Gospel Perseverance (Philippians 3:12-16)March 13, 2022 | Brandon Cooper
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Good morning, Psalms reminds us bless it is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord. And who meditates on that law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit and season. Their leaf does not wither ; whatever they do prospers. Let’s devote ourselves to the Lord’s word. Now you can open your Bibles to Philippians chapter three, we’ll be starting in verse 12. Today Philippians three, we in verses 12 to 16. As you’re turning there to Philippians three, there’s an iconic scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, when a little Charlie at last finds the golden ticket. And he finds that they’re kind of on a street. And so public street, he’s instantly mobbed by all these people. And he’s getting kind of tossed and thrashed about and stuff. And you can tell he’s looking a little bit nervous. And this kindly gentleman kind of pushes them through the mob and says, run home, right, just just keep running all the way home, don’t stop until you get there. And although it’s not said, why we all know why it’s because on the one hand, the prize is so cool. Like this tour of the Chocolate Factory thing. On the other hand, the threat is kind of real, like as he’s getting mobbed by these people, you do worry that the golden ticket is gonna be lost in this process. Well, in our passage this morning, Paul is the kind of gentleman and we’re Charlie. And Paul is telling us keep running all the way home, because the prize is so awesome. But the threat is real at the same time. This is a good reminder, because last week, we were soaring in the heights, weren’t we, we were hearing things like you know, I’m doing all this that I may gain Christ and and know Him know the power of his resurrection, maybe even attaining to it ourselves and the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord. And on a lot of days, that is what we need to hear that reminder. But on other days, that hope feels far off. Maybe it’s a little bit more of the participation in his sufferings and a little bit less of the power of his resurrection. On those days, it feels a little bit like recovering from an injury, like you’re the little boy who breaks his leg at the start of summer. And the doctors keep telling you don’t worry, you’ll be running around jumping with your friends soon. But as you’re peeking through the window I’ve been playing outside it feels like it’s a far way off still. Look, if this all were a one soft choice, I think we’d be okay. If this whole idea of I’m willing to count everything lost that I may gain Christ. If we just had to do that one time, I think most of us in this room will have come to that point at some point in our lives where we go, good. Done. Let’s do it. Let’s make the one soft choice. But it’s not it’s a choice we make 1000 times every day. And the problem is the daily grind. Grinds us. And so we grow discouraged. What do we do, then? We want Christ but it just feels some days, like he’s out of reach. How do we face that discouragement? Well, again, Willy Wonka, if the Gospel is true, and it surely is the Gospel is true, keep running all the way home. Don’t stop. What Paul gives us in our passage this morning is three tips for running this marathon. And what I love about it too, is that each one of these tips comes with a precious gospel promise, really the fuel we need to keep running the race. So let’s start tip number one. Verse 12, run like you’re not there yet. Here’s Paul Philippians three verse 12. Not that I’ve already obtained all this. We’ve already arrived at my goal. But I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took ahold of me. This is all tightly linked to what came before. So if you’re just joining us for the first time this week, there were a lot of soaring heights last week, all those amazing blessings that Paul was talking about knowing Christ fully.
