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Investing in God's Plan

Pursuing True Success   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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???commercial - Master card Add Campaign ?? Tapped into this deep sense we all have that all the affluence and comforts of western society are shallow and empty. That the real important things in life are the things money can not buy....
???commercial - Master card Add Campaign ?? Tapped into this deep sense we all have that all the affluence and comforts of western society are shallow and empty. That the real important things in life are the things money can not buy....
In this series we are looking at what Jesus and his disciples taught about pursuing true success…and investing in our future…
And our hearts always follow our investments – you will love whatever it is you cling to for success…
Acknowledgement that we are in a time where massive shifts in culture have already taken place - views of success are radically changing - millennials are far less oriented towards careerism… changing attitudes towards work… some of these shifts are in reaction to the loneliness and excess of our affluent society - some is in reaction to the uncertainty of our world… typical views of success are being challenged
So this is really important stuff, that impacts our daily lives, how we relate to God and each other, the kind of future we will have, and what we are leaving behind for the next generation!
???commercial - Master card Add Campaign ?? Tapped into this deep sense we all have that all the affluence and comforts of western society are shallow and empty. That the real important things in life are the things money can not buy....
We live in a time of incredible opportunity for the gospel - people are questioning and searching for something better — there is an incredible opportunity for renewal in the church - for far too long Christians have basically adopted the typical views of middle class western society about retirement and investing… instead of offering a valid alternative..a truly different - Gospel Shaped way of life…
But as we have seen already in this series, Jesus and his disciples challenge our typical views of success…
We live in a time of incredible opportunity for the gospel - people are questioning and serving for something better — there is an incredible opportunity for renewal in the church - for far too long Christians have basically adopted the typical views of middle class western society about retirement and investing… instead of offering a valid alternative...
And as we have seen already in this series, Jesus and his disciples give us a radically different view of success…
STORY??
Being Rich toward God = Investing in Christ and his kingdom
“True success is far deeper and more comprehensive than financial success or enjoyment of this life. True success involves being ‘rich toward God’.”
“True success is far deeper and more comprehensive than financial success or enjoyment of this life. True success involves being ‘rich toward God’.”
“True success is far deeper and more comprehensive than financial success or enjoyment of this life. True success involves being ‘rich toward God’.”
Being rich toward God is really about knowing Jesus and being invested in his kingdom. Its the way to really LIVE, to grab onto real LIFE and lay a solid foundation for the future.
Which is a really different way of thinking about success.
Jesus teaches that to know him and to be invested in his kingdom is the the way to be truly successful, the way to really LIVE and grab onto LIFE, the way to lay down a truly solid foundation for your future…
= Using our wealth, education, skills, gifts to share with others and do good in this world ==produces things money can’t buy that will make an impact long after we are gone
it involves being invested in a local community of believers - making a significant contribution to building up your church family
God wants us to be truly successful, he is for us, he is not against us, Jesus and his disciples challenge us to think radically different about pursuing success and investing in the future...
it involves serving the poor and doing good works
but
it involves being invested in God’s family and making a significant contribution to building up your church family
Being rich toward God is really about knowing Jesus and being invested in his kingdom:
- which includes serving the poor and doing good works - but it also includes being invested God’s Family. God’s Family - his church is part of his kingdom.
Pursing true success involves wisely using what we have to do good in this world, and because being rich toward God is about investing in God’s kingdom - it is includes contributing to and building up your local church family - which we looked at a couple of weeks ago.
Being Rich toward God = Investing in Christ and his kingdom
All of this is part of God’s plan to bring the light of gospel - the good news and transforming power of Jesus - into every dark corner of this world. Which means pursing true success includes ‘investing in the progress of the Gospel’ - or the mission of the church. This is something we’ve looked at before....
all of this is part of God’s plan to bring the light of gospel into every dark corner of this world.
Which means wisely using what we have to do good in this world
Look up Philippians in your bible. This is a letter to an ancient church in a city called Philipi. Paul writes this letter to this church because they have already been working together to advance the Gospel -there has been a mutual sharing of resources and people to bring the gospel to new places and to establish new churches… and so Paul who is now in prison, is encouraging them not to get distracted but to keep investing in the cause of Christ… the progress of the gospel
Philippians 1:27 ESV
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,
it involves being part of and invested in a local church family,
Philippians 1:28 ESV
and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.
Philippians 1:29–30 ESV
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
Philippians 2:1–2 ESV
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Philippians 2:5 ESV
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
Key interpretive verse here is 1:27…

