Last time we began on the subject of “Reflecting the Character of Jesus” & we said that the Apostle Paul, at the time of writing this, had been saved for approximately 29 to 30 years. Soon after his conversion he started seeking God. They say that Paul set the 1st 14 years of his saved life to just seek God & to find out God's direction for his life.
I. Paul had one of the most powerful ministries ever on the face of the Earth. (2nd to Jesus)
A. There were miracles in Paul's ministry.
1. The sick were healed, the crippled were raised, the dead were raised.
B. Revelation knowledge flowed through him.
1. About 2/3 of the NT was written by Paul.
C. Paul was used in the area of VISIONS.
1. There was an accuracy of the HS operating in his life. (Even in the things that he knew or perceived.)
D. There were sings & wonders in his ministry.
E. He cast out demons.
1. With all the things that took place in Paul's ministry, after spending all that time along with God, After spending all that time in ministry & establishing churches, after revealing things that we still read about today.
b. What does Paul say in PHIL 3:10?
c. “That I mat know Him.”
i. The desire that Paul had after all this time was that he would know God.
ii. That he would know God in a deeper way. That he might know Him more intimately, to have a close personal relationship with Him.
iii. That He would know & understand God's ways.
II. All the men that did exploits for the kingdom of God had this type of relationship with God.
1. That's what the Word says, (Daniel 11:32) “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do [exploits].”
2. This desire, to know God, has to be in a mans heart to be a success in the kingdom of God.
B. There's all different types of success & all kinds of ways to get success.
1. Worldly success; financial success; business success, but there's a cost with getting success the wrong way.
2. When we try to obtain success the wrong way, we get the wrong kind of success.
a. With the world's success comes all the problems of the world, unless your success comes from God.
C. When you receive success from the Kingdom of God, divorce does not come with it, you don't have to have ulcers, nerves & heartaches. rebellious children are not something that comes with success from God.
2. (Proverbs 10:22) “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”
a. Success that comes from any other avenue other than the kingdom comes with a lot of sorrow with it.
b. But when God blesses there is no sorrow with it.
III. Back in (PHIL 3:10) Where Paul said, “That I may know Him.”
A. He wanted to know everything he could know about Jesus.
b. We all have this desire on the inside, to know God.
i. I want to know Him clearly, accurately, deeply, to have a close relationship with Him.
2. It's our desire to know Him this way, but we have the mind & the flesh to over come.
a. Our spirits want to fellowship with the Lord, but our minds have to be renewed & our bodies have to be crucified, so that we'll enter into that fellowship.
B. Go back to PHIL 3:10-14 (V 14)
C. Many people never reach the high calling in their life because they never press in on anything.
1. There is a high calling.
a. (HEB 3:1) Calls it a “Heavenly calling”, (2TIM 1:9) Calls it a Holy calling.
b. There is a High, Heavenly, Holy calling that God has for ever believer.
IV. EPH 4:1
A. The word “VOCATION” in this V is the only time that this Greek word is translated “Vocation” the other 10 times that it is used it's translated “CALLING.”
1. That's exacting what Paul is trying to say here. “That we walk worthy of the calling wherewith ye are called”.
2. There are certain things that we are called by God to do, things that not everyone is called to do. (example) (maybe more than 1 thing)
B. But there is a HIGH CALLING, a Higher Calling than being an Apostle.
1. It's a high calling, a Holy Calling & it's a Heavenly calling.
a. What is it?
2. ROM 8:28-29a
a. In (V 28) it says, “to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
i. What are we called to do?
b. (V 29) Says, “to be conformed to the image of his Son.”
i. That's our High Calling, That's our Heavenly Calling & it's a Holy Calling.
ii. All of us are called to be conformed into the image of Jesus.
c. That's why we have to know Him.
i. How would we be changed into His Image if we don't know what He's like?
C. Go back to PHIL 3:10, 13
1. You've got to keep on “reaching forth,” you've got to keep “pushing on in the things of God.”
a. If you're not going on you're falling back.
b. There's no standing still. (I'm not talking about standing still to see the hand of the Lord.)
i. I'm talking about standing still & not going on with God.
2. PHIL 3:14
a. Explain MARK, simply. (goals) Press toward those goals.
D. But there might be things that are holding you back from reaching those goals.
1. (HEB 12:1) Says, “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.”
a. We need to lay aside the weights & sins that might hold us back & continue to run the race that is set before us.
i. Pressing on for the mark & goals.
2. Maybe you feel that you really blew it in the past.
a. Maybe you failed somewhere.
b. Maybe you consider yourself a failure in the things of God.
i. Paul said in (PHIL 3:13) “Forgetting those things that are behind.”
ii. We can't let our past failures control our lives.
iii. We've got to forget, let them go, & move on with God.
V. ISA 42:5-6
A. In (V 6) God tells us 4 things.
1. 1st He says “I have called thee.”
a. We are now the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
2. 2nd He says, “I will hold thine hand.”
a. When He's holding our hand He's leading us into His perfect will, leading us into the things of God. (Black heel marks) (we can trust Him)
3. 3rd He says, “I will keep thee.”
a. In (PSA 91) He says “I will keep thee in all thy ways.”
B. He said “I called you.” “I hold your hand.” “I keep you,” “so that I can give you.”
1. You are a gift to this world, so that the world can see what God is really like.
2. Look at ISA 42:6-7
a. You are a light to this world. When people see you they see the Light. so let your light shine.
b. In (PSA 67) it says that God will shine His face upon us.
i. When His face shines upon us, our faces begin to shine.
ii. When we have God's blessing or His approval His light comes upon us & we become a light to the world. (Remember Moses)
VI. EPH 5:8-9
A. The KJV says “Spirit” with a capital “S,” referring to the HS, but the HS doesn't bear fruit. He is those things.
1. We are the ones that bear the fruit.
a. Most translations don't even use the word “Spirit” in this V they use the word “light” instead.
b. I like how the RSV puts it. (EPH 5:9) “For the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.”
c. The AMP says, “For the fruit – the effect, the product – of the light, is goodness, righteousness, & truth.”
2. 1PET 2:9
a. The word “praises” could be translated “GOODNESS.”
b. The Philips translation says, “That we should forth the GOODNESS of Him.
i. (ROM 2:4) Says, “The goodness of God leadeth people to repentance.”
ii. The world will see the light in you, they'll see the goodness of God in you, How He has kept you in Health, Prospered you, Given you peace & Joy.
iii. They'll see that God did it for you & you'll tell them “If He did it for me, He'll do it for you.” & They'll say GIVE ME some of that.
B. “The fruit of the light is Goodness & righteousness.”
1. The world will see that you have been made righteousness.
a. Not because you can read a concordance. (etc.), but because God has declared you righteous & you can live that righteous live.
b. In humility, being humble.
2. The world will see that the saints of God are righteousness.
a. Not in our own righteousness. Our own righteousness stinks. If the world sees that kind of righteousness, they will never come to church. & they for sure will not come to church by you going to the bars with them.
C. (EPH 5:8) Says, “The effects of the light is Goodness, Righteousness, & TRUTH.”
1. One of the Greek definitions says that it means “Truth as a personal excellence, the mind or character which is free from affection, pretense, simulation, falsehood, & deceit.
a. The goodness of God, the righteousness of God, the truth of God is the effect of the light of God in you.
2. But you must choose to walk in the light.
a. As we begin to reflect the character of Jesus, we'll see people saying to you “What must I do to be saved.”
b. As Paul said Reach forth, press toward the mark for the prize of the High calling of God in Christ Jesus.
WOLCC 8/14/93 SUN AM