A little bit of what we said last week. And and one of my favorite quotes is from Brennan Manning who says his old southern spiritual Mentor used to say to him be who you is. Cuz if you ain't who you is you is who you ain't now that is some wonderful wisdom that his old southern spiritual Mentor used to impart to him in his own walk with Christ. And that's a lot of what Paul talked about in Philippians chapter 4 verses 1 through 7 that we talked about last week. Our identity in Christ is really a big part that focused and playpens for 1 through 7. He says look you need to see the big picture of your identity as a cold labor helping God's good loving forgiveness field kingdom come into this world. That was a big part of what he shared. That's that's our identity. We are co-laborers when he was challenging those in the church in Philippi to get over there conflict. He Reached out to this bigger identity and said look for co-laborers. Our names are in the Book of Life. And so we need to be focused on living in such a way. There were honoring that identity as citizens of Heaven as Christians in Ephesians. 4:32 in Colossians. 3:13. That's a theme all throughout scripture. Just as God in Christ has forgiven you all right in a few reasons for forgive one another or in Colossians 3. He talks about if you have a grievance or something against someone else you need to resolve that and forgive them because Christ has forgiven you that's the pattern in the kingdom of God. That's the pattern among citizens of Heaven what God has done for us to Christ. We are to impart and do for others. That's what it means for God's kingdom to come and that's how we joined Paul and others all throughout history and being cold laborers in bringing the kingdom when Jesus said that we pray. Your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven that his desire is his will would be done here that we would start bringing the kingdom. Now, we start bringing heaven now in the way we treat and relate to others in treating and related to them the way Christ modeled for us and the way Christ relates to us until our identity drives. Our Behavior. One author is headed this way in a quart of this last week Christian should prepare to add one's own contribution to the Supreme Reformation project which gods which is God's restoration of all things that have been corrupted by evil. The Old Testament word for this is restoration this restoration of Peace Justice and Harmony is Shalom the New Testament phrase for it is the coming of the kingdom. Do we live in a world that desperately needs God to show up through the body of Christ. Does the news break our hearts is evil rearing its head in our schools in our politics globally in the World in Conflict? And do we long and are there people out there who don't even know God yet and don't even know how to put this into words but what their hearts are saying is that Kingdom Come dear. God save us rescue us get us out of this predicament this mess how can the world get better constantly stop violence. How can we deal with these sorts of things that keeps cropping their head up again and against and God has announced the plan through Christ who his life that the body of Christ that those who have known God's forgiveness through Christ that we would impart that the weather that we would bring the kingdom in the way we live so that we would bring love where there is hatred so that we would bring forgiveness where there is hardship or grudges or resentment. We're we're in peace where there is violence because we bring the presence of Christ where we go if we're living out our identity in Christ. And those who are graduating her kind of looking at it there life. I challenge you to drive a stake in the ground and gain this wisdom discern that your life should be committed to and would be blessed. If you commit a Duke and wood floors have committed to the word of God in this world and for all the parents and others. Amen and praise you if you're already doing it great job and many of you are and I celebrate that and if you're not doing it as I say frequently cuz I love this little hokey cliche. You may not be able to make a new beginning but you can start today and make a new ending even if you've just woken up lately. I said, you know what I kind of got off on that exit and we talked about Rock City Gear on a trip before you know, what you're eating a pecan log you forgot where you were going even if you've gotten off at exit of that first love of giving your life to Christ and balling down and think I'm going to serve you I'm going to love you too. My life is going to be about you. You're going to be first my career my money my time everything is going to be about you and then before you know it Planning your life about you and God. Is this afterthought? Well, I'll ask him to bless what I've got planned or if there's a crisis all call out to him, but you really miss out on the good life. And Paul is remaining of Philippians. See this bigger picture that were part of the Kingdom. Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to come with me and change the world? That's the question that seem Jones gave to an executive at Coca-Cola when he got him to leave Coca-Cola a high-paying job of great Prestige and come to the start up at that time Apple. That was the challenge. She gave to him. Look I'm making great money. I'm living the life of an executive at Coca-Cola most powerful companies in the world. Why would I come work for your little let's see if it works out company. And he said do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to come with me and change the world? And he said yes Alyssa night. I invite you to consider a bigger question. You want to succeed for 70 or so years, or do you want to succeed fraternity?
