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Pursuing What Is Best

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- Where there is no prophetic vision, people cast off restraint. God’s vision gives us the best purpose, boundaries and perspective. Without His vision or word, people do what they want, think how they want etc. Now, it sounds good, but ultimately we know that a world without boundaries is destructive. If there were no stop signs in the world, how many more people would die?
Proverbs 29:18 NIV
Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.
God’s vision gives us the best purpose, boundaries and perspective. Without His vision or word, people do what they want, think how they want etc. Now, it sounds good, but ultimately we know that a world without boundaries is destructive. If there were no stop signs in the world, how many more people would die?
- Where there is no prophetic vision, people cast off restraint. God’s vision gives us the best purpose, boundaries and perspective. Without His vision or word, people do what they want, think how they want etc. Now, it sounds good, but ultimately we know that a world without boundaries is destructive. If there were no stop signs in the world, how many more people would die?
So God has in mind what is best for humanity. When God created Adam and Eve, He created them in the best image, in best environment, in the best relationship with each other and with Himself and with the best boundaries.
Of course, sin destroyed what was best, and now we live in a world that is infused with chaos, suffering, brokenness, and really, a world that is less than God’s best. Our image, our relationships, our environment, our purpose are all askew.
However, God in His providence and unconditional love for people, seeks to redeem and restore what was lost. God’s story begins with the Garden of Eden and ends with the restoration of the Garden of Eden. And in between those two points, God gave His best - the best Law - the best way to live. Of course we can’t live up to that standard so God provided the best sacrifice, His Son Jesus Christ, who is the fulfilment of the Law.
Not only does God desire to redeem and restore, but He also desires to empower us to be the best that we can be. As God mends us, and heals us and transforms us, we learn to live the best way possible - we learn to be the best we can be in Christ. And being the best that we can be (spiritually, physically, morally, emotionally and so forth), is the best way to reveal the best God, the best Savior - The Lord Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth.
I believe God desires for us to pursue being the best that we can be in our context. I didn’t say be the best or be better than other people - I said be the best we can be in our context - and that will look a little different for everyone. We’ll talk more about this later, but being the best we can be begins with a relationship with Jesus Christ. And everything I’m about to share must be filtered through that relationship. Being the best we can be without a relationship with our Father is what the Pharisees were guilty of - we don’t want to do that.
This morning, I want to give you a massive overview of where I believe God wants to take us. I believe God desires Sunnyside to become a place where people can become all that God desires for them to be - which is all wrapped up in redemption, restoration, regeneration - wrapped up in freedom, rest, and love.
I’m going to give you a lot of Scripture, and I’m going to allow Scripture to speak for itself. And so I’m going to challenge us to pursue these things, but also help others to pursue them as well.
1) Pursue God’s Image
– Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness ….” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. And God blessed them.
Roman 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son ….
- For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!
2) Pursue Victory
– And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it …
- Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.
- Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
- Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
- For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.
- … thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
3) Pursue Success and Wisdom
Let me define two words:
A) Biblical prosperity means to cut through and keep pushing on until you succeed. Specifically, success in what God has called you to do.
B) Biblical success means to be prudent, to comprehend, to understand what’s going on, to have success because of godly wisdom.
- Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do.
- Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
- Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.
- Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.
- And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
4) Pursue what is Excellent
- Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
- And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
- So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
- But as you excel in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you - see that you excel in this act of grace also (giving financially).
5) Pursue Good Works
– Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
– For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up ..
– All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
- The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
6) Pursue Christian Maturity
- So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
- He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.
– Therefore, let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity ….
- Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
7) Pursue Godliness
- … train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
– For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
- But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
- Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
Conclusion: Now that is only some of the verses in God’s Word that talk about how we ought to live. These are only some of God’s expectations and desires for us. That He desires to restore us to His image, He desires to give us victory, He desires for us to be wise and successful, to pursue what is excellent, He desires for us to do good works and to pursue godliness.
And all that is wrapped up in being the best I can be in Christ and for Christ. Oswald Chambers put it like this - My utmost for His Highest. The Apostle John said it this way - We love Him because He first loved me. See, all these things are a response to His amazing and unconditional love.
Above all - pursue love
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