I’m tired of the same old, tired, worn out topics on TV. I don’t watch the news any more. I get tired of the mudslinging that goes on during political bashing that goes on. I think I can find something better to do with my time.
I guess that’s why today’s sermon really resonated with me. We’ve been in the book of Philippians 3. Today, we start in verse 14…
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
So, what is the goal? That’s what we’re pressing on toward right? Well, it says right there in the Scripture that the prize of the upward call is God in Christ Jesus. We are so busy getting ourselves all worked up over everything going on in the world today, that we’re missing the answer to all of the problems the world faces right now. If we’d all focus on Jesus, the bickering and hate and killing would stop. If we all try to love like Jesus loved, I think we’d find the answers. If we’d just keep our focus on Jesus…
The prize is the invitation to follow Christ. It has nothing to do with how popular we are or how much money we make. It’s not about celebrity status or how many “likes” we get on Facebook. It has to do with our spiritual maturity and what we find to be the prize.
15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
So, how do we know if we’re mature? It has nothing to do with Christian image. A lot of people have kind of ruined the term anyway. Eventually people see through the facade. As Jon said in his sermon, it’s not about looking the part. It’s about living the part. If you lean into God, he’ll let you know if you’re on the right path.
But, if you come to church and think everyone else there is much better than you, you’re wrong. Keep pressing on, God will reveal himself to you. Don’t think that you can’t attain the prize. It’s within reach. Wherever you are, start there, Jon says. You have to start the journey from where you are right now. Not when you get it all together. Jesus wants you now. He wants to help you with your brokenness.
As believers we need to walk by the same rule, be of the same mind. We don’t get a pass because we didn’t know the law; just like in Jon’s example, young drivers don’t get a pass because they didn’t know the speed limit pertained to them.
A lack of understanding is not an excuse for anyone to not do what they know is God’s will. What we don’t know can never excuse us from failing to do what we do know.
We can’t just wear blinders and hope that God doesn’t see when we do wrong.
Unity brought about by intimidation, fear, guilt, or shame, will never produce lasting purpose. It will only produce acquiescence. (I know, it’s a big word. I looked it up, it means the reluctant acceptance of something without protest. Thank you, Webster.) Do you ever feel pushed into something because of pressure from the powers to be? Paul wanted this pressure to unite the believers in Philippi, not tear them apart.
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
This is why we need to choose carefully who we run with. If you can’t stand up to the pressure you may have to separate yourself until you’re strong enough in your faith to not give into pressure to go along with the crowd.
But, that doesn’t mean to live in seclusion! There are people around you who are searching after God, find one of them and run with them. Find Godly role models. But remember, they too are human. Give grace when they fall, just like you may also do.
Or be one of those who is seeking firmly after Christ, and lead. All are not running toward the same prize. So we need unity in focusing on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not unity of religion or of church, not politics. Revival will come when the church stops thinking so highly of itself, and reclaims the mind of Christ, and takes on the form of a servant that lives a life of obedience.
If we don’t believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life…then we are lost.
So, what does this all mean?
We are not of this world, so we need to quit living like we are! Keep your eyes on the prize. The goal is the prize and it’s yours if you’ll just accept it. Find godly mentors and spend time with them. Lean into God. You’ll be amazed what he can do if you’ll let him!
If you want to listen to Jon’s message, which I highly recommend, it’s here.
I’m always here to encourage those seeking to learn more.