery, nor do we put on a mask to cover up greed. God is our witness." We don't use that kind of thing. So that's one way to tickle people's ears. Another way is to entertain them. I love a good story, I really do, I like to tell stories, I like to hear stories. I think the time on Sunday morning, would be far more entertaining if I just stood up in front of you and told you a series of homey tales one after another, but you know something none of you would grow in Christ, not one of you.
It's what you could call spiritual junk food. It disappears after a little while and accomplishes nothing for the Kingdom of God. I'm not going to tickle your ears, I'm not going to flatter you, I'm going to tell you the truth, if I'm a true teacher. And that's what the Apostle Paul told Timothy to do. Don't tickle their ears. There's enough people around there who'll do that. And in verse four it says, they're going to turn their ears away from myths... Or turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. There's a violence actually in the Greek language here, they're going to rip themselves up out of the truth and turn away to something else. It's like a bone that comes out of a joint. That's a strong word that Paul uses here. They're going to jerk away from the truth and turn to something else. And what does he call it, he calls it a myth or myths.
Now, What is a myth? This week, my wife bought the book, D'Aulaires’ book of Greek Myths. I don't know if you ever seen it before. It's a beautifully illustrated, volume of Greek mythology. It's got stories about Zeus and Apollo and all those kind of things. I loved to read those stories when I was growing up. And it's very educational. The one thing about all those entertaining tales is that none of them are true, not one of them, they're all false. They're very entertaining and they're interesting, but they're all false. That's the difference between truth and falsehood. You can call it a myth.
A myth is just a charming story invented from someone's imagination. Do you know we have myth makers today? I was reading the other day about Robin Williams ever heard of Robin Williams, he's got a new film out. Do you know what the film's called, What Dreams May Come. Do you know what it's about? It's a Buddhist view of the after life, and people are going to be coming all over the country and they're going to a money to see what Robin Williams thinks about the afterlife. Basically, a Buddhist framework. I've not seen the movie, but I've seen previews of it. And do you realize that Hollywood with computer-aided graphics now can create incredible illusions? It's just incredible what people... I saw a program on this the other day on PBS. Some of you may have seen the movie Titanic, I didn't see it, but do you realize that the mass quantities of people on the ship most of those people didn't exist, they were computer generated people.
I didn't realize that, but what they did was they were able to imitate the motions of human beings from far away. It's cheaper than getting actors. That's what they did, they didn't want to get a bunch of actors, so they used a computer to generate the illusion of tons of people on the ship, waving. They weren't real people. And actually, the man said there's coming a day when there may be a computer generated movie star who doesn't even exist, and people won't know it. They're just going to go and see this person, they're going to watch this film week after week, and he won't even exist and no one will know it's a computer generated person. And they said they're having trouble with the hair when they get the hair down, and it looks realistic then there'll be a computer generated... This is all a myth. Robin Williams view of the end times and of life after death is a myth. And people are going to go to movies all over the country and they're going to be polluted by this myth because they don't know the scripture, they don't know that reincarnation, is not scriptural. Hebrews 9:27 says that it's appointed for all of us to die once. And then to face judgment. That's the truth. Robin Williams teaches a myth.
And so Paul says to Timothy. You have to keep your head, in verse five, you have to keep your head in all situations. In other words, keep clear thinking. There the word literally means keep clear of intoxicants. I don't think Timothy was given to drinking or drugs or anything like that. He's just saying, be clear in your thinking so that you can answer each generation of myth. You need to be able to take the scriptural truth, and bring it home to the hearts of the people. And then he tells him endure hardship. Be willing to put up with difficulty in the ministry. Be willing to put up with persecution and physical trials. And he says, do the work of an evangelist. An evangelist is someone who takes full-time, all the time, to preach the gospel to people who need salvation. D L Moody is a great example of this. You know D L Moody made a commitment that he would not go to bed every night if he had not shared the Gospel with somebody sometime that day. Can you believe that? And there was a time that he hadn't. And he got up out of bed, put his clothes back on, and went out and found somebody and preached the gospel to them.
Thankfully, he didn't live in a rural area, he was in the city and he found somebody on the street, he would have been looking a long time knocking on the door of the neighbor. You again? And this kind of thing. But to D L Moody was committed to being an evangelist, he was committed to preaching the Gospel. So Timothy also, you must be.
Discharge All the Duties of Your Ministry
And then, finally, he says, discharge all the duties of your ministry. Really the word means fulfill your ministry. There's an image in a sense that Jesus has sent before Timothy, a vessel like a Gold Cup, and it's empty at the beginning of his ministry and he's filled Timothy up with a spiritual gift and with opportunities, one after another, and he's to be poured out into that empty cup until it's all full up. Isn't that a beautiful image and that's what the Apostle Paul saw in himself.
