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Finishing Well...

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Finishing Well

  • Topic: CHRISTIAN LIVING, FAITH, SPIRITUAL GROWTH, SPIRITUAL LIFE, SUFFERING

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Hebrews 12:1-4 Finishing Well Pastor Jason Lim 05 June 2016 Champions finish what they start. The true Christian does not just start well, but he will finish well. Like Paul, his goal is to be able to say, "I have fought a good fight, finished my course and kept the faith. ”May this sermon encourage you to finish well.

Hebrews 12:1-4
Finishing Well
Pastor Jason Lim
05 June 2016

Champions finish what they start.

The true Christian does not just start well, but he will finish well.Like Paul, his goal is to be able to say, "I have fought a good fight, finished my course and kept the faith.”May this sermon encourage you to finish well.


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Sermon Transcript

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This morning, we continue with the motif of faith in the book of Hebrews. We have covered more than 30 sermons in Hebrews now and we are coming to an end, we are coming to the second last chapter of this book – Hebrews chapter 12. So if you have your Bibles, it would be great if you could turn to Hebrews 12 and we'll be looking at verses 1 to 4 this morning.

This is a familiar story to most of us. I think everyone must have heard about the tortoise and the hare, or the tortoise and the rabbit. The rabbit or the hare was supposed to win the race but because it got complacent, it lost out in the end. It's a great story about how we can all start well and not finish well, and that's the concern of the book of Hebrews.

The author has been warning the Hebrew believers, the followers, that you have started well, you have laboured, you have served, you have given, you have sacrificed, but there is a danger facing you because you started well, but you may not end well.

And that's why from the beginning of Hebrews, he had already warned them, that you may drift away, you may just drift away from Christ.

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.
(Hebrews 2:1 ESV)

And then in chapter 3, he says you may fall away from the living God. You cannot rest on your laurels, you cannot say to God, I believe you; the key is, are you still believing today?

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.
(Hebrews 3:12 ESV)

So in Hebrews 10, he reminds us that you need endurance, you need to keep believing. Don't just start well, make sure you finish well.

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
(Hebrews 10:36 ESV)

So when we come to Hebrews 12, as we near the conclusion of this book, the author reminds us again:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
(Hebrews 12:1 ESV)

The author is saying, in a Christian life, it can be likened to a race and nobody starts a race hoping to end it poorly. Everyone wants to start a race and end well. So he says, let us not just start well but let us learn to finish well. Like what the apostle Paul himself would say, I have fought the good fight, I finished the course, I have kept the faith [2 Tim 4:7].

Finishing well is vital to the Christian journey, and how are we today to finish well? I want to share with you just some simple thoughts from Hebrews 12 verses 1 to 4. If you are here today as a Christian, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I hope this is what you aim for, this is what matters at the end of it all: I have fought the good fight, I finished my course, I have kept the faith, I will finish well.

1. Run with Endurance

To do that, some simple thoughts. Number one, the author here tells us you've got to run with endurance. If you want to finish well, don't just start well. “Run with endurance the race that is set before us” [Heb 12:1]. The Christian life is not a 100-metre dash. The Christian life is more like a marathon; it's more like a long-distance run.

When I was younger, I think it was secondary one, we were exposed to 2.4 kilometres' run. You know how it is first time running, all the kids lined up, excited about it and to prove to one another who is the best, who is the strongest runner. So I remember a bunch of my friends, they are the jokers. When the teacher says, “Go,” wah, they run with all their might as if they are so fit, full of stamina but after about one, two rounds, you see them panting because they ran so fast and gave it all their best, but didn't realize that 2.4 kilometres' run is not won by the first 400 or 800 metres. It's won when you cross the finishing line at the end.

You see it's not just good enough for you to start well; you've got to end well. I want to apply it straight away to many of us. You see some of us, we think that as a young believer, you are a youth today, you're young and you believe in Jesus and you say, “Wow, I serve God with all my life here.” But then you realize that it is not so easy to keep following, serving, reading, pursuing God up to the day you die. Because when you get older, you may come into university then you have a career, then you've a family, and you start to slow down in your journey of Christian faith. And maybe that already describes some of you.

