Death and Dying
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Death and Dying

2 Timothy 4:6  (ID: 3085)

Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy with urgency because he understood that his death was near—and His foremost concern remained the preaching of the Gospel. Facing the reality of death, Paul recognized that his life had not been wasted but was being poured out for God. This calm and direct approach to death contrasts greatly with that of our contemporary culture. In this message, Alistair Begg encourages us to consider that judgment follows death and to trust in Christ’s offer of salvation as we face our own mortality.

Series Containing This Sermon

A Study in 2 Timothy, Volume 4

The Apostle Paul, Poured Out 2 Timothy 4:6–22 Series ID: 15505

Encore 2022

A Collection of Listener Favorites Selected Scriptures Series ID: 25918

Sermon Transcript: Print

I invite you to turn with me to 2 Timothy and to chapter 4, and we’ll read from verse 6. Two Timothy 4:6:

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

“Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus. Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.

“The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”


Well, I invite you to take your Bibles, and we resume our studies in 2 Timothy by giving our attention to just one verse, and that is 4:6.

In this section that begins at verse 6, we have the explanation for the urgency that runs in Paul’s exhortations throughout the entire four chapters of what is his final letter. As you read through 2 Timothy, as we have read through 2 Timothy, we realize that he has been urging upon Timothy the necessity of him being committed to the sound truth of the gospel;[1] to guarding the good deposit;[2] to identifying those who are swerving from the truth, so that he will avoid doing the very same;[3] identifying those who have shipwrecked when it comes to the faith, so that he won’t become a shipwreck;[4] urging him to make sure that he doesn’t just take care of himself physically, because physical fitness has a certain value, but spiritual fitness is essential for all of life and for the life to come.[5] And in all of that, the underpinning of it is here in verse 6: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.” In the first five verses of the chapter, he’s giving a charge to Timothy, and then, in verse 6, he explains why this is so vitally important.

There is nothing like the prospect of death to clarify the issues of life. If you’ve had a cancer diagnosis, you know how quickly your mind goes to your will—how quickly the question goes to “Do I have enough money? If I leave everybody now, will they all starve to death?” You immediately start to think questions that you didn’t think before. It’s death that clarifies the issue of life. Samuel Johnson, who was a witty fellow, put it this way in his day: “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” So, if you’re anticipating the hangman’s noose and you have fourteen days to go, you’re not going to waste the intervening time on just extraneous irrelevancies. No, it will really focus your attention. And what has happened to Paul is that he finds himself in the jail, and his attention is absolutely focused. It is imperative, he says, that the gospel be placed safely into the hands of those whom he leaves behind, and particularly here in the person of Timothy.

Now, in what is an intensely personal paragraph (and I leave it to you to recognize the accuracy of that statement), I counted—you can count—but I found twenty-two personal pronouns in the space of thirteen verses. “I,” “me,” and “my” comes again and again. It’s intensely personal. And Paul is urging Timothy, in light of the fact that he, Paul, has done what is necessary in the time period granted to him, and it is now vital that Timothy does what is necessary in the balance of time that he has to live. And in the first half of verse 6, Paul uses a metaphor to highlight the process which he is going through, and then he uses a second metaphor in the balance of the verse to give to us an understanding of the prospect that he faces. I just made a note of those two p’s to try and help me navigate, and so we’ll say something about each of them and then try and make application of it to our contemporary environment.

The Process

First of all, then, the process that he identifies. It’s there in the text: “I am already being poured out as a drink offering.” Now, what in the world does that mean? I don’t know if you’ve said to anybody lately that you were feeling a bit like a drink offering. I’d be surprised if you did. But this terminology would not be difficult for people in first-century Ephesus. Both in the Greco-Roman world as well as in the Jewish world, it was a figure of speech that they understood.

And when you read the Old Testament—and you can search for this with a good concordance—you discover that Moses gives instruction to the people of God, as others, ensuring that in the sacrifices that God has established, there will be not only grain offerings and animal offerings, but there will also be the offerings of wine or oil. And when that oil or wine was poured out, either as a primary expression or as a complementary expression, it was simply a picture, an illustration, of a life poured out. So, they pour this out. It would have been perhaps relatively expensive, and it would be of significance. And in the pouring out of it, they were saying, “As this oil is poured out, as this wine is poured out, so may our lives be poured out for you, gracious God.”

