FINISH THE COURSE
II Timothy 4:6-8 – “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.”
A DEDICATED LIFE
THE LIFE OF THE Apostle Paul is clearly a great example of the dedication that any one individual may have towards the Lord and His work. Paul’s entire life, following his dynamic conversion, was one of service, sacrifice, and, at times, suffering. In the midst of this, Paul encountered the true power of God, which not only helped him to perform miracles but also equipped him with the strength and peace to finish the task the Lord had placed before him. Every time I view the life of this great man of God, I am humbled and keenly aware of my own need to become more dedicated and more consecrated to the things of God.
A DRINK OFFERING
When Paul says that he is “ready to be offered,” the language gives a clear picture of one who is ready to be “poured out” unto death. Paul knew that his time on the earth was short and that physical death would soon claim him through the executioner’s axe. He viewed the impending loss of his life as the completion of his earthly task. To be honest, one has to realize that Paul’s entire life, after conversion, was one that was poured out for the purposes of the Lord. Does this describe your life? We would not have the calling and the responsibilities that Paul had, but our responsibility and calling should be addressed with no less fervor, zeal, or dedication.
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT
Many in the body of Christ will teach that if a believer has enough faith, that they will experience little or no struggle. Paul taught us that to maintain the purpose and the direction of the Lord included battling “spiritual wickedness in high places,” etc. Therefore, for those doing the will of God, the battle - the struggle, if you will - is a sure thing. Satan and the powers of darkness will specifically oppose those who are attempting to fulfill the will of God. Paul says that, looking back over his life, he has moved through every struggle.
Romans 8:35 asks the question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Well, who can? No one can stop us from being the recipients of God’s love except you and me. If we believe that God is not for us, that God is not with us, or that God has abandoned us, then tribulation, distress, famine, persecution, or sword could possibly cause a breech in our relationship with God. Despite what we experience in this life, we are to hold to God’s unchanging hand. And, like Paul, we can experience peace and strength in the midst of every stormy situation that we encounter.
FINISH THE COURSE
God has mapped out a specific race for every believer. God has no “pinch-runners.” Each one of us is responsible to run the race which God has set before us. God will also equip us to run our specific race. It is our responsibility to stay on course, and to cross the designated finish line established for us by God.
Paul looked back over his life and said, “I have finished my course.” Are you still on course? Two major sources of aggravation and influence that often result in a believer forsaking their course are these: the influences of false doctrine and personal agenda.
In Galatians 5:7, Paul asks the Galatians, “You did run well; who did hinder you …?” The idea here is that someone had run in front of these believers (teaching them false doctrine) and caused them to swerve from their designated course. For an example of what personal agenda can lead to, look at the example of Korah in the book of Numbers, Chapter 16. Korah had a race to run but wanted to run Aaron’s race. His personal agenda cost him his ministry, his life, and his soul. Are you still on the course God has given you?
I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH
I have commented on these verses in the order in which Paul wrote them. However, this final clause is the most important of them all. Paul says that he has accomplished all of the above and has not altered or changed the tenets of the gospel that God gave him. God gave Paul the simply yet powerful Message of the Cross. Simply stated, this gospel teaches that if the believer will keep his eyes upon the finished work of Christ, then God will consistently send a river of grace - the effectual working of the Holy Spirit - to equip that believer with whatever he or she needs to complete life’s journey. Are you still trusting in Christ and Him crucified, or have you left the faith? Paul refused to leave the simple gospel, for He knew that in it is the power of salvation and sanctification.
Cindy Fox says:
Aug 5, 2015...
Thank you brother Larson for presenting to us the true Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified. I have watched SBN since its inception and listened to SonLife radio before that. I give GOD the praise and glory for raising up this ministry for an end-time harvest.I learn so much and have ordered a Signature Edition of The Expositors Study Bible.
Your preaching/teaching is a blessing to me ! God bless you sir !!