|4:7||I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:|
|4:8||Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.|
|4:6||For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.|
There is a huge difference between when we live a walk of faith, expecting what God will do through us and when we live a religious life like squirrels running around in circles. In spiritual terms, expectation is the same as the concept of hope. In today’s passage, Apostle Paul reflected on his life ahead of life scheduled of persecution. Apostle Paul delivered his message to Timothy, “Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season” And then, he clearly defined his whole life with three words. “Fight, Finish and Keep.” Simply put, he lived a life with one-heart, whole-heart and continuation because his life was full of hope. I bless you in the name of the Lord that you get the answer of hope and anticipation just like Paul did and be used as the pillar of main sanctuary though today’s message.
1. Anticipation for Saving Souls
In verse 6, Paul likened his death to ‘a drink offering.’ A drink offering is a step of an offering which pours a drink before they burn a lamb to an altar in the Old Testament. Paul is indirectly expressing that his death is coming, and he regards his death as a fragrant offering to God at the same time. This is a confession of faith that if he lives, he lives for the Lord, and if he dies, he dies for the Lord.
Read verse 7. First, Paul fought the good fight as a spiritual soldier. The essential fight of the children of God is not against flesh and blood as written in Ephesians 6:12. But the good fight which Paul mentioned about was a spiritual battle against the forces of darkness. Next, he confessed that he had finished the race. He likened his journey of faith to a race. Life is not like a sprint. The race of of a walk of faith is a long-distance race which also includes many obstacles. Finally, Paul declared that he has kept the faith. It means that he finished the race of victory. He has kept his faith throughout hardships or persecutions.
When we believe in God and have a deep affection for God, we can get 4 things. First, we want to meet God frequently. What does that mean? That is "loving to worship and meeting God at place of worship." Secondly, we want to communicate with God. That is "prayer". Thirdly, we want to give Him anything. We want to give him anything such as time, money, talents or anything that we have. And lastly, when we love God, we also want to love someone. What does that mean? That is evangelism. I bless all Yewon believers to have 4 love in your life plentifully and be a pillar of salvation.
2. Anticipation of the Award
Apostle Paul proudly said that God prepared the crown of righteousness for him because he fought the good fight of faith, finished his way to run and kept his faith. We must win the race of faith and put on the crown of glory, victory, pride, righteousness and life. I want you to prepare this prayer by praying to God and expect the new grace that will be given to you by God. In this context, Apostle Paul mentioned the crown which was prepared for him and especially expressed the crown of righteousness. He also emphasized the righteousness by expressing Jesus Christ as the righteous judge. It means that you may encounter unfair events because of the Gospel in your life, however, it is Jesus Christ who is a righteous judge and His plans and purposes are in everything. And what you have to always remember is that every Christian believer does not have the same crown. Salvation is the complete grace of God, but His reward is upon you as the saying goes, ‘as one sows, so shall he reap’. May all Yewon believers have the evidence rewarded with the crown of glory and live a life of a pillar of the temple of God in the name of our Lord.
Dr. George Sweeting who was the president of Moody Bible Institute has made a confession: “Even if you have done nothing but guided just a single soul to Jesus Christ, your life is priceless.” Nothing is more comparable than a soul that returns to the Lord. We should know the pastor’s desperate heart scratching for a lost sheep. The 333 movement of the first half-year has started this week. It is themed ‘the one person’, which aims to make ‘one for one evangelization movement’ and for the absentees come back to the church. I want you to anticipate the returning of a soul to the Lord through you. May all Yewon believers fight the good fight as Apostle Paul did, finishing the race of faith and living a winning life, looking forward to saving souls and the award of God.