Summary: This sermon was given at the end of 2015. It's to help people think about ending well so that they can have a strong beginning. But also so that they can hear the words of Jesus at the end say, "Well done good and faithful servant.
“A good start need a better ending, and a good ending gives to us a better start.”
This thought came as I was contemplating todays and next week’s messages. And to today, as we’re ending 2015, I’d like to talk to you about ending well. And then next week I’d like to share with you about having a strong beginning as we look at Joshua and their preparation to cross the Jordan River and enter into the Promised Land.
We’re far too often consumed with what has happened in the past, so much so that we make adjustments to our present to compensate, but we never considering what these actions may bring in the future.
Will these actions end up producing godly fruit where in the end we’ll hear, “Well done good and faithful servant,” Matthew 25:23.
Ending well should then be our main objective, our primary goal, and be our top priority. And to accomplish this all our decisions and actions should be directed toward this singular goal of hearing these words from Jesus when our lives have ended and we enter into eternal life.
Today’s message, “Ending Well,” may be viewed by some as focusing upon our past, but it isn’t; rather it’s focusing on our future so we live our lives in such a way that we can end well.
I’d like to take a look at the ending of three people who ended well. These three are King David, and Apostle Paul, and Jesus. I’d like to look at what the Lord says is a good ending.
So let’s begin our study looking first at King David, and the reason His life ended well is because He served God by …
1. Serving Others
The testimony of the Holy Spirit concerning David’s ending says,
“For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep.” (Acts 13:36 NKJV)
Among all of David’s qualities, beyond being a king and soldier, David was a servant. He grew up serving his father and his family. He served King Saul when Saul both loved and hated him. He served the nation of Israel, and he served God all of his life.
When we look at the life of King David, however, it’s his beginnings that we pay the most attention to, like his many victories, like his victory over the giant Goliath, or we pay attention to his many sins, like his adulterous affair with Bathsheba. But little if any attention is given to his end, and mainly because there’s not much that’s written about it.
But what the Holy Spirit said in Acts speaks volumes. David wasn’t perfect; in fact he as far from it, but the Bible says that he was God’s man.
“I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” (Acts 13:22 NKJV)
David was a man after God’s own heart, because He served God’s purposes by serving others.
I’ve always liked what Chuck Smith, who founded the Calvary Chapel movement, said concerning our service to others. He said, “When you minister to others, God will minister unto you even more so.”
To end well we must serve God by serving others, by serving this present generation.
Hopefully for those of you who have been here for some time, our mission statement has made it’s way into your heart as well, because it’s got this first step written all over it.
“Our mission is to make a difference in our community for Jesus Christ, and to meet life’s difficult challenges with real life solutions.”
David was a servant of the living God.
And so what are we living for? Are we living to serve our own goals or God’s purposes? Do we think we’re here to please ourselves, or are we here to serve God by serving others?
So we need to ask ourselves how can we serve our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or those we don’t even know? How can we serve this present generation.
And so we end well by serving God by serving others.
2. Keeping the Faith
In 2003, the Ohio State Buckeyes faced the Miami Hurricanes in the Fiesta Bowl. Right before the game, Ohio State’s coach, Jim Tressel, asked his players one question. “How do you want to be remembered?”
They answered that question because when the game was over, Ohio State had pulled of the greatest upsets in college football history by defeating the Miami Hurricanes and winning the national championship.
Paul answered this question about ending well from a Roman prison cell, and he did so with the knowledge that he could be put to death at any time. And so he wrote his own epitaph with these words.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8a NIV)