Summary: Anybody can start something, it's another subject altogether to finish something. It's yet another thing to finish well! Learn Paul's steps to finishing the race of life well.
Title: Finishing Well
Text: 2 Timothy 4:6-7
Date: March 11, 2012
Place: Washington A/G
I. Starting Things
A. It’s easy to do
1. We start projects
2. We start routines
3. We start new disciplines
B. Everyone does it
II. Finishing Things
A. An altogether different subject
1. How many half-done projects are floating around your place?
2. Illustration: I remember the time when I had built a garage in my yard. It was a great building. We dug the foundation, we poured the cement, we built the frame and closed it in. Sometime later I began to putting on the siding. I completed the entire building except for a small space on the back of the building.
When I was asked about the progress on the building I said, “ I finished it all but just a little bit, I think I have it down to where it’s just a spare time project.” One lady overheard our conversation and said in reply, “You’ll never finish.”
About five years later I sold that house, and I never did finish the siding on that barn.
3. Have you ever come close to the end of a project and did less than your best just to be able to call it finished?
B. Finishing the Race of life
1. We’re all running
2. At the appointed time we will all finish
3. This is one thing that will not be void of completion
4. There is a difference between finishing and finishing well
C. A great start does not ensure a great finish
In an article of Christianity Today you can find the story of Bob Pierce.
Bob Pierce was the founder of World Vision and a leader of Samaritan’s Purse, putting it on the map.
While Bob did a lot of good things for the Lord, he did not finish well.
His uncontrolled temper led to his departure from World Vision
His own passions and desires led him to focus on the visible things and he paid little attention to his family responsibilities.
On his final trip to Asia, his daughter called and asked him to come home. He refused and in fact extended his trip. His wife went home. By the time she got there, the daughter had attempted suicide. A year later she tried again and succeeded. Pierce was in the hospital in Switzerland at that time suffering from a nervous breakdown.
He ended up separated from his wife and estranged from his whole family up until 4 days before his death.
D. A rough Start does not have to mean a poor finish
1. Maybe you are here today and have made some poor decisions in your journey or stumbled along the way.
2. I want to encourage you that no matter how you have been doing along life’s journey, it is not too late to finish well.
3. And for those who have been running the race of life well, I want to encourage you to keep focused on Christ, because you do not want to slip up now and finish poorly.
III. One who finished well
A. Paul did not start out so well.
1. He was a persecutor of Christians.
2. He was even there at the stoning of Stephen, giving his approval to his death.
B. The Lord gave him the opportunity to step into Hope and he became a believer in Jesus Christ.
1. He then took the next steps of faith and continued on in the journey.
2. He took steps that stood firm when he was arrested and beaten and stoned
C. Nearing the end of Paul’s life he writes a letter to his young friend Timothy. I want you to hear what Paul says to Timothy concerning the time of his own approaching death.
1. First Paul gives Timothy a charge to faithfully carry out his calling
2. Second, Paul speaks of his own life’s situation
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8 NKJV)
a. How is it that Paul is able to face what he is facing and yet come to the end of the race, the end of his life’s journey and still be focused on others coming to Christ?
b. It is because Paul is focused on the eternal, not the temporary. He understands that our hope is not found in this life or in anything in it.