Paul saying I haven’t gotten there yet. You know, some how to attain to the resurrection from the dead. I’m not there yet. And so Paul’s almost saying like I know Christ, yes, but I don’t know him as fully as I could. In fact, Paul even says this to us in kind of a paradoxical way in Ephesians chapter three, he’s praying for us and he’s saying I pray that you might know this love that surpasses knowledge. And like Well, which one is it? Can I know what it is? It’s a past knowledge and his boasts of course we can know it, but just not fully and again, sometimes we feel the not fully more than we feel the know it part. Or Paul saying yes, I can experience eternal life. Even in the here and now, Jesus tells us in John 17, eternal life is to know God and Christ whom He sent. That’s eternal life. You could do that today. But that’s not exactly the fullness of the resurrection life like you can have that I know God and Christ whom I sent and my knees still hurt as I’m getting older kind of thing. That’s what Paul’s saying. It’s Paul’s bringing out the tension of what theologians call the already but the not yet. The already in the not yet that is there are things that are true of us already that are not fully true of us yet. Tension we find on just about every page of the New Testament, by the way, so you have to imagine we can understand already not yet a family that has been cruelly wronged swindled out of everything they have, so they’re bankrupt, they lose the house, they’re selling possessions to try and pay legal fees or whatever. And there’s this major court battle, and at last, the judgment comes down and it is full restitution. Like they, when they leave the courthouse elated, they’re gonna get it all back, and even more, because all those legal fees are gonna be covered. And there’s damages and all of that. So they leave the courthouse elated, but they still head back to the motel that they’re renting by the week, the one where they’ve definitely seen roaches a few times. Because, you know, it’s gonna take a little while for checks in the mail kind of thing work through the whole legal process. That’s, that’s kind of our story, isn’t it? We got it all. Its promise, we just haven’t laid hold of all that just yet. The inheritance in Christ is truly ours already. And Peter tells us, it’s kept in heaven for us. That’s the reality that we feel day in and day out. I haven’t obtained all this just yet interesting tidbit, by the way, when Paul says, I haven’t obtained all this, that’s related to the word that Jesus cries out on the cross when He says it is finished. Both words have that idea of completion in the root. So that’s interesting to me, because Jesus is saying, my work is done. It is complete. He’s purchased our redemption. He’s accomplished our salvation, but our work continues, the Spirits work in US continues as the Spirit applies the redemption that Christ accomplished on our behalf. That’s that workout, your salvation with fear and trembling idea that we hit a few weeks ago, we need to keep running. by grace through faith, I could put it this way by grace through faith, which we talked about last week, that whole faith idea, God declares us righteous. If you don’t know the word righteous, because you’re not you know, churchy. That’s cool. That’s probably best. But the word righteous just has to do with our performance record, like how are we measuring up or not. And so by grace through faith, God says, you measure up, it’s a declaration because you get Christ’s measuring up handed to you. But then what happens next, by grace through faith, still, we begin to demonstrate that righteousness in our lives, we begin to live up to Christ measuring up in increasing misery. Remember the homework illustration I gave you last week, that faith in is in so many ways turning in Jesus’s homework, we just we make the Xerox and write our name at the top and just turn it in. And so at this point, we get the 4.0. Like, it’s in our permanent record here. We’ve got a perfect transcript. But we’re so awed at the fact that we would get to do that we would have this declared about us that we go back and actually learn the material. Like I’m actually going to get chemistry because I coasted in that class, but I got an A in it, apparently, because Jesus got the A for me, I can do stoichiometry I’m gonna figure this out. Something I never did, by the way, but so that’s what Paul says he’s doing here, he says, I’m gonna learn stoichiometry now, like, that’s what I gotta do. I’m gonna press on to take hold of all that Jesus purchase for him at the cross and the resurrection. This is important because it means that what Paul’s saying here is that future glory
