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Finish the Race Well! Part 1 of 2

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
The Truth Network Radio
July 25, 2020 1:00 pm

Finish the Race Well! Part 1 of 2

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

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Hello this is Matt slick from the match looked like podcast right defend the Christian faith and lay out our foundation of the truth of God's word chosen Truth Network podcasts starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing The Truth Podcast Network. This is the Truth Network do you feel like you're on a religious treadmill.

Do you feel like Christianity is just a system of rules and regulations, I can do this but I can't do that. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God.

Find God, and please God.

If you do you feel like your faith is dead or alive today. Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions join us on finding purpose of local tribal ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and finding purpose could visit us or connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious part one specialty stared this morning were going to be looking at the whole book of first Samuel was going to begin at the end of the book so if you will take your Bibles and turn to first Samuel chapter 31 verses one through 13 and other title this message finishing the race.

Well, and I like to begin this one by ask you a couple questions you raise your hand if you ever heard of Billy Graham.

If you haven't heard him.

Don't raise your hand if you live in Northville on the front hundred milligrams aside and ask you this habit you've heard of Charles Templeton. Raise your hand really surprised by sort of way is a reason why most of you have heard of Billy Graham and not meant to be part of Charles Templeton see both of them had very good beginnings, but apparently only one of them is going to finish the race known as the Christian life will what about you how are you going to finish this race is the Christian life Billy Graham and Charles Templeton met in 1945 at a youth for Christ rally. They were both in their late 20s and they were both equally gifted communicators of the gospel. They toured Europe together like they were roommates and they were constant companions in their friendship just was stronger. They actually alternated in the pulpit as they preach that youth rallies and Templeton later founded a church that soon overflowed its 1200 C capacity American magazine said that Templeton set a new standard for mass evangelism and get his friendship with Graham just grew stronger. Billy Graham and Charles Templeton became believers during their teenage years and I both felt like God and called them into the ministry, but same doubts begin knowing that Templeton you see his reason had begun to challenge his faith and his doubts grew, he began to even challenge Graham trying to pull Graham away from a strong faith. Graham was about to begin a crusade in Los Angeles. The year was 1969, his autobiography, Graham said he felt as if he was being stretched on the rack, pulling him in one direction was.

Henrietta mirrors the bright Christian educator had an abounding confidence in the reliability of the Scriptures, pulling him in the other direction was Templeton says Graham approached prepare himself for his breakthrough crusade in LA he found himself grappling with uncertainty, not over the existence of God or the divinity of Jesus.

But over the fundamental issue of whether he could totally trust what is Bob was telling him. Templeton said to his friend Billy you're 50 years out of date. People no longer except the Bible is been inspired to what you doing your faith is too simple.

Graham remembers that he picked up his Bible and he dropped to his knees us in in his hotel room is prepared for this crusade and he confess to God that he had some doubts right there on his knees in that hotel room.

He felt God respond to him. He prayed father. I'm going to accept this as your word by faith not going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts and I will believe this to be your inspired word rising from his knees.

With tears in his eyes. Graham said that he felt he says the power of God in his life like he never since the before you see for Graham that moment in that hotel room proved to be a watershed moment before Templeton. It was a bitterly disappointing turn of events, Templeton declared about Billy he committed. Intellectual intellectual suicide by closing his mind the Ashley felt pity for Graham and now different paths. Their lives began to divert history knows what happened to Graham in the succeeding years he would become the most persuasive and effective evangelist of modern times and one of the most admired in the world. What happened to Templeton were decimated by doubts he resigned from the ministry and move back to Canada where he became a commentator and a novelist. Templeton even wrote a book shortly before he died, entitled farewell to God. My reasons for rejecting the Christian faith; this morning. Yes. How can someone who began so good in so poorly this morning were going to look get someone else whose life began with so much promise, but sadly when his life ended tragically. His name was Saul, Saul, the once proud king of Israel had a great beginning, but he did not finish well suit is as believers, this is Mark challenge to this morning we want to understand how to run this race is the Christian life we want to understand how to run it so that we finish well you picture yourself running in a marathon and you and you busted the tape at the end and you land in the arms of Jesus and he says well done. Do you want to finish well like that. Do you this morning were going to look at someone who do not finish well and we want to learn from his mistakes and so were going to be looking at the book of first Samuel, but I want you to understand the historical context. First Samuel follows the little book of Ruth, which follows the book of Judges, judges that book is about describes a period of time that lasted about 250 years. He was a very dark period in the history of Israel. It followed the time when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt to the Red Sea towards the promised land in one of the desert for 40 years and then he hands the baton to Joshua and Joshua over the course of about 50 years conquers his God's enemies and got gifts in the promised land and then you get into the period of the judges were God raised up certain men like Samson and getting even a woman by the name of Deborah potentially lead the Israelites against their enemies.

