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Mission Accomplished

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
October 9, 2021 4:00 am

Mission Accomplished

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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October 9, 2021 4:00 am

The best runners aren’t looking around during the race; they focus on the finish line and run hard. Alistair uses a similar metaphor to reflect on Paul’s ministry. Find out how to persevere in faith to the end, on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.



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The best runner don't look around during a race there focuses on the finish line and they run hard toward today on Truth for Life. Alastair Begg uses a similar metaphor to reflect on the final days of the apostle Paul's ministry were continuing the series titled guard the truth but join Alastair as he teaches from second Timothy chapter 4 the verse to which I should like to draw your attention is verse seven. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Some years ago I had the privilege of playing golf with a man who was the chairman of five Fortune 500 company.

I met him at a camp and he invited me to play golf and I was quite overawed by this the stature of this and when I was anything of some sensible things to talk about in the round are a good question to ask and I want when I asked him I said what keeps you awake at night and he answered immediately.

Succession planning is what he said and I didn't really know what he was talking about but I said all that's remarkable. Linda and let's let's just continue to hit the ball better.

I've since realized that I was there that he had good reason to be concerned about that because Wall Street would be watching to see if the person the Dugas Place would be able to maintain this dog and everything that goes along with it while I was a very understandable and earthly perspective, Paul's concern is the same concern from an eternal perspective.

And so now, having declared the consecration of his life and the prospect of death. In verse six he now makes this great declaration in verse seven, and what he saying there is. He has completed his assignment that the title that I gave to this morning's talk is simply mission accomplished. And here in the English translation. Each of these phrases begins with a personal pronoun.

I which actually is not true in the Greek because in the Greek it begins in each case with the noun so it reads, for example, the fight, I have fought the race, I have finished the faith I have kept that Paul is not here guilty of some form of hubris in the way in which he is approaching the end of his life. He is not coming to the end of his days.

Proud of his own achievements, making much of himself and to read verse seven and that ways to misread it entirely. He is simply giving a report of what is the case I have now completed the assignment I was given now, let's then say something about the man himself.

Paul let's take a moment or two to consider the assignment or the mission that he's just completed and then just a word or two concerning the means of the completion of the mission or if you like On about the man. Something about the mission and something about the means right the first of all, than the man I don't want to assume on a morning like this that everybody says oh yes I know the apostle Paul was and and so on. So let me just tell you two things about this man, Paul number one. He was a converted man.

He was a converted man as you are not sure about that terminology well we can put it in the number of ways. He was once going in this direction and his life was turned around he began going in this direction. He was once focused on himself and his achievements until he suddenly found himself focused on Jesus and his accomplishments and this came about as a result of him encountering Jesus himself went over to take time this morning to rehearse it all, but you can read it in acts chapter 9 when you read the story of Paul's conversion in acts chapter 9, it is immediately obvious that there were a number of elements in that conversion that are not normal. Lisa not routine the blinding light that was brighter than the noon day sun. The voice that came from heaven, the blindness of Saul himself.

The encounter with Ananias and so on.

All of these elements were unique to him, but the distinctive nature all of his conversion can be seen in three simple ways. Let me tell you what they are because in saying this, we have criteria by which we can determine the nature of conversion is a man or woman converted. Have they been changed by Jesus with the marks be. These are not all the marks but these marks will be present. Number one. As you see it in Paul. He had an entirely new view of Jesus when he was converted his perspective on Jesus changed makes sense.

He thought that Jesus was a fraud on an imposter by the followers of Jesus were worthy of imprisonment or even death. But all of this changed all of it changed, he began to affirm Jesus. He went immediately into the synagogue and began to proclaim that Jesus is Lord. You can read all of that as you read through the acts are completely new view of Jesus, also a completely new view of himself. He was absolutely convinced about what he was doing. He was convinced about himself and about his own achievements when he writes to the Philippians he says you know if you want I want somebody who argues with you about personal achievement that if you want to talk intellect, I'm your man. If you want to talk theological erudition, I'm your man. If you want to talk about so many who always did his best.

We never really did anybody any harm, and Leslie deserved it, then I'm your man. What a change. I see went when he writes his first letter to Timothy puts it in very graphic terms, the beginning of first Timothy. He says you know I once was just a complete vagabond in a rascal. And if it if it weren't for the grace of God the mercy of God. I still would be first Timothy one 1280 says I thank him that is God who has given me strength Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service will formally I was a blasphemer persecutor and insolent opponent that was his that was volume 1 of his life.

You will soon volume 2, a proponent of the good news of Jesus. The story of his grace, and so on.

What was it made the difference. He says I received mercy. You see, the converted person knows that the reason they have been changed is an account of God's mercy. They didn't change themselves. People think that the reason church exists is as a sort of gigantic self-help agenda with a few Bible verses and that what you're supposed to do is just bring about the change in yourself and if you know yourself, you know that you can.

