Saturday, December 29, 2012

Finishing Well


Habakkuk 2
2  Then the LORD answered me and said: "Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.
3  For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.

Throughout the Bible God calls attention to beginnings and endings. (Genesis – Revelation) At the end of the book of Revelation we read:

Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

 I am Alpha & Omega Beginning and End, the First and the Last … The scriptures also say that we should:

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

“Look to Jesus who is both the Author and the Finisher of our faith …” and that:

Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

We are “Made partakers of Christ”, if we keep on holding on to the very first act of our faith, which is the salvation of our soul, unto the very end.

Furthermore we are told that:

Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

“God knows the end from the beginning and has known from the ancient days the things which are yet to be done …”  And, He has decided that when it is all said and done, He is going to end up “pleased” with the outcome.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

For some reason it seems that God has a greater consideration for end of a thing more than the beginning thereof. And He evidently thinks more of those who exhibit patience than of those who are proud and hasty in spirit.

Suffice it to say, God appreciates a good finish.

John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.

In fact, Jesus said that He was all about finishing the work of God.

John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and he bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.

This He did on the Cross of Calvary when He took upon Himself the sins of the world and completed the work of redemption. “It is finished!”

Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

The Apostle Paul took this same mind unto himself when after continual physical hardships and overwhelming persecution he declared that he was not going to be moved but would “finish his course with joy” as a testimony to the grace of God. What a testimony it is.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Right near the end of the Apostle’s life he wrote to his son in the faith and told Timothy that he had fought a good fight and “finished his course” and kept the faith which had once been delivered to him in Christ Jesus.

Both heaven and earth, as well as each one of us, appreciate a good finish. We know first impressions are important but we also realize that:

Last impressions are lasting impressions.

At first impression Judas Iscariot was chosen from the multitudes, and a whole host of disciples, to become an Apostle of the Lamb. (Mark 3:14) Jesus chose Judas along with the other 11 to be with Him and to send him out to preach. However, first impressions can be deceptive …

I don’t mean to be critical, judgmental or insensitive but only stating the fact that the beginning of a thing reveals little if any substance of the outcome of the matter … however … the end speaks for itself just as our text for today declares. (Write the vision down – wait – in the end it will speak) This is just the way of life -

·        Abraham’s promise of being a father of many nations spoke louder at the end than at the beginning.
·        Moses’ declaration that God had sent him as a deliverer spoke louder after they crossed the Red Sea than before.
·        Joseph’s dream spoke louder at 110 than when he first told it at 17
·        David being anointed to be King over all Israel spoke louder at the end than at the beginning (BTW – it was a long road in between)
·        Ruth’s commitment to her mother-in-law spoke louder at the end of her life than when she first made that committment.
·        The sacrifice of Mary’s alabaster box of fragrant oil spoke louder in the end than it did when she first used it to anoint Jesus.

From Judas to Zacchaeus, from the young rich ruler to those spoken of in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 … last impressions are lasting impressions and finishing well is important. We may never get the new thing right if we do not finish the old thing well. Finishing well may be more important than we first realized.

How can we know if we are finishing well? The truth is: Only God can measure success and only He can say “well done” in the end.

Finishing well boils down to one thing – Pleasing God!

Pleasing God is the result of:
1.  What we believe
a.   Without faith it is impossible to please God – Hebrews 11:6
b.   What do we believe?
                                         i.    we believe the Bible is God’s Holy Word
                                        ii.    we believe that Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God and the only eternal payment for sin.
2.  Who we worship
a.   We know Who we worship – John 4:22
b.   Who do we worship?
                                         i.    we worship Jehovah Almighty, the One True Eternal God
                                        ii.    we do not worship our faith, our money, our nation, our comfort, our families or our future – all of these are important but we worship Jehovah alone.
Luke 4:8  And Jesus answered and said to him, "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ’You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’"
3.  Why we work
a.   Why do we work?
                                         i.    because the harvest is plentiful only the laborers are few
                                        ii.    because they will not know if someone does not tell them
                                      iii.    because faith without corresponding action is dead
                                      iv.    because in the end why we do what we do will speak …
Matthew 25:14ff  … His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord … inherit the kingdom … for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; … stranger … naked … sick … in prison …”

How can we finish well – Ask yourself: Do I trust Him? Who or what do I worship? Why am I a committed Christian? – Determine to be pleasing to God and finish 2012 well so that you can begin the New Year right with God. Finish well, please God, in all you do … the end will speak!