Sudeten Israel Turning away from God is a God would raise up in enemies to discipline them, then he would raise up a godly person to lead them against the enemies. So you go to that 250 year period of the time of the judges and you arrive at the book of first Samuel were God raise up a woman by the name of Hannah that from a few weeks ago who has a son by the name of Samuel and Sam was going to be the prophet of issue and the priest will anoint the first two Kings Saul and David so little to say in first Samuel that Samuel anoint Saul and he is a great beginning, but he doesn't end well is a regression begin this morning at the end.

So if you will want you to stand up again as I read first single chapter 31 verses one through 13.

I want you to see how Saul's life ended and I want you to imagine how it could have been, beginning with verse one now the Philistines fought against Israel. The Israelites fled before them. In many fail slain on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines pressed hard after Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan a been a dab and making sure the finding grew fierce fierce around Saul and when the archers overtook him they wounded him critically. Saul said to his armor bearer draw your sword and run me through these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through interviews me but it's all the bear was terrified it would not do it.

So Saul took his own sword in filament when the armor bearer so that Saul was dead. He too fell in his soul, endowed with him. So Saul and his three sons and his armor bearer and all his men died together. That same day with the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan Saul of the Israelite army had fled in that Saul and his sons had died.

Look at what they did, they abandon their towns and fled in the Philistines came and occupied them the next day with Philip when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa.

They cut off his head and stripped off his armor and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people. They put his armor in the temple to*and fasten his body to the wall of Beth Shan. Verse 11 says when the people of Jabez Gilliam Genghis Gillett was an Israelite town. When the people of Jagdish Gilliam heard of what the Philistines had done to Saul all their valiant men. Journey through the night to Beth Shan. They took on the bodies of Saul and his son from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jay – with a burn them.

Then they took their bones and buried them under tapestry Jagdish they fasted seven days you have exceeded dearly. Father, I just when I read this account, Lord of how Saul's life ended. It literally breaks my heart. Here's a man to God, who began so well and it is not finish well and I know it must've broke your heart more than it breaks mind to read about this civil upright that this morning that you will take your word that you will permeate this room with your presence, and that you will convict those in here beginning with me who need to be convicted that maybe there they've lost the focus maybe they've gotten too caught up in the things the world may be low. They just become distracted. Maybe they've given up their quiet time.

Maybe they're not hungry feel like they were when they first were saved as upright this morning though, that you would convict all of us in here who need to be convicted. We will assess where we are spiritually and that we will look at how Saul's life ended in and make a commitment this morning that we don't end like that.

We want to finish well.

We want to finish strong. We want to run this race known as the Christian life with the next world and mine with her ass fixed on you, Lord Jesus.

So I ask you this morning. Lord help us to focus our zone.

You said your name that operate a man when I read this account about how Saul's life ended my first thought is, how tragic. Here is a man who died on the battlefield with his sons around him losing call. What a life. Saul could've lived.

Think about it. What a legacy he could've left.

If only he'd continue to trust God by faith and not lost his focus is it from Saul's life. I would like us to take note of the three stages in the life of a man who did not finish well and I wants to learn from these three stages is a four stage in Saul's life in the first stage we learned that he had a good beginning. You can follow it if you want to turn back to for-sale chapter 8 is first single chapter 8 we learned that Israel would be like all donations they looked around and insulted all the nations had kings and suggest what they wanted. They wanted a king is lesson number one is found in second Quicken chapter 4 verse 18 so we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal to the prom that we have in this world is we get too distracted by the things of the world. So listen when you as a Christian, take your ass off of God, and you begin to desire the things of the world in your outline you will lose your focus. You not finish well to the Israelites.

They took their eyes off of God, and they begin to crave what their neighboring enemies had which was a king see the Lord God was there. King, but they want what everyone else had to see that sent that Saul would make a similar mistake in judgment.

Samuel Higgins, Israel's leader as their prophet and priest see Santa had grown old and his sons and not walk in the ways of God. In first Samuel chapter 8 verses six through nine, we read that when the Israelites said it was a king to lead us this display Samuel so he prayed to the Lord and the Lord told him listen to all that the people are saying to you is not you.

They rejected but they rejected me as their king as they have done for the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they don't you know listen to them but want them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them were doing. So God gave to Israel what they asked for a king and his name was Saul in first single chapter 9 we learn a little bit about Saul's beginning for-sale chapter 9 verse one states.

There was a Benjamite, a man of standing whose name was Kish kiss was Saul's father.

