Summary: Men in the Bible who finished well by walking with God personally to the end of their lives, and made a contribution to God’s work with their time, talent, and treasure.
MEN WHO FINISH WELL
ONE LAP FROM THE FINISH
Last week I used a phrase in a sermon and it got me thinking about this sermon, “One Lap From The Finish.”
1. Indianapolis racer that ran out of gas in the last lap.
2. Last week a golfer lost a major championship because he three-putted on the last two holes. He couldn’t finish.
3. A team that should win a championship but choked in the final quarter.
4. This sermon answers the question: “What Does It Mean To finish Well?”
B. FIVE KINDS OF FINISHES ARE SEEN OF MEN IN THE BIBLE.
1. Disqualified runners, i.e. a sprinter who jumps the gun.
2. Finished out of the running, i.e. they went down hill in the last part of life and embarrassed themselves, i.e. a phenom is signed for millions but never lives up to his billing.
3. So-so: Wasn’t among the leaders and wasn’t among the losers. They finished in the middle, i.e. those who are average.
4. Suspended for breaking the rules, i.e. The New York Knicks were eliminated from the NBA championship because their stars were suspended for clearing the bench in a fight.
5. Finished well, i.e. not always the winner but:
• Play the game well.
• Play above their ability.
• Personify sportsmanship in the game they play.
C. MEN IN THE BIBLE WHO DISQUALIFIED THEMSELVES.
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway”
(I Cor. 9:27). To be a castaway is to be suspended.
1. Pete Rose has a lifetime ban from baseball because he bet on sports.
2. The Chicago Black Sox took a bribe.
3. A wrestler took steroids.
4. Eric Green, one of our football players was fined and suspended for three games because he tested positive for drugs.
1. Samson because of the temptation of a woman.
2. Absalom because of the temptation of pride and power.
3. Ananias and Sapphira because of the temptation of money.
D. THOSE WHO FINISH THE RACE POORLY.
1. Definition - This meant that they might have started strong but gave out and finished poorly. They began serving God, but compromised later in life. This meant that they compromised their personal relationship with God, their ministry for God or their character.
2. Examples of some people who finished poorly.
a. Gideon won a great battle for God. His first battle with 300 warriors defeated 120,000 Midianites. Toward the end of his life he compromised for money and power and was rejected.
b. Noah was greatly used of God to save the world through the flood. Later in life he got drunk, and his sons had to cover his nakedness.
c. Eli was the last of the judges. Toward the end of his life compromised and wouldn’t correct his sons. The Bible calls him fat, lazy because he was always sitting down, blind probably from diabetes, and out of touch with God because he didn’t understand God speaking to young Samuel and Hannah.
d. Solomon was used greatly as a young man to build the temple, unify the kingdom and God gave him great wisdom because he didn’t ask for money or power, but he asked for wisdom. In the end he had multiple wives and concubine, was drunk on riches and power, and he didn’t properly train his children, they split the kingdom.
E. A SO-SO FINISH
1. Definition - This means some people did not live up to their potential. They did not do what they COULD have done, or SHOULD have done. They did not complete their task.
2. Examples -
a. A hotshot rookie who has a great year, but never does it again.
b. An Olympic athlete wins the gold at the Olympics but never makes it in sports.
c. Biblical examples:
(1) Isaac - supernaturally born of Abraham and Sarah in their old age, was heir to the Messianic line, but accomplished very little in his life. He is known for his famous father Abraham and for his famous son, Jacob. He is called a “well-digger,” because every time he dug a well, someone contested it, he gave it to them and moved on. He wasn’t a fighter.
(2) Barnabas - was a leader in the early church. He was sent to established the church at Antioch. He brought in Paul to build up the church. He began as the leader of the First Missionary Journey but when the journey was completed Paul was the leader. He got in an argument with Paul, and ended up his ministry in Cypress where we don’t hear of him again. I don’t think Barnabas did wrong, or turned against God, he ended up his ministry “so-so.”