IV. Paul’s Completed Mission
And so he reaches for his third motivation, the predictions of Paul, he says in Verse six, "I'm already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure." Isn’t that powerful? He predicts that he's about to die. And so that's a motivation for Timothy. Timothy. I'm about to leave. The church needs leaders, Timothy step forward. I'm about to be gone. Now he takes this image from the Jewish sacrificial system. Of a drink offering. I don't know if you've heard about this, but it was a small amount of wine and it was poured on the sacrificial fire. Can you hear the hiss as the wine goes on to the flames and just goes up, goes up in sacrifice to God, that's the way Paul saw his life, poured out for God, offered up as a sacrifice. And he said, "I'm already being poured out like a drink offering." Notice it's passive. I'm not pouring myself out. Jesus is pouring me out. He filled me up and now he's pouring me out. And when I'm empty, he'll take me home. Isn't that powerful? Everything put inside me, God put there for a reason. I want to use it to build the church. That was Paul's attitude.
I'm already being poured out like a drink offering. And the time has come for my departure Timothy, very soon. Paul would be let out of that cell. He would go up to that place of execution and he would kneel down and a Roman sword would flash through the air, and end his life. His spirit would be separated from his body and it would go up to an incredible reception. An incredible reception. And he says there is in store for me, a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge will award me on that day. And why will the righteous judge, award this crown to me? Because I have fought the good fight. Because I've finished the race. I kept the faith, I persevered Timothy in my ministry.
Fought the Good Fight
What does he mean when he says, I fought the good fight? He's talking about a wrestling match, a struggle. There was a struggle in Paul's life. It was an internal struggle with his own sin, nature. He's a man, or a human being just like you. And he struggled with his sin nature. He said in 1 Corinthians 9, he said, I beat my body and make it my slave, lest after I've preached to others I may not be disqualified from the race.
So he kept himself under control and he was never disqualified, was he? He kept faithful to God. But even more was the struggle with Satan. Can you even imagine the number of times that Satan whispered in Paul's ear to stop doing that ministry? Paul, haven't you suffered enough. Haven't you done enough for God? Give it up. Stop. And he never listened, no matter what the cost, no matter how much suffering he kept going. He stayed the course, it was a marathon and he finished the race. And he kept the faith. He never changed his doctrine and he never broke faith with the Lord who gave him this command, and so he has a crown of righteousness. Now, what does that crown made out of? Not any earthly gold. It's that... That aroma of sacrifice of life that goes up in a gaseous form up to heaven and God takes that gas and weaves it together into a beautiful crown and sets it on Paul's head. It's his own... His head, it's his own good deeds. Done in service to Jesus Christ, God never forgets any of them. Hebrews 6:10 says God is not unjust he will not forget.
He's not going to forget anything you do for him Timothy so be faithful. That crown of righteousness is mine, but it's not just mine, it's yours as well. That crown is given to any, to all who have longed for his appearing. Am I speaking to people today who long for the appearing of Jesus Christ. Do you long to see him. Don't you want to see him face-to-face? Do you long... Do you long to see him glorified in this sinful world to see him given what he truly deserves, by a world that has so long ignored him? Don't you long for that. If so then you are ready to receive a crown of righteousness. Any who have longed for his appearing. Well, part of that longing is to put your life in to serving him to make that kingdom coming a reality by preaching the gospel faithfully. At the beginning of my sermon today, I told you a series of names of people who died with regret. I want to close with a story of someone who died the other way. In 1904, a man named William Borden, who was a member of the Borden dairy family, ever heard of Borden dairy products? William Borden finished high school and was given as a graduation gift, a world cruise.
So he traveled around the world and while travelling through the Far East, he became burdened by the sight of people who had idolatrous worship systems and who did not know Jesus and he committed himself, on that boat to be a missionary. Upon returning home he spent four years at Yale, and then three years at Princeton seminary preparing for that life, that missionary service. And while he was in school, he turned to the back of his Bible and wrote on the last page of the Bible. These words, "No reserves."
That means he would hold nothing back, for God. He would give everything to God. No reserves. Well as his ministry... Or as his preparation for ministry ended and it was time for him to go, he started selling all of his possessions, started giving away his incredible resources and the family was saying, "We need you to run the dairy, business". And he said, "No, I can't. I'm called to be a missionary." And so he gave away millions of dollars, emptied himself of those things and below the words no reserves, he wrote the words, "no retreat. No retreat." He was never going to turn back, he was going ahead with his plans to be a missionary. On his way to China to witness to Muslims there, he contracted cerebral meningitis and died within a month. The world grieved and said it was a tragic loss and said, "What a waste? If he had stayed in America, he could have done so much good here."
A friend found his personal effects, found his Bible, and opened up to the back of the Bible, saw the words, "no reserves" and below it written, "no retreat." But below that was the final entry. "No regrets." William Borden died at age 25, with no regrets, because he gave everything for Jesus Christ. It's my desire that when I reach the end of my race, when I reach the end of my struggle I'll have no regrets. It's my desire that the people of First Baptist Church, will have no regrets either, that we can say, "I have fought the good fight, I've finished the race, I've kept the faith. Now there is in-store for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord himself will award to me on that day." Now If I'm speaking to you and you've never heard this before and you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I can't even describe the regret you'll have on Judgment Day. It's immeasurable. But if you come to faith in Christ, today, now, you can live with no regrets. And when you see Jesus you'll have a welcome, you can't even imagine.