Summary: Sermon three in the series. The characteristics of a Christian who never quits seeking to fulfill God’s purpose for his or her life.
I Will Never Quit
April 28, 2007
Text: To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (Romans 2:7-10)
This is the third message in the series that I have entitled “The Warrior’s Code”. The Warrior’s code, or as it is called in the United States Army, the Warrior’s ethos, declares the core values of a warrior. Much has been said in recent years about spiritual warfare. I believe in spiritual warfare, too. But warfare is waged by people who will make the ultimate sacrifice for what they believe. It is what is expected from soldiers who defend our country. Without people with a warrior’s heart a nation cannot be defended. Without followers of Christ whose hearts place the kingdom of God above everything, the kingdom of God will not advance. As Jesus said, “From the time of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of God has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it.”
In the first message, we saw that the warrior always places the mission first. As Jesus taught us to pray, our souls cry out first and foremost, “May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” And as Jesus demonstrated when he was about to lay down his life on the cross, “not my will, but Yours be done.” Above all else, the mission God gave to each person motivates the actions of the believer. Jesus said, “go into the world and preach the Gospel, teaching people to obey all of my commands…” Therefore, that is what the spiritual warrior does.
Second, the warrior’s code declares, “I will never accept defeat.” It only follows that if you and I are to put the mission first, then we must do so and not be willing to be defeated. Defeat means that the mission is not accomplished. Defeat means that people are lost to eternity. Therefore, the spiritual warrior takes his life’s work very seriously. The spiritual warrior fights hard, fights smart, and fights relentlessly.
The third statement in the Warrior’s code says, “I will never quit.” As seasoned soldiers will tell you, battles aren’t easy. They are very hard. A soldier fights without food, shelter, and sleep if necessary. A soldier will find himself under fire for long periods of time, and on the march for long periods of time, or cold and hungry for long periods of time. Warriors aren’t called to a life of ease. They are called to fight and win. That means that they must continue until they have won the battle.
I think that it is a mistake to take the Christian life as the means to the life of ease. It is quite the opposite. That isn’t to say that the Christian life is too hard, too unhappy, or too constraining. The opposite is true. The Christian life is fulfilling, thrilling, and liberating. But, it is not a life free of tears, death, sorrow, and sin; at least not yet.
Proposition: In the passage that I have read, Paul warns us that persistence in doing good is required for success in pleasing God. Persistence is the character trait of a person who values success in a venture so much that he pursues it in spite of whatever hardship is required to bring about the desired outcome.
Interrogative: How does one persist in following Jesus Christ?
Transition: In the passage, I see three characteristics of those who never quit. 1) Hunger for heaven, 2) Self-discipline, and 3) God’s strength to persist.
I. Hunger for Heaven
A. Hunger is a terrific motivator for someone to persist in doing the Lord’s will.
i. Glory is the desire to be honored by those who are revered. The Christian lives for the two words that will welcome us into heaven, “Well done”.
ii. Honor is the satisfaction of knowing that you have succeeded in doing something because it is the right thing to do. The right has been upheld. Evil has been vanquished. And even if no one else ever knows of what has been sacrificed, knowing that the right thing has been done is enough.
iii. Immortality is living forever and living in strength. Immortality is the ultimate prize for the believer. The immortal believer will live forever in the presence of God and in a world that is the way it is supposed to be. It is more than the fountain of youth.