Because so many of us are pointing our life if we're graduating were thinking about what it means to succeed. What path do I get on and if we're not careful we will only think in terms of what does it mean to succeed for 60 or 70? It's the Lord blesses 80 90 years even 90 years is nothing compared to Eternity. And so the gospel invites us to think about that larger picture that bigger picture. What does it mean to succeed for eternity again? We don't want to get off the exit and find our life about pecan rolls instead of realizing God invites us to be part of the kingdom of God true Freedom Ravi Zacharias. This is not the freedom to do as we please rather it is to do as we ought. Amen memorize that burn that into your brain. We live in a world that will constantly tell us that true Freedom means doing whatever we want. This is what I want. I'm going to do it I'm able to do this. So I'm going to do it. I'm capable of doing this so I'm going to do it. I don't know how many You want a sermon? This world the hardship in this world the Heartbreak in this world is because he had mosseri keeps tricking everyone into thinking that freedom is doing whatever I want whenever I want some people step into that bear trap of addiction or whatever it is that Sam comes in the Robin gets a hold of them. And then what they thought was Freedom ends up being bondage and so they lose their children for they lose their marriage before they lose their homes when they lose their career so much of the Heartbreakers most people are buying into the LIE including the body of Christ. Too often. We look in the body of Christ and we don't see anything that much different. In a group who sang my life is my life and I will plan it the way I want to plan it and I will do what I want to do and I won't plan to succeed these 60 70 or 80 years. The ultimate goal pay off debt payoff my home, but my kids through college. Have a nice retirement. We're not careful. We only think as large as those little pecan rolls you can get on the exit and we don't think about God is inviting us to the freedom the freedom don't you want this order? Freedom don't you want this sort of freedom? Doesn't your heart break when you see the condition of our world? Don't you want to be part of the solution? Don't you want to see kids go to school and be safe? Don't you want to see Global Peace? Don't you want to see the poor fed and cared for? That's what this Freedom the true in biblical understanding of Freedom leads to Colossians. 1:27. Paul says, look, it's been hidden. It's been a mystery. It's been misunderstood. But now it's revealed Christ in you is the hope of the World As We allow Christ to dwell in our lives and live through our lives that becomes the hope of this world as we bring the kingdom and the every spear of influence that we can exercise her influence within and our marriage and our home in our schools and our neighborhoods in our church as we bring the kingdom of God in Christ, like love and forgiveness and Grace and Challenge and encouragement to one another we bring the kingdom and we change the world. That's a much better life. Isn't that's a much bigger life and God invites us to live and know and understand this like this is why Paul calls it a peace that passes human understanding in the vs. We talked about last week's it's not a path to a rocking chair but a path to a judgment day before the major of the universe and he says for you and I well done. Thou good and faithful servant enter into your Master's happiness. That is so much better than a rocking chair and then but if we're not careful the purpose of life is to get a nice home. I see your kids go to college and have a nice little Nest Egg for retirement giving it away. That's for my retirement. There's nothing bigger than that.