Paul couldn't invite.

He didn't even think he needed a change but converted a whole new view of Jesus a whole new view of himself and a whole new view of others who love Jesus, up until his conversion, all he did was having these people down in prison them and do them to death. You remember he had stood and said you can leave your cloaks and your quotes here when Stephen the first martyr had been stoned to death and now he gathers with these people. Now he breaks bread with these people. Now he shares in fellowship with these people. Why because he just woke up one morning and said you know to go to church because he decided I'm going to get a rebuilt religion because he was converted because he was change from the inside. Have you been changed from the inside out. Are you would use that the eye was converted during such and such a. When I was in my infancy when I was a university student when I was I was I was going this way, that's enough said two things so the second thing is not only converted but he was absolutely convinced convinced of the truth that underpinned his testimony to Timothy one and verse 12. This is why I suffer as I do, but I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to God until that day.

What has been entrusted to me. He says he has given me this good news. I'm absolutely committed to it, and I am convinced that is very very important as what he says to Timothy in this letter Emily I want you to continue in the things you have become convinced of knowing those from whom you learned these things. While it would be strange if Timothy was supposed to be convinced. And Paul himself was not also convinced no he is a converted man and a convinced man and his conviction gives rise to his testimony. So that's enough on the man might say something about this mission. The mission itself.

What is the mission of the co-mission that he is received well. Again, without even going out of second Timothy in verse 11 of chapter 1 he tells Timothy that he was appointed as a preacher and an apostle and a teacher and fight back in the record in acts chapter 9 when Ananias is a wee bit diffident about going to see this slaughtering fellow Saul God's word to Ms. you just go ahead and do what I told you to do.

Ananias, because this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel, and I will show how much he must suffer for the sake of my name and so Ananias departed and did exactly what God told him so. His mission then is the mission of the gospel. He has been appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher and it is in light of that, that he then makes this declaration here in verse seven verse seven is actually just three ways of saying the one thing when I look at verse seven of the beginning of last week. I simply wrote down the three things I wrote down the fight. The race the faith. I just take them in reverse order. For a moment.

What about this faith that the faith he's referred to it as the good deposit of sound doctrine and so on. Well, he says this. This is what I've been on about all the time. Remember, before he launches into his great treatise on the resurrection. He says to them what I received from the Lord is the gospel that I preached to use this in which you have taken your standard by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless of course you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received that Christ died that he was buried, that he was raised that he appeared, and so on, and I am the least of the apostles. He says I'm unworthy to be called an apostle, but I was appointed to this task you not blowing his own trumpet so many says the faith I have kept that is what he's referring to. How did he keep it well by believing it by proclaiming it by preserving it. What he preserved. He proclaimed and what he proclaimed was the means of his preservation because what he believed mattered and what we believe matters to we cannot play fast and loose with the faith you want to know what the faith is is not simply the notion of subjective belief in something, but it is the very body of truth that is been given to us in the Scriptures, but I want you to understand that if you start to fiddle with what you believe concerning the faith. You are actually taking the ground out from underneath your own feet in terms of your subjective understanding of truth. Slow, inevitable collapse as a result of apparently inconsequential destruction. Most of my friends who have given up on the faith are not those for whom they faced all wholesale mighty destruction in a moment.

So, but most who said that little piece doesn't matter and this little piece is irrelevant and we can deal with that little piece later on and before they knew where they were.

They had nothing left of tall. He when he says the faith is referring to the body of truth which is the foundational belief of basic Christian understanding now the race needs no explication does it. We all understand about a race inflates is a favorite metaphor of Paul.

In it, you know, he says, unfortunately, is nine in a race all the runners run, but not all get the prize that the EE when he's referencing here is that if you want to run this race. You have to be prepared for their struggle is involved in it and if you are going to fight the fight then you can't just one part, the commentators argue about whether the fight is is Paul referring to wrestling in the Greco-Roman world, or whether it is just an extension of the athletic metaphor.

It really doesn't matter doesn't because the point is clear. I was given a mission.

This mission was a hard assignment. There's no thought of Paul is going to be gathered to the skies on flowery beds of these no. I fought this one out. I ran this race and I have kept the faith.

You see, the reason is so significant is because there is no greater endeavor.

There's no greater endeavor. Eventually all the toys go back in the box when the game is over, and eventually we stand before the one who apportions the rewards that's going to be verse eight and the crown that is there is an imperishable crown and the theater is crowded with the angelic host to Peter says long to look into these matters and at the heart of it all. You notice the mentality of Paul again is not bravado when he takes his leave of the Ephesian elders. He says is his acts chapter 20 and verse 24. He says I do not come my life of any volume nor as precious to myself. Zero is he a masochist is like life.

