Take Hold Of That For Which Christ Jesus Took Hold Of You
TAKE HOLD OF THAT FOR WHICH CHRIST JESUS TOOK HOLD OF YOU
(FULFILLING GOD’S DREAMS FOR YOU)
1 ¶ Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.
3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh--
4 ¶ though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:
5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;
6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9 ¶ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead,
14 I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.
15 ¶ All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 ¶ Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
1 ¶ Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!
-I made a reference a few weeks ago in the message about seeking the Lord that the only way we can do God’s purpose is to have God’s help.
-We won’t fulfill His purpose in the flesh by just giving life our best shot.
-Hard work and determination are to be commended….but they aren’t enough.
-As Christians we are born of God and we are to follow His ways and His thoughts.
-God gives us the ability and strength to follow Him but there are some things Paul specifically listed so He could:
TAKE HOLD OF THAT FOR WHICH CHRIST JESUS TOOK HOLD OF HIM.
-Several people in the Bible serve as great examples of people doing God’s will….Paul was one of them.
1. DON’T RELY ON YOUR OWN STRENGTH
-Paul said to watch out for the people in try in their own strength to serve God.
-This is a partnership…..you are a partner but He owns the ship!
-We worship and serve God “in the spirit” and as such we are to have no confidence in the flesh.
-Paul calls them “dogs”.
-He lists some of his qualifications and they are impressive.
-We might be putting to much confidence in education, inheritances, intelligence or whatever.
-I would personally like all of those things….but they don’t qualify or disqualify you.
2. GET TO KNOW GOD
-It is interesting that Paul, who saw heaven, had an appearance of Jesus and who knows what else was consumed with knowing Him.
1 ¶ After Jesus said this, he looked towards heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
-Find a secret place to be your mountain of the Lord.
-Lose yourself praying in the Spirit.
-Get to the place in prayer where you aren’t praying out of your mind anymore….you are praying from your heart.
-We aren’t just following a principle or plan but a man…the man Christ Jesus.
Col 3:3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
-The secret to your life is Christ.
Php 1:21 ¶ For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
3. PRESS ON AND DON’T LOOK BACK
-I press on.
-I read about a minister who climbed Mount Rainier in the Northwest.
-He said it took about 3 days and you are exhausted after about an hour out of the lodge.
-The air gets thin and other conditions get worse like sleeping in the freezing windy weather.
-He talked about the thoughts and emotions involved in keeping yourself going.
Phillips translation of Philippians 2:13;
“God inside of you, giving you the motivation and the determination to achieve His purpose for you life.”
-Keith just ran the Chicago marathon….26 miles. It is a long way. Something had to keep him motivated.
-This guy said that they got to the top because they just kept going.
-They wouldn’t listen to all the reasons to quit.
-When Becky and I went up the Eiffel Tower in France there were three levels. I was hoping she would chicken out…she didn’t so we went to the top.
-This is DISCIPLINE.
-This is the ability to take thoughts captive and STAY FOCUSED.
-Success is a series of small steps.
-Sometimes the greatest step of faith is to keep going when the crowd isn’t there.
-You just keep opening your eyes in the morning and doing what you are supposed to do.
-Sometimes there is great emotion and joy in your life and sometimes your feel like the wooden Indian going through the day.
THE OTHER PART….
STOP LOOKING BACK.
-You can’t go forward looking backward.
-Larry Stockstill example with the pickle on his pants. He had to look in the right place to stay alive.
-Don’t let your past steal your future.
-Don’t be a victim, be a victor.
-Some people just don’t want to get over the past.
-Face it, deal with it and then do what Paul did:
4. HANG WITH PEOPLE WHO URGE YOU FORWARD
-You’re not from around here!!
-Your citizenship is in heaven.
-Bad company corrupts good character.
-A companion of the wise grows wise.
-Example: Pastor from Kentucky…call coming next week.
-Becky and I were talking about conferences where people whine to each other and commiserate with each other.
-There is a place for that. I need to minister to others. But, I have to seek people out who can challenge me forward and upward.
-Who does that for you? Get their tapes and books and videos or go see them in person.
-Not just ministers but people who are serving God and their test became a testimony and their mess became a message.
GREAT PEOPLE TALK ABOUT IDEAS, AVERAGE PEOPLE TALK ABOUT PROBLEMS, AND SMALL PEOPLE TALK ABOUT PEOPLE.
-Remember this isn’t the end. You already belong to heaven.
LAY HOLD OF THAT FOR WHICH CHRIST JESUS TOOK HOLD OF YOU.