And when you think about that, you realize what a wonderful picture it is. Just as an animal sacrifice was complemented by the pouring out of the wine, so, if you like, the life of Paul, he says—“My life is in the process of being poured out. Jesus has made the sacrifice for sins. He is the only one who has been able to deal with sin. And now my life is not sacrificial in any sense in comparison or in context of Jesus, but rather, it is a response to the sacrifice of Jesus.” In other words, I think if we had Paul here, he would say, “Probably what you should do, Alistair, is cross-reference Romans 12:1–2, because what I said there really gets to the heart of it.” You remember what he says there? “Therefore, I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, pouring out your life for God.”[6] “Pouring out your life for God.”

As we came to that final verse of the hymn we’ve just sung, maybe your mind went to Jim Elliot, as mine did. I suppose it was being with all those students yesterday, watching the 560 of them walk across there, perspiring dreadfully under those dreadful gowns that one has to wear. But looking at their lives—and I said to my son as I drove home, “Why do they all look like they’re thirteen years old?” And he said, “Because you’re old, Dad.” And I said, “Yeah, I do know that.” But you know, I looked at them as they walked past, one after another—boys, girls, young men—with all of their future in front of them, God willing. And what are they going to give their lives for? Is there anything worth giving your life for? What do you want to live for? What do you want to die for? What do you want to do? How do you want to pour out your life? What are you planning on doing with your life? And, of course, Jim Elliot never planned to die as such a young man in his twenties, but he poured out his life, because he came to the understanding that “he is no fool who gives what he ca[n’t] keep to gain what he ca[n’t] lose.”[7]

And it is this metaphor, it’s this picture, that is right here. And the pouring out of wine, as I say, might have been regarded by some who observed as a complete waste. And some, I think, would have looked on at Paul’s imprisonment and say, “That’s a complete waste as well. What a waste, pouring out that wine! We could have drunk that. We could have used that. And what a waste in this apostle’s life! Stuck there in the jail.” Paul doesn’t see it in those terms, does he? He says, “No, I’m already being poured out as a drink offering.”

Now, notice: it’s not active; it’s passive. He doesn’t say, “I am pouring my life out,” which he is. He says, “I am being poured out.” In other words, God is superintending what is happening in his life. It’s not as if he pours his life out when he has a chance to determine his own agenda, when he’s not in jail. No, whether he’s in jail or out of jail; whether he’s in success or in disappointment; whether he is in, you know, great encouragement or times of despondency, still his life is being poured out. God is at work in the lives of his servants all day, every day, in joy and in sorrow.

Now, as we saw last time—and it was quite helpful as I sat and listened to David Robertson preaching last week. I said, “How choice is this, that he is actually providing a suitable runway, as it were, a ramp of return,” into where I had to come back to in 2 Timothy 4:6. Because, you will remember—I hope you will remember—that he was teaching from Philippians. And as he was teaching from there, he identified the only other occasion in the New Testament where Paul uses this same metaphor, Philippians 2:17: “Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and [I] rejoice with you all. [And] you … should be glad and [you should] rejoice with me,” he says.

Now, the interesting thing is that there in Philippians 2—or an interesting thing—is that he sees this being poured out as a drink offering as a distinct possibility. It’s hypothetical: “Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering…” Now, in his final letter in 2 Timothy 4, he says, “I am already,” present tense, “being poured out as a drink offering.” So what was at one point in his life a distinct possibility is at this point now an imminent reality.

The Prospect

Well, that’s the process. Secondly, the prospect. The prospect is of his death—or, as he refers to it, his departure. And once again, in Philippians he has used the same terminology. Back in Philippians 2, writing to them, he says, “Here I am in the jail, and I don’t know whether I’m going to continue to live in the flesh”—Philippians 1:22. “If I do remain in the flesh, well, that will mean fruitful labor for me.”[8] In other words, “There’s plenty for me still to do. I can still teach the Word of God, I can still encourage the faithful, and so on. So, if I stay in the flesh, if I continue in my body, then that will be just fine.” “Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.”[9] (Interestingly, he can’t really choose, can he? God is sovereign over the affairs of life and death. It’s an interesting phrase: “which I shall choose, to go or to stay.”)

