- Original Teaching: 18-1
- Date: February 10, 2008
- Location: Calvary Temple in Sterling, VA
- Teacher: Pastor Jon Miller
- Scripture: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8
- By: Jason Felton
As we wind down 2015 and look ahead to 2016 a lot of us like to look back and reflect on how the year went. Did we hold to our New Years resolutions? Did we meet all of our goals? Did we finish the year stronger than when we started it? Today, we want to look back at a teaching Pastor Jon Miller did a few years ago entitled “18-1”. If you’re a football fan, you may remember that during the 2007-2008 NFL season the New England Patriots went into the Superbowl undefeated at 18-0. Well they lost the last and most important game and that’s all anybody remembers. You see it didn’t matter that they went undefeated in the regular season and breezed through the playoffs. All that mattered was that they lost the championship. In our Christian walks it’s the same thing. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a Christian 4 months, 4 years, or 40 years. If you don’t finish this race strong and you faint down the stretch you won’t make it.
Do you remember King Asa? This is a man who started out strong in his walk with the Lord, but didn’t finish the same. In 2 Chronicles 14:2 it says, “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord.” Asa was a man who loved the Lord. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord and keep the commandments. He was a man that tore down idols and built up a mighty army. Unfortunately, as time went on Asa began to lose sight of God.. In 2 Chronicles 16:12 it says that Asa sought not the Lord. So he went from somebody who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord to somebody who didn’t seek the Lord. Asa’s downfall can be attributed to one thing: he lost faith in God. What a tragic story! So what about your life? How bad would it be to start the race strong, but drop out at the last minute? It’s a temptation everyone of us has to battle on a daily basis as the enemy goes about trying to destroy us.
Matthew 24:12 says, “In the last days iniquity will abound and the love of many will wax cold.” In fact, later on in the chapter verse 24 says, “If the days were not shortened even the very elect would fall.” Think about that! Think about the person you see as the most powerful or devout Christian. If the Lord didn’t shorten the days even the strongest Christian on earth would succumb to these powerful seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Friends, we are at war and everything around you is trying to get you to give up! Satan’s fate has been sealed and he wants to take as many people with him to Hell as he can.
“Man that sounds serious! How do I stay safe?” Well, you need to constantly fortify and strengthen yourself! God has called you to a life of preparation and not a life of relaxation. You can’t be on cruise control. When you take a break that is when Satan comes to attack. A lot of us at times tend to want to see how close to the world we can get and still be in eye shot of Jesus. The reality is we need to be as close to Jesus as possible. Do you have blinders on so that all you can see is Jesus or are you constantly being distracted? You can’t run this race and be good at everything else. Run this race as if only one man wins, don’t just run to barely cross the finish line. The issue isn’t what’s the least you can do and still make it. If you have that mentality you will fail. The issue is how can you run this race in a way that brings the most glory to God. How can you go out fighting.
Beloved, the only way you can finish this race is if you know the Word of God and stand on it. How are you doing with that today? Are you standing on the Word of God? What about your friends and family? Are you requiring them to stand on the Word of God or do you make it easier on them by holding them to another standard? The standard for every decision in your life has to be God’s Word. God and His Word are one. If you don’t follow it, you’re not following God. The greatest men of God were those who were absolutely obedient. Those are the ones who finished the race. Praying 18 hours a day, memorizing the entire Bible, reading spiritual books, or listening to teachings online isn’t going to cut it. You have to LOVE his appearing! Is getting to that finish line to see Jesus the only thing that matters? It can’t be about getting to Heaven or trying to escape Hell. It has to be about seeing Jesus. If it is then you are guaranteed to make it, because God promised us that “He that endures to the end shall be saved (Matthew 24:13).” Don’t go 18-1!