Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, CA
June 23, 2012
Finishing something is one of the most rewarding events. You walk away with pride, honor, a relaxed feeling, and a big smile. When is the last time you finished something major? Maybe it was a house mortgage, a car or motorcycle paid off, or a school loan. Hahaha, and now it is time you need a new car again and your job today never even used that education because it’s outdated or you are in a completely different field. Do any of you remember having a school term paper due or remember cramming the night before a test? Yeah, well do you remember what it felt like when you had the paper done days or a week early? Remember that same test when there was no need to cram like your all your friends were doing the night before? I am sure that I am not alone when it comes to experiencing a number of these things we are talking about today.
Out here at the track maybe you and the team finally won one after years of trying.
Whatever the case, isn’t the reward good? Finally! It’s over, done, finished.
In our human lives we also find the other end of the spectrum in our feelings. There are far more serious forms of “Unfinished Business” left hanging in our lives. It’s not simple like those term papers and things like that. It is much more complicated.
Do you know what guilt is? It is unfinished business. Shame is unfinished business.
One of the saddest plights I have watched people experience in life is recognizing life got away from them before something important was recognized and dealt with. The pain can be unbearable at that point.
Let me set the scene here by looking at our model: Jesus Christ.
John 19:28-30: After all this, Jesus, knowing that all things had now been accomplished to fulfill scripture that had been prophesized since creation began …except one last thing, …and said “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and put it to Jesus mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished.” And He bowed His head and gave up His Spirit. (Note a cross reference in Luke 23:46 and Matthew 27:34)
Want to note that Matthew’s account adds another piece of information in that they added gall to the sour wine, and Jesus refused it but it also fulfilled scripture that He would refuse it. Gall was used as a narcotic drug, an opium derivative to numb the mind and numb the pain. Check out the Psalms for over 35 scriptures Jesus fulfilled on the cross. (Psalms 69: 20 – 21 for this one) Then stop and think that it was a Roman soldier that fulfilled this prophetic scripture from King David hundreds of years prior to this day! A Roman soldier that crucified Him! God moves this entire army so this one man can accomplish God’s bidding. Isn’t that amazing? It’s not like Jesus said: “Hey, someone get me some sour wine and gall on a stick of hyssop so I can fulfill scripture.”
Let’s stop and unpack this passage. First, there is such depth and treasures in this area of scripture. However, we are only looking at this one particular area: …”It is finished.” The Greek word here is TEL-EH’-O. Its meaning is very specific: to end, complete, execute, conclude, discharge any debt, accomplish, make an end, fill up, finish, perform to the fullest expectation.
If you jump up a couple verses from our scripture in John 19, look at verse 25 – 27. Jesus stops and takes care of His mother and His disciple John. Unfinished Business. Jesus took care of business and said the words that needed to be said.
There were over 360 prophecies foretold about the coming Jewish Messiah – hundreds of years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Jesus fulfilled all 365 of these prophecies. Of these 360+ prophecies, there are 109 that only Jesus (Yeshua) could have fulfilled. At the cross Jesus fulfilled over 35 prophesies about that ordeal. See complete list of 365 Messianic Prophecies at: http://bibleprobe.com/365messianicprophecies.htm
Since we are on this rabbit trail let me ask you this: If you say you are an agnostic then which type are you? …an honest agnostic or a stubborn, dishonest agnostic? The difference is that an agnostic is undecided but you are willing to examine the facts. A dishonest one refuses to examine the facts and no one can help you, period.
I want you to recognize that EVERYTHING was accomplished that God needed to accomplish in His plan to offer the gift of salvation to all of mankind …free …with the only criteria simply being believing in Jesus.
There was NO UNFINISHED BUSINESS left to accomplish to be complete.
“It is finished.” Those are wonderful words. The standard has been set. The example for all of mankind once again was personally accomplished by God first; …so He has gone before us in everything He has ever expected of us. We can trust Him and follow His example in our life as He promises to walk by our side throughout anything that comes before us no matter how difficult it may be.
Now that we have established this principal let’s look at some of our all too often “Unfinished Business” as human beings.
Probably the highest number and second most important lies in the area of family.
In the beginning of this message I mentioned that I had seen a number of people experience the trauma that suddenly comes upon them when a family member suddenly dies before they had made a point of solving their differences. They realize any opportunity to ever re-build their relationship is gone forever.
On the other side of the issue the dying person is heard most often saying they wished their kids were here, or their ex. “If only I could see them one more time & make things right.” You hear people’s hearts gravitating toward unfinished business. It is heartbreaking.
In fairness I need to say that I recognize there are those relationships …like a father and son, for instance …that can never be solved because that person was evil and dangerous. I personally know some of these where they had to almost enter a Witness Protection Program, run away and change their name to be safe from harm. That is a totally different story,
Maybe it was a nasty divorce or broken couple relationship. All kinds of emotions flow from these and sometimes it takes many years before the relationship is restored to where you two can simply have a nice conversation together in the same room.
