Finishing Strong, Part 5

Well, it looks like winter has finally showed up, but late. Can you believe what is going on? Temperature dropping. Chance of snow showers in the early morning. Lows headed back into the twenties the first of the week. This should have been happening a month ago. I sure hope it is short-lived. The Spring tease had me convinced that winter was over.

Last week we talked about finishing strong in light of fighting the good fight. We learned that we must first be in the fight just like we must first be in the race. If we haven’t placed our faith and trust in what Jesus did at the cross then we are not in the race or the fight. If we have, then this last aspect of finishing strong is probably the most important one. At the this point we should again be reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy that we have used for the basis of this study: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2nd Timothy 4:7. We will now look at that last phrase “kept the faith” and discuss what we think Paul means by this.

I believe we should go back to the book of Acts and read about Paul’s (Saul’s) conversion experience while on the road to Damascus. Remember how he was blinded by the great light and fell to the ground? He then heard a voice say “Why are you persecuting me?” and then answered with a question “Who, are you Lord?”. I believe at that instant Saul had the faith to believe it was Jesus Himself before Jesus reveled it was Him in His response to Saul. By that same faith, he obeyed what Jesus said and even though blind, he went into Damascus where he met Ananias just like Jesus said he would. And the rest is history. That saving faith he received on that day immediately became the sustaining faith that would be required to see him to the end.

I think what Paul learned during the course of his ministry is that God’s grace and the sustaining faith He makes available to us is realized the most when we are living in total obedience to His word. Keeping the faith is no accident. It is intentional. It is a total commitment to the sufficiency of His word. No matter what life brings our way or Satan himself throws at us, it is imperative that we exercise the faith He gave us and stand firm on His word. I believe that is what Paul did and it’s exactly why he could so purposely write those words by inspiration of the Holy Spirit “I have kept the faith”. As Chad so aptly pointed out in his message last Sunday, when we have a hunger for God’s word, and then yield to God’s Word and when we stand firm on God’s word we have the greatest potential of being what God wants us to be. When we are obedient to His word we are better able to stand against the wiles of the devil and “keep the faith”. Paul did and so can we. Let’s all finish strong together.

Special Note: This morning I had breakfast with my good friend and brother in Christ, Bob Moore. Bob has been contemplating starting a home bible study and has asked me to come along beside him to share in this endeavor. We both believe in having a hunger for God’s word, sharing God’s word and the power of earnest prayer. I’m very excited about the possibilities for ministry  to others that this will enhance. The first meeting will be this coming Saturday, March 18, from 7:30 to 8:30 AM. Still working on the location but we would like to extend an invitation to each of you to join us. Nothing blesses me more that studying God’s word in a group setting with men who love the Lord and truly believe in the sufficiency of the scripture. If you would like to come this Saturday, please let me know by Friday. This will help us determine a suitable location and a count for refreshments we plan to have.

May God richly bless each of you.

David

 

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