Finishing Well

1 Samuel 31:1-13 - Now the Philistines attacked Israel, and the men of Israel fled before them. Many were slaughtered on the slopes of Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons, and they killed three of his sons—Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua. 3 The fighting grew very fierce around Saul, and the Philistine archers caught up with him and wounded him severely. 4 Saul groaned to his armor bearer, “Take your sword and kill me before these pagan Philistines come to run me through and taunt and torture me.” But his armor bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When his armor bearer realized that Saul was dead, he fell on his own sword and died beside the king. 6 So Saul, his three sons, his armor bearer, and his troops all died together that same day. 7 When the Israelites on the other side of the Jezreel Valley and beyond the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled. So the Philistines moved in and occupied their towns. 8 The next day, when the Philistines went out to strip the dead, they found the bodies of Saul and his three sons on Mount Gilboa. 9 So they cut off Saul’s head and stripped off his armor. Then they proclaimed the good news of Saul’s death in their pagan temple and to the people throughout the land of Philistia. 10 They placed his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths, and they fastened his body to the wall of the city of Beth-shan. 11 But when the people of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their mighty warriors traveled through the night to Beth-shan and took the bodies of Saul and his sons down from the wall. They brought them to Jabesh, where they burned the bodies. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them beneath the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days

I. Finishing Well

2 Timothy 4:2-8 - Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. 3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. 6 As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

A. Encouragement to Timothy for his ministry.

  • Preach the word of God / In season and out

  • Patiently correct / Don’t let it go

  • Patiently rebuke / address problems in love

  • Encourage your people with good teaching.

B. Encouraging Timothy’s personal life

  • Keep a clear mind in every situation / anxiety, drugs, alcohol, distractions

  • Don’t be afraid of suffering / comfort is our curse

  • Work at telling others / work at it.

  • Fully carry out the ministry God has given you / finish your calling

C. Paul reflects on His end

  • Fought the good fight

  • Finished his race

  • Remained faithful

II. Changing our life From Saul to Paul

1. Strip off the weight

Hebrews 12:1-13 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.

2. Run with endurance

…And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

>>> Sometimes we feel like we are just putting one foot in front of the other. Running is not even an option. It is okay. Keep doing that. Let God provide your rest.

3. Cooperate with discipline

5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. 6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

>>> We have to take our lumps and keep moving on.

4. Be satisfied with God’s love and acceptance

7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? 10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

>>> I get fed up with discipline. I don’t like to be corrected. It is different when God is correcting you. He does it because he loves you and for your benefit. We have to trust that is true. Be satisfied with His love.

5. Start again.

12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

  • God is the God of second chances.

1 John 1:8-9 - If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

>>> Some of us today have gotten off track. It was the same old thing. The same old hurt. That addiction. That anger. Confess it. Let Him cleanse you and start again.

III. We are all called, Just like Saul and Paul

Romans 8:28-30 - We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.

A. Three completely different cultural settings

  • Saul was a 1000 years before Paul

  • Paul was 2000 years before us

  • God is calling us all to do the same thing. Keep your eyes on me. Run the race I have for you. I love you. I got you. Cooperate with me. You can do this.

B. 3 Different callings

  • Lead a nation. Saul had a big job. The first King.

  • Build the church. Paul’s job was so important.

  • Salt and light. Both of what they done laid the foundation for our call. To be His hands and feet in this world.

C. Same solution

  1. Strip the weight

  2. Run with endurance

  3. Cooperate with discipline

  4. Be satisfied with God’s love and acceptance

  5. Start again

Summary

Have you gotten off track? Have you failed miserably and just want to quit? Are you just tired of dealing with one crisis after another? Did you embarrass yourself? It is not over. 1. Strip the weight, no provision for the flesh 2. Run with endurance, focus on what He endured for you 3. Cooperate with discipline 4. Be satisfied with God’s love and acceptance, when we look for more we are easily defeated. 5. Start again, as many times as it takes. Strengthen those weak knees. Let us finish this race like Paul, not like Saul.