"Come Before Winter"

Preached by on January 31, 2016
— From the series,

Paul was probably facing death at the hands of the Roman government. He was alone. His final request was for Timothy to come to him, but not before he shared some personal instructions.


Come Before Winter

(2 Tim. 4:9-18)



A.  Henry was getting old and as many do he was downsizing.  He was moving from his house of many years into a small apartment.  He was widowed and realized that his health was not as great as it used to be.  He knew he could not take all of his possessions to his apartment and really didn’t want to.  What he wanted was someone to go through the process with him.

B.  He asked Bruce to come over and help, but many of us find other things to do than to help someone go through their personal belongings.  Yet, after being asked several times Bruce realized he needed to go and help this old brother in Christ.  So they made a date and Bruce went to Henry’s house.

C.  When he got there he expected to find boxes of belongings and planned to spend several hours, but what he found was nothing more than a shoe-box on the kitchen table.  Henry didn’t need anyone to go through this personal belongings; he just wanted to tell someone how important these few things were to him.

D.  Henry pulled out the death certificate of his wife and talked for a while about their marriage, they were never able to have children.  Bruce realized quickly how much Henry loved his wife and listened to a few stories.  Then Henry pulled out an old picture of his mother and showed it to Bruce.  Henry talked about how his mother read him the Bible every night and was the one that helped him come to know God.  Then there were some newspaper clippings of the mill where Henry had worked for almost 40 years.  He was proud of his work and his life.  Then he piled everything back into the shoe-box and put on the lid and thanked Bruce.

E.  What’s important to you?  When you come to the end of your life, what will be the most important things for you to keep?  What’s in your shoebox?  Maybe not a physical one; but the shoebox of your life, your heart, your dreams.


I.  Paul’s Shoebox

A.  Paul is alone.  His close friends and fellow ministers that he has trained have all been sent off to congregations.  Winter is coming.  It would be cold in jail and few people would be there to give aid.  Paul wanted Timothy to come.  The young man who had become a like a son, Paul wanted close to him.  But it was not just Timothy, Paul wanted.  He wants some of his personal items.  What is in Paul’s shoebox?  He tells us. (READ 2 Tim. 4:13)

B.  A cloak. Some physical comfort to help an old man.  But it is not his cloak that I want us to consider.  He tells Timothy to bring his scrolls, especially the parchments.  That is what Paul felt was the most important things to have.

C.  This word for scrolls (books) is where we get the word “Bible”.  It was used in reference to the scrolls of the Isaiah that Jesus read in his hometown.  Many feel that these scrolls and parchments are portions of the Old Testament or letters that he sent to people and churches.  That being the case what Paul valued most was the written word of God.  This inspired man loved the Bible.  He loved to read what the Holy Spirit had given to men to tell the story of God and his work among men.

D.  How many of us have an old Bible that maybe belonged to a parent or grandparent?  Why would that old book mean so much to you?  It is nothing more than just paper and binding – right?  Wrong.  It is a piece of one you loved so dearly and what they loved – the Bible.  The written word of God.


II.  I Am Not Alone

A.  They say that one of the more frightening psychological feelings is that of being completely alone.  The idea that few people care about you or stand with you can drive a person in a downward spiral.  I don’t know how John the Baptist felt in prison but I know he wanted confirmation about who Jesus was.  I don’t know how Peter felt in prison after James was put to death, but when an angel opened the door he went to a house where people were praying.

B.  I don’t know exactly how Paul feels in prison, but I know felt alone – at least for the moment.  He writes on what may be one of the last pieces of parchment he has a letter to Timothy.  Here, at the end, he talks about how some people have left him and some he sent to continue to do the work of ministry.  But you hear the hint of loneliness in his writing.

C.  READ 2 Tim. 4:10-12.  He is not whining or complaining as much as he simply telling Timothy why it’s important for him to come quickly.  But the text continues with these words (2 Tim. 4:16-17).

D.  Paul was not alone, even when he might have felt lonely.  Paul knew that Jesus was with him.  What a tremendous gift it is for us as Christians to know we are never alone.  That every moment of every day God is with us.  We are filled with the power of the Spirit, we are strengthened by the Jesus himself, and the Father’s light shines upon us.  Paul concludes with verse 18. (read verse 18)



A.  We do not live in this earthly tent forever.  We are designed to return to the dust from which we were created.  I have no idea how long any person in this room will live.  I am thankful for every day of life and want to live it for the glory of God.  But there will come a time when this life ends.  Paul believed he was facing that end, and he wanted Timothy to come – come before winter.

B.  Why?  Because traveling in the winter by sea and even by land was very difficult, and Paul seems to express that if he doesn’t come before winter it may be too late.  It is a sense of urgency that we hear in these verses.

C.  Paul says to the Romans (Rom. 1:16-17).  Paul was not ashamed to the gospel of Jesus.  He knew the power of the Word of God and the gift of salvation.  You too can live the unashamed life knowing the power of the Gospel.  If we can help you in your walk towards home, come as we stand and sing.