The Importance of Keeping a Level Head Even When Everyone Around You is Ignoring What You Have to Say - Lessons from 2 Timothy 4 (Episode 64)

In this episode, Erin Olson discusses why it is so important to keep a level head even when those around you aren't and are ignoring what you have to say. In 2 Timothy chapter 4, Paul knows his life is close to being at the end. Erin challenges her listeners with the question, "Is your life preparing you for death?" as she lists all the things Paul does in his final days. Are there relationships that need to be reconciled? Who needs to hear the Gospel preached to them? Who are you thankful for? Who do you want by your side and what do you want with you? Second Timothy challenges each one of us to do the work not just for ourselves, but for all of those who need to hear what the Lord has to say.

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Erin Olson

Hello, and welcome to this week's episode of the depot podcast. I'm your host Erin Olson. And I'm so grateful that you're joining me today, as I am every time you join me, well, last week's message if you haven't had a chance to listen to it, why is it so hard to be a Christian today has obviously struck a nerve? Or is a question that people are asking it is had 1000s and 1000s of downloads in just 48 hours. Now that is normal for a lot of people's podcasts, but not always normal for mine. I am just a, as I described it to somebody recently, just a one woman shop, I study, I research, I write my podcast, I write the show notes, I record the videos, I edit the videos, I edit the audio, I upload the audio, I do all my social media, I do it all by myself right now, I'm thankful that I have my older son who was a little helpful in helping me with some of my techie glitches. But for the most part, I do everything by myself with the Lord. And so I am super grateful when episodes just take off for random reasons, I have several that have 1000s of downloads, and it's just very sporadic. And, and my prayer would be that every single one of my episodes would have lots of downloads, not to build my platform. And to get my listening number up and my listening percentage there are over, I've actually looked on Listen notes, there were over 2.2 million podcasts that are available at any given moment. And so, when you have downloads, it's amazing, because you're being heard. And I'm also in the works if you'd be in prayer for me to get some of my episodes translated into multiple languages. While a lot of people around the world speak English, not everyone does. And my hope would be that this message gets around the world to equip and encourage those who are in the body of Christ who may not be English speaking. So, I would love for those to be translated into multiple languages. And I'm working with someone to do that now. And I'm also hopeful that every once in a while, messages get picked up by those who don't yet know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Because ultimately, that's the most important thing. You can learn all about the Bible, you can hear inspiring messages and all of that. But if you don't know Jesus, and you haven't secured your salvation, you're missing out on so much. And so my whole gather, equip and send the message of the Dupo podcast, I want to gather people we gather together digitally, I wish I could see you but I can't. Maybe I'll start doing live someday. And we can live comment, chat and things like that. But for right now, I can't see you. But we gather digitally wherever you are. And we equip just like you would in an Army Depot, you go and get supplies to go on to do battle or in a train station depot, you go there because you need to be somewhere else. And so gathering and equipping, we're not staying in that place. The depot is not a place to stay. But it is a place to go and do something else. And that's why we send I want to encourage every one of my listeners to be sent to be sent out into the world, into your places into your communities, into your families to do the thing that God has called you to do. As we read through Scripture, we see how God called many different people in many different ways. And after this series that I'm currently doing, I'm going to actually go through the prophets. And I want to highlight each one of their characters. So maybe you will see yourself as one of those major prophets or minor prophets, because they're each different. They each have a love for God. But they're each gifted differently. Their lives are different. Their audiences are different, their responses are different. Everything is different, and each one of us are so very different. While some of you may never ever dream of doing a podcast, you're gifted in so many other ways that other people aren't. You have gifts and we need to be utilizing them. So I want to ask you today as we dig into this last chapter in Second Timothy, in chapter four, I want to ask you this question. Is your life preparing you for death? Now I know that's a weird question because we don't like to think about death. And now I'm getting up to being almost 50. And I think about death more and more and not in a morbid kind of way. But just in the realization that my life is, is moving quickly towards the end, I see so many people my age just a little bit older, who are passing away suddenly and unexpectedly. And it's just a natural course. Right? We only have so much of a lifespan. And so as I think about it, I think about is my life preparing me for death? What kind of legacy Am I leaving? What kind of life of what kind of life am I leaving now? Am I prepared for death? Am I at peace with that, and I'm gonna be honest with you, there are days when I