Ominously for unbelievers and wonderfully for believers, while the human body disintegrates for a time, the human soul does not.

“I[’m] hard pressed between the two.”[10] Have you ever felt hard pressed between living and dying? Do you ever say to your wife this week, “I don’t know whether I would like to die right now or have a bowl of cereal; I don’t know whether I’d like to watch the Cavs game or go to heaven”? You ever done that? No, I haven’t either. No. No, he says, “I’m hard pressed between the two, because actually, my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”[11] Okay? “But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.”[12]

Now, we’re not here to expound Philippians 2, but we’ll just notice that that cross-reference is vitally important in understanding what he’s doing here. He does not know the exact time of his departure. He says, “The time has come for my departure,” but as you read on in the text, you realize that he is not saying it’s going to happen this evening. Because he asks for his parchments to be brought. He asks for his materials to be brought. He apparently thinks he’s going to make it through another winter, which is why he asked for his cloak in verse 13, and in verse 21, he says, “Do your best to get here before winter.”[13] So the sense of the imminence of his death is not something that causes him to say, “And so I’m just going to lie back here and wait until it happens.” No, there are still books to be read, there are still conversations to be had, there’s still a journey to continue in, and so on.

But it is this notion of a departure which we need to get. Because the word—and again, we were helped by the consideration last time—the word is a very important word. It’s the word analusis. And it is used in contemporary language of the time to describe, for example, the unyoking of oxen. Sometimes when we’re out driving here, especially in the Amish area, we see these wonderful pictures of agricultural endeavor that are not mechanistic but speak to the prowess and the usefulness of beasts of burden. And what a thing it is for the farmer finally to relieve those creatures at the end of the day of the burden that has held them in those furrows. Paul says, “There a sense in which my death will be just like that. The Lord will take the burden from my neck and lay it down.” It’s the same word that is used for weighing an anchor and pulling it up and heading into the harbor of rest. It’s the same word that would be used for the collapsing of a tent and heading for your permanent dwelling.

Now, Paul is very, very clear. The reason he’s able to speak so straightforwardly about this is because of what we’ve just seen in Philippians. For him to depart, he says, would be to “be with Christ.”[14] So, for the believer, to die is to be with Christ. No time lag. No time lag. No other alternative. No interim facility. No waiting room. No soul sleep. “I will depart, and I will be with Christ,” he says. That’s why it’s going to be far better. Because right now, he has the knowledge of Christ, he had seen Christ on the Damascus Road, but he had no personal acquaintance with him. He would one day enjoy that.

Now, let’s just notice, in contrast to the contemporary views of death, that there is no panic on Paul’s part when he addresses this. There’s no attempt to avoid it. There’s no sense in which he is somehow or another confused by its possibility. And how vastly different that is from our culture! Think about the millions of dollars that are spent essentially attempting to make it look as though death has not actually happened. Right? I mean, morticians—I don’t know what they get paid, but they get paid a lot of money, I would think. They should! Because what a job they do, you know, on old Grandpa Filbertson or whatever it is, you know. And people always come and say, “He looks fantastic!” And when I’ve done funerals now for forty years of my life, I always say, “You think so? I think he looks dead. Because he is dead.” In fact, one of the saddest days in my entire life was when, in the death of my mother when I was twenty years old, a member of my family insisted on the fact that I must go and see my mother’s dead body. And I walked into that place, and within an instant, I turned around and walked out. I said, “That is horrible. ’Cause she isn’t there. All that’s left is the tent. She’s gone.”

Now, when we think in these terms, we realize how vastly different it is from our society, influenced not simply by a Western fearfulness but also by an Eastern preoccupation with notions of reincarnation and so on. And as a result of the fact that people have never really wrestled with the reality of death itself, baby boomers in particular—my generation—are all over the place when it comes to the issue of death and dying.