Timestamp 0:05:25

You could remember those years, five, ten, fifteen years ago, you were on fire for Jesus. You had wonderful Godly ambitions and aspirations. You say, “I'm going to live my life for Jesus Christ. I'm going to serve him full-time, doesn't matter whether I'm in a secular workplace, or in a church workplace, or wherever God calls me, my life is to be lived for Jesus.”

That's your passion then but now, surrounded by friends, surrounded by the necessities of life, of daily living, you've cooled off, you stop running. And you say to yourself, “But I did run very well for the days I was a youth. Surely that would be good enough.” But then we will be like the group of jokers I had with my class. They cheered themselves that they won the first 400 and 800 metres but the real winners are those who persevere, who endure until the end.

Some of you are better-halfers, meaning 50, 60, 70 and you say to yourself, “You know I serve the Lord for the first 20, 30 years of my life. It's time for me to relax, to chill, to slow down. Let the younger generation take over.” You know that's a very common thing I hear? "Let the young generation take over." I say, “Take over what? It's your race!”

I mean if you want them to serve, to rise, to mentor them, that's wonderful but don't make yourself sit on the sidelines and watch them run. It's like a 2.4-kilometre run, as I say. You run the first 800 metres, you say, "Wah, I run so well,” and then you stand on the side and say, “Go ah, go,  go on, I cheer you on.” What's the point? You are to run your race right up to the end. Don't just start well, finish well for yourself.

God has not called you home, folks. Many of you think you're already home, you know? Seriously, you sit here, you say, “Gow liao lah. Enough already. I'm the ultimate saint. I serve the Lord with great passion in the past and now I have reached nirvana.” No. Run with endurance; this is not a hundred-metre dash.

My friends, I hope I'm not saying this in a mean spirit. I want to encourage you because you still have 10, 20, even if one or two years, you don't stop before the finishing line. You make sure you cross the finishing line. In order to do so, I know it's not easy.

The Bible here tells us that you've to run with endurance [Heb 12:1]. Really, the word I want to emphasize, maybe not the word “run” but the word “race”. The word “race” here is the word “agón” in the Greek, which in the English, we translate it to be “agony”. In other words, this race demands great energy, activity and effort. After all, this is not a stroll in the park. This is a race. The Christian life requires diligence, discipline, great perseverance.

Some of us, we live that kind of a let-go-and-let-God lifestyle. You know, God is going to help me along. I just need to relax, chill and that's all that is needed. No, no, no, the Christian life takes a lot of effort.

I quote, again, Dallas Willard: “God is not against effort, God is against earning.” You don't earn God's favour but you need to put in effort in the Christian life. Agón – pursue God in the Scriptures, put in effort to read your Bible, to hear the preaching, put in effort to pray, to serve, to give, to sacrifice. It's all necessary.

So if you're a better-half today, or you're someone who has slowed down in your walk, in your race in life, it's time to step it up again. Put in your agón, your effort because that's what it takes to finish well. You've got to run with endurance.

Timestamp 0:10:09

The word “endurance” is a commonly explained word here in Gospel Light. In the Greek, it's the word “hupomoné”, which means to stay under. You see when life is difficult, we tend to want to quit, to get out from a difficult situation but in order to finish well, you've got to stay under that difficulty, under that pain, under that suffering, under the difficult circumstance if need be. Stay under, don't quit, keep on going, then you can finish well.

Some of you today go through trials, sicknesses, pains, family problems and there's always this temptation to throw it all away and say, “That's it. I have enough. I'm not going to follow Jesus anymore.” Then you have just dropped out of your race. Run with hupomoné, the agón that is set before you.

In 1968, Mexico was holding the Olympics at that time and I bring you to the scene after the closing ceremony. Everybody has the story about before and during but this story is amazing. This is a story after the closing of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. The ceremony is over, people are leaving the stadium, all the medals have been awarded, then there was this announcement from the announcer himself. He says, “Ladies and gentlemen, please stay back.” You say, “What's up?” Then, they hear sirens, police sirens, they see the flashing red and blue lights and then from a distance, they saw a man limping and trudging into the stadium.

