Creekside Church
Sermon of January 19, 2020

"Starting Well...Finishing Well"
Revelation 22: 12-13

Andios Santoso
Guest Speaker

 

“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 22: 12-13

Good morning everyone. Greetings in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. First of all, I am grateful to be able to worship together in Creekside Church of the Brethren here in Elkhart. I would like to give thanks to Pastor Rosanna McFadden who has invited us to deliver the sermon and also to share our journey at AMBS.

As I was preparing this sermon, my heart was deeply moved by some news that happened this early 2020 especially in Indonesia, where our capital city, Jakarta was flooding really badly. My heart was also sad with the forest burning in Australia, where we can see all the animals were suffered, many people lost their possessions all of a sudden. My heart was also cried with the Philippines who had a heavy eruption of Taal volcano. My heart was broken with the Ukraine plane shot down in Iran, also the rise of conflict in Iran and the middle east. Is this a happy new year? When will these calamities end? Why do people keep on fighting with each other? Where is peace? Where is justice? Why there is suffering? Why evil exists? When all of this hardship and trial finish?

Today I would like to share about Starting Well-Finishing Well. What comes to your mind when you hear this term? Starting Well-Finishing Well? How many of you like to make a resolution for the new year? New diet plan? New exercise plan? New investment? New ministry? For a student like me, I will think about starting the new semester and finishing the semester with a good grade. Our family just moved from Indonesia to the US since I was accepted to AMBS. So, I just started my journey last August of last year. I am now expecting to finish my degree for about two or two and a half years. What about planning for a family vacation this year? Or moving to a new house? Yes, starting something is really fun, it’s exciting. But, what about finishing well until the end? What about in real life like marriage, how long have you been married? Do you still have the same love and passion as when you started your journey with your spouse? Are we struggling with our marriage? Feeling lost, feeling lonely? What about in your workplace or carrier or business? Are you doing your very best performance now? Or sometimes you have a thought to stop or to quit? What about in your personal walk with God? Any excitement to continue our walk with God throughout this year? Or do we have fear or anxiety about how our lives look like this year? George Mueller says, “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.”

What are the implications of knowing that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End?

1. It gives us faith and vision to walk in this life: in Jesus

First of all, we need to understand the context of Revelation. Nelson Kraybill in his book Apocalypse and Allegiance says, “John championed the same hope for Christ’s return that animates the church today, but his vision does not predict specific political, cultural, or natural events of the twenty-first century. He received his vision in the first-century Mediterranean context and symbols in his work relate primarily to the realities of that era. But the world he inhabited-the Roman Empire-and the symbolic universe his vision created have uncanny parallels to our circumstances today.”

John 1: 9-13 says, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.”

Jesus says Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14: 6).

Douglas John Hall asks a provocative question: “We may be on the way, but where are we going? He suggests that if we are to be true followers of the Way, we must have our goal clearly in mind. Our goal is to “come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Eph. 4: 13).

* Testimony of a swimmer. There was a race, there was a starting line, there was the finish line. Our coach was standing there, and walking from the starting line to the finish line. He was already there, he encouraged me, and walked with me.

Jesus is the starting point, the processing point and the finishing point of our life.

2. It gives us security and assurance in life: in Jesus

“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. Blessed are those who wash their robes so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (Revelation 22: 12-15).

“And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17: 3).

“Assurance of Christ’s return gives suffering Christians the strength to endure. We can look forward to his return as king and judge. We must be ready at all times by keeping our faith strong.”

* Testimony about struggle during my first seminary and early ministry. Almost gave up not finishing seminary.

3. It gives us hope that every beginning has an end: in Jesus forever and ever

“And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22: 5).

“To them, God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1: 27).

“Our great hope is that what Christ promises will come true. When we have confidence in our final destination, we can follow Christ with unwavering dedication no matter what we must face. We can be encouraged by hope in Christ’s return.”

* Second testimony: the journey of Hope (God given Chloe in 2010: it changed our direction and priority in life). During those times, all we can see were dark tunnel… cannot see our future looks like.

4. It gives us peace and comfort: in Jesus

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (John 14: 7).

“One day God will create a new heaven and a new earth. All believers will live with Him forever in perfect peace and security. Those who have already died will be raised to life. These promises for the future bring us hope.” He is already there, in our future, He has arrived at the end of time.

5. It gives us joy and perseverance: He walks with us

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28: 19-20).

When is the end of the age? When is the end of time?

“So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matt. 24: 36).

Keep on walking with Him, keep on doing our best to serve Him in whatever we do.

6. It gives us an example as His disciple: Jesus had started well and finished well

“When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19: 30).

“I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed” (John 17: 4).

Jesus had given example how to live His life His best life on earth, to accomplish God’s will and purpose. What about us?

Several years ago I was reminded about the importance of knowing that our life is short and one of the analogies that hitting my self at that time was the Age Game. I want to ask all of you, how many years of life expectancy in an ordinary person? 70, 80? Let say 70. How many days in a week? Seven? Let us now divide 70 into seven days. So, it will start with Monday is the age of 0 until 10, Tuesday is 11 until 20, Wednesday is 21 until 30, Thursday is 31 until 40. Friday is 41 until 50. Saturday is 51 until 60. Sunday is 61 until 70. Today my age is 43 and I am living in my Friday. I don’t know whether I will be able to reach until Sunday or not? We never know.

Last year, my mom had finished her life well. She was 72 years old. In 2009, my dad had finished well at the age of 65. In 2016 my father in law had finished well. He was 70.

Maya Angelou says, “we only live once, if we do it right, once is enough.” I don’t know how are your life challenges today? Maybe some of us are struggling with some relationship’s problem or conflict and thinking of giving up…, maybe some of us are struggling with some personal behavior or sins that seems never end… I don’t know how long, we are all will finish our life-well? Let’s come before Him.

I urge each one of us, to remember that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, He is the first and the last, He is the Beginning and the End. Let’s remember that in Jesus, there is faith, hope, love, peace, security, eternal life, forever and ever. He is already come, and not yet. His Kingdom has already established, and not yet. Have we invited Him to lead our life’s today? Are we willing to keep on following Him until finish? Let’s starting well-finishing well. He is coming soon! @andiosville

 

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