Alone, But Not Forgotten
Alone, But Not Forgotten is a sermon teaching us that God is always with us even if we feel alone.
Reference: II Timothy 4:12-22
Paul suffered from loneliness, but God never let him get discouraged or downtrodden. Maybe there was a time when you felt you were lonely. You were so lonely and felt abandoned, no one was there for you, and no one cared for you. You ask, “What about me?” You look around at all you have done and wonder where is the acknowledgment, the praise? If you feel you are alone, you are not, because God is still there for you. If you trust God, He is with you. You may not understand how or why, but God’s way is best.
The Cloke and the Evil
There are three things that stand out in this passage of scripture, II Timothy 4:12-22. First, let’s look at the cloke and the evil.
II Timothy 4:12: “And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.” We have learned that the bible is the true Word of God. One thing the bible importantly does is back itself up. There are no errors in the bible. The “Tychicus” is found in two different places in the bible. In Ephesians chapter 6, he was sent back to Ephesus to be a minister there. He was a messenger between Paul and the church as Ephesus where Timothy was at. Also, in Acts 20:4, he accompanied Paul and his friends to Macedonia. Tychicus isn’t haphazardly mentioned, although we don’t know much about him, he was mentioned in II Timothy chapter 4. Paul sends him back to Ephesus where Timothy is. There is a reason why he’s being sent back to Ephesus.
II Timothy 4:13: “The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.” Paul passed through Troas quite a bit as he went to his journeys, even as he went to Ephesus. So this is a journey that Timothy would take because we will see at the end of the book that he is being asked to come to Rome where Paul was. Paul asks to bring the cloke that he left because the prison where he was at was getting cool. It was probably in the fall when this book was written. Paul wanted the scriptures being sent to him.
The loneliness plays into II Timothy 4:14: “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:”
II Timothy 4:15: “Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.” Who is Alexander? First of all, we know he is not kind to Paul at all. How so? He did Paul much evil. Do you think someone who does you evil likes you? He was not a good guy. Paul mentions him as a real thorn in his side. He mentions him, not only here but in a few other places.
I Timothy 1:20: “Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” Alexander was someone who really wanted to go after Paul. But why was it that he targeted Paul?
In Acts 19:28-41, there is another example of the bible connecting scriptures together in total harmony. There is a connection of every point of scripture no matter what it is and no matter how big or small the text. Even simple greetings and salutations and ending remarks are connected in the scriptures. Before Acts 19, what is going on is that Paul goes to Ephesus and performs many works, and miracles have taken place. Many great things have happened and come upon Ephesus. But Ephesus was also a very idolatrous city that made its income on selling idols to people.
The Word of God was going great, but again there was a problem there. At the same time, there arose no small stir because of all the miracles taking place. The coppersmiths were losing profits because of Paul and all his companions, because Paul was saying these were not gods, turn to the true God.
Acts 19:28: “And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” The coppersmith’s main concern was that their great goddess Diana was not being worshipped and became despised. They did not want her to be despised and wanted some way to worship Diana so they could sell their idols. So, this is what was going on, and “they were full of wrath, crying out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” They were worshiping this idol, something that wasn’t real.
Acts 19:29: “And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.” There was some hurt and hatred because God was working, and they wanted to follow God’s work. But confusion takes place.
Acts 19:30: “And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.”
Acts 19:31: “And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.” Paul’s friends told him not to go in there because he had suffered enough and didn’t need to go in there again.
Acts 19:32: “Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.” There were people there that were there just because there was a crowd and had no idea what was going on.
Acts 19:33: “And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.” This was the same Alexander mentioned in Timothy chapter 4.
Acts 19:34: “But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” They found out who he was and they didn’t let him speak a word. But there is more to this.
Acts 19:35: “And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?”
Acts 19:36: “Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.”
Acts 19:37: “For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.”
Acts 19:38: “Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.” Basically, if there’s a problem and it’s against the law, it is settled by law.”
Acts 19:39: “But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.”
Acts 19:40: “For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.” Someone with the same mind is to say stop doing what you’re doing. You don’t need to cause a riot. If this is doing is wrong, then go to the courts and go have justice. But if not, there is no need to incite an uproar.
Acts 19:41: “And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.” Nothing happened. But Alexander, after that experience had to find some way to go against Paul. We don’t know exactly why, but he did. What he did is told in II Timothy chapter 4.
II Timothy 4:14: “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil.” It was a lot of evil. What kind of evil, we don’t know. And Paul goes on to say, “the Lord reward him according to his works:”
II Timothy 4:15: “Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.” Alexander found a way for people to not hear. That’s the kind of person you want to avoid. There are people who just don’t want to hear what you have to say. Have you ever met this kind of people? Don’t waste your time with those people. If they don’t want to hear what you have to say, move on. The last thing you want to do is to get into a debate or argument and what have you accomplished? Nothing. There is no need to get into a personal confrontation. Alexander was trying to find a way to do that. Paul reminds us of the evil that takes place. Alexander probably continually tried to the thwart work of Paul.
