A few weeks ago, I had the honor (but not the pleasure) of conducting a short funeral service for a dear lady, related to one of our church members. The Scripture reading for that occasion was found in 2 Timothy 4:6-8, which reads as follows:
"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing."
The first thing we noticed was the Reality of the Closeness of death. The apostle Paul realized that he was literally at the end of his life. Perhaps he was already sentenced to death by the Roman emperor and was waiting for his execution. We can face the reality of death with the calm assurance that this is not the end, but the beginning of a glorious eternity with Christ in heaven.
The second point was our Responsibility to Complete the Course. Paul finished the race that he began many years before on the road to Damascus. He kept his faith in Christ throughout all these years as he fought as a brave soldier of the Lord against sin and the forces of darkness. We can fulfill our responsibility by submitting ourselves to the truth of God’s Word and the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit.
Lastly, we considered our Reward with a Crown of Life. Paul lived his life with full hope in Christ and with the expectation of a heavenly reward. The crown of righteousness is another way of saying our future perfection in heaven. This crown is only given to those of us who love Jesus and serve Him as we wait for his glorious appearing. We can overcome all the obstacles and persevere amid all the trials, knowing that our hope and reward in Christ are sure and indestructible.
We need to face Reality
We must fulfill our Responsibility
We will receive a glorious Reward if we are faithful