FINISH WELL! – Hebrews 12:1-2a

The Scriptures record for us many examples of folks who did not finish well.  The Scriptures tell us of King Saul who was a “short-spurter.” He began well but he didn’t finish well.  In the New Testament we find the example of people like Ananias and Sapphira.  Paul wrote of a man named Demas, saying that He had forsaken him because he loved this present world.

Christian, if you do not finish well… how well will you be rewarded when eternity calls your name?  On that day will it matter how you began the race or will it matter how “well” you ran the race?

Today we want to consider God’s strategy for us to run the race and finish well.  The race strategy is simple; it contains only three elements: 1.  Listen up, 2.  Lighten up, and 3.  Look up!

I.  LISTEN UP

A.  The witnesses of Chapter 11

  • Keep loving God (Matthew 22:37-40).
  • Keep loving each other (John 13:34-35).
  • Keep ministering to each other (Galatians 6:1-10).
  • Keep praying (I Thessalonians 5:17).
  • Keep giving thanks for “all things” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
  • Keep witnessing (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:18-20).
  • Keep on giving (II Corinthians 9:6-7).
  • Keep on reading the Word (Psalm 119:9, 11).
  • Keep on serving (Joshua 24:15).
  • Keep on living for God (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

B.  The witness of Hell (Luke 16:19-31)

  • If you are going to finish well you are going to have to “Listen up!”

II.  LIGHTEN UP

“…let us lay aside every weight, and sin which doth so easily beset us, …”

  • Lightening up requires self-discipline (I Corinthians 9:25).
  • Lightening up requires choosing between the better and the best (Philippians 1:9-11; I John 2:15-17).
  • Lightening up requires godliness over sin (I Timothy 4:7; cf. I John 1:6-7, 2:3-4).

Good things can encumber us, but evil things will entangle us.  Unless we get rid of the sin in our lives, that sin will trip us up and make us stumble and fall before we reach the goal, and then we will lose the prize.

III.  LOOK UP

When running a race, it is extremely important where you look.  Nothing will throw off your stride or slow you down like looking at your feet or looking at a runner coming up behind you.

  • Looking up requires not looking at yourself [pride].
  • Looking up requires not looking at other Christians [peer pressure].
  • Looking up requires not looking at the world [lust].
  • Looking up requires not looking at false teaching [Satan].
  • Looking up requires “living by faith” [looking at Jesus].

IV.  APPLICATION

God did not send His Son to die for our sins so that we could just “begin” to serve Him…so that we could “begin” the Christian life … but that we could finish it well.  But, so that we could hear “well done good and faithful servant, you have finished well.”