Summary: A sermon on the importance of finishing strong in our CHristian walk.
LEANING FOR THE TAPE
1. This morning I’d like to share with you excerpts of two life stories.
2. Listen closely and see if you can realize the similarities.
Failed in business 22
Ran for Legislature--defeated 23
Again failed in business 24
Elected to Legislature 25
sweetheart died 26
Had a nervous breakdown 27
Defeated for Speaker 29
Defeated for Elector 31
Defeated for Congress 34
Elected to Congress 37
Defeated for Congress 39
Defeated for Senate 46
Defeated for Vice President 47
Defeated for Senate 49
Elected President of the United States 51
That's the record of Abraham Lincoln.
Wilma didn't get much of a head start in life. A bout with polio left her left leg crooked and her foot twisted inward so she had to wear leg braces. After seven years of painful therapy, she could walk without her braces. At age 12 Wilma tried out for a girls basketball team, but didn't make it. Determined, she practiced with a girlfriend and two boys every day. The next year she made the team. When a college track coach saw her during a game, he talked her into letting him train her as a runner. By age 14 she had outrun the fastest sprinters in the U.S. In 1956 Wilma made the U.S. Olympic team, but showed poorly. That bitter disappointment motivated her to work harder for the 1960 Olympics in Rome--and there Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals, the most a woman had ever won.
3. What Wilma Rudolph and Abraham Lincoln had in common was more that just being great Americans.
a. More than just being determined.
b. More than their can do attitude.
4. What set them apart from the also-rans was a determination to finish strong.
a. In spite of setbacks.
b. In spite of defeats.
c. In spite of seemingly impossible obstacles.
5. One of the most important things we as Christians can do in our lives is to finish strong.
a. There are three stages in a man’s life.
1. The developmental stage. Where life skills are learned.
2. The practical stage. Where life skills are applied.
3. The Legacy stage. Where learned intelligence is passed on.
b. These stages are mimicked in the Christian life as well.
6. The importance of finishing strong cannot be overstated.
a. Finishing strong leaves a testimony that…
b. Our faith is real.
c. That it is strong enough to carry us through.
d. That our children can rely on it after we are gone.
e. Leaves an indelible mark upon this earth.
f. It glorifies and magnifies the Lord Jesus Christ.
7. Sadly the road of life seems to be littered with those who run out of gas before the finish.
a. So many…
b. Christians who backslide into the world.
c. Ministers who either self destruct or fall to the wiles of Satan.
d. We see so many and we know so many that it can be disheartening.
8. But then there are the success stories.
a. The Billy Grahams and the Jack Arnolds.
b. Jack Arnold, who at 69 after returning from a missions trip where he taught pastors.
c. Quoted that great theologian John Wesley when he said…
d. “Until my work here on this earth is done, I am immortal, but when my work for Christ is done…I go to be with Him.”
e. It was at that point in his sermon, that Jesus said, Jack your work is done.
f. And we have the man we look at in scripture this morning…the Apostle Paul.
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
9. There are three things I would like to share with you this morning about finishing strong.
a. How to finish strong.
b. Why we should finish strong.
c. Who will finish strong.
I HOW TO FINISH STRONG
I. Be prepared for your time of departure.
1. Paul knew his time was at hand.
a. He knew Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.
b. He had lived worthy of his calling.
c. He had been a faithful witness.
d. He had completed both requirements of the Christian life.
e. Now as his departure time neared…he was ready.
2. I Love the greek word for departure here…ana-loo-sis.
a. It literally means to remove the mooring ropes from a ship.
b. To set it free to sail to it’s new destination.