Summary: The importance of finishing this race for Christ strong in faith, at year end the importance of finishing strong so that we begin with a great impact on the new year
Saturday, December 30, 2006
NIV 1Co 9:24 ¶ Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
I have heard a lot about the retail stores hoping to finish the year out with Strong Sales to make the year a success or have even greater success. But the emphasis is on Finishing Strong. Even if it takes longer hours more sales, whatever it takes.
When Ben was in High School a couple of years he was on the track team now he was not a runner but a jumper, but as I sit in the stands I would hear other spectators encourage the runners to finish strong.
2Tim. 4 1-7
My departure is at hand, I have fought a good fight.
Finishing Strong, what decisions did Paul make during his life and ministry that allowed him to Finish Strong? No way I can make mention of all, but lets look at a few.
First. I think of his desert experience.
After his great encounter with Jesus on the Dacusmas road and then receiving his eye sight by the hand of Annanis Paul is not accepted well by most, believer or non believer.
Arabian desert became a temple of worship and praise for Paul. It was a time to go deeper into the depths and revelation of God’s plan for mankind.
Trained in the letter of the law, memorizing many scriptures possibly whole books of the law,
But not in the likeness of Christ, revelations and manifestations would take hidden time with God.
Slowing down takes more than a commitment, it takes discipline.
After a 1,000 days Paul had had many encounters with the Lord and had receive from the hand of the Lord.
What helped Paul finish Strong
When Barnabas came calling Paul was ready,
Too many times we are not ready for the opportunities to minister when they come. Study to show yourself worthy
When Antioch was bursting with converts Barnabas reached for help.
Paul worked closely with others in ministry and involving others in ministry.
Paul understood the sufficiency of Grace, Paul finished strong because he had learned it was not about him but about the Christ that was in him.
He found out when he was weak God made him strong.
We are pretty good at not letting anyone know we have weaknesses but we do take off the mask.
Paul was able to focus, not on things seen but on things not seen
NIV 2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.
Corrie Ten Boon in the concreation camps of WWII learned to see beyond the walls that held her captive. Eternal eyes see beyond the present. Heb 11: By faith Moses, forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king, for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
Paul learned to be content, that is a important part in finishing strong, learning. This means it was not a gift that Paul had, he learned how.
When we become unteachable in God’s ways we are finished.
How to Finish Strong
Paul learned how to handle shipwreck.
Have you had some shipwrecks this year? I know some of us have had to deal with some things that we were not expecting.
2 weeks ago Terri, Ben and I had to trust God in a situation that we thought was taken care of. Last Tuesday morning if you had been in my home you would have seen Terri shout and praise God as God intervened in that situation.
Paul learned to trust God even in shipwreck.
Paul knowing that his anchor was sure, that’s where most of us leave it
But Paul knew there stood by him this night the angel of God, whose I am and whom I serve,
Paul finished strong by living above his circumstances.
He finished strong by giving of himself.
He finsished strong by pouring himself into others.
2Tim. We find a man that is about to take his last breath. He is above 60 years of age. Crippled do doubt from beatings and tortures for his faith. Scared and battered but not bitter.
One last letter v9 come see me, v11 Luke is here, but bring others, v21 come before winter, v10 & 14 some have left me, v16 bring the parchments.
NIV 2Ti 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2Ti 4:8 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.