The announcer says, “Please be seated. We have the last runner from our marathon.” He was shocked. Last runner for the marathon? Hey, the awards have been awarded, have been given some hours ago. Closing ceremony is over. What last runner? Then they were made to understand that this man is from Tanzania. His name is John Stephen Akhwari and he was limping into the stadium – real story – because midway in the marathon, he had a bad fall. He fell, he damaged his shoulder, he dislocated his knee, he was banged on the head, trampled upon by several runners but he got up, and agonized his way for the next 20 km.

Several hours later, when everybody is gone, he is still running his race coming into the stadium. The crowds were amazed. Who is this guy from Tanzania? And they cheered him on and they cheered him on and eventually, as he crossed the finishing line, the standing ovation to him was so rousing, it was even louder than for the winner of the marathon himself.

It is said that Akhwari had “the greatest last place finish ever” and the next day, he was asked, “Sir, why didn't you just quit? Why didn't you just drop out? I mean you were injured, you were having pain and dislocation of your knee. Why would you continue? Bandage and everything you could see. ” He said this, “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 5,000 miles to finish it.”

God did not send you here just to start your race. He saved you, redeemed you that you may finish your race. Champions finish what they start. Let me put it simply: Christians finish what God would start in our lives. So the lesson here is clear. The author uses a race imagery to help us realize the importance of running with endurance because if you don't, you're not going to finish well.

2. Remove our Encumbrances

But secondly, in this text, he reminds us that we need to remove our encumbrances – make sense. If you want to run fast, if you want to really finish, make it easy for yourself – remove the weights, remove the encumbrances.

If you look at the good long-distance runners, the Kenyan runners, they are all slim, skinny, not an ounce of fat as it were. They wear very loose clothing, right? They don't wear your… wah,  they don't carry a haversack and so on. No, they wear lightly because if you want to finish the race, you better make sure you deal with the weight problem.

Timestamp 0:15:21

Now, the weight problem is a very significant one, at least for Singaporeans. There's a joke, let me say this, there's this husband who was in the bathroom, standing on his weighing scale and he sucked it [his tummy] in. His wife walked by and say, “Ay dear, what are you doing? That's not going to help, you know?” He said, “Of course it helps. It's the only way I can see the numbers.” The weight problem is a Singaporean problem, not just physically but I think also spiritually and really, it's a problem for all who follow Jesus.

The author here says, if you want to finish well, run with endurance and number two, remove your encumbrances – “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely” [Heb 12:1]. So he says you've got to lay aside things that weigh you down. What are the things that weight you down? He says number one, there is every weight, and then he says number two, there is sin.

So he makes a distinction between two things.  Now, I'm sure you understand that sin wars against the soul, sin hinders us from following God. That's clear. In fact, the author earlier on said, “Be not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” [Heb 3:13] So sin numbs us to God, sin slows us down in the Christian race. And I'm sure all of us understand we've got to put aside sin, we've got to repent of our sins, we need to turn to God in order to finish well.

But then, the author also gives us a second category of things that weighs us down. He says “every weight”. Now, these probably refer to things that are innocent, in and of itself. So there are sinful things you need to lay aside and then there are non-sinful things, innocent things in and of themselves, that you have got to put aside. And if you think about it, there are many things in life that are not necessarily sinful but they can weigh you down.

When I was a student, I had believed the Lord Jesus Christ. By then, I think it was in university days. I wanted to follow Christ, I wanted to serve God but you know in those days, every young… In my era, it's the time where computers are getting more and more prevalent, computer games are getting more and more prevalent, and those were the days where I studied and I wanted to follow Jesus and I play computer game.

One of my favorite games is FIFA. I can't remember 1990 what lah, or 1980 what lah, it's so long ago. Now is FIFA 2016 ah. Since those days, I have not dared to touch FIFA anymore. Why, because when I was a student, I was so addicted to my FIFA game. Every time come home, switch on computer, play, play, play, play, play, play. Now, is playing computer games sinful? Not really. Some games are, I think, but not FIFA – soccer, it's fine. But it weighed me down. It's not a bad thing but it weighed me down and one day, I decided to make a choice.

