The Finish Line of Faith

Sunday 03/31/19

Series: Walking the Talk

Message – The Finish Line of Faith


Click HERE for Video

The Finish Line of Faith

  • What was the goal of Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles? To form Christ in them.
  • What changes about you, as Christ is formed in you? Good Works
  • How are these good works accomplished in us? By Faith
  • Where does Faith come from? Hearing from God’s word.

Rhema is a revelation from God correct? One could even say it brings understanding.

Psa 49:3 “My mouth speaks wisdom; my heart’s meditation brings understanding.”

In fact, in verse 11 of Psalm 119 David says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

This is good because as soon as you hear the Word, satan tries to snatch it away. According to some of you he doesn’t have to work too hard because you claim it is impossible for you to remember things – which means, it is impossible for you to retain His word in your heart. But I believe that the Holy Spirit will bring back to your remembrance all that He said – IF you PUT what He said in there so it CAN be brought back. You cannot bring back what was never there!

Soul Salvation

In John 6:63 Jesus said, “The flesh profits nothing, the words I speak to you THEY are Spirit – They are Life”

Those spiritual words are to be received – en-grafted into your heart – that it might save your soul.

You see it works like this:

  • You hear the word.
  • You make it the subject of careful and ongoing reflection – Meditate.
  • Understanding comes to you because you were faithful to keep in your mind what God deposited there.
  • Once revelation comes – faith arises.

Which brings us back to our last point and where we left off last week.

Good works are the product of trust! We read this from Paul’s letter to the Philippians…

So let’s return to Php. 3 beginning in verse 7 and see wrap up our lesson for today before communion…

Php 3:7-21, NKJV “(7) But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. (8) Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from working the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;”

This is where most Christians fall off to the left of right. This righteousness is not just the one imputed to us as part of my new birth – my new nature my renewed spirit… But a life changed. This becomes clear by what he says next…

“(10) that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, (11) if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” By which Paul meant the image and likeness of Christ being matured in him.

Now here he is either speaking about the rapture or he’s talking about the salvation of the Soul. There is no intelligent third option and the context makes it clear of which he speaks.

“(12) Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”

Then he encourages them to do the same by following his example and set aside the things of the flesh in their pursuit of Christ (even as he had suffered the loss of everything).

“(15) Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. (16) Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. (17) Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. (18) For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: (19) whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame–who set their mind on earthly things. (20) For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, (21) who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”

1Peter 1:3-25, HCSB “(3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,

Paul is referring to the fullness of our salvation. Not just soul salvation but our eventual physical salvation of the body.

“(5) who are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (6) You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials (7) so that the genuineness of your faith–more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

(8) You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, (9) because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

As I have taught you in times past. Salvation is progressive! It begins with who we are as spiritual beings. If the core of you were not changed all the soul salvation in the world would only serve as window dressing. We would be white washed tombs. Looking good outwardly but inwardly dead.

Then we progress to the Salvation of our souls then our bodies. This progression is also seen using other words in Romans 6-8 invited to righteousness, justified and now BEING glorified (Christ in you). Which is what this next bit points to in the words the glories that would follow

“(10) Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that would come to you searched and carefully investigated. (11) They inquired into what time or what circumstances the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when He testified in advance to the messianic sufferings and the glories that would follow.

(12) It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you concerning things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Angels desire to look into these things.”

The war is in the soul… Or for you ladies who at least were going through that book… The Battlefield is in the Mind. Might I suggest that with the laziness of mind that many of you have, you might want to go through that book again until it works.

“(13) Therefore, get your minds ready for action, being self-disciplined, and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you IN the revelation of Jesus Christ. (14) As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance (15) but, as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; (16) for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.

(17) And if you address as Father the One Who judges impartially based on each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in reverence during this time of temporary residence. (18) For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things, like silver or gold, (19) but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. (20) He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the times for you (21) who through Him are believers in God, Who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” (just like we just read in verse 3 his resurrection is ours just like His raising to glory is ours) different in nature but both raised in glory.

“(22) By obedience to the truth, having purified yourselves for sincere love of the brothers, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, (23) since you have been born again–not of perishable seed but of imperishable–through the living and enduring word of God. (24) For All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower drops off, (25) but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached as the gospel to you.”

We will very likely look deeper into faith & sufferings and the role they play in the salvation of our souls next week.



I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!