Summary: Many today don’t finish. We start projects, marriages, business, education, etc. and we don’t finish. This sermon will present tools to you to finish and see the promises of God fulfilled in your life.
Among the now-famous professional boxers who started their careers in the amateur ranks are American gold-medal winners Muhammad Ali, Oscar De La Hoya, George Foreman, Leon and Michael Spinks, Floyd Patterson and Ray Leonard. But let’s talk a little about Muhammad Ali.
Ali quickly gained the confidence of the world and shocked the world on February 25, 1964, when we fought Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship of the world. Clay was a huge underdog in the fight, and many didn’t expect him to even challenge Liston. However, Clay "shocked the world" when he not only put up a fight against Sonny Liston, but dominated him enough in the first 7 rounds that Liston failed to come out for the 8th. Cassius Clay had done what many thought was impossible and put himself on top of the boxing world. Heavyweight title.
Today, Muhammad Ali has many accomplishments:
• Ali was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1983.
• In 1994 Sports Illustrated ranked Ali first on its "40 for the Ages List."
• In 1987 The Ring named him the greatest heavyweight champion of all time.
After examining Ali’s life, you can tell that behind his victories/accomplishments and glories, there is a story.
I 1971 - Fight Of the Century
Ali was defeated by George Foreman in match called “Fight of the Century”
Many of you are in the fight of the century. This is the season you will make it or break it.
II 1974 - Rumble in the Jungle
Ali defeated George Foreman during this boxing match called “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire.
Many of us are rumbling in the jungle. We don’t know what we really stand for. We look like winners but secretly we are wavering between two opinions.
III 1975 - Thrilla in Manila
Ali defeats Joe Frazier in the "Thrilla in Manila" in the Philippines.
But many of us are into thrills. We have too many thrilla’s in Manila or California or Louisiana, etc. You have struggle with being flesh ruled. These are sins that so easily beset you.
We noticed in Ali’s first fight in 1971, he was defeated by George Foreman. You imagine that he wanted to quit. But three years later, Ali came back and whipped on old George. He was determined to become the greatest . . . Ali was often tell others that “I am the greatest”! He didn’t give up until he became the greatest. He didn’t quit -- he finished his course. What about you? Are you going to finish the race/destiny/dream set before you? Let me lend you my sermon title tonight as we chase together the subject - THE STRUGGLE TO FINISH.
Definition of Finish - completed by doing all things: required (demanded prerequisite to completion), ,an necessary.
Let’s look at two ways to finish:
• Bring it to a conclusion or end.
• Bring it to a perfection, a level of excellence.
I am finding in the Body of Christ that we don’t have many people who finish. We have a generation of people who are not finishers. We have a generation of fathers who walk off and don’t raise their kids, people don’t finish being single, people don’t finish being married, people don’t finish church, don’t finish sewing projects, don’t finish losing weight, etc.
WHY DON’T WE FINISH?
1. We don’t understand that we have an enemy - the devil. He is not stupid or dumb. He is cunning and crafty and after you.
Ephesians 6: 11
Wiles - craftiness, tactics, strategies, ambush.
2. Excuses - are the crutches of the undetermined and uncommitted.
3. Become distracted by others. Realize that some people don’t want you to finish. You make others look bad when you finish.
They distract you because they see you as a threat to their private agenda. They recruit others against you.
4. We become drawn away from our own lust. Falling into immoralities and secret sins.
5. We reject the advice of authority. We want to be independent, unaccountable, and many of us are unteachable.
Authority is God’s plan to protect our lives. We need personal accountability.
STRATEGIES TO FINISH:
I PUT THE DOG BACK IN THE DOGHOUSE.
Delivery my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.
Dog - represents the agent of destruction or the devil. (Devil - diabolos which means one who strikes repeatedly - again, again, and again, until he finally breaks down one’s mental resistance).
Get the folly out of the church (inside and out)
Folly - evil, wickedness, foolish act or idea.
Most of you are in folly, because you need deliverance. Many of you are under curses.