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Summary: Part of Fit for Life PowerPak.

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TITLE: A VIEW FROM THE FINISH LINE –

FINAL REFLECTIONS FROM THE APOSTLE PAUL

BIG IDEA:

A LIFE OF PERSEVERANCE EARNS A PERSPECTIVE OF CONTENTMENT, FULFILLMENT, AND EXPECTATION

I. (:6) PERSPECTIVE TOWARDS THE PRESENT: CONTENTMENT

A. Content to be a Living (and Dying) Sacrifice

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering”

Goal = to be pleasing to the Lord

B. Content to Depart this Pilgrim Existence

“and the time of my departure has come”

The train is pulling out of the station; Paul is weighing anchor

Woychuk: “The noun here for ‘departure,’ like the kindred verb in Phil. 1:23, means a detachment, a setting free, as the loosening of the tent cords when

breaking up camp or the hoisting of the anchor of a ship about to sail. The voyager here is breaking loose from the scene of his earthly pilgrimage, and

setting out for the heavenly harbor.”

II. (:7) PERSPECTIVE TOWARDS THE PAST: FULFILLMENT

A. Image of a Boxer or Wrestler – “I have fought the good fight”

Fulfillment in Fighting the Right Battles

Hiebert: “The figure is not drawn from the battlefield but from the well-known Greek games. It is the picture of an athlete struggling and contending for the prize. The underlying figure may be that of the wrestling match or the boxing arena.”

B. Image of a Marathon Runner – “I have finished the course”

Fulfillment in Running the Entire Course

C. Image of a Faithful Steward – “I have kept the faith”

With the definite article, Paul here is referring to that deposit of the entire system of sound doctrine, the gospel message in its entirety, the body of truth, to which.he had remained faithful to pass it along unchanged to the next generation of spiritual

leaders.

Woychuk: “Paul encountered false prophets, deceptive followers, bitter enemies, but he guarded that Gospel with a God-given jealousy to keep it free from perversion or adulteration.”

III. (:8) PERSPECTIVE TOWARDS THE FUTURE: EXPECTATION

A. Reward = “the crown of righteousness”

Campbell: “speaking of the particular crown which belongs to the particular righteousness, namely, that which is in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21). All believers, clothed in the righteousness of Christ (Eph. 6:14), will be given the crown of Christ’s

righteousness (1 Cor. 9:25) enabling them to stand in the presence of God the Father.”

Towner: “It may be objected that Paul teaches that righteousness (or justification) is already the possession of the Christian on the basis of faith in Christ (Rom 3:21-31). And this is true. But just as with the gift of salvation, which we now experience only in part, Paul can also say that ‘we eagerly await … the righteousness for which we hope’ (Gal 5:5). It is this complete righteousness that Paul expects the Lord to confer on him. Does Paul now envision righteousness as something to be earned? No. But the athletic imagery implies the need for a life of faithful response on the part of Christians; God

has given salvation and righteousness and along with them the responsibility to work out, implement and perform the new life in the power of the Holy Spirit.”


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