The End Matters As Much As The Beginning
Archippus was a Christian in the house church in Colossae, which met in the home of Philemon (Philemon 1:1-2). Some think he may have been Philemon's son; we cannot be sure. However, we know that Paul respected him and describes him as a 'fellow soldier'. He had received a special ministry from the Lord, had experienced spiritual warfare and yet stayed strong when trouble came. Paul likens him to a commissioned officer in the army (2 Timothy 2:4) - and gave him the instruction, ‘Do not give up!’
Although most people are apprehensive about starting something new, it usually gets better the more you are involved. However, the beginning is only the start. It is the end which matters. As in any military campaign, the battle can be lost at any point, even at the end … and perhaps more easily at the end, through tiredness or even the relaxation after earlier success. The Old Testament is littered with the stories of those who started well and finished badly. 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 is essential reading for every believer – a reminder of our weakness and how effortlessly we slide into failure.
Paul's words would have reminded Archippus of his God-given commission: ‘Keep going, you must finish well because God has called you and you are accountable to Him: He will reward you’. A few years later Paul wrote about himself to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:6-8), saying that he had completed his task, and expected Timothy to finish well also.
It is a wonderful day when anyone repents of their sin and receives Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. But that is only the start. At every turn the devil tries to pull us away from trusting Jesus; and tells us that whatever we are called to do is either not important or is too difficult. If Satan cannot stop us coming to faith, he will do all in his power to stop us finishing in faith. So, we all need to be alert to his strategy, which he can turn into a temptation at any time. If Christ has called you by His grace, that is for all eternity: don't stop now! If He has set a particular ministry into your heart, it is only finished when He says so and releases you for other service: so, do not stop. And remember that continuing is not just a matter of endurance; it is a privilege to serve the King; so it should be wholehearted as we expect His reward (Ephesians 6:7-8).
© Dr Paul Adams