Another scenario under this heading would be abandonment by a parent or parents. I have seen the dehabilitating effects the children face growing up and carry into adulthood. This simply should not be, however it is rampant in our society. People make selfish or choices thinking they are doing the best thing for a child and leave. Once again God endured this also in His plan. In Mark 15:34 Jesus fulfills not only the prophesy about this but also experiences abandonment first hand. At the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice. “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachtani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, Why have You Abandoned Me?” Throughout scripture there is nothing that God has not gone before us to experience! His compassion for us in doing this Himself first is without boundary.
In cases like these, God Himself has taken the role of Dad in their life, …at least when and if He is allowed to be.
I have also watched racing (…and other sports too) tear apart families. The reasons are their own and often only they know. However, there are some that are like the Hatfield and McCoy’s where it went so far that nobody even remembered why they were bitter enemies!
These break my heart and I keep them in prayer and dream of the day of reconciliation.
Let me comment here about something we are guilty of in America. Most missionaries who have worked overseas like Kathy & me have many times heard foreigner’s assessment of Americans: “Americans are Stuff Rich, but Relationally Poor.” Wow! That is so very true. We care far more about our “Stuff” than our friends or family …and yet who ever saw a hearse towing a trailer to the graveside? Friends, we are called to be relationally rich, not “stuff ” rich. That is God’s plan for us.
During our missionary travels in Europe I use to love this sight I would often see on Sundays …especially in Austria in the Alps. Whole families would be hiking together along with a group of their friends. I often would sit on a hillside and marvel at the sight.
- Another area is personal dreams and plans. Opportunities come and they end up being passed up when in many case God had chosen that dream to become real in their lives. Instead they make a choice for whatever reason that forever may keep that dream or plan from coming true. I have experienced this personally as many of us have.
Our jobs and educations often fit into this category. Are you there? Maybe you need to rethink this dream!
Often this may have been avoided if we had developed a deeper relationship with God where we could recognize His voice and direction. In this case it’s time to develop that relationship and find out if that original dream is still in God’s plan for your life. It just may be!
There are hundreds, even thousands of possibilities that can be unfinished business. Past debts are another one of the unfinished businesses. Right now I want to end with just a couple more.
- The largest area within all mankind and the most important to God is simply our most crucial to consider: our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Another serious area that we face with an extra large helping of unfinished business is scripture. God created the human with the ability to read, translate, and memorize. Then He inspired men to write down not only His thoughts and desires but a complete self-educating manual on how to deal with life in every aspect and situation. What is our unfinished business; you ask? It is simply to spend time in the Word, Scripture, the Bible, and then memorize it to our hearts and minds so we are ready for any situation that comes along in our life. But, do we do it?
Want to pursue this more? Psalms 119 gives us instruction on how to follow God by hiding His Word in our hearts. (Look at verse11)
- We can arm ourselves when temptation comes in Ephesians 6:10-17.
- We can get to know Him better by meditating on His Word.
- When we have His Word etched in our heart it is easier to hear His voice when He instructs and guides us.
- The Word of God is living and powerful (Hebrews 4:12)
- The last area that comes along with this relationship with God is this: What are you suppose to do for Him before you leave this earth? That is correct. You heard me right. Look at the mission statement Jesus sets before us in John 4:31 – 34. Jesus has been speaking to that women at the well and His disciples are getting antsy for Him to eat …actually I think they were the ones who wanted to eat. But, Jesus answers them this way: “I have food to eat that you know nothing about. So the disciples started asking among themselves, Could somebody have brought him food? My food, Jesus said to them, is to obey the will of the one who sent me and to finish the work he gave me to do.
If you stop and think about this Jesus just set us so free right along with those disciples, and the woman He spoke too. He made t clear we have a divinely planed role on this earth in this lifetime and specifically made for us. We don’t have to copy someone or strive to be like someone else …your big brother or sister, your father or mother or anyone.
But, have we taken care of this business He designed and desires us to accomplish …or …is this unfinished business? This is another reason we need to build a strong relationship to God …or, how else will we know our ordained, honored, and majestic role He has planed just for us? Then when you get to the end of your life you can say just what Jesus says in John 17: “I have brought you glory) on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.”
That’s amazing! We are not all called to be missionaries like Kathy & me, or race drivers, or car owners, or Officials. But we are called to use our giftings and talents in whatever way we can. I don’t want to shock you here but, do you know that even the bad things in your life He uses to make you the person that you are and develop you for the role He wants you to carry. That’s why so many people who have been abused have gone into professional counseling. They get to use their experience to help other people. This is the redemption of God simple and true. How many people have a burden for children because they lost their child somehow? I know today that my daughter Sarah has a burden for pregnant women and babies in her physical therapy and massage therapy along with the March of Dimes March for Babies and it all came from her traumatic birth experience with our grandson Taren who you will see at Portland again. You see that is why we can get to the end of our life and have no regrets. Even our traumatic experiences in life are part of our wiring.
In closing, what is the Unfinished Business you have to deal with today before it is too late?
Please do not leave here today without dealing with this. Kathy and I are here to listen and help you in privacy. Maybe the person or issue is on the other side of the world, but don’t leave without getting some help. Kathy and I are always here to serve you any way we can.
Just think how relieving and wonderful freeing it will feel to say just like Jesus did …”It Is Finished.”