Phil. 3:13-14 THREE LOOKS THAT EVERY CHURCH NEEDS TO TAKE
Intro: In these verses here in Philippians chapter 3, we find the Apostle
Paul taking a spiritual inventory of his life. He tells of his pedigree
in verses 4-6. In these verses, Paul relates that if any man could claim
works as his banner, then Paul was that man. However, in verses 7-12,
Paul tells us that all those things he had formerly counted on were just
so much dung before God. He tells us that the most important thing in
life is a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. So that when
we arrive before God in Heaven, we will not appear there in our own flawed,
sinful righteousness, (Isa. 64:6), but we will be able to stand before
God in the righteousness of Christ and be accepted into Heaven on that
basis, (Eph. 1:6). What we find here, is that Paul, with all his accomplishments
and his great spiritual lineage was still unsatisfied with where he was
with the Lord, v. 12-13a. As Paul begins to look at his life, he sees
himself as a man who has not yet arrived and one who stands in need of
improvement. In essence, he is describing every person here today. Most
of us have the testimony that we are saved by grace and on our way to
Heaven. However, I would venture to say that not a single one of us is
completely content with where we are before the Lord. Anyone, who is,
is in great danger at the very heart of his or her spiritual life. When
we get satisfied, we get complacent and when we get complacent, we cease
to grow as a believer. While this is true for the individual, it is equally
true for the church as a whole. I believe that we here at Gilead Baptist
have a lot to be thankful for. God has blessed us greatly and we have
seen His do many wonderful and exciting things here as the years have
passed. Even now, we are seeing the church grow and we are experiencing
His blessings both spiritually and materially. However, there is always
the danger that we will become complacent and become satisfied with things
as they are. Therefore, this morning I want to give you three looks that
Gilead Baptist Church needs to take to keep from falling into the quagmire
of complacency that has trapped so many other churches.If we will take
these three looks, we will never be truly satisfied, but we will always
be striving to go farther in Jesus. My prayer in preaching this sermon
is that Gilead Baptist Church will never be guilty of becoming complacent,
but that we will always strive to get closer to Jesus and be more of what
He wants us to be.
I. v. 13a TAKE A LOOK AT THE PAST
A. Look Review) What I am talking about is taking a spiritual
inventory. As individuals and as a church body, we should list our accomplishments,
our failures, our hopes, our dreams, etc. We need to see again where
we came from and how we got to this place.
1. As An Individual, does your backward look include salvation? If
so, then praise the Lord that you are saved and rejoice in your new
life in Christ. If not, then do something about it and come to Jesus
right now and be saved! Does your past include failures? Successes?
Shattered dreams? Unrealized goals? Often, it is painful to review
our past, but it is helpful to keep us from making the same mistakes
again! It may be painful, but look back and take that inventory of
your life.2. As a church body, does our backward look include times
when we, as a body, have made mistakes? When we have failed? When
we have achieved some level of success? Are there unreached goals?
Are there shattered lives that lay in the wake of this church? Again,
these things may be painful to remember, but pain the first step in
healing the wounds of the past!
B. Learn (Remember) The wise man and the wise congregation will
look back on the past and will learn from it. We will do our best to
see that we are never again guilty of repeating the same mistakes. Yes,
we all do things wrong. But, we should be wise enough to learn from
those things so that we will never be guilty of them again!
C. Leave(Repent and let it go) If, in your spiritual inventory,
you found areas of failure and times when mistakes were made, then those
things need to be left where they are in the past! When we are guilty
before God, the answer lies in repentance. If we are willing to turn
from those sins, then God is willing to forgive us, (1 John 1:9). Then,
if we have repented of those sins, and done everything in our power
to make them right, we are clear of them in the Lord's eyes, Rom. 8:33-34!
All I am saying is this: Do not beat yourself to death over things that
happened yesterday, if you have repented of them and made them right.
Walk away from them and leave them behind!
1. As individuals, we are constantly beating ourselves up over things
that were done before we were even saved. Well, it doesn't have to
be that way. After all, the person who did all those awful things
is dead, and a new man has taken his place; Rom 6:8; 2 Cor. 5:17.
(Ill. Some folks just can't seem to get past their past.)
2. For the church, there is always a danger of looking back. Too
many churches have allowed themselves to become just shells of what
they were formerly. When this happens, and a backward look is taken,
too often, churches and church members just want to go on living in
the past instead of striving in the present. (Ill. Too many live with,
"I remember when
")(Ill. John Claypool tells the story
of "two Buddhist monks walking in a thunderstorm. They came to
a swollen stream. A beautiful young Japanese woman in a kimono stood
there wanting to cross to the other side, but afraid of the currents.
"One of the monks said, 'Can I help you?'
"'I need to cross this stream,' replied the woman.
"The monk picked her up, put her on his shoulder, carried her
through the swirling waters, and put her down on the other side. He
and his companion then went on to the monastery.