Now, I will say this. It's after I got “sian” with FIFA, meaning I got sick and tired of the game then I made a choice. It was very difficult to make a choice while I'm enjoying the game, all right, truth be told. But after I got sick of that game, I knew I could always jump on to the next game but I said to myself, “No, this is going to weigh me down. This is going to hinder me. I'm not going to have enough time to serve God, to seek Him, to cope with my studies. I've got to lay this aside.”

Then when I went to the working world, I wanted to pick up surgery, as you know. I wanted to be a medical missionary. I wanted to go to overseas, third world country, heal people, do some simple surgeries so that I can show love, I can get some chickens and eggs in return to survive in the village. So I really needed to pick up surgical skills, basic ones.

So I got into a department that has a lot of surgeries to perform and boy, I got sucked into the surgical world, I often said this. I was so… This is my character, I am so absorbed by surgery that from morning to night, all I'm thinking about is, whose tummy is there for me to cut?

And I worked so hard at it, I spent long hours at my workplace and then after six months, I looked back at my spiritual life and I say it is a mess. No time to read the Bible, no time to pray, church becomes a routine, a formality, just going through the motions for me. I said this is enough.

I know surgery is important, but my spiritual life, God is more important and I've got to lay this aside. You know surgery is not a bad thing. It's a good thing, it saves lives but it's a weight that keeps me from going forward. I've got to lay it aside.

Timestamp 0:21:03

J. Wilbur Chapman, he says, “My life is governed by this rule: Anything that dims my vision of Christ or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life or makes Christian work difficult is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it.”

My friends, what is the weight for your life today? A relationship? A job? A hobby? A possession? A title? Am I saying these things are wrong? No, but if it hinders you, it becomes wrong to you. It stops you from running the race that is set before you.

You see, the Christian life is likened to a race, sure and a Kenyan female runner can dress in high heels and long dress and she run, very “swee”, [that is] very pretty, very beautiful. She can run like that, but would she want to run like that? No, because she has a very clear goal to finish the race and if she's to finish the race well, she lays aside all these unnecessary things to do what is necessary. She chooses what is best and not just what is okay.

Today, some of you are choosing what is good over what is great. That's your problem. Many Christians don't choose bad things. Sometimes you do lay aside sin, but sometimes you choose good things but the good things hinder us from the great thing, that is God. You've got to make a choice.

So the author tells us, number one, you've got to run with endurance, effort, perseverance; keep going on. Make your life easier by removing your encumbrances – deal with sin, repent of it, make choices in life that will lay aside things that may hold you back.

3. Remember the Encouragements

Let me say, finally, to help you in your race to finish well, remember the encouragements. They are helpful, motivational, inspirational encouragements that are found in the Scriptures. He says, number one… Where are the encouragements? He says number one, look around you or look behind you. He says “since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” [Heb 12:1].

Now, you got to read the Bible in context. Hebrews 12 follows Hebrews 11, and Hebrews 11 is talking about all the great heroes of the faith of Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses and he says, look at all of them. They all endured, they all ran their race, they all started well and finished well, and because they have done it, so can you. I remember, “If Yan can cook, so can you!” [This is a catchphrase of Martin Yan in his cooking show.] Now, that's exactly what he's saying. We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.

The only really long-distance run I've ever had in my life is the Army Half Marathon, not marathon half ah, already want to die. I think it was a 21-kilometre run, you really want to die. And I remember as we were… I managed to last to the very end and when you are tempted to give up, you won't because there are people who have finished the race before you and they stand there and they cheer you on, “Come on! Come on! Come on!”

These people who have done it come back and say, “You can do it.” That's what the author is saying, ordinary man Abel, Noah, Abraham, they have done it. That's the power of faith, you can do it, be encouraged. That's what is said [in Heb 11:4], “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice,” and so on, so forth, and the author says, “Through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.”

Timestamp 0:25:32

So the lives of these patriarchs, the lives of these heroes of the faith are meant to speak to us, are meant to inspire us, encourage us. Apostle Paul makes it even more clear, or clearer, in Romans 15:4:

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
(Romans 15:4 ESV)

Whatever was written in former days are written for our instruction (you say, in what way), so that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope. The supreme concern of Scripture is not whether you succeed in your business and so on. No. The supreme concern of Scripture is whether you endure in your Christian pilgrimage. Do you start well, finish well? Do you keep believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Would you keep obeying and serving?