He had a son named Saul an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites 1/2 taller than any of the others universe. 21 when Saul learns that Samuel is going to anoint him as the king of he said this, and what soul sister sandal but I'm not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel is not my clan, the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin want to say such a thing to me to Saul couldn't believe that God actually chosen him to be the king.

In chapter 10 Samuel anoint Saul and says has not the Lord anointed you leader over his inheritance.

This is in the spirit of God came upon Saul and he prophesied she Saul had a very good beginning.

He was gifted physically.

He was tall, he was impressive. In fact the Scripture say that he was without equal, and yet in spite of all of these physical gifts he remain humble.

He was chosen by God to be Israel's king, and he received is Samuel's blessing in early own. His focus on the Lord, and he trusted God how quickly things change. Let me ask you if you had a good beginning. Were you born into a Christian family, and even brought up in a strong Bible believing church. If you have opted to sit under biblical teaching that sound if you had a wonderful flannel mentor who's been able to guide you and encourage you in your walk with the Lord limited to this warning a good beginning does not guarantee finishing well don't rest on your loss Saul.

Phil sucking away. My first day at Southeastern Baptist electoral similar back in September 1999 was 45 years all I could leave us back in school.

First of but I found myself sitting in Binkley Chapel with about 2000 other students and we were listening to Dr. Paige Patterson was to present the seminary, especially given as a warning is warning us. He Bessie wants to listen.

Just because you come in the seminary.

Just because your studying books about the Bible. Don't let that replace your quiet time succumbing to seminary does not take the place of your quiet time and then he proceeded to share with us during the course of his career he personally counseled about 300 ministers who'd fallen into some egregious sexual sin and lost a position in ministry to share with us. He said they all had one common denominator.

You know what it was they all confess to him that they had given up having their personal quiet time.

She does those ministers became distracted by the things the world they lost their focus when a believer loses his focus on God in your outline. He's vulnerable, in an attack if you lost a focus on the Lord to be honest about this one. You become too attached to the things of the world don't lose your focus.

Run the race to finish well.

How do you do this you might ask yourself you keep your eyes on Jesus, every step of the way Paul writes about this in Philippians chapter 3, but he also we read about this in Hebrews chapter 12 verses two and three where the writer says let us fix arousal Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorn and shame and sit down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, while so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

The writer tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, Howdy do that when I think it begins in the morning Jesus got up early morning parade just we needed to weed to get up a little early and pray in the morning and we need to open up God's word. That's how you keep your eyes on Jesus, you do it by studying God's word and through prayer you doing that takes discipline. Saul had a good beginning in the second stage of his life, he lost his focus and he turned away from God and disobedience and Sam is addressed to the Israelites, you can find this in first single chapter 12.

I want you to listen to what Samuel says to the entire nation of Israel civil Jesus addressing the nation visually says that when you solve that name – king of the ammonites was moving against you. You said to me know. We want to king to rule over us.

Even though the Lord your God with your king. Now here's the king of chosen one. You asked for. See, the Lord has set a king over you if you fear the Lord and serve and obey him, and do not rebel against his commands. If both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God good but listen, if you do not obey the Lord if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you as it was against your father's you see the Israelites really didn't trust God to protect them. That's what they want to king as a nation. They lost their focus turn away from God. Disobedience is when a believer falls into a pattern disobedience what you're doing is you in your outline you are inviting God's judgment was discipline. Do you know what later happened to the nation of Israel. She Saul became Israel's king around 1050 BC.

And because Israel had turned away from God.

God raised up enemies to come and discipline his chosen ones in 722 BC the Assyrians came against the northern kingdom of Israel and defeated her think that's what they did. They took all the Israelites away as slaves. They were never heard from again. The northern kingdom of Israel, consists of the of 10 of the tribes of Israel. Those 10 tribes just disappeared. Later the Babylonians came against the southern kingdom of Israel. The southern kingdom was known as Judy consist of the tribe of Judah and the traveler Benjamin this happened in 586 BC and just like the Assyrians. The Babylonians took the Israelites away as slaves to blab Babylon where they were held captive for 70 years didn't want this happen. This all happened because Israel is a nation lost his focus and turned away from God and disobedience can all think of another nation is done the same thing we have nothing that we are asking God to judge us. In fact, I wonder why God has raised up enemies to come and defeat our nation. Maybe this would not when one was about maybe that is a shot across the bow that God is warning us as a nation that we need to not progress weed to regress. We go back to our spiritual roots.

That's what he did was a nation, and what we need in this country when the man of God who stand up in the pulpits of America and proclaimed this truth. But listen, in spite of Israel's rejection of God is a king.