Joe Queenan, who writes routinely in the Wall Street on a Saturday—he’s a somewhat cynical character, but I enjoy most of his wit—he wrote a book called Balsamic Dreams, which I read fourteen years ago, as it turns out. I found that out by looking in the front last night when I went to look for the book. I was staggered that fourteen years have passed. But he wrote in this book Balsamic Dreams about baby boomers and their characteristics. And one of the things he addresses in it is their approach to death. And he says because baby boomers are all over the lot philosophy-wise, their funeral services are confusing. And he points out that because of all these different notions of death, when you attend a funeral service of a baby boomer who’s not got much of an idea, then one notion counteracts the other notion in a way that is phenomenally confusing. This is how he puts it: he says,

Because we … believe in nothing, we end up acting like we believe in everything. …

… [And I often] come away from [the funeral] services more confused and saddened then when I went in. [Because] first, I’m told that my friend is just another form of energy. Then I find [no,] he’s … looking down on us. [Then,] no, that’s not right, he’s gone to a far … better place. [But] no, his spirit is breathing in the daffodils just outside the window.[15]

And on such occasions—and we’ve all been there—it’s not uncommon for someone to quote the poem which begins,

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped into the room next door.
I am I, and you are you.[16]

Did you ever hear of such nonsense in your entire life? That is complete bunk. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows that that is nonsense. And yet that is standard fare, along with all the notions that are melded in even amongst the Christian community. Listen to professing believers talk in the postfuneral meal. They say things like, “Well, Uncle Joe will be enjoying a great meal right now,” or “Aunt Sally is probably dancing. You know how she loved square dancing?” I’m like, “Pardon? Didn’t we just bury Aunt Sally? So how’s she dancing? She’s not dancing.” “We just cremated Uncle Joe. He has got no body. He is not eating. I guarantee it.”

You see the extent of confusion that exists? The nature of humanity, the existence of who and what we are as embodied souls—the only point at which that does not happen is in the interim between the death of a believer and the wrapping up of everything by the Lord Jesus Christ. And in that experience, it is alien to what we are as created and what we will one day be in a new heaven and in a new earth. Aunt Sally will be dancing. We will be eating the nice meal. There is no question about that. But it ain’t happening right now! You got that?

Now, one of the commentators that I read said, “You’d better be careful that verse 6 does not become a soliloquy in which you lose yourself.” Okay, well, I paid attention to that, but I’m going to disregard his warning. Because I want to finish this morning by just saying a word or two about this whole nature of our departure. You say, “Well, goodness, you go away for a sabbatical, and you come back, and you start on death and dying? I mean, don’t you understand… Haven’t you learned anything while you were gone? Couldn’t you possibly be a little cheerier in coming back?”

I didn’t put verse 6 in the Bible! It’s the next verse. Incidentally, that’s the benefit of doing consecutive exposition of the Scriptures. If I had come back and done this message this morning, you would say to yourself, if you didn’t know, “Oh, there must have been something going on in his life, you know, about death, or he’s worried.” And I get all these letters from people extrapolating from this. But if you know, you know: no, the only reason we’re doing it is because this is what it actually says in the text. I mean, we’ve got to figure out this departure thing. Because it is the responsibility of the pastor, as the Puritan Richard Baxter said, to prepare his people to die well;[17] therefore, to prepare himself to die well; therefore, to face up to the fact that, as the writer to Ecclesiastes says, “death is the destiny of everyone; [and] the living [must] take this to heart.”[18] He follows it up by saying that it is for that reason that it is better to go to a funeral than it is to go to a party,[19] because it focuses you on a reality that is absolutely unavoidable.

