Summary: This is a sermon reflecting on the past year and on the need to finish well in the Lord.
I Almost Finished Well, In the Lord
1/23/2000 1 Kings 12:25-33 1 Corin. 9:24-27
Our year has come to an end. How many of us have started on a project in 2006 with great expectations of what we were going to do, only to have that project sit around and eventually left half done. When we first got into it, it seemed exciting, but the longer it took the more work it became or the more time it ate up, or something else caught our interest. We do not measure things very often by how well it started, but rather how did it finish. Whenever we almost finished well, we know something was lacking in the end.
How did you finish the year in 2006 spiritually. Would you say you’re closer to the Lord now on December 31st than you were on January 1st. We’ve all had a lot of things happen to us during those days. One thing for certain, none of us is the same person we were back on January 1, 2006. The question is which way do we move. Was it for the better or for the worse.
If you’re like me, you can see some areas of growth and areas of backsliding. When I look back over the year, I can confess that I don’t think I was as good of a husband at the end of the year as I was the beginning. Not having Men Who Excel in my life took away one of my areas of accountability and I can see areas in which I slipped. I started to become more inflexible in some ways, always being tempted to say, “well this is how I am.”, rather than listening to the voice of God in saying, “yes that’s true”, but this is what I want to turn you into.
In 2006, I did more activities for the Lord than ever, but I sometimes did it at the expense of taking time to really get to know the Lord by just being silent in his presence. I was seduced by the temptation of competition, trying to be like someone else rather than being who God called me to be. We do not grow in the Lord, by doing things, but rather by allowing God to change our attitudes and our actions toward others. Especially toward those whom we are closest too. When we almost finish well in the Lord, there is an indication that something has gone wrong inside our character. Never forget, God is far more interested in our character than he is our blessings.
What about you, what area of your life still needs some work at the end of 2006? Did you improve your attitude? Would people say you became kinder? Were you more loving at home? Did your language change to becoming more Christlike? Did you add some tv programs or music to your life that you would previously have deemed unacceptable because of your love for the Lord.
All the times you came up for prayer in 2006 asking for a change, did you allow God to work it out in your life. Did you quit trying to be the one in charge. Rarely does sin hit us and change us all at once. We find a way to make slight compromises and that leads to our downfall. Can you see where you compromised in 2006? Do you see where the gray areas are in your life? Are you somewhere you don’t really belong. You may not be doing anything wrong there yet, but you know its not a great witness for the Lord?
I want you to meet a young man by the name of Jeroboam. Jeroboam grew up in a single parent family because his father had died so his mother was a widow. But Jeroboam had a way about him, that when he started something, he finished it and got the job done. He worked so well, he got the king’s attention. King Solomon realized he needed him in his administration. So he put Jeroboam in charge of the whole labor force.
Now King Solomon was a king who had a great start in his life in his walk with the Lord, but as time went on, he went downhill in a hurry. He made compromises that never should have been made and it left him without God in his life. Things got so bad that God decided to tear the kingdom from him and give it to one of his servants. One day Jeroboam was leaving the city of Jerusalem and went out into the country. He ran into a prophet by the name of Ahijah. Ahijah was wearing a new coat. He told Jeroboam, "just wait a minute or two while I tear up this coat."