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REACHING THE WORLD FOR JESUS

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

FINISHING WELL

FINISHING WELL
by Pastor Mark Taylor

“I Have Glorified You on the Earth.  I Have Finished the Work Which You Gave Me to Do.” (John 17:4)

God wants you and I to “Finish Well”.  He wants us to be able to say as Jesus did: “I have glorified You upon the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4) There is a lot at stake in this matter of serving the Lord.  First of all it is a privilege that you and I have been chosen to be one of God’s children; Jesus said:  “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you” (John 15:16).

Most people who read this message will remember their commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.  They will remember the day they asked the Lord to forgive them of their sins, save them, and give them eternal life.  Many of these people decided to live a life pleasing to the Lord and become faithful in attendance and giving in a local church.  However, some of these are not “Finishing Well”.  Their lives have become so busy and full of other things, they have very little time for worship of the God who saved them or fellowship with those who are living for the Lord Jesus. 

It is both dangerous and short-sited for you or I to turn back on serving the Lord Jesus after He has done so much for us.  “Now,The Just shall live by faith. But if he draws back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him." (Hebrews 10:38). We will be in danger of losing the blessings and protection that God wants to give us.

 God choose Saul to be the first king of Israel.   After Saul had reigned as King for two years, he committed a great sin against God by taking Samuel’s responsibility of offering burnt offerings before he went into battle.  Listen to what God told a King who He honored and loved:  “And Samuel said to Saul, You have done foolishly: you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you…But now your kingdom shall not continue: the LORD has sought him a man after His own heart…because you have not kept that which the LORD commanded you” (I Samuel 13:13-14).  And in another situation Saul disobeyed God again:  “Samuel said unto Saul: for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel” (I Samuel 5:26).  “But the spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.”  (I Samuel 16:14). 

One of the problems we see in Saul’s life is pride.  He became proud of his position and power.  He felt like he could do God’s work better than God. He felt like he did not need God.  Twice God gave him specific instructions and twice he disobeyed them.  When God’s Holy Spirit quits working in a person’s life, there is an empty vacuum.  We can be sure if God held Saul accountable for his sins, He will hold us accountable if we don’t “finish well”.  Serving God is not a game, it is an eternal commitment on your part and on God’s part.

The first way is to know if you are “Finishing Well” is to ask yourself: “Am I keeping His Commandments”.  “And by this we know that we have known Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3). There are two important commandments that our Lord Jesus emphasized.   “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:38-39).  Do you really know the Lord and love Him as your God and Savior?  Do you ever tell Him you love Him?  Do you ever show Him you love Him?  Jesus said:  “If you love Me, keep my commandments.”  (John 14:15).  Maybe you started out keeping His commandants and loving Him, but what about today?  Are you “Finishing Well”?

Another way to know if you are “Finishing Well”, is to look at your priorities in life.  Do you love the Lord Jesus and His work more than the things of this world?  “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).  Have you asked the Lord Jesus his opinion about the things you are doing and how you are living?  Would you take the Lord Jesus with you where ever you go?  Would you invite Him to hang around your friends and participate in the activities you call fun?  Would you invite the Lord to watch your favorite TV shows with you and look at what you see and write on the internet?  “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, who has sealed you until the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30).   If not, then you are not “Finishing Well”.  Be careful that you do not end up like Saul and lose all the wonderful blessings that He wants to give to you.  “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6).

A third way to know if you are “Finishing Well”, is to evaluate how much you love His Church.  “Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it”.  (Ephesians 5:25).  How often do you attend the worship services and Bible studies?  How often do you spend time with other Church members and talk about the Lord and His work?   “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the (Christian) brothers (and sisters). He who does not love his brother (or sister) abides in death” (1 John 3:14). Jesus said: “By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another” (John 13:35).  Just because you had some faith at one time in your life, will not guarantee you will “Finish Well”.  “What does it profit, my brothers and sisters, though someone says they have faith, and they do not have works?  Can faith Save Him?.....Even so faith, if it does not have works is dead, being alone.”  (James 2: 14, 17).


Let us consider all the advantages of “Finishing Well”.  “But as it is written, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard," nor has it entered into the heart of man, "the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).  If we haven’t been “Finishing Well” then we need to ask for forgiveness and “Finish Well”.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  

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