Finishing Well | Zealot Part 4 | St. George
Question: What on earth am I here for?
When it comes to purpose there are two options...
1. Obey OURSELVES.
2. Be COMMANDED.
2 Timothy 4:6-8 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Observation #1: Finishing well meant THE SAME THING for Paul as it does for us.
To finish well we all must…
1. Offer our lives in WORSHIP to God.
2. CONNECT and contribute to God’s family.
3. GROW as a follower of Christ and take others with you.
4. Be a SERVANT with the gifts and abilities God has entrusted to you.
5. Join God on MISSION - Help as many people as possible take their next step in becoming fully devoted and fully delighted followers of Christ.
Observation #2: Finishing well doesn’t mean finishing AHEAD of others.
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
2 Corinthians 10:12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
Observation #3: Finishing well is DIFFICULT.
2 Timothy 4:6-8 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Corinthians 11:24-29 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
Note: Fulfilling God’s purposes with PEOPLE can take a toll PERSONALLY.
“Cynicism begins not because you don’t care but because you do care. It starts because you poured your heart into something and got little in return. Or maybe you got something in return, but it was the opposite of what you desired… Most cynics are former optimists.” - Carey Niewhof (I Didn’t See It Coming)
Big Idea: If we allow CYNICISM to develop in our hearts we won’t finish well.
“What I needed to understand is what you need to understand: cynicism is actually a choice. Cynics aren’t born; they’re made. Life doesn’t make you a cynic; you make you a cynic… If you’ve grown cynical, please understand that cynicism happens NOT because your heart is closed but because it was once open. And then life happened. All the hurt happened. Now you’re left with a choice. So what do you do?” - Carey Niewhof (I Didn’t See It Coming)
Insight: Instead of focusing on the HURT in you, focus on your HOPE in Christ.
Philippians 1:20-24 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. (NLT)
1. Do you think your purpose has been assigned to you by God or is it something that you get to determine for yourself? What are the possible pro’s and con’s of each view?
2. Agree or disagree: God’s purpose for my life requires me to admit, “It’s not about me!” Why?
3. Read our key passage: 2 Timothy 4:6-8. What goes through your mind when you read those words of the Apostle Paul? Do you find yourself inspired or defeated by these words? Why?
4. Read 2 Cor. 10:12 and discuss how comparing ourselves with others will mess with our ability to finish well.
5. What are the kinds of people and experiences that push you toward cynicism? Read Philippians 1:20-24 and talk about the cure for cynicism.