belongs only to those who persevere, that future glory is only for those who persevere to the end. Again, this is not a one soft sort of thing. Wish it were but it’s not. We all probably could point out not all of us but a good chunk of us probably point back to a moment where we wrote down our name somewhere or raised our hand and a class or walked in aisle at an altar call or something like that. That’s not what does it. It’s the perseverance after that moment that shows that that moment was real and true. So keep running all the way home. To that future glory. We have to run like we’re not there yet. I mean, Unless you think you’re perfect already, in which case, let me help you out. You’re not the finish line is still distance. And you don’t get the trophy at mile two. They didn’t get a participation trophy at mile two, you didn’t finish, okay? So what do you got to do, you got to take care of yourself, you can keep running, you got to breathe. That’s what prayer is, isn’t it, breathing in God’s presence breathing out our response to him, we got to eat. That’s the word of God. We don’t live by bread alone, but by every mouth that proceeds from the Father, we got to drink. Of course, that’s the spirit who wells up in us that rivers of life actually flow out of us. You do all that and then you keep moving, you keep moving. So this is self exam time for us, then we got to look and see how we are doing here is there any area where you’ve given up where you just stopped running, some discipline that you’ve neglected, or perhaps it’s a sin in your life, where you’re just going? Well, I’m never going to be different. So I don’t even bother trying any more. Maybe it’s a sin of commission, but it could also be a sin of omission, something good that you should be doing and know you should be doing but just aren’t. Maybe that’s evangelism. Maybe that’s serving. We’ve talked a lot about recent weeks, maybe that’s plugging into the community in a different way. But as you’re thinking through that, as you’re doing that self examination, let’s not forget the precious gospel promise that attaches to this. Paul says, I press on to take hold of that, for which Christ Jesus took ahold of me. There’s the promise he took ahold of you, he goes first, like rock wall climbing. If you’ve ever done this, you know, and you get yourself all strapped in, and you watch your kid do it or something. And you exert yourself, right? Like you truly climb, you’re actually pulling yourself up pushing yourself up with your legs, you gotta jump, whatever it is, what’s your secure? Why have you done this? Thank God, it’s not because of your grip, right? It’s because they got a rope attached to you. And it’s the guy at the bottom who is holding you up, that’s Jesus, he’s holding the rope, or else you would fall. And he will never let the rope drop. And even better, you know how sometimes when your kids do it, you get the really nice guy. And they pretty much just pull the kid up. So you’re looking at your kid going, that is crazy, hands are not touching, feet are not touching, and he is still ascending. That is the spiritual life. Sometimes we’ve all had those days, Jesus is one of the nice employees actually just pulls us up as we go. The future glory belongs only to those who persevere. Yes, but let’s remember, we only persevere because Jesus has us. That’s the promise of John 639. Jesus says it himself. This is the will of Him who sent me that I shall lose, none of all those who has given me will raise them up at the last day, Jesus is going to carry out his father’s will, and his father’s will, is that if God gave you to Jesus, he’s going to get you to the end, he’s going to get you to the end, he will not lose you. Now, that doesn’t mean, of course, that we’re presumptuous, because this is for those who have truly been given to Christ. And again, that has nothing to do necessarily with walking in aisle at an altar call, but has to do with genuine faith. But if that’s you, if you are truly in Christ, this is the promise which you can claim, Jesus Hebrews tells us is able to save us completely. The idea there is he’s able to save us to the uttermost and I think that’s both space and time, save every last part of you all those rebellious parts of your heart Even still, but he’s able to save you to the end of time as well run like you’re not there yet. Remembering that Christ has ahold of you, and he will get you there. Second, run like the prize is worth it. Let’s keep reading verses 13 and 14. 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 press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Paul’s gonna make this even clearer in the next section, but by addressing the Philippians directory brothers and sisters, he’s inviting them in to say you’re you’re part of this also, you know that right? So he’s putting himself forward as a paradigm yet
again. And what’s interesting is he immediately repeats the disclaimer, brothers and sisters. I’m not there yet. Okay, I am not there yet. I haven’t taken hold of it just yet. If Paul says this, and then immediately repeats it, we should probably think it’s true of us to like this should breed some humility in us to go I have not arrived. I have on rare very rare occasions had people tell me, they don’t sin anymore. And I’m like, I just, I got questions. Okay, because I’ve read Paul, and I’m more impressed with Paul than you and he said not there yet. Probably not there yet should breed humility in us, take us back to that self examine nation we
just looked at. But here’s the thing, of course, we need to keep running.
