“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear to myself so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” - (Acts 20:24).
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” - (2Tim.4:7).
The Holy Spirit revealed to Paul that he would suffer and become a prisoner if he went to Jerusalem. But he said “I don’t count my life dear. I’m willing to lay down my life for Jesus.” He wanted to end his life and to hit the finish line of death like a champion. Persecution and affliction didn’t cause him to change his plans. Death was not worthy of his consideration when compared with the great purpose that Jesus called him to- to preach the gospel far and wide. Paul didn’t let the Devil turn him away from the course of his ministry. Paul had been given a ministry to fulfill, and his vision reached beyond death to the joy that awaited him after death. He declared, “… Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain… I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” - (Philip.1:20-24). He wanted to fulfill and finish his course with joy. He wanted to finish well his Christian race that started with his new birth until his death. He knew the storm was coming against him, but he let none of these things move him away from his ministry. He fixed a brave and valiant resolution to continue his work, to proceed and persevere and do his duty and to finish well.
Our Christian life is a race course set before us - “… let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” - (Heb.12:1). And Jesus is set forth as our example - “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God. For consider him that endured… lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” - (Heb.12:2,3). Christ is our example of the one who ‘finished well’; the one who said on the cross “It is finished”. He’s the author and finisher of our faith. He showed us how to die well and bust the tape at the finish line. There is no better finish than to be martyred for Christ.
John the Baptist is one who “finished well.” “ And as he fulfilled his course, he said, whom think ye that I am: I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose” - (Acts13:25). Hear the testimony of John’s finish of his course - “For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife. For John said unto him, it is not lawful for thee to have her. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison” - (Mt.14:3,4,10). He’s another godly witness who didn’t count his life dear to himself. Yes, our Christian life is a race to run through, to run the gauntlet through.
Two more, who are destined to ‘finish well’, are the two witnesses. “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast… shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them” - (Rev.11:7). When the 1260 day ministry of the two witnesses is finished, God permit’s the Antichrist-Beast to kill them. When Paul’s ministry was finished, he could say from prison, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” - (2Tim.4:7). But something special is done by God after the two witnesses’ death; they resurrect and ascend into heaven with the eyes of the world upon them as a testimony to the whole world. “After three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud: and their enemies beheld them” - (Rev.11:11,12).
Are you saved and born again? That’s how you start your Christian race course. If not, repent of your sins and believe in Christ in your heart by faith, and you will receive forgiveness of sins and be saved from hell and become a new born again creature in Christ having eternal life. God sent His Son down to earth to solve man’s greatest problem, sin and the punishment of sin which is death. That’s what Easter is all about. You can conquer death and have eternal life. O do not spurn the love and grace of God in His dear Son on the cross or the wrath of God abides upon you - “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” - (Rom.6:23). Be born again and run your race for Christ and finish well at death, so you can say like Christ - “It is finished.”
Pastor Mike Storti
5000 N. LaCholla-