No no no, look at what he say I don't come my life of any volume nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course in the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

So he says no to cowardice as he embraces the fight, no to laziness as he runs the race no to cluelessness as he keeps the faith. He is God's man with God's gospel, and finally a word concerning the means and that is God's grace. Paul of of of all the apostles has this as the underlying theme of the melody line of his life.

Even again when he says that he has been added to the apostles band.

He says what it is by the grace of God I am what I am at his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of the rest of them, though, was not I by the grace of God that is within me, bless, and encouragement is not. He said my grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness sources. Paul once I got out I said.

Therefore, I would all the more be happy to glory in my weakness so that the power of Christ may rest upon me for when I am weak, then I am strong in one sense it is a very weakness of Paul that makes this such an attractive package.

I really I don't think the reaction reaction to be well that I was Paul Heath. He did all that in and look at me and I have to go back to work on and on Tuesday or whatever else it is II don't know what I'm doing. He said I do not account my life is anything I tell my life is everything. He said he didn't mind about this in my mind about that.

Oh dear oh dear what a mess. I am well then you just feel a lot like Mr. Fleming no Mr. Fleming, which Mr. Fleming old Mr. Fleming from a long time ago I lived in leaf just outside of Edinburgh. He wrote to his friend and his pastor Samuel Rutherford to tell Rutherford that he was really making heavy weather of his life and he needed some direction. Listen to just a couple quotes. He writes to his pastor.

I've had some success by God's blessing in making money when I am up bankrupt for God and my soul my inward life is an unraveling heat and I need guidance and direction help me so Rutherford response. Well you've come to the right man.

I am a wonderful man. I'm your pastor and I seldom if ever put a foot wrong. Let me tell you exactly what to do. Not you that listen, listen, our Rutherford writes back. He says you complain that your time is fast speeding away and that you have not even begun to employ well so is mine.

I give a good part of my time to my business.

As you say you do to yours but just like you.

That leaves me no time to give to God. God forgive me for the way I forget and neglect him all the time that I am bustling about in the things of his house and then he says let us both begin and me, especially to give some of God's best earthly gift back to him again be and what time. That's what we have in common with Varian talents, backgrounds, abilities, gifts, responsibilities, the future comes into the rate of 60 seconds a minute, what are you doing the rest of your life. I have only one request of your as if, in the words of Jesus himself, or you spend it all with me. While we've only got the time, that is before is now as a church as individuals is mom's dad's parents, teachers, servants, whatever it might be in here this little Jewish convert so opposed to Jesus and then so committed to him a converted man convinced about the fate nieces I the fight. I I fought it. The race I run the faith.

I kept it.

I find great comfort in pretty poor poor history coming. I I I I have read some difficult plans for most of the night. I don't get blood. My English teacher on him well and see but can I just give this to you in case some of your saying our brother here we go now. Great apostle Paul and me. For years Annie Johnson Flint. If in doubt quote any to know this for my look not back God knows the fruitless efforts.

The wasted hours. The sinning, the regrets I leave the mall with him who blots the record and graciously forgives and then forgets I look not forward God sees all the future.

The road that shorter longer lead me.

Holman. He will face with me as every trial and bear for me the burdens that may come. I look not around me then would fears assail me. So while the tumult of Eric's restless sees so dark the world so filled with worn sorrel so vain.

The hope of comfort under these I look, not inward that would make me ratchet, for I have no heart on which to stay my trust, nothing ICC failures and shortcomings and weak endeavors crumbling into dust. But I look up into the face of Jesus for their my heart can rest my fears are still old and there is joy and love and light for darkness in perfect peace.

Every hopeful fifth receipt I take you to verse eight, which is next time. In it, and inversely young as grade picture. Remember when you when you did your first race of primary school and and and your mother told you Dawn look at a person on either side of you doling back. I will stand behind the string and you look at me and use one straight at me and what did you do you you are my that. And here you are running the race of the Christian life. You keep doing it all the time when here's a picture Jesus standing at the finishing line.

He's long gone, come on your finishes, come on. The only way any of us can persevere to the end, by the grace of God listing the truth for like weekend. That's Alister bag with a message titled mission accomplished, just a reminder this is the last week and were offering the book devoted to God's church core values for Christian fellowship author Sinclair Ferguson reminds us that the church isn't merely a building. It's God's family as you read through the book devoted to God's church will gain a deeper understanding of the relationship bonds that unite us together in a church congregation. Sinclair explains that the most basic picture of the church consists of those who have been given new life by the spirits work and are gathered together by faith in Jesus Christ.

That's the church that's the family of God. Find out more about the book devoted to God's church when you visit our website at Truth for Life.Bob Lapine thanks for listening today. How could the apostle Paul talked with certainty about the future when he knew his death was imminent will hear the amazing answer next week. The Bible teaching of Alister bag is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living

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