So therefore, since we are surrounded, look around you, look into the Bible, they are our encouragements. Number two, he says:

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:2 ESV)

Not only look around, look up because he tells us to look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Jesus is the one who gives us our faith. He's the founder or He's the archégos in the Greek, which is the pioneer, and He is not just the founder or pioneer, He is the perfecter.

If I may quote from apostle Paul again: “He who has begun a good work in us will finish it unto the end” [Phil 1:6]. He's the one who enables us. This is a great hope. Your Christian race is not run by yourself. God, Jesus, He comes and He helps us. He's the perfecter, He's the founder of our faith.

And not only is Jesus the enabler, He's also our example, for He Himself endured the cross, despised the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God [Heb 12:2]. Our leader is not an armchair leader. He goes through the sufferings Himself. He endured the cross, the greatest of pain, this alienation from God and He made it through, and so will you, He says. So he says:

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
(Hebrews 12:3-4 ESV)

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. So look at Jesus, He's your example. If you are thinking of giving it up, look at how He suffered and then look at yourself. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

Now, this is where I like what Kent Hughes, a commentator, had to say. He says, in effect, the last sentence there, the author is saying, cut your melodrama, there are no bodies lying around. So he's saying, don't be so drama, don't be overreacting. Yes, you are in pain and suffering but you have not resisted unto blood. But look at Jesus, He endured the cross. So look at Him, He is both your enabler and your example, and this is where you draw inspiration and encouragement to keep believing.

I like what Corrie Ten Boom had to say. She said, “If you look at the world, you will be distressed. If you look within, you will be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you will be at rest,” because Christ is your example and Christ is your enabler.

Now is the NBA finals right, for those who are NBA fans. And if you look at NBA when people shoot the free throw, what do the opposing team supporters do? They take those giant cards and whatever fingers and they wave to do what? To distract you. Your goal is the basket but they will do everything they can to distract you so that you miss.

Satan is the king of distraction. He distracts you with everything but the author here says, look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Look to Him as your enabler. He's going to come into your life and help you in your journey.

Timestamp 0:30:20

But finally, not only do we look around, look upwards, we also look forward – again, very much tied to what Jesus Himself went through. Jesus looked for the joy that was set before Him and likewise, for the Christian, we run this race being encouraged, because we can look forward to the joy that is before us. That's the athlete's motivation. The apostle Paul, he says:

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
(1 Corinthians 9:25 ESV)

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things, discipline in all things. They do it, why? Why are they able to train so hard, eat so well, live so healthily? Because they are disciplined, and the reason why they are disciplined is because they look forward to a wreath. This is not a cemetery wreath. This is the wreath of a champion, the crown.

So they do all these because they want to receive the prize, the crown, the honour at the end of it all. Now, this is what the earthly athletes do. Christians, you should be like this and even more because your wreath is imperishable, it's an eternal reward. Again, he says:

An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
(2 Timothy 2:5 ESV)

Again, the idea of labouring for something that will come in the future. So the author is saying, don't quit in your race because when you finish the race, you get a wreath, you get a crown, you get the honour.

It's like Abraham and Moses. They look forward to the riches in Christ, they look forward to the eternal heavenly city God has made with His hands. That's what kept them going and that's what will keep you going – a clear focus on the eternal riches that is to come. So Wiersbe says, “For the Christian, Heaven isn't simply a destination; it's a motivation.” In Christ, wonderful motivation.

Let me end this morning with a story some of you may be familiar with. This is a picture of Derek Redmond. He's a runner of the Great Britain. He's one of the Olympic hopefuls during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The story is set in the semifinals of the 400-metre race. If he runs well, he would have a chance to enter the finals and compete for the gold medal.

He started off the blocks together with the rest of the runners, pretty much neck-on-neck, good chance, middle lane and then somewhere in the 200-, 300-metre mark, he suddenly pulled up. He felt a sharp pain going through the back of his right leg, his right thigh and he knew immediately that he has blown his hamstring, and anyone who has watched soccer or basketball, you know that when you pull the hamstring, that's done deal, you cannot get out of it. You need a lot of rest and time to recuperate.