Well, what was the devil’s reaction to the expressed promise that the judgment of God would fall upon the rebellion of Adam and Eve in the coming of death into a world that was never planned to have death? What did the devil say? When she said, when Eve said to the Evil One, said, “Well, we can enjoy all of this, but we’re not to enjoy that, and if we do, we’ll die,” what did he say? “Well, you won’t die. You won’t die.”[20] What’s his follow-up line? His follow-up lie—because everybody knows you do die, and Adam and Eve knew that in the death of their son. The judgment of God was in death, not just spiritually. People always teach that passage and say, “But, of course, they didn’t die right then, because it’s about spiritual death.” Well, it is about spiritual death, but it’s actually about death death—that the punishment of sin is death. And one out of one dies.

So the Evil One now comes to us and says, “Now, I know that you know that you die, but what you need to know is: death isn’t real. It’s not something to be bothered about. It’s not… You know, you’re in the daffodils. You’re absorbed in the energy. You’re,” you know, whatever it might be. And since people have got no mechanism for adjudicating on this, they’re prepared to buy the lie.

Now, the Westminster divines in the sixteenth century, when they came to terms with what the Bible teaches, as they read their Bibles and they said, “Now, can we make a statement concerning death and dying that is comprehensive, that will be clear and will be salutary and will be helpful?”—and they determined that they could. And let me just quote to you from the Westminster Confession. Listen carefully to this:

After death, the bodies of men decay and return to dust, but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal existence, return immediately to God, who gave them. The souls of the righteous are then made perfect in holiness and received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory [and] they [a]wait … the full redemption of their bodies. The souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness [and] they are kept for the judgment of the great day. Scripture recognizes no other place except these two for the souls which have been separated from their bodies.[21]

Ominously for unbelievers and wonderfully for believers, while the human body disintegrates for a time, the human soul does not.

Now, if you ask how, then, may all that matter be reassembled so as to reconstitute you in Christ in a recognizable new-and-improved version, we bow before the mystery. It is the very mystery of creation itself. And it is not a retreat to use the words of the hymn writer when he says,

My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
[It is] enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with him.[22]

Again, seeing all those young people yesterday took me back to Ecclesiastes 12 and the wisdom of the Preacher. Do you remember what he says? He says, “It is vitally important that you remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before bits start falling off of you, before you start to disintegrate, before you’re walking around like this—when you’re taking the coffee, going, ‘Hang on, I’ve got it. I’ve got it. No, leave it. I’ll put it down. I’ll put it down.’” He says, “No, don’t wait till that to realize the wonder of God’s dealings with you. Ponder your destiny,” he says. “[Here is] the end of the matter,” he says: “Fear God and keep his commandments.”[23] You see, to fear God is to know God, is to love God, is to serve God, is to obey God. They’re all synonyms. And when you fear and know and love and serve God, then it isn’t irksome to do what God says you should do—and to do this before (again to quote Ecclesiastes) “the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”[24]

You were made by God for God.

You see, the return of Jesus Christ will bring shouts of joy and cries of anguish.[25] If you pay attention to the hymns we’ve sung this morning, this theme runs throughout them. If you wonder, for example, at what we were on about when we were singing about “when men who here refuse to pray, on rocks and hills and mountains call,”[26] that’s a reference to the fact that men will call the mountains to fall on them, as if the crash of the mountains upon them could remove them from the nature of the judgment of God meted out justly upon sin.

The Shorter Catechism asks in question 30, “What is the difference of the grave to the righteous and to the wicked?” Is it just the same? So, a believer or an unbeliever’s laid in the grave? The catechism says, “To the one the grave is a resting-place; … to the other it is a prison-house, where they[’re] kept in close custody for the judgment of the great day.”[27] In Daniel we read, “Those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to [share in] everlasting contempt.”[28]

Do you see where our culture is—the underlying notions of our culture that have destroyed the notion of our origins as made, fashioned, intricately put together in our mother’s womb?[29] Say, “No, that’s not true. You’re just time plus matter plus chance. Therefore, you can do what you want because you’re accountable to no one. And when you die, that isn’t real either.” And the Bible says, “No, that is empty, and it’s futile. Here’s the good news: that you were made by God for God. He loves you so much that despite the fact that you haven’t lived your life in that way, he sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for your sin, so that you might enjoy the reality of what it means to know him now and to live with him then.”