actually have anxiousness about preparing for death, because I get a little sad about the people that will be left behind. Because I know that if I were taken today, there would be some people in my life, that would be sad, and there would be a void and an emptiness. And that makes me sad. And there would be nothing that I can do about it once I'm gone. But it makes me sad that, nevertheless, that I think about it, and I have to quickly get my head away from those thoughts and know that it's vitally important to live every day, as if I'm preparing for death, doing exactly what God has called me to do to be the person that God created me to be and wants me to be to be the mom that I should be. In some days, I fail at that. Because I get self absorbed and selfish and my kids are older, I have older teenagers and young adults, and honestly, I'm tired. They're always around. And I love them dearly. But I'm in a season now where they need me less. And you would think that having infants and newborns, and all of that is tiring, it is tiring in a different way. But as I get older, I'm just tired. And I just some days just need rest. And I don't want to be burdened with the everyday things of life. And yet I do so and I am and so I'm being honest with you, because I want to be honest with you, I'm not as supermom, I'm not as Superwoman I'm not any of those things. I'm just a woman who's humbly trying to do what God has called her to do. And I want to continually live my life as if I'm preparing for death. And we'll see in this second chapter of chapter four, Second Timothy, chapter four. Paul was preparing for his imminent death. And he's reflecting on this, and charging Timothy again, with certain things. So as we go through this chapter, just keep this in your head is your life preparing you for death? Now I know in this whole series in this first it's First Timothy, we I've covered that. So if you missed any of those episodes, please go back and listen to those. And we've covered the first three chapters of Second Timothy as well. And those episodes are always available, you can go download them if you haven't. But in the Second Timothy, chapter four, Paul is just giving one final charge to Timothy, his little protege, his his little mentee, he's just reminding him and encouraging him. And this is what I think the Lord wants to remind you encourage you with today as well. I don't know what he's calling me to next. But my words today that the platform has given me today is to be like Paul, and encourage many of you in your everyday living and in the call that God has given you. So let's begin by reading in verse one, in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and His Kingdom. I give you this charge. This is Paul speaking to Timothy. Preach the Word. Be prepared 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. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside two myths. But you Timothy, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering and the time has come for my departure. I Paul have fought the good fight. I have finished the race I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness. Just 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. So what is Paul here saying to Timothy? He's saying, preach the Word, Timothy Preach the word. It just means to speak truth. Speak it. Why is it important to speak the truth? Paul reminds us again, he reminded this in last chapter in chapter three. And like I said, if you didn't listen to last week's message, why is it so hard to be a Christian? Today, I talk all about what is going on with pleasure, the love of pleasure versus the love of God, go back and listen to that episode, because I don't want to get into all of those details if you've already listened to the episode to be redundant. So go back and listen to it. But he's basically saying, listen, speak truth, because there's a time that's coming when people aren't going to make up their own truth. They're going to have people who they follow and who they elevate, that are speaking the truth that they want to hear, but it's not necessarily God's truth. And we see this throughout the Old Testament, the same thing used to happen. Many religious leaders, many of the elders in the church in the Old Testament, also lead their people astray. They lead them to idol worship, they lead them to turning their backs to God instead of turning their faces to God. And that's important and important distinction, because we can't when we turn our backs on God, we're trusting in ourselves and in the world. But we're not trusting in God. But when we've turned our face to God, we are fully saying, Lord, we need you. We need your guidance, we need your truth. We need you to show us what to do, because we rely on you. So are you turning your back on God? Even the religious leaders turn their back on God? Because they were doing it on their own and they had fallen prey to the lure of foreign idols of the little God, idols of the culture? Or are you turning your face to God? saying, God, this culture is hard. This culture is speaking words that aren't truth that are living lives that aren't truth. What do I do? Help me show me, protect me provide for me doing all of these things, turning your face to the Lord in surrender, or your back in defiance. We don't want to ever turn our back on God. And I know for many seasons in my life, I did. And that's why Paul says to Timothy, be prepared in the season and out of season. Because listen, some seasons are good, some seasons, things are going well. Even some seasons in the history of countries and cities, things were peaceful and peaceable. And leaders in charge were Christ fearing men and women, God fearing. And