Not even the kingdom of God. Not even living for eternity. Not even changing the world. Before we know what the dream comes to live in that home and have that rocking chair. And if it's an excellent dream, then our kids live right next door and the grandkids just run over everyday and say Grandma, Grandpa. rock with us on the porch There's nothing wrong with that unless it is our ultimate goal. You understand that important distinction nothing wrong with enjoying family. Nothing wrong with enjoying your home. Nothing wrong with enjoying each other your children your grandchildren, but if they become the ultimate measure of success the movie in the 80s, that was so controversial The Last Temptation Of Christ. I mean remember that movie. It actually was not as horrible as everyone thought it was we were Disturbed that Jesus was portrayed as so human. But the basic theme of the novel Family that movie was based was this theme the adversary comes to Jesus right before he's on the cross and says instead of going to the cross and he cast up this Vision to him. It's part of a dream sequence. I didn't actually show Jesus doing this that we all protesting about without knowing a novel or the movie. We just protesting to somebody on the radio told us to they actually didn't just wasn't actually in the movie was a dream sequence. And here's what Satan tempted Jesus with hey, how about this? How about instead of going to the Cross you make the most important thing in your life not sacrifice for the sake of others who makes the most important thing in rocks getting married and having kids and growing old. I saw the controversy that they had Jesus having sex and having kids and having a wife with all this dream sequence to say why don't you settle for the American dream instead of the cross? Why don't you to find success within the context of 70 years? And he was tempted. That was The Last Temptation Of Christ tempted. Kids are awesome. Want to get married and have kids and make that the purpose. of my life
But we know they didn't give in to that Temptation instead went to the cross and heard from God the Father. Only in his baptism. But I'm sure at the end to this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased and God calls us to the writings of Paul here to that bigger picture of life. So in last week's section, he ends by saying therefore don't dwell on division within the church. What about my way? I didn't get my way we had a conflict or not arguments that didn't do things my way and suddenly churches have division. Can I get an amen? I don't have to preach on that. Right how many different denominations are there? How divided are we in the City of Lexington alone different names different buildings different budgets different different staff instead of a United Church. We are divided because we bought into that lie that I did that it's all about me or I have to get my way and we took a stand on things that were not essential and divided or opposition without he's talking to the Philippians about the fact that the church will be persecuted that there will be those who stand against them when they try to advance the character and the content of the kingdom and talk about that opposition. Don't get overwhelmed without opposition. Don't get tied up with the fear. What about my life the following Christ look if I don't put everything in the retirements, what am I going to do when I get old depend on God?
I mean if I take a risk at work that can in my career cuz I take it since I'm got on the gospel. What am I going to do? Depend on God.
Come to think about it. I don't like Paul as an example cuz he ended up in prison and killed. Play gospel. 60 or 70 years 70 years that will be success. I will just plan for 60 or 70 years old and conservative. I'll make sure I join the church that lets me Network and get relationship so I can succeed in my career. Write sixty or seventy years in God is begging us pleading with us back up and see the bigger picture. I'm asking you to be part of changing the world for eternity. If you will give your life. to me
It's no better deal. Could we find on the face of the Earth or in the universe that are maker himself? Offer us this partnership to be part of restoring the world. reversing the evil that our lives can be invested in such a way that the return is eternal. Don't fall for the Fool's Gold of making the ultimate. Nothing wrong with family homes relationships enjoying those please don't go out here miss hearing me. But if they become the ultimate if I will choose them over God when he calls me if I would choose them over taking a risk to serve God that I'm in danger of making them my God and not God himself. T'pol says therefore don't dwell on division was on my way or opposition. What about my life the risk of falling prices dead by prayer present your requests your concerns your worries to God you want something to worry about worry about getting to the top of the ladder and realizing it was leaning up against the wrong wall. That's what you need to worry about. Heed These words now and I don't care if you're 18 or 25 or 60. Heed These words now because you may not go to start a new beginning, but you can start today and make a new ending. Now this week's sermon which I'm excited about. I'm so excited to summarize what Paul said last week. And before you panic and fear that oh my goodness. He's going to preach another 30-minute sermon on top of what he just preached really everything. I said so far it sets up the