We sang of the dying thief in one of the songs. I can’t remember which one it was. It’s a wonderful thought, isn’t it, that the dying thief called out to Jesus, and Jesus said, “Today you will be with me”?[30] Well, that’s interesting, that, isn’t it? “Be with me.” Well, he didn’t go in the tomb with him, did he? Jesus went in the tomb, bodily. He would have been thrown out on the ash heap after his death. What do you mean, “You will be with me”? Well, in his soul, brought into the presence. What about the other fellow? You see, we can’t have it both ways, loved ones. “The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day.”[31] Presumably, the other one did not.

Now, I travel quite a bit, and so do you, and I see you at the airport. And sometimes we have a proper conversation, but most of the time, we don’t. And usually, we just say things to each other like, “When do you leave?” or “What airline are you flying, where are you going, and do you have your boarding pass? And I’ll see you Sunday,” and then it’s over.

Well, let me end in that way: When will you leave? Well, the answer to that is, you don’t know, right? And neither do I. We don’t know whether we will die in our sleep; whether we will awaken to a new day; whether we will live, as one young man in our congregation, to turn a hundred, which he will do this coming weekend. We don’t know whether that will be true for us. But we know we’re going.

Can I ask you: Where are you going? Where are you going? And can I ask you: Do you have your boarding pass? Oh, you have a boarding pass for hell. It came with your birth. The boarding pass for heaven is provided in the person and work of Jesus. And they’re going to ask you before you board, “Do you have your boarding pass?” Do you? And do you realize that Jesus stands ready to place it in your hands and to grant to you the forgiveness and the victory and the hope and the triumph of not only living through the process of a life being poured out but facing the prospect of the reality of a departure that actually will be, in Christ, far better?

Well, let’s think about these things.

Father, thank you that your Word is fixed in the heavens.[32] And although our culture increasingly stands back from it, we pray that we might see in its truth the wonder of your love, the immensity of your grace, the triumph of your Son, and the opportunity of personal, living faith. Grant that none of us will sleep tonight in the uncertainly of our foolish rebellion, but rather that we might rest in the security of your love provided in Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

[1] See 2 Timothy 1:13.

[2] See 2 Timothy 1:14.

[3] See 2 Timothy 2:17–19.

[4] See 1 Timothy 1:19–20.

[5] See 1 Timothy 4:8.

[6] Romans 12:1 (paraphrased).

[7] Quoted in Elisabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot (1958; repr., New York: HarperCollins, 1979), 15.

[8] Philippians 1:22 (paraphrased).

[9] Philippians 1:22 (ESV).

[10] Philippians 2:23 (ESV).

[11] Philippians 2:23 (paraphrased).

[12] Philippians 2:24 (ESV).

[13] 2 Timothy 4:21 (NIV).

[14] Philippians 1:23 (ESV).

[15] Joe Queenan, Balsamic Dreams: A Short but Self-Important History of the Baby Boomer Generation (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001), 105.

[16] Often quoted as a poem, this is a partial excerpt from “The King of Terrors,” a sermon preached by Henry Scott Holland in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, on May 15, 1910.

[17] Richard Baxter, preface to The Reformed Pastor (1656).

[18] Ecclesiastes 7:2 (NIV).

[19] See Ecclesiastes 7:4.

[20] Genesis 3:2–4 (paraphrased).

[21] The Westminster Confession of Faith, Modern English Study Version, 32.1.

[22] Richard Baxter, “Lord, It Belongs Not to My Care” (1681).

[23] Ecclesiastes 12:13 (ESV).

[24] Ecclesiastes 12:7 (ESV).

[25] Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, “Jesus Is Lord” (2003).

[26] Frederick M. Lehman, “The Love of God” (1917).

[27] The Westminster Assembly’s Shorter Catechism Explained, by Way of Question and Answer, 3rd ed., ed. James Fisher, part 1, What Man Is to Believe Concerning God (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1840), 203.

[28] Daniel 12:2 (ESV).

[29] See Psalm 139:13.

[30] Luke 23:43 (ESV).

[31] William Cowper, “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood” (1772).

[32] See Psalm 119:89.

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.