We need to run in such a way that we don’t fall into a religious rut. Because that happens a little bit like sitting down in the middle of a race. If you’ve ever done that before, you know, it’s a really bad idea. Because what happens as soon as you sit, your muscles just start to tighten right, you’re like, I’m never getting up again, this is just that’s the end of that. Mere observation of religious forms, like just going through the motions. I showed up at church on Sunday morning. Good, great. read my Bible today. No, scan my eyes over the page, good, awesome, that just going through the motions dulls our zeal for Christ. It’s like, maybe you’re running, but you’re just running in circles, because you’re just there for the running. At this point, what has happened, of course, you’ve taken your eyes off the prize, yet to keep your eyes focused on the actual finish line. And that’s where Paul’s focus shifts at this point. One thing I do, he says in see a singular focus, when he says that one thing I do, and it’s like a runner in the lead, who just keeps his eyes on the finish line the whole time, getting what’s behind straining toward what is ahead. And that’s it straining toward the finish line, he doesn’t look back, what does it he’s not looking back, I don’t know, maybe he’s not looking back at other athletes. See, if somebody’s gaining on him at that point, maybe he’s not looking back at the place where he fell and scraped his knee and didn’t think he’s gonna be able to get back up. And in light of what we just saw last week, he’s probably looking back at some of the fake medals that he used to have. He’s looking back on all I left all that behind my performance mindset. I’m leaving that in the past, also my flash confidence, I’m going to run this race in the Spirit. This is so important for us because there’s a very real danger of spiritual navel gazing isn’t there, where you just use really start to look at yourself a lot. And especially as relates to the past, we get caught in that if only mindset if only I had done this differently. If only I had not made that mistake. If only I had married someone else only I had whatever it is, right. But that if only keeps you stuck in the past, so that you’re not straining ahead anymore. Fix your eyes on Christ. Not you fix your eyes on Christ. Because that’s the price, knowing Christ fully becoming like him attaining to his resurrection life press on toward that goal. Do you think about it? Why do we do hard things? Most of us do hard things periodically. Some of you’re like No, I don’t do hard things. I got bad news for you, then New Testament is not a fan of that. Why do we do hard things? Because the reward is worth it. Like you put in a ton of time in school, don’t you? Yeah, read all these books. You gotta write all these papers. Why? Because graduation is cool. And then you get into college you want you can start to pick your course and things like that. And then you graduate from college and get a job. And maybe it’s the fulfilling career that’s kind of a it’s worth it. Maybe it’s just the fact that it will now you’re earning money, which is good because money is helpful in living this life. So that’s why we do it. Why do you exercise or diet or something like that, like as hard? We could do it because you want to lose weight. You want to be healthier than you were before. So you’re gonna do hard things because the reward is worth it. There is no greater reward the knowing Christ experiencing the fullness of His love. As that present immediate reality like I am there in his love. Not right now not just like intellectual, I’m pretty sure I read this. Jesus loves me this I know the Bible told me so that kind of stuff, but like it is there it is the atmosphere I breathe, we have to run like that prize is worth it. Like we will see Jesus face to face and feel the fullness of His love. Keep running all the way home. Why? Because you’ve got something better than a golden ticket. He gets something better than a tour of a chocolate factory. At the end of it. Christ asks us to do really hard things. You want to be my disciple. just deny yourself and take up your cross. So that’s easy. Read the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew five to seven. Does that seem easy? Love your enemies. Imagine reading that at a church and ucreate crane this morning. This is a heart this is what Jesus calls us to do. We will not persevere in doing the hard things that Jesus calls us to do, whether that’s enduring persecution with love or just memorizing Philippians without that prize in mind.