some seasons, that's not true. But regardless of who's in charge, who's in power, what the culture is doing, what is legal, what isn't legal. If our lives are anchored in Christ, anchored in the truth will be prepared, regardless of what season it is. And that's what Timothy was reminded by Paul to do. Be prepared. Preach the word, even if it's not what people want to hear, because Paul was preaching the Word. And it got him in prison. And for some, that's what happens. For some physical prisons are where they go when they're being persecuted for speaking the truth of the Word of God. For others, it might be losing a job, or losing a relationship or losing family members. Or being canceled, if you will, a modern current term, whatever it might be, whatever it might look like for you. Timothy reminded Paul, it's important in verse four, to keep a level head even when everyone around you is ignoring what you have to say. You endure the hardship, keep speaking the gospel. Keep living a life of light. Right, because Paul is saying, Listen, I know my death is imminent. I'm in this prison and I'm alone, and I'm lonely. And the only person here is is Luke. And we'll hear about this in a minute. But he's like I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. Now, when Paul was sitting in prison in this Roman prison, the for the final time, that he had already been a Christ follower for about 30 years. So he didn't have just a one to three year ministry. Once he was converted on that road to Damascus, now he had been a God fearing person, right, his whole life, he had been set apart for that. But he was also killing Christians or allowing Christians to be killed, because he was still viewing things through an Old Testament lens, and thought that the people were blaspheming God by saying that Christ was who he is, until he encountered Christ on that road to Damascus, and was radically changed, and began to share the gospel and to preach truth. And so he didn't just endure this life, this changed life for like I said, one year, two years, three years, five years, it was 30 years of living a life that had been completely changed, and often encountered bad things. I mean, he was beaten and left for dead on occasions. He was imprisoned, shunned by his people, brought in by strangers and other new Christians challenge to preach the Word to those who didn't want to hear who were turning their backs to God. 30 years, 30 years he endured this and for some of you, you've been doing this battle for a long time, maybe it's 30 years, maybe it's 40 years, maybe it's 50 years, maybe it's five years, but five years feels like 100 years. Keep fighting the good fight, it is a fight. It's a spiritual war, regardless of what anybody says it's you know, Christians aren't a fight. Christians aren't a fight. We don't fight in the ways of the world. But we have to recognize that everything going on in the physical is manifesting. Well, everything manifesting in the physical is a result of what's going on in the spiritual. Okay, there is spiritual warfare taking place. That's why we put on our spiritual armor in Ephesians, six. So we are fighting a fight. We're fighting to help people know Jesus as our Savior for all eternity. Recently, I was reminded in a conversation with somebody I was having that there was a reason why there were three people on Golgotha, a criminal on one side, a criminal on the other side, and Jesus in the middle, the one criminal decided that he was going to go with the ways of the world, and completely mock Jesus ridicule him. And that man never received Christ did not get the opportunity, the gift to spend eternity in paradise with Jesus, and that's the world. But then there was the other man on the other side of Christ, who was tired of the ways of the world, the cards the world had given him, he was done. And he humbly surrendered his life to Christ on that cross moments before taking his last breath, so that he could spend all eternity with Jesus in heaven. We will all make that decision, we all come to that point, where we are faced with making a decision to go with the world, or to go with Jesus. Paul made the choice to go with Jesus. And he knew that even though his physical death was imminent, he knew that there was a crown of righteousness awaiting him in heaven, when he got there, he was at peace with that he was lonely and despondent and cold, and probably physically just exhausted from being locked in this Roman prison, with little to nothing. And he was eagerly awaiting the day when the Lord would take him home to receive his crown. He's like, I'm done. I have fought the good fight. But yet, even in his final moments, he was still focused on encouraging the body of Christ to continue the message of the gospel. Now, if the gospel message had fallen apart, if the messengers had fallen apart, just after just like as after Jesus was resurrected, and raised to heaven, after his death, when he appeared to the disciples, and then he walked with them, and then he was taken away again. If the gospel hadn't went forth, then if the Holy Spirit hadn't come at Pentecost, Paul would have never been and converted, or may have never been converted. We never say never, because we don't know how the Lord is going to work. However, we never know if Paul hadn't preached the Word. He wouldn't have encouraged Timothy and so many other disciples to continue to share the gospel, who then continue to share the gospel, who then taught other people to share the gospel, who then encourage other people throughout time in history. You and I, if you're a believer in Christ may not be a believer in Christ today, but for the faithful obedience of those who have went