You may be a traveler familiar with the airport having made several flights inland overseas. What do you find there that is so familiar? – Baggage Check; Document Check – Visa, Passport, Security Check, Baggage & Boarding Tags, Arrival-Departure Timings…
A story is told about a young boy who was taken to the airport and was shown planes leaving and ascending in the air up into the skies. He suddenly said to his father “Daddy, I want to die.” This shocking statement caught his father off guard! His father asked him why he wanted to die…he said “so I can go to heaven”. His father replied that he was glad he wanted to go to heaven…but that he wouldn’t die and go to heaven until God was ready, and until then, he could just enjoy being down here.
There is no fear for those who know Christ – it is like a departure…cutting loose from the bonds of this life…and catching our flight to the next world! For those who don’t know Christ there can be a great fear of death.
How does Paul react to- “The time for my departure has arrived!” He was eager to depart Philippians 1:21-23; 2 Timothy 4:6-8 – Why?
1. He won the fight (2 Timothy 4:7)
He said – “I have fought the good fight.” It gave him scars but made him a star!
What were these scars? – Prison; Flogging; Stoning; Shipwreck; bandits; near death encounters; hunger, thirst; sleeplessness; cold, naked; dangers…2 Corinthians 11
The good news was that he knew he would be with Christ!
How does that apply to us? – We may have faced tough times difficulties but have been faithful and victorious too, so we can face our departure with joy. Therefore we are encouraged to fight the good fight remain faithful, at difficult times… Because we know – departure here… means arrival in heaven!
2. ‘He finished the race’ (Timothy 4:7)
It began when he met Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus. We too started well when we encountered Lord Jesus Christ. But, though a good start is important….a good finish is most important…If we give up before our race is over….we have failed to finish the race for whatever reason. – Paul faced his departure with confidence because he had finished the race and assignment…so can we if we finish the race, finishing our assignment!
God has a plan for our lives he wants us to complete – Every workman takes pride in a project well-done. But the finishing of the project is vitally important. Many give up even before the project is completed.
John 18:37. The life of Jesus is a prime example – birth, ministry, death, resurrection – ‘For this cause I was born and for this cause I have come into the world.’ And He said ‘it is finished.’ – The life of every Christian has also been designed by the Heavenly Father to fulfill a specific purpose Jeremiah 29:11; Psalms 40:7-8
We can discover God’s plan for our lives by presenting our bodies daily as a living sacrifice to God in worship Romans 12:1-2. [‘Fellowship brings birthing.’] – We will then hear His voice clearly saying: – ‘This is the way walk ye in it.’
3. ‘He kept the faith’ (2 Timothy 4:7)
Paul remained faithful to Christ to the end despite battles, difficulties, dangers and temptations along the way…… We too must keep [watch over, guard] the faith, remain faithful to Christ. Satan and others would like to see us fail…steal our joy! We must watch over or guard our faith because it is precious.
4: Reward – Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 2:10)
We may not see a lot of reward here on earth…but one day, if we remain faithful…. we will receive the “crown of righteousness” Paul says, “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness” 2 Timothy 4:8 – He explains that this crown of righteousness is available to everyone who …fights the good fight…finishes the race…keeps the faith!!
At the Terminal or gate of departure, we enter our flight. We are excited to complete the journey because, at end of the flight, there is arrival where we have a triple encounter:
Reunion of loved ones; Reunion with the friendly Judge; Reward – Crown of Righteousness
A task once begun should never be abandoned till it’s done, be the labor great or small; Do it well or not at all. We may be on the right track, but we don’t get anywhere if we just sit there.
As Christians we ought to help one another – Paul commended those who helped him in Rome. In his letter to the Romans [chapter 16] he said: Greet Phoebe who has been the helper of many; Greet Mary who labored much for us;
The Lord says: Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I knew you; before you were born, I ordained and empowered you to complete your life assignment Jeremiah 1:5– We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good things planned beforehand that we should accomplish!
What will you carry with you when you depart? Surely not a baggage – but a rich experience of serving the Lord completing his assignments for your life – Jesus is coming soon, are you ready?
Plan Your Departure well! – So you will hear Him say: ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant enter thou into the joy of the Lord’