Jesus Christ said, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

Habakkuk’s Prayer of Praise, Prayer for Revival, and Prayer for Mercy, Part 1 (Praying Through the Bible #104)

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TEXT: 2 Timothy 4:7-8

7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Today, as we continue our journey through the Bible using the classic Christian allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, as a tool for illustration, we are returning to a topic that is crucially important for Christians to understand. And that is the fact that, as believers, we are engaged in the fight of our lives against an enemy that seeks to render us ineffective in our service to the kingdom of God.

1. We saw last week that the first thing we must do is make the decision to join the battle. We must make up our minds that we are on God’s side and that we are prepared to do whatever it takes to fight. At the end of his life, Paul was able to say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Paul, who once fought against Christ, had to make a decision to fight for Christ. Each of us must do the same.

As you might recall, we read about a vision which Christian, the main character of Pilgrim’s Progress, had. The vision was of a castle with many armed men standing in front of the entrance. Beside the door, was a man sitting at a table ready to write down the name of anyone who made the decision to enter the castle. Those armed men represent anyone and anything who will stand in the way of us following through with our decision to follow Jesus Christ. We see an example of one who makes such a decision in the man who stepped up to the door and said, “Write my name down in the book.”

When you choose to follow Christ, you are making a firm decision to enter the fight as a soldier in the army of the Lord with no intention of turning back to your old lifestyle.

2. The fight not only involves a decided fighter, but a dedicated fighter. Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” In order for Paul to finish his fight, he had to be dedicated to it. He had to keep fighting day after day, month after month, year after year. Through persecution and pain, Paul was dedicated to finishing his course.

The man in Christian’s vision who has his name written in the book doesn’t let those standing between him and his goal make him hesitate or turn around. Rather, he draws his own weapon and fights his way through his opponents. Sometimes, in the Christian life, we will meet with obstacles, but we must be dedicated and persevere to the end.

Many people come to Christ with the misconception that their life will be easy afterwards. They think that they will not have any more difficulties, problems, or pain. But, Jesus Christ made it clear to His disciples that they would still face struggles in this world. He told them, “In this world, ye shall have tribulation.” Our job, then, is to persevere through it all.

Theologians have used the term, “the perseverance of the saints.” This term simply points out that those who are truly saved will never turn back from the faith no matter what difficulties they meet with. Now, we do not persevere in order to be saved. We persevere because we are saved.

Perhaps you noticed that the man who fought his way into the palace in Christian’s vision had his name written in the book before he reached his goal. That is the way it works for Christians as well. Our names are written in the book of life before we reach Heaven’s gates. We do not have to work our way to Heaven and then, when God sees that we have made it, get our names written down. We get to Heaven because our names are already written in the Book of Life because of the blood of Jesus which covers all of our sins. We continue fighting, not to reach our goal, but because the goal has already been reached in Jesus Christ.

3. The fight not only involves a decided fighter, and a dedicated fighter, but a determined reward. Notice Paul’s words once again. He said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me.” The Apostle Paul anticipated heavenly rewards because he had fought the good fight.

God has rewards prepared for those whose names are written in the Book of Life and who fight a good fight. First Corinthians 2:9 says, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” The battle we face is worth fighting, not only because of the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross, but also because of the glory that we will partake of for all of eternity. The greatest aspect of that glory is being able to say with Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,” and being able to hear our Lord saying to us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”

The fight is a necessary part of our journey as Christians. As the old hymn titled, “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” by Isaac Watts says:

Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord.
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.

Thy saints in all this glorious war
Shall conquer, though they die;
They see the triumph from afar,
By faith’s discerning eye.

When that illustrious day shall rise,
And all Thy armies shine
In robes of victory through the skies,
The glory shall be Thine.

Scripture tells us that God has already determined the rewards which we can receive, and for those rewards, we should be willing to face any fear, fight any foe, and keep the faith despite the doubts and temptations the devil will throw our way. As the Bible says in 2 Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.”

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Dear friend, perhaps you have been listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, but you have decided that you want to become a follower of Jesus Christ. Allow me to share with you briefly how you can be saved and start that journey today:

1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.”Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2:8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment.

The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

7. If you are willing to trust Christ as your Saviour please pray with me the following prayer:

Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have sinned against you. For Jesus Christ’s sake, please forgive me of all of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again for me. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart, save my soul, change my life, and fill me with your Holy Spirit today and forever. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God. Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your new found faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you! We love you! May God bless you!