And that’s what Paul means when he tells us You know, all sorts of places have questions three, for example, when he tells us to keep our mind set on things above on heavenly things that’s keeping our mind set on the price on that future glory on that certain hope that we have in Christ. I mentioned this because we have a bit of a problem. And that’s that when things are comfortable, we tend to focus on this world and make present things eternal. And you live around here, you know what that means. Things are comfortable, just most of the time, your life is comfortable. And so it’s really easy to be cool with here. And now. Of course, the danger would that making present things eternal and imagining this present world can satisfy our next world longings is, the places we go for satisfaction are always under threat, even just a passage of time, you’re gonna make family eternally gonna make your comfort attorney to make your security eternal, fix your hope on those, if not going to go so well for you. Right? If nothing else, the ravages of time, and death will take them from you. We gotta have that in mind. And so what usually happens, it usually takes some serious shock, to jolt us into that future hope. What’s the book of the Bible that’s got the most to say about how things end? Revelation, what’s going on when John writes Revelation, the murdering Christians, like intense Empire wide persecution. And that’s the point where John goes, we got to talk about future hope. We got to talk about what’s secure, we got to talk about what’s eternal. We need that perspective. And so here’s Paul’s gentle nudge for us to do that all the time. Don’t fix your eyes here, to get in that rut, and sit down before the race is over, keep running all the way home run, like the prize is still future. And it’s worth it. And let’s not forget the precious gospel promise that will spur us on to do just that. Because this is the prize with Paul say, for which God called me heavenward in Christ Jesus, there’s the promise that God is the one who called us to this prize. Why does this matter? It’s the reminder that all of the Christian life is God’s calling. I think a lot of us can default to thinking that the call is just initial, like God calls us to the starting line of the Christian faith. And then we got to do the rest more Paul saying here as he calls us all the way to the finish line to because he called us heavenward in Christ as well. He has us in his hands and he will not drop us. This happens in Christ Jesus, Paul says, Of course it does. Everything happens to us in Christ, Jesus, His life, His death, His resurrection, accomplish it. And we laid hold of that, by faith, that’s our union with Christ run like the prize is worth it, remembering that God has called you all the way to the finish line. And then lastly, run like you mostly get it verses 15 and 16. All of us then who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point, you think differently, that to God will make clear to you only let us live up to what we have already obtained. Alright, so as proof then that Paul intended himself as an example, she’s going to state directly next week, but we get shown here already, he encourages us to think the same way to have that same mindset. So he includes himself in this group, because this is something we all need to do as Christians, all of us should take such a view of things. That’s the exact same word. We’ve seen it quite a bunch, in chapter two, in particular with the same word like chapter two, verse five, and your relationships with one another had the same mindset as Christ Jesus, there’s the mindset word again. So Paul has already told us then that we’re to imitate Christ mindset, self sacrificial, humble love and service. And now Paul saying, really, you got to imitate Paul’s mindset to, in particular, the striving, the persevering even in the midst of suffering, which is why our theme statement for Philippians says what it says, Do you think you guys know what that will have it on a slide this week? Try it out. To advance the gospel. We must emulate Christ and Paul despite opposition, excellent work, Lee. So it was a moment somebody said it for our joy and God’s glory exists. If the right Okay, so we’ve we’ve hit different parts and different weeks this week, what are we on? We’re still talking about the advance of the gospel, of course, but now we’re imitating Paul, despite opposition. That’s what he’s saying, Here, imitate my mind. So let’s think the same way about this. Let’s think the same way about our perseverance, even when it’s difficult. And Paul uses upon here to make an important theological point, just a reminder that ponds are a sign of godliness. So I want to make sure you’ve got that when he says, I haven’t obtained all this just yet. That’s the same root word as when he says all of us who are mature should take this view. Again, it’s that word, completion idea that we talked about. So what is he saying he’s saying, we’re not perfect yet. Not until glory, but we can be mature, we can be increasing in our
