“Make Every Effort to Come Before Winter”

"Make Every Effort to Come Before Winter"Text: 2 Timothy 4:21

Paul’s standard practice was to close his letters with some personal greetings/instructions. Some may seem relatively unimportant today, yet even in these there are some lessons for us. We are going to look at one of these statements, which would be one of the last things that Paul wrote.

Helping Others

  • Christians should have a desire to help others – Timothy was coming in order to help Paul (2 Timothy 4:11, 13); we cannot be forced to do this, but must desire to do so (2 Corinthians 8:8, 12)
  • We must also be willing to put forth effort / make sacrifices to help others (2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Philemon 7, 22)
  • We must provide help that is most beneficial (cf. Luke 11:11-13) – remember that it is for them

Asking for Help

  • If we need help, we should ask (James 5:14; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:26) – many are hesitant to do this, yet Paul was willing to ask for help when he needed it
  • When we ask for help, we need to ask for the right things – physical needs (2 Timothy 4:13; cf. 1 Timothy 6:6-8); spiritual help (2 Timothy 4:11)
  • Ask for help, but not selfishly – we must be willing to help ourselves (2 Thessalonians 3:10); we are not to burden others unnecessarily (2 Corinthians 8:13-14); Paul proved to be selfless by sending Tychicus to Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:12; Ephesians 6:21-22), even though he could have helped Paul; even when we need help, we should seek to help others as we can (2 Corinthians 8:2-4)

Human Limitations

  • Why did Paul want Timothy to come before winter? – one reason is that winter would hinder travel (Matthew 24:20)
  • We may not always be able to do what we plan – some limitations/barriers/obstacles are predictable (John 4:35; cf. Genesis 8:22); some are not (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
  • Many things are out of our control (Ecclesiastes 8:7-8) – we can make plans, but they will be carried out “if the Lord wills” (James 4:13-15)

Value of Writings

  • The written word is powerful – God’s word is most powerful (Hebrews 4:12; Jeremiah 23:29); yet there is value in other writings as well
  • What the “books” and “parchments” may have been and why they would have been valuable to Paul – OT Scriptures would have provided comfort/hope (Romans 15:4); Paul’s own writings would have been a reminder to himself (Hebrews 2:1); writings by Paul and other inspired men could have been passed on to others (2 Peter 1:12-15); letters from churches because of Paul’s concern for them (2 Corinthians 11:28-29)

Conclusion

  • As Christians, we are to help one another – be willing to help and ask for help when we need it
  • We are to be a help and encouragement to one another as we strive to obtain the reward (2 Timothy 4:8)

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