For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.2 Timothy 4:6(NASB)
Paul knew that his life was soon to end, and that this second letter to Timothy would be the final epistle he was to pen before His death. As he sat in his dark dungeon waiting for his execution, Paul wanted to impress on Timothy the important responsibility that now lay on his shoulders, and on the shoulders of those other faithful servants of God.
There was an urgency in Paul's heart to make sure that Timothy and other ministers of the gospel were fully furnished for their Christian service, properly prepared as a minister of the Lord, and entirely equipped as elders in the Church of Christ. And so, we find many important instructions and reminders to Timothy, and we would do well to take seriously the directives he gives and the wisdom he shares.
Paul knew that each one of us would one day stand alone before Christ when He will judge us for the lives we have led and the service we offered. Although our salvation is secure in Christ, Paul wanted us to be fully aware that all His blood-bought children will either be rewarded for the good we have done by faith, or suffer loss of reward for our worldly ways and fleshly deeds.
Paul knew that he had fought a good fight, kept the faith, and finished the race that had been set before him, but he also knew that he was soon to die and so he wrote that he was already "being poured out as a drink offering before the Lord." The time had arrived for his own lifeblood to be poured out for the sake of the gospel.
Paul wanted this dear servant of God to be prepared that "the time of Paul’s departure has come." Timothy and others, needed to know that they would soon be the ones who would be entrusted to pass on pure doctrine of Christ, without Paul's support. In the power of the Spirit, they would be able to withstand the increasing attacks of the enemy and to stand fast in this evil age, and so Paul encouraged them and us, to walk in spirit and truth, be sober in all things, to endure hardship, to do the work of an evangelist, and to fulfil our particular ministry.
Paul reminded him of the influx of false teachers that had already started to infiltrate the Church, distort the gospel of God, and turn the ears of many away from the truth. He urged Timothy to preach the Word, to be watchful in these dangerous times, and to live soberly and righteously and in the fear of the Lord.
In an earlier epistle to the Roman Church, Paul had called on the Christians there to present their lives "as a living sacrifice – holy and acceptable to the Lord," and in his letter to the Philippians he explained the joy that such self-sacrifice brings to the faithful servant of God: "For even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith," he explained, "I rejoice and share my joy with you all."
Paul may have been thrown into jail by Rome, but in God's eyes it was the faith of those to whom Paul ministered, that had become a beautiful sacrifice to the Lord – and Paul's incarceration and death was like a precious drink offering, being poured out for the glory of God.
Both in his letter to Philippi and in this final letter to Timothy, Paul was content, even joyful to know that his life was being 'poured out' in martyrdom and death for the sake of the gospel, and that the living faith of believers would always be a beautiful sacrifice to the Lord.
No doubt, when Paul described his life as "a drink offering being poured out to God," he recalled the three mighty men of Israel, who courageously broke through the enemy lines of the Philistine army, to drew water out of the well of Bethlehem for the king, but we read: "David would not drink thereof but poured it out as an offering of praise unto Jehovah."
We all live in a fallen world and every one of us will suffer trials and tribulation, but if in His power and grace, we remain sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil our ministries courageously, and become a living sacrifice unto the Lord, we too will be able to rejoice in the Lord always, and articulate the joy that is ours in serving our great God and Saviour.
Heavenly Father, I praise and thank You for the life and ministry of Paul and the example he set as a living sacrifice for the glory of God. A life that was poured out as a drink offering to the Lord. Thank You that I have been equipped with all I need for life and godliness, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. I pray that I may be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, courageously fulfil my ministry, and become a living sacrifice and acceptable drink offering to my God and Saviour. In Jesus' name, AMEN.