Summary: Paul reminds us that we need to have the determination of a bulldog when follwoing Jesus
November 11, 2007
In 1918 World War I was still raging in the area of the Belleau Wood. The Germans felt that the area could not be taken from them and the US Marine Corps was ordered to take the area. The area was surrounded by an open wheat field and thus the marines were forced to march through open areas under heavy German machine gun fire. The advance on the wood holds the second highest Marine Corps casualties in history.
Through most of June 1918, the Marines fought with the Germans for control of the wood and the road that held supply lines. This battle marked the final German offensive of World War I. The fierce fighting caused the Germans to nickname the marines "teufelhunden," the devil dogs.
Bulldog Commitment - A bulldog’s nose is slanted backward so that he can still breathe while he holds on!
There were many different characters through out the Bible who were known for the depth of their commitment to God.
* Daniel stood for his beliefs even when faced with the lion’s den
* Caleb was committed to conquering the land even when 10 spies were not
* Gideon was committed to following God’s plan
* Noah was committed to building the ark
* Nehemiah was committed to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
Of all the characters of the Bible, Paul had a bulldog kind of commitment. He hung on when everyone else would have given up.
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing.
Paul was living out a life that left a mark on those around him. He lived a life that left an incredible legacy. Paul lived out a life of grace and grit.
I want to focus on verse seven with you this morning. Read that again with me: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Paul did not think of himself as going to be executed; he thought of himself as going to offer his life to God. His life was not being taken from him; he was laying it down. Ever since his conversion Paul had offered to God, his money, his scholarship, his strength, his time, the vigour of his body, the acuteness of his mind, the devotion of his passionate heart. Only life itself was left to offer, and gladly Paul was going to lay life down. William Barclay
Paul was a bulldog in his will to fight
Paul was using the imagery of a faithful soldier. Every soldier may have the need to fight in battle or even to give their life in the service of their country. Paul could sympathize with the soldier because he had fought many spiritual battles. Paul understood that his victory was not going to be won by his strength but by the strength of Christ.
We face spiritual battles each day. We face challenges that may make us want to compromise our beliefs, back away from our commitments or even leave the service of Christ.
Our fight is for the Kingdom of Christ. I am very patriotic and love my country. But this nation is not really my home. I belong to a “better” country and have pledged loyalty to another kingdom.
We need to remember that must live as soldiers of the cross.
Paul was a bulldog in his will to finish
Paul had fought his battles for Christ and now his time for fighting was over. It was time to move on. Just as a soldier is discharged to go home; Paul had received his release and was heading for his heavenly home. We are called to carry on the fight. We too have been called to take up the cause of Christ. We too have been called to remain true to our mission, our purpose and our King!
Paul compared his life to an athlete finishing a foot race and that he was going to finish life in the same way. Paul was going to finish strong. Paul lived a life of complete discipline. Paul lived out of a deep gratitude for the grace and mercy of God. This gave him the passion and desire to live a life of obedience to God’s word and God’s will.
Paul controlled his life and what he did with his body and mind. Paul was focused on the course of life and did his absolute best to stay on the path that God had laid out for him