context of partout for Paul when he says here's how you get that piece that is beyond human understanding so much richer and deeper than that Labrador Retriever sitting on the porch with you so much deeper than that. Here's how you get that peace that surpasses understanding. Instead of that worried conflict internal error worry about the cost of following Christ. You pray and you present those things to him and then there's a second thing you do and we didn't share that last week, but we're going right into it now. So Paul Begins by saying do not be anxious about anything but in every situation by prayer and petition with Thanksgiving present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus and then he continues finally brothers and really it's almost like more over or an addition. Let me add to what I've just said 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 seeing me put into practice and the God of Peace will be with you. That's the second part of what it means to pursue this. Look reading these worship together in context helps us see that Paul is not simply encouraging positive thinking. I probably done this and I've seen it done by everyone these versus pulled out of context and they essentially get top and preached as positive thinking you whatever is good. Whatever is right for you. That's just what you should put your mind on but that's not really what Paul is saying is it it's something so much deeper in the context. We realized it's not just positive thinking as we mentioned last week. The bigger picture is God working is good world-changing eternity changing purpose in and through our lives. So in the context of pulsing look, I know you're worried about getting your way inside fin personal Division, and I know you're anxious about the cost of following Christ in your city and your culture Alyssa let go of that instead or place that worried that anxiety with prayer present your requests to God for and Put your thoughts on what is good and pure and right. It's part of that formula. It connects to what he's just said to us notice. This is a positive preventive proactive measures of the directions to neglect worry and be a tentative prayer does not leave us sitting on our laurels. That's important because too often we stopped short and we say I know I should pray about it. Can we pray about it? But we stopped there we feel like that's all the direction we have from God not sure what to do. Next. Not sure how to make the world better. Not sure how to deal with my marital relationship issues. Not sure about the conflict here or the struggle at work. And I know I know Pastor I know I pray about it. I Lord if you'll just fix all this if you'll just answer my prayers and we have good intentions and prayer is good. So don't miss hear me but in this passage Paul gives us more in addition to praying in addition to praying he gives us more you talk about Laurel's in Philippians 3:12 through for one. He talks about his own celebration of Salvation in Christ, but he says, That's not all it's not just salvation. He says look I don't I forgetting about what lies behind and then the expression of his day would have been The Laurels that limit Champions would have had and if they stopped trying then what do you spell sit on your laurels? You just say I've got this once I did that once like I serve the Lord the first couple years. I was a Christian before I got caught stain and then set my path back to her to 60 or 70 years has the goal first couple years. I was a Christian when I was in that First Love Stage of Paul talks about in Revelation to that was willing to give him everything and then I finally, you know got some sense in me. And I settled for what can you know, how can I orchestrate success for the next sixty or seventy years?
Paul said look I've let go of that all that's behind me. I could list my credentials and say pretty impressive. It says those things are done. Those things are done. I done done. Those things are dumb compared to what it means to know Christ compared to what it means to be part of what God is doing in this world to know that mystery revealed Christ in you is the hope of glory to be part of what he's doing to advance the gospel in my own heart and life and in the lives of friends and neighbors and family and cities and Nations and hope all had a sordid Riven Destiny. Which would you say Paul made a difference in his lifetime?
Would you say he's ever said, you know, I wish I could just trade it all so I could just grown a little bit older and sat on the porch and enjoyed life a little bit. You wouldn't want to he wouldn't trade it for a minute. He was part of changing the known world. A culture that discarded babies into the elements to die when they didn't want them a culture that regulated parents and and those who were old or disease did The Villages all by themselves to die on their own that culture changed the birth of Education the birth of hospitals the birth of caring for the poor a rose out of the Gospel proclaimed in the first century of the church a rose out of a Paul who said I will die if that's what it takes. I will give my life to Christ the Known World changed because of his commitment to the gospel and we can change the world as we know it today. You can change the world in your lifetime. Those 60 or 70 years can accomplish Eternal consequences. You can change the world. By yourself. When you give your life to Christ. It is my money my time my intellect my gifts my skills I give them over to you.
