Do you know where you are going in your life?
Do you know what it will take to get you there?
How will you know when you have arrived?
What would you like to be remembered for?
I have often been impressed with the way the Apostle Paul summarized his life in: 2 Tim. 4: 6-8
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.”
As Paul faced the growing reality that his life would soon end, I believe he said, “I finished well.” My desire is that I will finish well. Are there steps we can take that will assure we will finish well? I believe there are.
A. We Should Serve the Lord Sacrificially.
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.”
2 Tim. 4:6 – Surely, we understand as Christ-followers that the Christian life involves service and sacrifice.
1. Paul in Romans 12:1, challenges us to lay our lives on God’s altar. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable (pleasing) to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.
2. We should commit ourselves to God’s will.
3. We should be willing to make whatever sacrifice is necessary to please our Lord.
B. We Need to Fight the Christian Life Successfully.
In 2 Tim. 4:7, Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight…” Do you have the will to win?
In the Greek language, love is very graphic. We have a picture of a contest where a person is expending a great deal of energy and effort. Do we realize that as Christians, we are at war with the powers of darkness? We are at war on three fronts.
1. We war against Satan – Eph. 6:11-12 “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.”
2. We war against the flesh. Rom. 7:14-25 – “As it is, it’s no longer I myself, who do it, it is sin living in me.” (Vs. 17).
3. We war against the world or the world system. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in us.” 1 John 2: 15
What will it take by each of us to win this spiritual war we are caught up against?
a. It will take spiritual exertion. “To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” Col. 1: 29
b. This war calls for spiritual discipline. 1 Cor. 9: 24-27. “Do you not know that in a race, all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I heat my body, and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
c. This war calls for spiritual vigilance. Col. 4: 2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
d. This war calls for a total reliance on God’s Power. Col. 1:11 – “Being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have a great endurance and patience.” As we look at what Paul wrote, several things are obvious, if we plan to win –
• We need to get into the race.
• We need to stay spiritually fit.
• We don’t give up, no matter how painful it gets.
• If we get knocked down, we get back up with even greater determination.
C. We Need to Faithfully and Fervently Keep God’s Word.
Paul in 2 Tim. 4:7 wrote: “I have kept the faith.” The word “faith” here has to do with the revealed WORD of God. It has to do with TRUTH. If we are going to faithfully and fervently keep God’s word, we must –
1. Know the word of God.
2. We must defend the Word of God. 2 Tim. 2:15 – “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved; a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
3. We need to live out the word of God. Col. 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom…”
4. We need to faithfully share the word of God. Paul in 2 Tim. 4:2 wrote – “I give you this charge, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.”
D. Lastly, we Need to Really Focus on the Finish Line.
2 Tim. 4:8- “…there is in store for me the crown of
righteousness…” John “the Penquin” Bingham, is an American marathon runner. Listen to his secret for running the race – “As I stand at the starting line, I know that somewhere out there is a finish line.”
How will you approach that finish line?
Do you intend to win the prize?
Will you hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Let’s run to win,