before us. And so for us today, that is our church. We need to discharge all the duties of our ministry, all of them. We need to tell people about Jesus, we need to be a light in a dark world, we need to speak the truth. We need to live lives worthy of being modeled. We need to have joy that people are attracted to. We need to do that. Because somebody's future salvation depends on what we're doing today. Now, we may not be the ones to preach salvation to them. But we may be the ones who touch the person in our sphere, who then goes on to preach salvation to someone who needs to hear it, five years from now, 10 years from now, whenever it might be before Christ returns, because he is coming back. And as I read through Jeremiah this morning, I was reminded then, when the angel of the Lord came in, he was about to wipe out people in Jerusalem. That the angel was told to put a mark on the forehead of those who were, who were following him, who were true, much different than the mark of the beast. So those people were marked on their forehead so that the angel of the Lord who was about to wipe people out, these were the chosen people, the Israelites, God fearing people allegedly, yet living in sin. He Mark put a mark on their forehead, and said, Don't touch them, they will remain, but it's going to look much different. In the time, before Jesus comes, there will be a mark of the beast. So are you going to be marked with Jesus? Or are you going to be marked with the beast can take as there's two totally different consequences for those who have the mark of the Lord and those who have the mark of the beast. So when these final words when Paul's talking to Timothy, in verse nine, he says, do your best to come to me quickly for Dimas, because he loved this world has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica now Dimas was with him for a while. But when times got tough and things got hard, Dimas just returned to the worldly things. And that's some people, right? They are on fire for Christ or they give their life to Christ. And then it just becomes too difficult. Maybe they don't want to die yet. They don't want to be martyred. You don't want to be challenged. You don't want to lose friendships. You don't want to have to give up things in your life that you know that probably need to be given up because Christians shouldn't do that. And so you're like, the world is easier. So you return to the world and the ways of the world. So this is what Dimas had done. crescents has gone to Galatian, Titus to Dalmatia. And those were his two workers they had gone on. They had left him there, but they had gone on to do more work. And we read more about them in the Bible, but they go on, they were faithful, they left him but they were going on to do the Lord's work. And in verse 11, Paul says only Luke is with me. Thankfully, Luke was there because he inscribed these words for us. Get Mark, John Mark and bring him with you because he is helpful to me in my ministry. It's interesting here because this John Mark, this was almost 20 years later after the fallout that we saw when Barnabas and they were having a slightly a dispute with Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey. And Mark had left them. There was a rift between Paul and Barnabas at that point. So they separated when different ways. But somewhere along the way, something had been reconciled with Paul and mark. And Paul had given mark a second chance. And Mark got back in line and had proven to be a worthy helper in the ways of the Lord. And so we don't know exactly all of these details. We don't know when it happened, how it happened. But we know that Pull, was able to see that people can change. And he acknowledged that people could change. And so we know here this is just, it's just amazing because it was 20 years had passed, we don't know when necessarily the reconciliation took place. But I love that Paul puts this in there, because there was a, there was a dispute, there was a fight, but there was reconciliation. And now Paul, acknowledge that Mark was helpful. And for some of you today, you need to remember that there have been people who may have hurt you along the way who may have failed, you may have let you down, that may have parted ways with you. But know that God may be calling you to forgive that reconcile with that, or, you know, find a way to acknowledge that people can change and see the good work that they're doing. And this is what Paul did for us. And I think it's just a beautiful picture of we get to see everything, all of humanity and all of the character flaws and traits that we all have. Right? We have Dimas who left because he loved the world. And then we have to others questions and Titus who were faithful. We had Mark who had maybe been young in his faith and a little howdy and proud and, and got into a dispute one to do his own thing. And then but we see reconciliation and forgiveness. And then and then in here in verse 13. Paul just reveals his humanity, when you come bring the cloak that I left with scrolls, especially the parchments. He wanted his cloak he wanted his things, the things that were important to him, his scrolls and his parchments, the words that he had things that he had been reading just needs physical needs that he had, that made him feel more human. We don't know exactly why he wanted these things, but they just show his humanity to me that yes, he was this, we elevate Paul and look at his life, and we try to emulate things that he did in his life, because he did great things. But he's also a human just like you and I, that we have physical needs that we like people around us that we miss people, that we miss our stuff and our things. And there are