I Am A Finisher
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Haggai 2:4-9
Sunday 3rd November 2013
Over the last few weeks we have been looking at a series, 'The Glory of the Latter House' which has comprised of three messages, 'God is up to Something Great', 'Activating the Glory' and the message last week 'Be Strong and Do the Work'. We agreed that we have been created by God to make an indelible impact on our generation. We all have an assignment to fulfil and a God-given role to play in life; so it is our responsibility to find out what that role is and carry out the mission.
From our foundation scripture, we learnt that the Jews who returned to Jerusalem to build the temple were discouraged, lost the vision; and consequently, stopped building the temple, until God challenged them to be strong and do the work. We concluded by saying, in order to be strong we all need to recognise that God's presence is with us and we need to connect to Him.
Let's take this series further by exploring today's message titled 'I am designed for accomplishment – I am a finisher'. You are designed to finish what you have been called to start – this is the summation of the book of Haggai. Finishing is God's nature in you, and He will not ask you to start what He has not empowered you to finish. Within the global agenda of God and the vision of your local assembly, there is also something you have been called to accomplish.
Following the account of the rebuilding of the temple as recorded by Haggai and Ezra, it is inspiring to read that despite all what the Jews who returned from exile had been through, the bible recorded that they finished the rebuilding project (Ezra 6:14-15). This message is God's prophetic word to us as a church, that we are designed for accomplishment and to finish the work. In other words, whatever God calls you to do, you can do. So, whenever God gives you a dream, a vision or a goal, He has already given you the ability for its fulfilment. He does not start what He has not already concluded.
So when God gives you an assignment, as far as He is concerned, that assignment is done. If you recognise this truth, you will never give up on God's plan and purpose for your life. Psalms 139:16 underscores this truth: 'Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day (Message).
I have come to recognise that men and women who made significant impact in history are not just those who start but those who finish. It is great to start, but no one gets rewarded for starting; you are rewarded for finishing. The bible is full of account of finishers; let's take a look at a couple of examples: Starting from Genesis 2:1-2, a record of God's creation story, we read 'So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work' (NLT). Moses and Solomon completed the work of building the tabernacle and the temple respectively: 'And he raised up the court all around the tabernacle and the altar, and hung up the screen of the court gate. So Moses finished the work (Exodus 40:33). 'So Solomon built the temple and finished it.' (1 Kings 6:14-15). Jesus also completed his assignment as revealed in John 17:4: 'I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do'.
Your ability to accomplish and finish your assignment is intricately tied to the level of your commitment. Conversely, the level of your commitment to your purpose, dreams or goal will ultimately determine the level of accomplishment. This is the way Apostle Paul puts it in Romans 12:2: 'And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him' (NLT).
Let's try and review this passage a little further and understand what Paul was saying. In writing 'I beseech you (or plead with you) Present your body unto God as a living sacrifice, Paul was making this big point: To fulfil God's purpose for your life, God must own all of you, as He is not interested in sharing you with another. Paul goes further to say 'as a living sacrifice'; this is an interesting phrase that sounds contradictory – because usually sacrifices were killed. We could explain it this way: In order to fulfil your assignment, you must be dead to you and living to Him. In Galatians 2:20, this is further clarified: 'I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me'
When you become a living sacrifice, the bible says this is your true worship. Your worship is not in church attendance but in total commitment. Church attendance without total commitment becomes a sacrilege. The question to ask yourself is this: 'do all of me belong to Him?'.
In closing today, let me share five attributes of a finisher, as we take a close look at the story of Nehemiah.
1. Finishers have a burden for Kingdom Purpose: They live with a sense of responsibility in fulfilling their God-given purpose. God's desire is that we live with His kingdom agenda on our minds. God has placed a vision in your heart; it is important that you remain passionate about it. This was the attitude of Nehemiah as he served in the courts of king Artaxerxes in Susa. The bible records that he sat down, wept and prayed for many days after being told about the plight of his fellow Israelites who had returned to Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:1-4). It is the vision in your heart that will propel you forward even when faced with an obstacle that could deter you.
2. Finishers are selfless: Nehemiah left his comfortable life in the palace, going as far as obtaining permission from the king in order to attend to the needs of other people (Nehemiah 2:5). He dedicated his life to serving the purpose of God.
3. Finishers are determined: Nehemiah quickly realised that his single effort will not be adequate to finish the work, so he beckoned to other friends and acquaintances to join in ensuring that the work was done. (Nehemiah 2:17-18; 4:6).
4. Finishers are focused: Nehemiah had no time to entertain Sanballat and Geshem, when they called to distract him. He quickly sent word back to them that he was too busy to come down. As finishers, it is vital that we do not get distracted by the naysayers (Nehemiah 6:2-4).
5. Finishers do not give up: Nehemiah and the people armed themselves with weapons in order to protect themselves against their enemies (Nehemiah 4:13-14). Until we are ready to stand against any form of opposition, we cannot fully finish our assignments. Our weapons are not physical bows and arrows like we've read, but spiritual weapons of prayer (2 Corinthians 10:4). Problems must not define you; rather you must draw the line and fight for your victory.
God has promised to be with us. The future is glorious and bright. God has promised that the 'glory of the latter house shall be greater than the former'. Nothing can stop you, so rise up and be all that God has called you to be.
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