That night his companion said to him, 'I have a bone to pick with
you. As Buddhist monks, we have taken vows not to look on a woman,
much less touch her body. Back there by the river you did both.'
"'My brother,' answered the other monk, 'I put that woman down
on the other side of the river. You're still carrying her in your
"How easy it is to be obsessed with the past at the expense
of the future.")
3. Learn to shake off the past and leave it behind. If you dont
as an individual, or if we don't as a church, then it will only serve
as a weight to hinder us a to drag us down, Heb. 12:1.
II. v. 13b-14 TAKE A LOOK AT THE PRESENT
A. At How We Live ; (Ill. Paul was doing his best to live for Jesus.
He was "pressing" forward. Ill. "Press" = "to
run after a thing in order to lay hold on it." Pauls Christian
life wasnt a hit or miss thing. He was all out for Jesus. Nothing
else in life mattered as much as living for the Lord.) There are to
ways that we should all be living.
1. For Jesus ; 1 Cor. 13:31 ; Every activity, every attitude,
every actions, everything should be to His glory and His honor! This
applies to this church as well as it does to every individual here.
We must be living for Jesus with all that we have within us. Does
this characterize your life?
2. By Jesus Gal. 2:20 Here is where so many
Christians and so many churches miss it. We tend to try to do "Christian"
things in our own power. In reality, we are powerless in and of ourselves,
John 15:5. As we look around at where we are today as a church body
and as individuals, we need to see that we must be allowing Christ
to have total control of our lives. We need Jesus and we need Him
to be in control. I, personally, do not have enough sense to know
how to run this church, or even my own life. I need His power. (Ill.
Some people will call that a crutch. But a crutch is just what a crippled
man needs! I am not ashamed to say that I need Jesus to be able to
make it through life.)
B. At How We Labor (Ill. Paul was striving and reaching.)
He was doing his best for the glory of the Lord! As we take a look at
where we are today, how do we stack up as laborers? As individual laborers?
As a church body? (Ill. The night is coming John 9:4. Therefore,
we need to throw ourselves into the Lords work without reservation.
Men and women, we need to gauge our faithfulness, our earnestness, our
desire and our motives. We need to see that we are laboring for the
Lord. After all, our labor declares the level of our faith James
C. At How We Love As we look at where we are individually
and corporately, we need to consider just how well we are displaying
and dispensing the love of God. We need to develop and always use the
right kind of love.
1. For God Matt. 22:36-37
2. For Our Fellowman - Matt. 22:38-39; John 13:35 (Ill. 1
D. As you take a look at where you are before the Lord this evening,
how would you describe your Christian life? Is it pleasing to the Lord?
Is there something lacking? Is there sin, or other things that need
to be dealt with? How would you honestly sum up your life? What about
this church? How do you feel that we are doing as a group of New Testament
believers? Is the Lord pleased or grieved when He looks at Gilead Baptist
Church? I dont know the answer to all these questions, but I do
know that if there are problems at any level, God offers us a way to
make them right today. Our duty is to exercise the open door of grace
that He has given to us.
III. v. 14 TAKE A LOOK AT THE PRIZE
A. We Are Partakers Of A High Calling We are called:
1. From Sin To Salvation 1 Peter 2:9; Eph. 2:1-4!
2. From Death Unto Life John 5:24!
3. From Strangers Into Gods Family 1 John 3:1-3!
4. From Wanderers To Witnesses Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19; John
B. We Are Partakers Of A Holy Calling We are called to be separate
from the world 2 Cor. 6:17; 2 Thes. 3:6; 1 Tim. 5:22. Ill. As
born again children of God, we should be doing our best to live for
the Lord and bring honor to his name by separating ourselves from the
world and its filth. Gods desire is that we grow in holiness until
we resemble Him 1 Pet. 1:16.
C. We Are Partakers Of A Heavenly Calling (Ill. This life is
a race, Heb. 12:1-2. Sometimes we are ahead and sometimes, we find ourselves
being left behind. Often, this life becomes a struggle. One day, however,
it will all be behind us and we will be home with the Lord!) Hang in
there believers, stop looking back at the past, instead, look forward
to the future. It is bright and never ending! One day, we will be in
that Heavenly home. The hoping, dreaming and wishing will be over and
we will be forever home with the Lord! (John 14:1-3)
Conc: As we consider these truths today, where do you find yourself?
1. Are you saved?
2. Are you living for the Lord, as you should?
3. Are you living for the future, or are you stuck somewhere in the past?
4. Are you pressing for the mark and reaching for the prize?
5. What about the church? Are we on track? Is all as it should be? Are
we effectively doing the Lords work and will?
As we celebrate homecoming today, may I remind you that God has blessed
us with a great church?!? May I also remind you that He has big plans
for us here? Today, I call every individual here and every member of the
church family to take these looks very seriously and see where we are
and where we are headed. Things are good and they are about to get even