approaching completion, approaching perfection every day. Of course, Paul acknowledges also that we’re not all equally mature. That’s not a controversial statement. Paul, for example, is ahead of the Philippians at this point. So some are at like, mile 24. can’t quite see the finish line. But you know, it’s like around the next turn kind of thing. Some are just getting out of the blocks, like some of you came to Jesus a few minutes ago, and you’re like, Okay, this is intense. All right. What do we do? What do we do wherever we are? We ever come to those parts in Scripture that you don’t like? Right, especially the first time through them? You’re like, I’m sorry, you. You want me to do what? Or even just want me to think what? And perhaps that’s based on some confusion, some lack of understanding what what the text actually says that happens a lot. But sometimes it’s because Christ asks us to do hard things, and even occasionally to believe hard truths. That’s what Paul’s talking about here. On those points where you think differently. I don’t think he’s saying where you disagree with me, Paul, except as the author of Scripture, but really where you disagree with God. On those points where you think differently, maybe that’s emulating Christ’s humility, willing to really be humiliated, be used be abused, in the service of others for Christ’s sake? Or maybe it’s Paul’s striving even in the midst of suffering, those points where you think differently, don’t fret. Why? Why wouldn’t you fret? Because God, that’s why God hears the precious gospel promise that spurs us on. Paul says that to God will make clear to you, even they’re even in those areas where you’re like, I don’t know about this, God will make it clear to you. I love that. Here. By the way, Paul doesn’t put on His Apostle hat. He’s perfectly willing to do that there are times when Paul just speaks from a position of authority. If you think differently, it’s because you’re an idiot. Okay, so think the right way, or be in danger of losing your salvation, you foolish Galatians, who as bewitched you, read Corinthians sometimes even more intense, but here with the Philippians. It’s a different thing. It reminds us we got to speak differently to different people at different times. That’s cool. He’s speaking to friends here, good friends, he trusts them and maybe more importantly, he entrust them to God, God has got you. God will make this clear to you. And this promise really is precious, by the way, because this is not just clearing up a matter of doctrine or something like that. What Paul is saying here is that our sanctification are becoming more like Jesus is in God’s hands. We already saw Jesus won’t lose us, but God won’t drop us. Listen to what Paul says to the Thessalonians. He prays this benediction over to make God Himself the God of peace sanctify you through and through, may your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ prayer. Pray that for people then read the last part. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. Like I get I want my whole body, soul and spirit to be kept praying was to and some days it doesn’t feel like it’s happening. It does not depend ultimately on my faithfulness. But on God’s he will do He is faithful even when we are faithless, thank God because otherwise none of us would make it. We would be all lying at the bottom of the rock climbing wall in a heap of failure. But how does God sanctify us through and through? Well, lots of ways, of course, but one of the key ones is guiding us into all truth so that we know what to believe. That’s such a key part of all this really what we have here in Philippians three is that Prayer and First Thessalonians five, meeting Romans 12. You’re gonna be sanctified through and through body, soul, spirit, all of that, okay? How does that happen, be transformed. Don’t transform yourselves be transformed, says, God’s work and you be transformed by the renewing of your mind. We got to know some stuff, we got to think rightly about some stuff God didn’t graciously revealed Himself to us in His Word, and in the Word made flesh, and then leave us. Good luck. Everything you need is in there, hope you guys figure it out. He graciously reveals Himself to us. And then he helps us understand. He literally sticks around in dwells off by His Spirit, so that we can get it finally, at last.
So what do we do in the meantime? Well, Paul tells us, let us live up to what we have already obtained. So live up to what we’ve gotten so far. And work to understand the rest. That’s what we should be doing right? Let’s take them one at a time. So live up to what we’ve gotten so far. What is Paul saying, don’t be a hearer of the word only, like what you hear each week, put it into practice. This is so important. Of course, God has a lot for us. Every week, we talk about the claims of Scripture, what it claims God makes on our lives. And it is just so easy to walk away from that going, huh? That was good. That was interesting. And then nothing changes. Like you can see this almost like in a community group conversation or something like that. I’ve been a part of many small groups throughout my life. And you come together and you discuss a sermon, what do you do? Usually you talk about the parts you didn’t totally agree with the preacher about? Well, I didn’t really understand what he said, there. I’ve always heard it this way. Great. So now we just had a talk about blunting the edges of Scripture. And no talk about how we put it into practice in our lives this week. Don’t tell me you haven’t done that. Because I know you have. I’ve done it to sat under a lot of preachers in my life, believe me, as lame. And I mean that like using the athletic metaphor here, lame, like you’re gonna hobble yourself, as you’re trying to run this race. If you’re constantly trying to get yourself out from under scripture, especially if you just make it about understanding and not practice. Do it