Now we have something to do with I said in addition to prayer we get to get a jump on sharing in the Master's happiness. When Jesus says what happens on that Final Judgement Day is God will look to those who trusted God for their righteousness trusted in the work of Christ for their salvation. And strive to follow him. He will say Well done thou good and faithful servant now enter into your Master's happiness. But I believe one way to talk about what we're encouraged to do in addition to praying bring your concerns to God. One way to talk about that is we get a chance to get a jump on sharing in our master's happiness. Because in that passage in which Jesus says well done thou good and faithful servant. It's all about doing the things that God would have us do in feeding the poor caring for the needy. It's when he says to those who are listening. Hey enter into your reward because when I was hungry you fed me when I was naked you clothed me when I was in prison you visited me when I was lonely you visited me when I was needy you care for me and they say when did we do this? Asus whenever you did this for the least of these you did it for me because guess what that's the kingdom come one way the kingdom comes as Jesus tells us those on the inside who know the truth who giving our life to him who know Salvation is his gift to us one little secret. He tells us is hey guess what? I'm hiding inside all of the least of these And as you ignore them, you ignore me and as you care for them you care for me. Paul is talking about dwelling on what is good and true and beautiful. I believe what he's talking about is spotting the Master's happiness right here. And right now what does God the Father find good and true and beautiful. It's not just positive thinking cuz II vs recess what you seen me do. I think you said the one that practices you've seen in my life the things you've heard from me. That's what I'm talkin about the advancing of the Gospel to doing good for the kingdom of God. That's what I'm talking about when I'm talking about. What is true and praiseworthy ain't good. I'm talking about those things.
So get a job on sharing your Master's happiness, finally brothers and sisters. Whatever is true. Whatever is Noble whatever is right, whatever is pure whatever is lovely whatever is admirable. If anything anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. So there's no filter hear anything that meets that criteria we were encouraged to think about then he continues whatever you've learned or received or heard from me or seeing me put into practice and the God of Peace will be with you. Phyllis ask this question. What is good in our culture that we can promote protect or celebrate for the use of the language? I'm using where do we see the Master's happiness to promote protect and celebrate? That's a great rule of life. In addition to prayer. How is it that I give my life to the work of the kingdom of God and one way is looking around right around your Spear of influence and asking this question. What do I see? That's good. That's pure that's praiseworthy. That's truthful. And how do I focus on those things? What do I see? That really is? The Master's happiness around me. I came across something this week that I thought was an amazing example this that I had never thought of and somebody I believe under his breath of the Holy Spirit thought of this and it was something that God would say, yeah. Yeah. I love that. I can just see what I'm going to show you who has a 60 second video that tells the quick little story about something somebody started in San Antonio and I think it's the kind of thing that is indeed the Master's happiness.
Their whole lives they've been sitting on the sidelines, but now special needs individuals and their own body. It's really cool to see I'm just you and I interact we are at the park here in San Antonio. We're really just the first step of moving forward and getting the word out. There there needs to be other places like this where special-needs individuals come out and play and play together. There's no Foundry. It's a wake-up call for them because their whole lives they haven't been able to do it people who come out here and there so I can't do that. Like no you can't do that and we're going to show you that you can do that. They fuel typical again. Just like everybody else to look at the people that we serve here at the park. I need something like this a place of acceptance a place of inclusion from X and take a little things for granted.