some things that we cling to, especially in times of trouble or hard things and it's okay. God doesn't say that. That's bad. Yes, we need to cling to the Lord Most importantly, but the Lord puts things in our lives and people in our lives for a reason as well. And sometimes in our moments of despair and hurt and loneliness. God is there. And there's other things that he can help us remember and have that help us feel like it's all going to be okay. And so as Paul is assuming that he's just acknowledging it as almost as if a person who has a death sentence because of a medical diagnosis, or somebody really aging up. You kind of just get your life in order, make amends. Maybe he wanted to write write some more things in his scrolls in his parchments, add things to it, make sure they were in order, make sure that they were safe. We don't know but but that's all of us, right? We have things and people that we love dearly, that we want to get in order, and this is what Paul was doing. And then in verse 14, he talks again about somebody else who failed him. Alexander, the metalworker did me a great deal of harm, the Lord will repay him for what he has done. So here we are, Mark. He Paul had reconciled with Mark who had they'd gone sideways. Dimas love the world. He's really mad at Alexander. And we think this may have been the Alexander that was a witness against Paul at his trial. We learned about him in First Timothy chapter one. This may have been this guy who didn't testify on his behalf, but actually testified against him. So he's saying the Lord's going to handle that situation. So I mean, like I said, this is revealing Paul's character, right? He's not completely perfect. He's not completely super. He's human like us all, trying to do life as best he could. Verse 15, he reminds Timothy, Timothy, you too, should be on your guard against him because he strongly opposed our message. So Paul's like, listen, that guy is still out there. And you need to watch him guard yourself. And the final verses first 16 At my first offense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted, deserted me may not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength. So that threw me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it, and I was delivered from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Right? He's saying, Listen, the Lord rescued me from every evil attack. And he's gonna bring me home. And he was kind of under an evil attack, right the he had been in prison because of the message he was preaching. But he's like, the Lord gave me strength. The Lord rescued me many times from death. And he's going to continue to rescue me. And then he's going to bring me when he's ready, he's going to bring me home to heaven. So he can crown claim that crown of righteousness. To Him be the glory forever and ever. So even in his final moments, in his dire moments and his loneliness, he's giving God all the glory, as should we. And then in these final versus the final greetings, he just goes on to remind Timothy, maybe like a final letter you would write by right before you passed away. Great Priscilla and Aquila, and the household of one and one sephorus. Erasmus stayed in Corinth and I left Trophimus, sick and Miletus. Do your best to get here before winter. You will this greets you in so do Putin's, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers, The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. So he's sending his blessings and his greetings to people whom he loved, who helped him. And he goes on to list us there are some people that are there, obviously, because he lists them and says that they're greeting Timothy. And he always ends with Grace be with you. So just remember, as we started this message today, this episode, the question I asked you, is your life preparing you for death? If you had to write a final chapter like this chapter four, what would it look like? Who would you write it to? What would it say? Maybe that's a good task for you this week, to write a letter as if you were facing your imminent death? What would it say? Who would you greet? Who would you forgive? Who would you acknowledge that you've reconciled with? Who would you send your love to your greetings to? Who would you ask for to be with you? And what would you ask to be with you? To whom would you give the glory? And would you be fearful? Or would you know that you have a reward awaiting you? I think it's a good task for all of us. I think you'll learn a lot about yourself and a lot about others. And a lot about the work that you may or may not have to do still. Maybe that's the message for this episode. Challenge yourself to write a letter as if you were preparing your life for death. Just let it flow freely. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you. Because maybe death isn't imminent for you, like in the next few days or the next few weeks, so the next few years. But man, if you could recognize some things, change some things or do some things better, or stay the course. How many lives can you impact and change? And How good could your life be? And how much peace could you have? So that's my challenge for you this week. Do that work? I know it'll bless you. And I know it'll be worth it to you. So until next time, have a very blessed week. Thank you for listening to the depot podcast. If you liked what you heard today. Don't forget to subscribe to the depot podcast on iTunes CPN, or any place you listen to podcasts. Please also visit my ministry website, sandal for books, blogs and other biblical resources. You can also follow me on Facebook at sandal feet ministries on Instagram at Erin.Olson. I look forward to gathering with you next time.