He pulled up, collapsed to the floor, he knew that his race was over. He tried to get up, a medical personnel ran towards him, security people came towards him. Everybody is way ahead, he's now right down but he said, “I want to get up.” He got up without any help and he started to limp along the track.

At this time, a rather stout-looking man ran onto the tracks, the security people were holding him back but he pushed them all aside, went to Derek Redmond and held him. It's Derek's father and he said to his son, “Son, you don't have to do this. You can give up now.” And Derek Redmond says, “No, I won't give up. I have to do this.” And the father says, “If you have to do this, I'm going to do this together with you.” And so father and son trudged down the last 200… 100, 200 metres of the race and finished to, again, a standing ovation from the crowd.

Derek Redmond didn't win the gold medal that day but he finished his race, and he knew that his father will always be with him in his race. Too many of us quit in our race. Champions finish what they start. True followers of Jesus finish what we start and our great hope is that Jesus is the author and perfecter of this journey of faith. May that be true for you. Let's bow for a word of prayer, shall we?

Timestamp 0:35:29

No one ever said that the Christian life is an easy one. If you have been in the faith for any period of time, you will know it is extremely trying. We live in a world that is against the Lord Jesus Christ. We live in a world that does not value truth anymore. We face ridicule, we face opposition and to add to that, there are trials and pains, and sicknesses and difficulties that come your way. And when you go through all that, it is so easy for us to say, “I want to throw in the towel. I want to quit.”

But even if you don't want to quit, you say, “I think it's time for me to slow down in my race. I've got to take care of my career. I've got to take care of my family. I've got to take care of my children. I've got to make sure I have enough for my retirement. I want to make sure that I've enough so that everyone is secure. God, I've not much time for you anymore. After all, I've done it in the past. I lived a blaze of glory 5, 10, 15 20 years ago.” But this morning, God is saying to you, what matters is not how you started in the past but how you're doing in the present. Are you enduring, running, racing today?

My friends, how are you doing in your marathon of life? Maybe this morning, you've time to reflect and to consider. There's no comparison here. We are not comparing ourselves with another person. This is your race that God has set before you. You are personally accountable for this race. He has given you opportunities, talents, gifts, resources that you may run this race for His glory. So run it well. Run with endurance.

This morning, you may need to lay aside, remove some encumbrances, make a cut in some relationships, make a choice in your career, be done with some of the hobbies that may be good in and of itself, but it just distracts. Choose that which is great over that which is simply just good. And remember Christ, He will run with you; He has done it, He's the author and finisher of your faith. I mean He's done it for so many heroes of time past. And you will do it with this joy that is set before you.

At the end of life, we are all going to appear before God – the judgment, judgment for reward, the judgment for His children. Imagine what that day will be and live in preparation for that day. Will God, by His grace, will say to you, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. You've been faithful, you've been loyal to my word, you've not followed false teachings, you have kept to the Scriptures, you have laboured with your life, you've pursued me, you've finished the course, you've fought a good fight, you've kept the faith.”

This morning, I also want to speak to those who may not know Jesus as yet. There are so many things in life that you can pursue – hobbies, pleasures, possessions, fame. The world has so many counterfeits but nothing really satisfies and nothing really matters except the race of faith, this journey towards God. And I say to you, this journey towards God is only possible because of Jesus Christ who gave His life to save you from your sins.

This morning, I want to ask you to sign up for this race that you will repent of your sin, you repent of your own helplessness and then come to Jesus, believe that He has finished paying for your sins on the cross, and then run this race because this is the only race that maters at the end of it all. May God bless you.

Father, we thank You for this time that we could consider the truth of Scripture. May we, as a church, be a people who not only look forward to starting well but may we finish well, each one of us till the very last breath of our lives, before we are ushered into a glorious, painless, thrilling, joyful eternity with You. Keep our eyes focused on Jesus as we run this race. May You be gracious to hear our prayer this morning. We ask this now in Jesus' Name. Amen.

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