06/29/14 Take A Serious LOOK!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Monday, June 30, 2014 Under: Sermon
Text: Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Intro: Have you ever taken a spiritual inventory of your life? You will find in chapter 3 of Philippians that is exactly what Paul was doing. “Taking a Spiritual Inventory!” After taking this spiritual inventory Paul found that the most important thing in life is a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. An individual as well as a Church should every now and then take a good look at their spiritual inventory. With all Paul’s accomplishments he still felt unsatisfied with where he was with the Lord: “I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing.”

I believe we can all agree with Paul! We all have room for improvement, and that’s alright, as long as you continue to “reach forward.” Whether we look at this as an individual or as a Church, we cannot afford to become complacent or be satisfied with where we are. We have a lot to be thankful for but we must “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call.” We are seeing the church grow and we are experiencing His blessings both spiritually and materially. However, there is always the danger that we will become complacent and become satisfied with things as they are. My challenge today is that we at Ocean View Baptist Church will never be guilty of becoming complacent, but that we will always strive to get closer to Jesus and be more of what He wants us to be. We need to take a serious LOOK at our Spiritual inventory.

First we need to take a serious LOOK at our:

1. Take a Look at the Past: vs.13a

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind.”

Look: Review.

I believe we can learn a lot from our spiritual inventory: For years now we have been “On mission by the sea sharing Christ love.” We have made mistakes but we have accomplishments too! The leadership is excited with where the Lord is guiding us. We must also remember where we came from and stay focus on where God leads us. As individuals can you look back to where you first received Christ? If not maybe that is what you need to do right now! It is important to look at the past but not to dwell to long. It is more important to realize God has something in store for the future.

Learn: Remember.

The wise man and the wise congregation will look back on the past and will learn from it. We will do our best to see that we are never again guilty of repeating the same mistakes. Yes, we all do things wrong. But, we should be wise enough to learn from those things so that we will never be guilty of them again!

Leave: Repent and Let It Go.

If, in your spiritual inventory, you found areas of failure and times when mistakes were made, then those things need to be left where they are in the past! When we are guilty before God, the answer lies in repentance. If we are willing to turn from those sins, then God is willing to forgive us: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (KJV)

It is hard sometimes realizing God does forgive, we got to let go. We can be guilty of beating ourselves up over stuff, if you have repented of what you did yesterday, live for today. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Bury the past and uncover the future.

For the church, there is always a danger of looking back. Too many churches have allowed themselves to become just shells of what they were formerly. When this happens, and a backward look is taken, too often, churches and church members just want to go on living in the past instead of striving in the present. Too many live with, “I remember when…”

John Claypool tells the story of two Buddhist monks walking in a thunderstorm. They came to a swollen stream. A beautiful young Japanese woman in a kimono stood there wanting to cross to the other side, but afraid of the currents. One of the monks said, 'Can I help you?' 'I need to cross this stream,' replied the woman. The monk picked her up, put her on his shoulder, carried her through the swirling waters, and put her down on the other side. He and his companion then went on to the monastery. That night his companion said to him, 'I have a bone to pick with you. As Buddhist monks, we have taken vows not to look on a woman, much less touch her body. Back there by the river you did both.’ “My brother,' answered the other monk, 'I put that woman down on the other side of the river. You're still carrying her in your mind.’ WHAT ARE YOU CARRYING IN YOUR MIND?

“How easy it is to be obsessed with the past at the expense of the future.” Learn to shake off the past and leave it behind. If you don't as an individual, or if we don't as a church, then it will only serve as a weight to hinder us to drag us down: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

Secondly we need to take a serious LOOK at our:

2. Take a Look at the Present: vs.13b-14

"And reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

At How: We Live.

Paul was doing his best to live for Jesus. He was “pressing” forward. “Press” "to run after a thing in order to lay hold on it.” Paul's Christian life wasn't a hit or miss thing. He was all out for Jesus!

Every activity, every attitude, every actions, everything should be to His glory and His honor! This applies to this church as well as it does to every individual here. We must be living for Jesus with all that we have within us. Does this characterize your life? “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.” Galatians 2:20 (KJV)

Here is where so many Christians and so many churches miss it. We tend to try to do “Christian” things in our own power. In reality, we are powerless in and of ourselves. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

At How: We Labor.

We need to see that we our laboring for the Lord.

At How: We Love.

For God: Matthew 22:36-39 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" 37Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' For Our Fellowman: 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

How would you describe your Christian life? Is it pleasing to the Lord? Is there something lacking? Is there sin, or other things that need to be dealt with? How would you honestly sum up your life? What about this church? How do you feel that we are doing as a group of New Testament believers? Is the Lord pleased or grieved when He looks at Ocean View Baptist Church?

Finally we need to take a serious LOOK at our:

3. Take a Look at the Prize: vs.14

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” We Are Partakers Of A High Calling. We are called from sin to salvation: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

We have gone from strangers into God’s family, from wanderers to witnesses: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19

WE ARE PARTAKERS OF A HOLY CALLING. We are called to be separate from the world. As born again children of God, we should be doing our best to live for the Lord and bring honor to his name by separating ourselves from the world and its filth. God's desire is that we grow in holiness until we resemble Him.

WE ARE PARTAKERS OF A HEAVENLY CALLING. This life is a race, sometimes we are ahead and sometimes, we find ourselves being left behind. Often, this life becomes a struggle. One day, however, it will all be behind us and we will be home with the Lord! Hang in there believers, stop looking back at the past, instead, look forward to the future. It is bright and never ending! One day, we will be in that Heavenly home. The hoping, dreaming and wishing will be over and we will be forever home with the Lord! John 14:1

Conclusion: Did you take a serious look? Where do you find yourself?

1. Are you saved?
2. Are you living for the Lord, as you should?
3. Are you living for the future, or are you stuck somewhere in the past?
4. Are you pressing for the mark and reaching for the prize?
5. What about the church? Are we on track? Is all as it should be? Are we effectively doing the Lord's work and will?

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