The Human Side
But now we are going to see the human side of Paul. He’s been preaching and teaching but now we’ll get a personal look at him in the next three verses of II Timothy chapter 4.
II Timothy 4:16: “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” What a sad statement that no one stood with Paul. Secondly, we look at loneliness in defending the Gospel. The word “answer” is from the Greek word “apologia” where we get the word “apologetics.” Paul had an answer, or a plea, or a defense of himself for the faith. No one backed up Paul at all. Imagine being in a different country as Paul was in Rome and no one was there with him. He probably felt the same way Job felt in Job chapter 19.
Job 19:13: “He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me.”
Job 19:14: “My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.”
Job 19:15: “They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight.”
Job 19:16: “I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth.”
Job 19:17: “My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children’s sake of mine own body.” Job knew what it felt like to be lonely. He lost everything and then his three friends told him it was all his fault and that God was against him. A lot of people, when it is time to stand for what’s right, they don’t stand firm. They go away. When the going gets tough, people just flee.
Jesus was telling his disciples about the cost of discipleship in Luke 9:57-62:
Luke 9:57: ”And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Luke 9:58: “And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Jesus, our Savior, had no place to sleep. Would you be willing to serve God if you didn’t have a place to sleep comfortably and give up your comfy bed?
Luke 9:59: “And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.”
Luke 9:60: “Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” People may think that Jesus does not care about losing a loved one. Jesus said to let the spiritually dead bury the spiritually dead. And go to reach the living, don’t reach back to the person who is dead.
Luke 9:61: “And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.” Some people want to go back to say goodbye to friends.
Luke 9:62: “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” What happens when someone decides to go home? Maybe they will get distracted. But Jesus said to that, if they were not 100% for Him, something is going to hinder them and they will cease in their walk. He says to walk with Him.
Even the disciples forsook Jesus when He was arrested. Peter followed but from afar. He wasn’t going side by side, he was hiding a little bit. Be a friend not only in good times but in hardships. Elijah encountered loneliness, one of the greatest profits who ever lived, he wanted to kill himself because he felt that he was the only one serving God. He asked the Lord to not fault him for being scared.
II Timothy 4:16: “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” Why did men forsake Paul? He was in Rome getting ready to go to trial for the final time in front of Nero. History tells us Paul was beheaded for his faith. No one wanted to be associated with him because they probably feared for their own life. Don’t fault him. It’s human nature. Sometimes when a person falls on tough times they are abandoned. We should try to reach out even harder and try to lift them up and pray for them.
II Timothy 4:17: “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” People may forsake you but God is not going to, He’s not going to abandon you.
Psalm 47:10: “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.”
Job 5:17: “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:” People despise God when then have been wronged.
Job 5:18: “For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.”
Job 5:19: “He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.” God wanted to make sure that the gentiles would hear the gospel through Paul and the disciples. Paul was in Rome in house arrest and still sharing the Word of God. Paul was saved from being killed at least once.
II Timothy 4:18: “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
Proverbs 3:6: “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Acknowledge God. He can help you through your times of loneliness. A natural element of human nature is socialization which means having somebody there with you. You know you can have God with you all the time. God is with you at the point of salvation because the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in you. God is always going to be there with you. It’s just a matter of you talking to Him or not. It’s a choice. But when you do talk to Him, God will be there for you. He’ll deliver you if you let Him. People may abandon us, but God does not.
Priscilla and Aquila
II Timothy 4:19: “Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.” Onesiphorus has been mentioned in the book of Philemon. Prisca and Aquila have been mentioned elsewhere in scripture. They were faithful in their work.
Acts:18:2: “And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.”
Acts:18:3: “And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.” Paul had something in common with Priscilla and Aquila. They were tentmakers, they had the same occupation. But here’s the faithfulness exemplified by Priscilla and Aquila…
Acts:18:24: “And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.”
Acts:18:25: “This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.” The man was well-known and eloquent, but he had to fix a doctrinal issue.
Acts:18:26: “And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”
Acts:18:27: “And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:”
Acts:18:28: “For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.” Priscilla and Aquilla were faithful members of the Lord. They saw when someone needed help, they jumped on it. They went, they shared, they helped him out as a good married couple. They saw someone that needed something and they jumped in and did it together. They saw a young man and helped him, they shared God.
II Timothy 4:19: “Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.” Priscilla and Aquila were key in Paul’s ministry. They did many great things in Ephesus for the Lord as a couple.
II Timothy 4:20: “Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.” This person wasn’t feeling well so he stayed back.”
II Timothy 4:21: “Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.”
II Timothy 4:22: “The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.”
Paul yearns for Timothy to get to Rome before it’s too rough to get there. Paul knew it was going to be tough with the conditions there.
In conclusion, we see that even though you are alone God still wants to be there for you. Satan’s number one job in life is to try to make you leave the faith — your faith toward God and to turn others away from Him. Stay encouraged by the Lord and know that those who follow Him will be blessed in God’s perfect time. What does that mean for you and me? You could be alone, but you are not forgotten. God is still going to care for you. Stay faithful until the very end. Stay faithful until your very last breath. If you fall just come back to God because God still wants to be there for you and wants to use you.
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