Pursuing the Call of Christ
Title: “Pursuing the Call Of Christ”
Text: Philippians 3: 1-15
ETS: Paul discusses what it means to pursue the calling of God.
ESS: Pursuing the call of God to be a pastor entails making some convictionally based decisions that will guide the pastor in his everyday activities in ministry.
OSS: The pastor will set some convictionally based core values that will guide his work and life.
PQ: What core values should guide my ministry?
UW: Core Values
A. The need of our time is Christians who are real:
*Our artificial fixations may be best epitomized by the guy who tried to rid his house of mice. He bought a mouse trap but had no cheese. To remedy the problem, cut out a picture of cheese from a magazine. He loaded the trap with the artificial cheese and went to bed. When he checked the mousetrap that following morning he was quite surprised to find a picture of a mouse in the trap. A counterfeit lifestyle produces artificial results! (Proclaim, Jack Gulledge)
C. In order to meet the need of the hour, child of God, you must live by Biblically-based core values....
I. Confidence in Christ Alone (Philippians 3:1-9).
A. Avoid putting confidence in men (vs. 1-2).
(Jeremiah 17:5) “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.”
1. Beware of “dogs” (kunav = a man of impure mind, an impudent man)
2. Beware of “evil workers” (kakouv ergatav = those who are trouble-makers, injurious, pernicious, destructive).
3. Beware of the “concision” (katatomh = to cut up, mutilation) refers to those who are religious, but not following Christ (ie: the Jews).
B. Avoid putting confidence in yourself (vs. 3-7).
(1 Corinthians 1:26) “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: That no flesh should glory in his presence.”
1. Beware of the flesh, it is not to be trusted (vs. 3).
2. Beware of earthly pedigree and position, they are not to be relied upon (vs. 4-7).
C. Accept that your confidence must be in Christ alone (vs. 8-9). (Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
1. Anything other than knowing and following Christ is worthless
2. Apply yourself to pursing a right relationship with Christ (vs. 9).
II. Concentration on Personal Intimacy with Christ (Philippians 3:10-11).
A. Concentrate on developing your personal relationship with Christ (vs. 10a).
* Doctoral research on growing churches revealed numerous methods and principles for growth, but one constant surfaced in all growing churches: a senior pastor with an uninterruptable devotional life. ("Growing with Your Church," Doug Murren, The Pastor's Update, Dec. 91)
1. Your ability to live a worthy life is directly linked to your walk with Christ.
a) (Galatians 5:16) “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
2. The Early church (Acts) is a good example of this principle.
B. Concentrate on receiving your power for life and ministry from Christ (vs. 10b).
1. He is the source of your strength.
a) (Acts 1:8) “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
b) (Philippians 4:13) “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
C. Concentrate on yielding your entire being to being like Jesus (vs. 10c).
1. Christ-likeness involves suffering.
a) (Philippians 1:29) “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake”
2. Christ-likeness involves dying.
a) (Galatians 2:20) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
b) (1 Corinthians 15:31) “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”
III. Commitment to pursuing maturity in Christ (Philippians 3:12)
A. Pursing maturity means accepting the fact that you have not “arrived” yet (vs. 12a).
1. You have not “arrived” spiritually, you are a work in process (text).
a) Illustration of Paul's struggle (Romans 7:15-24) .
2. You have not “arrived” intellectually, you are to continually study (2 Timothy 2:15).
B. Pursing maturity means accepting that Christ's desire is for you to be mature (vs. 12c).
1. Christ has always had a purpose for your life (text).
a) John Maxwell has identified four levels of maturity for Christians. They are given in progressive order with the least mature viewpoint listed first: (1) I'm going to do what I want, regardless of any thought for God; (2) If God gives me what I want, then I will give him what he wants; (3) I will give God what he wants, with faith that he will give me what I want; and (4) I will give God what he wants, regardless of any thought for myself. Many Christians spend the balance of their life at level two or three but the greatest joy is found at level four.
* "How to Get Commitment for Ministry," John Maxwell, The Pastor's Update, April 1991
2. That purpose is to be like Jesus
a) (Romans 8:29) “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
C. Pursuing maturity means always striving to become mature (vs. 12b).
1. This is to be a focused, lifelong pursuit.
a) (Hebrews 12:1-2) “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
IV. complete abandonment to pursuing christ's call (Philippians 3:13-15).
A. Pursing Christ's call on your life means you must abandon yourself to a singular focus (vs. 13).
1. To have more than one focus is to become unstable as a servant of Christ.
a) (James 1:8) “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
b) (Matthew 6:24) “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
B. Pursuing Christ's call on your life means you must abandon yourself to an unending commitment to the race (vs. 14).
1. Only then will you be ready to face the Lord in judgement.
a) (2 Timothy 4:7) “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
C. Pursuing Christ's call on your life means you must abandon yourself to listening to God's voice alone (vs. 15).
1. Always seek to be tuned into His voice!
a) Note John's example: (Revelation 1:9-20)
b) Note Paul's example: (Acts 16:9-10)
c) Note Peter's Example: (Acts 11:1-18)
A. Parting Admonitions:
- Focus on pursuing Christ
- Live by the Biblically-based Core-Values we discussed.
- Listen to His voice for direction (personally and corporately)
- Choose in advance to obey where ever He leads.