Sabbath 10/22/16 Seventh Day Baptist Daytona Pastor Wray sermon “The Last Lap”

Sabbath 10/22/16 Seventh Day Baptist Daytona Pastor Wray sermon “The Last Lap” II Timothy 4:7-8

In our text, Paul is reflecting on his life. We, like Paul can speak words of confidence like he did in these scriptures. God will reward all of us who long for Jesus’ appearing. When life gets tough and it seems like we can’t make it, God helps us to run the race before all. The question for us today is…. Are you planning on finishing the race? Are you planning to finish the race well?

People are remembered for how they finish their lives. God will help us. The race I’m speaking of is our life with Jesus Christ. The last lap is as important as the first lap. You can run the race but you must get thru to the end, to the last lap to finish it well. I saw on TV where a handicapped child was running a race. His fellow racers decided that they would lag back to let him win. They understood how much it meant to the handicapped boy to win the race. It’s all about finishing the race and finishing it well.

The Bible is filled with stories of people running their races and finishing it well or not well. King Joash started the race well by destroying the idols and high places. But toward the end of his reign, after his faithful guardian/counselor died, Joash was led astray. He was 30yrs old and listened to the idol worshiping advisors and went against God in his last lap. It is during the last lap when our body is aching and tired, that we should keep away from folk who say give up our race. Steer clear of them. Instead keep close to those who encourage us to run the race, looking to God always to help us finish the last lap. King Asa began his race as a king victorious by tearing down idols and making people worship God only. He even removed his idol worshipping queen mother. Asa was on fire for the Lord. If all of us could be on fire for the Lord like king Asa. Asa told God that that no one could defeat God and the Lord defeated all Asa’s enemies that made war against him.

Many times we are on fire for God but we falter and fold. If only we could stay on fire for God always and seek God strength always. When troops came against Asa the last time, Asa began to falter and trust his own wisdom instead of going to God like before. Asa paid money to outsiders to protect and fight for him. Before, Asa had relied on the name of God. Now, hes relying on his own name. Asa became confident and too proud to ask and listen to God. Asa became relaxed and complacent with God. We must NEVER become relaxed and complacent with our relationship with God.

As we get nearer to the finish line, we must be careful of the man called Pride. We must be prepared and determined to run the last lap in Jesus’ name. We must not give up. We need to fortify and fill our minds with the promises of God.

“I can do all things thru Christ that strengthens me”, “The Lord is my helper and I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”, “Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They will mount up on wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”, “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God believe also in Me…Jesus”, “In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you so. I go there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself. So where I am, there you may be also”, “Nothing can separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus”.

God has given a word for us to use in all our times of need. We need to have the word of God in our hearts and minds. As we go thru trials, our faith will be built up. So keep the faith and keep running in the race to finish the last lap. It’s not about how long the race is but how you finish the race. Don’t be distracted in the last lap. I say to you all….lets finish the race strong!!

As we go thru trials, our faith will be built up

James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

Only if you allow it. Trials do not build faith in any way, shape or form. They can build patience and endurance if you walk through them By Faith doing things as God has designed in His Word.

Then and Only Then can our Faith grow some or be strengthened. Faith will Not grow if you walk through the trials with a why me type attitude.

Therefore trials do not build or increase or strengthen Faith !
As we go thru trials, our faith will be built up.

Scripture also tells us in John 16:33

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

People hear things like trials and testing are from God and they build your faith up and make you stronger.

The problem with the above is that there is a little bit of truth mixed with a lot of religious traditions passed down through the church generation after generation.

Yes trials can make you stronger If You Let Them.
Trials and such are meant to tare you down and weaken you.

However if you walk By Faith wavoring not then your patience grows as you stand gaining the victory.
It is in these victories that your faith can grow or get stronger. Your faith won't grow if these trials and such defeat you.

Jesus told us in this World we will have tribulations. This is telling us that since we are in this world which is governed by satan, we will have things come against us and we will go through things......But Jesus did Not stop there. He reminded us that He has already overcome this world and we should Stay in His Peace because in Him we can overcome them too.

We will not ever finish our course and fulfill God's plan for our life if we do not grasp God is not placing these trials in our life and learn to rise above these trials and such and allow God to use them as stepping stones. This is where we can grow and get stronger.

Again......trials and such are designed to hold one back, to keep one from moving Forward and finishing their race and fulfilling God's Plan for their life.
Trials are meant to cause a believer to become Discouraged and Quit and Give Up.

So if you want to finish your course and complete God's plan for you then you are going to have to learn how to use trials and such to your advantage knowing they are meant to destroy your success in your walk in Christ.