in that beautiful one author said we find the best opportunities to join God's work not by complaining loudly about what's going wrong at the top of culture is Morgan would say hello. But my meeting local needs within our communities from our areas of influence that somebody caught that Vision in San Antonio and said what if we started a special needs Park a water park just for folks with special needs folks who've always been told now, you can't do that. I'm sorry. That's not safe. You can't get on this one though. You can't be here know you'll have to sit over the side in your chair and watch and somebody do you think that makes God's heart happy you think that's an example of the Master's happiness to see those folks are often excluded the least of these my many definitions in our culture to see them welcome and that took money and time and energy and intellect and brain and creativity. Somebody had to figure out how we going to make this ride safe for somebody in a wheelchair. You realize of all the careers you can choose the pass you can go on and there's not a single one that you cannot submit to God and the kingdom of heaven and do his work as a banker as an engineer as a mom as a dad anything you do you can do it as unto the Lord and bring glory to him. You can join in the Master's happiness right now. right now that's the invitations when he says whatever is true. Whatever is good. Whatever is right, whatever is pure think about such things. The possibilities are Limitless. What can we think of in this room that would Advance God's love and forgiveness and Grace and care for our city for our neighbors for those in Need for hurt marriages for children in the foster care system. Do you know if one family out of every three churches in the United States took a foster child that the that the whole system would be emptied overnight? Can you imagine that what would the world say if the church could guess I'm going to screw up my life. I've got plans. I'm going to get a second home for retirement, but I'm going to sit on the porch with four chairs If I Could children it's going to screw up the whole thing.
Well, what's my wife about sixty or seventy years for eternity? That's something you don't like to be priests at like that, but I preach it with love. Don't get today in your life and realize the ladder was leaning up against the wrong wall.
think of the difference the church can make on fire for the Lord there might then have to take foster children. Everybody doesn't have to be an engineer that figures out how to create a ride that a wheelchair can be on We all work out of our gifts and our experiences and our strength, but if all of us took what we can do our experiences our strength our skill set and we did what we could the enter into to get a jump on celebrating the Master's happiness even now. Do you think it would change our city? Like I said, it would be a global witness just because I know these numbers and have this illustration I had but it's not the only way we can do it. But if one family out of every three Churches United States adopt a foster child, the entire system would be empty. What would the world say? Do you know how did you get out of the the orphan issue like that? Well, it was Christians. all convinced
by the example of Christ of a God I guess. their lives were about something bigger than their lives
imagine and we could probably make an impact on dozens and dozens of other issues if the Churches United she said I get it. My life will be richer and Fuller. Maybe Jesus meant it when he said if you give up your life, if you lose it, you will find it. It will be richer and Fuller because of that. I'm going to buy the worship team to come forward. That quote by the way, it's from a great book called restoring all things God's audacious plan to change the world through everyday people when he said instead of complaining loudly about what's happening at the top of culture. The best way to make an impact is to locally use your Spear of influence to advance the kingdom itself to advance the gospel itself. So, this is our closing question for all of us. What is the good in our culture that we can promote and it comes in that book also protect and celebrate where do we see the Master's happiness to promote protect and celebrate think about that this week look around your family your neighborhood. Look around the city of Lexington. Where is God already at work? Where is something that you could jump in? We don't have the necessary always reinvent a Christian version of every good deed. Maybe God's already working in our culture and in our city in such a way that we could say. Hey, I like to volunteer for that. I like to participate in that. And suddenly Christians can make a difference within the system itself. Maybe you've got ideas about your career or your creativity or gifts that you can bring to bear in your sphere of influence. We need Christians influencing the medical field. We need Christians influencing the education system. We need Christians influencing media and advertising. We need Christians influencing what happens when little leagues are coached. We need Christians helping out at school bake sales and influencing discussions on PTA. We need Christians at every level revealing the goodness of God. That's our mission as a church. We exist to reveal the goodness of God. To bring others into a relationship with him because we've revealed his goodness. So it's good news ponder that this week. I hope you leave with kind of pebble in your shoe. So that your kind of saying I got to think about what's good what's good and true and right in terms of the happiness of the master and how can I advance that not only this week but with my whole life?
If you've not made a decision to give your life to Christ, that's what he invites you to do to give your life to him and receive his righteousness his forgiveness and more to receive his Spirit to receive his calling to receive his plan to redeem the world so that you might be part of changing not just sixty or seventy years but changing a turn itself. That's the invitation to give your life to Christ. If you've never made that decision, we invite you during that song to make that decision. I'll be in the back come to me with prayer concerns or any questions you have. They'll be folks in the front and back also for prayer concerns, please stand as we sing.