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We have been talking about “Coffee Mug Christianity” — We might even call this “FaceBook Christianity”…
Coffee Mug Christianity has to do with those little phrases — those verses that we see on coffee mugs, on t-shirts, one signs and paintings we hang as decorations… We even see them on social media… (you know what I’m talking about - those memes that people “amen” and “praise the Lord” and share)
They makes us “feel good”… they encourage us… they remind us of who we are in God, and the mission He has for us.
But… Have you ever noticed that everyone assigns a slightly different meaning to them?
They seem to say something different to each person who reads them…
That’s not a bad thing!
After all, scripture tells us to “meditate on them day and night”… to “write them on our door posts”… and to “think about them in the morning and when we go to bed”… (Deut.
But, there is a need for us to look at them closer… in context…
Today, we are going to look at:
Paul says: “One thing I do, forgetting the past, I strain for the future…”
Why does he say that?
What does he mean “forget the past”?
After all, It’s a part of who we are…
This week Mindy and I had the privilege of attending the Minister’s Forum at SNU… We had the privilege of worshipping with over 500 other pastors and ministers… (It was awesome!)
One of the focuses of this conference was a subject that truly spoke to my heart.
I don’t think that any of us would disagree that these last couple of years has been rough…
We’ve dealt with covid, riots, LGBTQ+ activism, CRT in the schools, and the list goes on and on… seemingly with no end in sight!
And none of that is even to mention those things we’ve dealt with here at home — in this church… (people leaving - some with no rhyme or reason… personal issues at home… )
There’s no doubt about it… It has been tiring… It has been frustrating… It has been discouraging…
It is even a little scary.
I want to share with you what one of the speakers said about this:
“The moment we are in doesn’t pause the mission we are on.”
— Dr. Ed Stetzer
Do you get what he is saying?
“The Moment we are in does not pause the mission we are on.”
What is our mission?
(to share the gospel) NO! (That is a result of…)
Our mission — Our goal — is One Thing… to Know Jesus! (to pursue Him… to follow Him… to be with Him)
I don’t know about you, but… the closer I get to Jesus — the more I KNOW Him — the more I have a need to SHARE Him!
Paul looks at all the mess… all the frustrations… all the discouraging and distracting things… all the things he used to brag about… and he says: “It’s all garbage!!! Keep the One Thing the One Thing.”
— Only one thing matters to Paul.
It is so easy for us to get distracted… There are millions of things out there that this world uses to distract us from God… But do any of them matter?! Can any of those things bring us salvation — Hope — Peace?!
Paul tells us to focus on what does.... (let’s put this in context)
Look back @ the first part of chapter 3…
— Paul is defending himself - his ministry - against his Jewish critics.
— They said that it is all about the Law… That circumcision was the “proof” of salvation… that they had reason to be proud, arrogant, “puffed up”… because they were the “chosen ones” and their circumcision was the proof… (you know, therefore they were better)
— Then he says, “But… If you want to talk about pride… I have every reason...”
Philippians 3:4–6 (NIV)
4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have 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 righteousness based on the law, faultless.
Let me ask you:
Do you hear fear in Paul’s voice?
How can he speak so boldly… so bluntly… so offensively?
Shouldn’t he be afraid of how they will react?
(I mean) Are those words really “Christ-like”?
The answer… FAITH!!!!
Because of his FAITH… Paul had no FEAR!
— Fear is the opposite of Faith… Fear destroys Faith! (think about it)
— Faith — “complete trust - complete confidence - in God.”
It means believing with all your heart that God can AND WILL do what He says He will do.
Paul had that!
Paul understood who God is!
And… What He can do!
Paul understood what the Psalmist meant when he said:
Have you ever noticed that Jesus never stops talking about Faith?
That the disciples never stop talking about Faith?
This is why!!!!
Faith is the key to internal peace!
No matter what is going on in our lives… no matter what is happening around us… no matter how bad the world looks…
We have NOTHING to fear…
“The moment we are in does not pause [the call of God on our lives].”
Death should not even bring fear to us!
If we are “in Christ,” then we have NOTHING to fear!!!
“The moment we are in does not pause [the call of God on our lives].”
What is your call?
— to put your Faith - your complete trust - in Christ.
John says to “believe in [to pisteuo] Him.”
Luke tells us to “sacrifice ALL for His sake.”
— that means that reliance on Jesus must become just as natural to us as breathing…
(think about it…)
Let me ask you: “Is Christ enough?”
— for you
— for your happiness
— for your Joy
— for your Peace
— No matter the circumstances!
Or… Are you looking for more?
Paul said:
Philippians 3:13–14 (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,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
For Paul, the pursuit of Christ was enough.
This is why he tells us:
How important is Jesus to you?
— Quite
— Very
— Essential
The choice is ours… Will we join with Paul and declare “to live is Christ, to die is gain”?
Will we leave the past behind and make the “One Thing, the One Thing”?
Or will we continue to allow our circumstances to control our outcome?
Let me close with three stories of people who believed that “the One Thing” was ESSENTIAL:
— Tell the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus… when Jesus came to visit…
(food had to be served - there were 15 mouths to feed)
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