Preparing for Something New

Preparing For Something New  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:07
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This year is a new year and we need to focus on what can I do for God to change the world around me. How do I do that? How do I not let the past determine who I am going to be in Christ.
If you have your Bibles, I want us to look at what the Apostle Paul told us. It is found in Philippians chapter 3. I want to begin reading at verse 12.
Philippians 3:12–14 NIV
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
It is in this passage that Paul shows us 3 things that we have to realize.
I have to realize that

1. I Am Not Perfect

Just like Paul we have to realize that even when we become Christians we are not perfect. God isn’t finished with us once we are saved. The Christian life is a process.
Yes, it is true, when we become believers in Jesus we are considered righteous through salvation, but our entire lives are marked by growth toward becoming more like Christ.
After salvation, there is a discipleship process.
Christ become the head of our life. We surrender our life to Jesus as Savior and Lord. There is a difference between Savior and Lord. He is Savior because He saved us from our life of sin. But as we grow in Him. He becomes our Lord. We allow Him to be ruler over our life and we do not make any decisions without him.
As we are growing in Christ, there is a change that is taking place in our heart. Look at what Jesus said in Matthew 7:17-20
Matthew 7:17–20 NIV
17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Jesus did not mean perfect fruit, He meant growing fruit. As we spend time following Jesus, He changes us internally. He is changing who we are because we are no longer our own person but we have become one of his.
And as our heart changes, our mission changes. Jesus saved us for a purpose. Some believe we are given a “get out of jail free” card and are free to do what we want with our lives, but this is not true. God’s mission is now our mission, and we recognize that we are responsible for our own slice of history. Our hands are for His service.
Discipleship begins in the head. We make a decision to follow Christ. And that moves to our heart. When we start to grow in Christ our heart begins to change. And then it moves to our hands and we want to do something for Christ. We are not our own.
So, you see that when you become a Christian you are not perfect and you won’t become perfect until Jesus comes back for his people.
The next thing we have to realized is...

2. My Past is Behind Me

Don’t let Satan Hold your past against you.
Look at verse 13 again.
Philippians 3:13 NIV
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I wonder if Paul’s past ever came back to haunt him. When you read the book of Acts in the 7th chapter you will find that as the religious leaders were stoning Stephen, Paul was there with them holding their coats for them. Paul was on his way to find more Christians to persecute when God met him on the road to Damascus. Paul’s past was not very pretty.
Don’t let the enemy use your past against you. Paul says… “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Your past can not determine your future if you are a believer in Christ.
The past should not be used as a barrier to the future, as an excuse for dropping out, or for avoiding proper spiritual conduct in your relationship with God.
Forgetting what is behind is not just the bad stuff but it may also require us to forget the good stuff as well. We must refuse to rest on past accomplishments and past successes.
When we think that our past was great, it causes us to become spiritually prideful and lazy in the present or future. God is wanting to do a new thing. He has something greater to do.
Luke 9:62 NIV
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Jesus is referencing Elijah’s call of Elisha. Elisha was called to be a prophet right in the middle of plowing a field—and he never looked back. In fact, Elisha slaughtered the oxen so that there would be no temptation to return. Elisha then moved wholeheartedly into the ministry to which he had been called. Jesus explained that service in the Kingdom of God was of such vital importance that his followers must make it their top priority. You and I have been called by God to move forward, so we must not look back. We have to step out in faith to serve God and don’t look back.
The third thing we have to realize is...

3. The Goal is Still Ahead

God isn’t finished with you yet. There is a far great race ahead of you and you have to run like your life depends on it.
Paul would forget his past with all its credentials and accomplishments and sins and, just like a runner in a race with his whole body reaching for the finish line, he would press on toward the goal.
Have you ever watched a runner headed for the finish line. At the final stretch, he stretches out his neck to get that last bit of effort. Paul pressed on to reach the end of the race and receive the prize.
How many of you like to get a prize? All of us. One of my few sports accomplishments in my life was when I got to be the game winning run for my junior little league team. I will never forget what that was like when I hit home plate and we had won the game. We all got trophies to celebrate. It wasn’t a participation trophy. It was trophy for the winning team. We had won the game and all of us knew it.
We are in this race for the prize. God has a great plan for us and we need to run this race with all our might. This prize is Christ Jesus calling us up to heaven.
God is calling us upward to a deeper and deeper experience of Christ, and the race will end with the final “heavenward” prize when we stand with Christ for all eternity.
All believers are looking for attaining this prize someday. That is why we must keep running the race.
1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Our church wants to achieve the prize that God has for us. The church is each of us, working together to fulfill the calling that God has given us. If you are a part of this church then you are a part of that calling and it is your job to help us fulfill the calling that God has given us.
Our church is made up of 8 core values. These values represent the DNA of our church. These values is what God has given to us. They represent our church. Let me give you those values real quickly.

1. Spirit Led Worship

As a Church we commit to worship that is spirit led, anointed, and moves people closer to God.
John 4:24 NIV
24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

2. Discipleship

As a church we commit to discipleship that encourages people to draw closer to God. Through discipleship people learn to become followers of Christ and become connected with one another.
Acts 2:42 NIV
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

3. Led by the Spirit

As a church we commit to being a church that is led by the Holy Spirit with people experiencing being filled with the evidence of speaking in tongues, prophecy, and miracles.
1 Corinthians 12:10 NIV
10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

4. Reach Multiple Generations

As a church we commit to reaching multiple generations. From young to old, single to married. Our desire is to see each generation discipled and moving closer in their relationship with God.
Psalm 22:30 NIV
30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord.

5. Church of All Nations

As a church we commit to being a church that ministers to people of all nationalities. We desire to be a church of all nations.
Mark 13:10 NIV
10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.

6. Ministry Involvement

As a church we commit to being a church that allows ministry involvement for its members. We want the people to discover and develop their gifts and talents to bring glory to God
Romans 11:29 NIV
29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.

7. Church of Prayer

As a church we commit to being a church of prayer by asking and receiving.
Mark 11:24 NIV
24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

8. Biblical Foundations

As a church we commit to being a church that teaches the foundations of the bible
2 Timothy 4:2 NIV
2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
These are the 8 Core Values that make up our church. We aren’t fulfilling all of them. We need to do a better job with what God is calling us to do. I want to win the prize. I want to be who God has called me to be. I want this church to be what God has called it to be. I have to do my part to help it become what God wants it to be. You have to do your part to help this church become all it is suppose to become.
Run the race that God is calling us to run. If you are a part of this church then these are the values that we have to make important for this church.
Will you help us win the race that God is calling us to run? Will you help us be the church that God is calling us to be?

Spirit Led Worship | Discipleship | Led by the Spirit | Reach Multiple Generations | Church of All Nations | Ministry Involvement | Church of Prayer | Biblical Foundations

Look at the Core Values and decide in your heart how you can help us fulfill these values. It takes all of us working together.
This year I will be teaching series that fits into each of these core values. I have failed this church by not making these values that the front and center for this church. This year, I am going to do a better job and making you understand the importance of these values.
Our mission is Seeking God, Connecting with People, and Reaching Lives and these values are how we do that. This year is a new year. It is a new season and God is going to use this church to accomplish things like we have never seen before.
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