live up to what you’ve already attained, like me give you a good example, by now in Philippians. If you’ve been here from the beginning, if you came here today, you haven’t attained as much. That’s cool. All right. But if you’ve been here with us from the beginning of Philippians, you know, that you should be serving others, humbly and self sacrificially like Christ. No more Me first, me first. But like the kids taught us a few weeks back, you first. Really I insist you go ahead. Have you started doing that? live up to what you have attained, and then work to understand the rest. So trusting in the promise that we get here, dig in, so that you get more and more each day. This is your private worship, of course, but let’s keep in mind that we learn in community in particular. And so this is journey groups and community groups and explore our and all the rest, dig in, keep understanding. And that’s why my point here is run like you mostly get it. Because it’s really important to see you get some stuff and you better be running in those parts, but you don’t have it all. And so you got to keep working at this. But you do understand stuff. Like even if you’re here this morning, and you’re a skeptic. And this is the first time you’ve ever been in a church ever. And you’re like, I don’t know. Okay, well, you heard what I said today. So you got that much. Start there. This might just be as simple as, okay. If God exists, it’s probably important that I know him. So God, if you exist, and I’m not sure about that, I could just be yelling into the void right now. But if you exist, would you reveal Yourself to me so that I could get a little bit more? Great. Start there, pray that prayer, pray that prayer every day. See what happens. Like if that’s how much you know, cool. Start there. Wherever you are, open the Word. Pray, get into fellowship, certainly, again, we learn in community. And then think back to those moments of conviction to seriously scan back poetry sermon notes in the last 612 18 weeks, where were those times where you were like, oh, shoot, I cannot unhear that. I gotta live differently now. And you’re not living differently. Pull that out. Make that the focus of your prayer for the next a month, two months as long as it takes. We got to act, let’s take us back to 127. That kind of the key command and flip Ian’s conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of your calling. It’s the same idea. Let us live up to what we’ve already obtained. We’re going to put this into practice. And it seems clear that Paul is saying this because some aren’t doing it. If it was true, then it’s probably true now as well. And we’re tempted not to maybe likely, in light of the opposition that they’re experiencing, we’ll start to get to some of this in coming weeks to and there’s there’s how do we respond to persecution? What exactly should we do? These are the sorts of questions that people like you Odeon sin Tiki that will meet in two weeks, they’re asking, they’re coming to different answers, and it’s threatening the unity of the church.
There’s a good reminder there, even if this is coming about because of opposition that some of them are, are taking a shortcut kind of thing, except it doesn’t go in the right direction. I said earlier, we usually only hope in trials like that’s what jolts us out of our present realities that we begin to hope in the future, we’re usually also much more likely to sin in trials, like opposition just reveals what is inside of us. Like I don’t need to know you that well to know that when you’re stressed you get snippy. That’s just us, as people, okay, so that reveals us, and especially given the corporate focus this letter that we’ve seen, throughout in all these weeks that the focus on unity, where there’s conflict, in a church, like where we disagree about which direction to head or something like that. That’s when the stuff comes out. Right? When we fall into gossip or murmuring, or whatever it may be, run, like you mostly get it. Remembering that God will clarify the rest as you persevere. He’s faithful, run, like the prize is worth it, remembering that God has called you to it. And by the way, he’s faithful. Run like you’re not there yet. Remembering that Christ has ahold of you. He’s faithful, keep running all the way home. Because what’s there at the end is so much better than a river of chocolate. It is Christ Himself. Let’s pray. Lord, we pray for the endurance, we need to finish this race. Well, don’t forget what lies behind the strain towards what is ahead to keep our eyes fixed on Christ, who is not just the pioneer who blazed this trail that we’re running for us. But who is himself the reward at the end of it, we want to know Him, we would count everything else as loss as filth compared to the surpassing worth of knowing him. But we know that that’s going to take effort. It is an effort fueled by grace, you’re the one who called us. We don’t ever want to forget the grace part. We’re called to run and we know that. And so Lord, give us endurance. And I pray that even now, as we’re responding in song, we prepare to leave, that you would not let us forget the words you’ve spoken in our hearts this morning, that we would live up to what we’ve attained so far, whatever that step is, Lord, that we would take it today, and that we would keep taking it until we reach glory, by Your grace and to your glory. We pray this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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