Samuel promised him that if there king. What if there king would trust God and lead the people in the biggest God that God was still blessed them, but this is where Saul lit his country down she saw was the king. He was not a prophet. The prophet was Samuel.

In essence, the prophet said it was the mouthpiece of God, and he spoke the word of God. So the king was to listen to the word of God spoke about the prophet of God than he was to lead the people in obedience to God Jesse Paul Saul took his eyes of God, and he led his nation away from God and disobedience just recently I received a shocking letter. It was heart wrenching is a letter from voice of the martyrs about heavenly divorce, the mortise is a wonderful ministry submit should have supported for years.

They do incredible work around the world supporting the underground persecuted church and timeline to serve as its present for the last element five or 10 years. The letter that I received informally of Tom White's death apparently committed suicide. Do you want allegations were made to authority several weeks ago that Tom had inappropriate contact with a very very young girl running faces allegations all the resulting fallen for his family and the ministry in himself.

Tom appears to have chosen to take his own life.

Now here's a man who spent 18 months in a Cuban prison because of his faith. Here's a man who would dedicate his life to serving the persecuted church around the world; is what happened had… Focus was sadly this is not just a nicely case of the Christian leader who is fallen into greatest sin. History is filled with people who began the race with great success.

They failed to indwell what happened.

Somehow they took the rows off of the finish line member David, the man God chose to replace all David had a phenomenal beginning. In fact, if there was ever a sure fire candidate finish. Well, it was David in the first 10 chapters of second Samuel, David could do no wrong.

He was never to feel the battlefield's judgments will always write. He began his reign in prayer and he always trusted God and the boundaries of his kingdom were increased from 6000 mi.² to 60,000 mi.² but that was the first 10 chapters stay for art and is in his book finishing strong rights in Chapter 11. David is shipwrecked.

His life would never be quite the same again.

He writes before the ship wreck with Bathsheba. All David knew was trying out after all he knew was heartbreak in trouble. Listen in the Christian life is not how you start the matters is how you finish. Do you want to finish well slim asking, how you doing you taken your house of the Lord you lost your focus, you become too attracted to the things of this world. Do you really want to finish well.

If you do, then you must a focused, you must listen, you must keep your eyes focused on Jesus, every step of the way and the only way that you can do that is by living day by day by the spirit. Paul writes in Philippians 313 through 14, but one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God is call me heavenward in Christ Jesus. This warts trying to comes from a Greek word that gives the picture of a of a runner straining every muscle to finish, to reach the finish line. I think of Secretariat.

Did your mother was secretary did first of all, he was voting this one, the 50th greatest athletes that he was not a human in 1973 in the Belmont stakes delicacy Labor Secretary better when you tear sums wrong with I am of crops. Think about it he's come around the track and he begins to separate himself from the from the other horses he finishes up legs like 41 links this a record it is never the evening approached and they said it every quarter mile. He was increasing his pace every quarter mile 70 fish when he busted through the finish line. That was the fastest court.

He ran in the whole race to that's why we want to run the Christian life we want to be increasing our pace as we approach the end, we want a bus to the finish line and fall in the arms of Jesus and he sees well done. You will have your life say Saul had a good beginning, but he turned away from God and dissipated his what happened in chapter 13 we learn that Saul decided to take matters into his own hands us when it always begins and he decided serve not just this king but also as prophet see the Philistines had assembled their army against Israel, and they way outnumber the Israelites to the Israelite Ali was quaking in fear in number. The soldiers were deserting. They were actually leaving the battlefield nest. Samuel was on his way to the battlefield because they always before the battle, they would worship God answers. Samuel was coming to offer the burnt offering before the date the truth when on the battlefield and Saul knew this she the prophet was the only one who could offer the burnt offering based on God's command. The king was not to do that. That was a job for the prophet Saul grew impatient.

Sam was just a little bit late so Saul decided to offer the burnt offering himself. He sees took his house of God Nephi off the burnt offering, clearly going against God's command.

Samuel arrives his what Sandro said to him, and in verse 13 of chapter 13 you acted foolishly.

Saul, you have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you if you had, he would have established your kingdom of Israel for all time to dust the legacy with had but you but now your kingdom will not endure.

The Lord is sought out a man after his own heart and appoint him leader of his people because you have not kept the Lord's commands. You see when you try to live this life in your own strength and focus mostly on yourself constantly putting your conclusions part one will air next week.

Being a Christian is not about being religious but about having a dynamic alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to finding purpose with pastor Russ Andrews, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men and their purpose for living. You discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources finding will connect to finding purpose on Facebook pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him in over 300 other local tribal men study God's word together every Tuesday night at 7 PM in downtown Raleigh.

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