Faithful to the Finish

Book of Acts   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Paul is now nearing the end of his journey to Rome and ultimately the end of his life.

Last week we saw how the Apostle Paul continued to serve even in the midst of trials and hardship. He selflessly served, he experienced supernatural safety from the viper’s attack, and he had the joy of being a vessel that God used to bring about miraculous healing.
Tonight we see Paul continue his journey towards Rome where most historians believe he would ultimately be martyred for his faith.
The ministry of the Apostle Paul is a wonderful example of steadfast faithfulness until the end. You and I ought to purpose in our hearts to faithfully serve the Lord until the end.
In this passage we see Paul continuing to minister as he continues on his journey as well as upon his arrival in Rome.
Paul remained faithful to Christ until the end of his life and here we see some interesting details concerning the last years of his life.

He Drew Courage from Fellow Believers (Vs. 11-16)

There is no question that much of the reason that the Apostle Paul finished well was due to his constant fellowship with other believers.
Paul often drew courage from other believers and found his spirits lifted by the Christian fellowship of other believers.
There is no question that many other believers also drew courage and strength from their time with the Apostle Paul as well, as he traveled throughout much of the known world encouraging, charging, and instructing believers at nearly every destination.
There are many stories that we could share tonight of believers in the present day as well as many throughout history who have not finished well, who have fallen away in times of trial and difficulty and one common denominator among many of these is their lack of commitment to the fellowship of other believers.
If you desire to finish well, you must continually place yourself among other believers. This is one reason that the church is so vital.
1 Corinthians 12:26–27 KJV 1900
And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
When you are suffering there is always someone to turn to, and when others suffer you can be there to encourage and cheer them.
The Christian life is not intended to be lived in isolation but in community one with another. God knew exactly what He was doing when He instituted the church.
It also goes beyond the church services. We should regularly associate with other believers and strengthen and encourage one another as we serve the Lord together.
Many have failed to finish their race because they have forsaken the fellowship of other believers.

He Continued to Carry an Intense Burden for His Own Countrymen (Vs. 17-27)

This brief portion of scripture reveals the heart of compassion that Paul had for his Jewish brethren.
Other passages of scripture make us aware of the immense burden he carried for them...
Romans 9:1–3 KJV 1900
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
Even though he owed much of his persecution and suffering the the hatred of the Jews, he never stopped trying to win them to Christ.
What a testimony Paul’s life is to Jesus instructions..
Matthew 5:44 KJV 1900
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Paul was determined to convince the Jews that Jesus was indeed the Messiah which had been promised.
We ought to carry a similar burden for our own countrymen, beginning with our local community. We who call Clovis, NM home ought to have a burden to reach those in our community who do not know Christ.
Those who are in the U.S.A.F. ought to have a sincere desire to reach your fellow airmen. As a church we ought to recognize the great need that exists right here in the state of New Mexico and we ought to be determined to do all that we can to reach our fellow New Mexicans.
Each of us as American citizens ought to have a serious burden for out countrymen. Even though many have turned from the truth and some have even become hostile towards Christianity, we ought to have the same determination to reach our countrymen as Paul had to reach his.
Imagine the impact that churches filled with people who have the same intense burden to reach our country for Christ would have!
No matter how hostile some may become, no matter how intense the persecution may one day be, no matter how many times we have been mocked, ridiculed, and rejected WE MUST NOT GIVE UP OUR EFFORTS TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL TO ALL!

He Boldly Preached Christ Until the End (Vs. 28-31)

Paul was called to be an ambassador for Christ primarily to the Gentile world, but in reality to all men.
1 Corinthians 9:16 KJV 1900
For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
Paul was determined to carry out the call of God until his dying breath. He would continue to preach Christ to anyone who would listen so long as he was able.
Paul did not fade into the background, he did not slow down, or go into retirement, rather he continued to do all that he could while he could.
His methods may have changed somewhat in that now he did not journey thousands of miles over land and sea, instead God allow him to remain in one place while many came to him to hear of Christ.
Our methods may change and we may not do what we once did, but rest assured, no matter you age or ability there is a work for all to do.
Paul is one who reached the finish line and kept the faith to the end. While so many have turned aside and have quit or compromised, Paul remained faithful to Christ to the end.
How important it is that you and I would remain faithful to do what God has called us to do until we reach the finish line.
Paul had been called to preach Christ and that was exactly what he would do until the Lord called him home.
You and I have been called of God to be ambassadors as well. So many have never started to carry out the call while others started but due to discouragement or difficult have ceased. Would you determine today that you will remain faithful to testify of Christ to the end.
You may not be able to go out on Saturday with a group but you can witness to your neighbor across the street or the coworker who works alongside you.
You may not be able to go out and witness in the community like you once did but you could pray that God would bring someone to you so that you can share Christ with them.
Let us make up our mind today that we will not drop out of the race because we are tired, or because the race has become too difficult. Let us instead determine that we will finish our race.
God has called each of us to labor in His harvest.
We may become discouraged at times but we can find encouragement in the constant fellowship with other believers.
We may face opposition and persecution but let us continue to carry and intense burden for the lost that surround us.
Our circumstances may change and we may find that we cannot do what we once could do, but nevertheless may we remain faithful to the call of God all the way to the finish line.
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