I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

Philippians 2:3–4 ESV
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
This is what Paul is hoping to see - this is what is considered successful for this community of believers… not the size or quality of their church building (cause they didn’t even have a building), not how big their budget is, or if they have many church members, IT IS A ONE MINDED COMMITMENT TO THE PROGRESS OF THE GOSPEL…
Paul says, make my joy complete by working together with one mind and purpose! Chapter 2
In fact he says
συναθλοῦντες “striving together side by side’ = to struggle together ⇔ contend together -
1) this isn’t a solo striving - it is a side by side striving - a striving together - random individual effort is not success - it is not the same as a side by side - one minded effort… (it requires humility) [John 17:20-23]
John 17:23 ESV
I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
2) this isn’t some casual involvement - There is an intensity to this, he talks about suffering, he talks about engaging in conflict and facing opposition, this involves significant effort…
2) this isn’t some casual involvement - There is an intensity to this, he talks about suffering, he talks about engaging in conflict and facing opposition, this involves significant effort…
- think of a hockey team playing in the last round of the Stanley cup.
Investing in God’s plan - involves a serious commitment to working together for the progress of the gospel… which requires a certain mindset - a mindset that we have in Christ -

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

Philippians 2:5 ESV
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
Philippians 2:6–7 ESV
who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Philippians 2:5–7 ESV
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Philippians 2:8 ESV
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Philippians 2:9–10 ESV
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
Philippians 2:11 ESV
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
It involves being invested in a local church family, making a significant contribution to building up God’s family

I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

=produces things money can’t buy that will make an impact long after we are gone
Again this isn’t some casual involvement - he uses the phrase ‘striving together side by side’ - There is an intensity to this, he talks about suffering, he talks about engaging in conflict and facing opposition, this involves significant effort…
Paul says, make my joy complete by working together with one mind and purpose! Chapter 2 then he holds up Christ as our example...
Again
συναθλοῦντες “striving together side by side’ = to struggle together ⇔ contend together - - think of a hockey team playing in the last round of the Stanley cup. There is an intensity to this, he talks about suffering, he talks about engaging in conflict and facing opposition, this involves significant effort…
Striving:
How is this pursuing true success - and preparing for the future? seems so backwards! Down is up an up is down… This is so backwards and it seems so demanding… how could this ever be success?
The power of the Gospel
A. The gospel changes individuals - (look at ch2 - God is giving… comfort, love, his Spirit, affection, sympathy, right thinking - the mind of Christ)
B. The gospel brings individuals together into true community
C. As The gospel transforms individuals families and communities change
he talks about suffering
= both immediate blessings as people turn to Christ and future eternal blessings… God’s plan is unstoppable (A guaranteed investment) = As a Christian when you invest in the God’s kingdom you are investing in your homeland - your kingdom - your future -
A one minded commitment to the progress of the Gospel is part of bringing God’s kingdom to full expression =
C. The gospel brings individuals together into true community
D. The gospel transforms communities through serving others
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” - Jim Elliot
C. The gospel brings individuals together into true community
D. The gospel transforms communities through serving others
he talks about suffering
= Using our wealth, education, skills, gifts to share with others and do good in this world ==produces things money can’t buy that will make an impact long after we are gone
he talks about engaging in conflict
Again this is a significant effort but this
he talks about suffering
It involves
he talks about suffering
What does it mean for a church to be striving together with one-mind to advance the gospel? Why is humility so important?
he talks about engaging in conflict
he talks about humility and putting others before yourself
What sorts of things might distract a church community from a unified focus on advancing the gospel?
=produces things money can’t buy that will make an impact long after we are gone
What would it look like for someone to be fully invested in this? What would it look like for you to be more invested in the progress of the gospel?
- as we build up the church family we are building up...that can make a lasting impact after we are gone -
Our vision is to see the lives of individuals, families, and communities transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ as we live together in community, seek to benefit the neighbourhoods we live in, and network together with like-minded churches to be a continually expanding ‘family of families.’
In fact he says
= Investing in God’s plan is also part of pursuing true success == A one minded commitment to the progress of the Gospel is part of bringing God’s kingdom to full expression = God’s plan is unstoppable (A guaranteed investment) = both immediate blessings as people turn to Christ and future eternal blessings…
= Investing in God’s plan is also part of pursuing true success == A one minded commitment to the progress of the Gospel is part of bringing God’s kingdom to full expression = God’s plan is unstoppable (A guaranteed investment) = both immediate blessings as people turn to Christ and future eternal blessings…
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” - Jim Elliot
VISION:
As a Christian when you invest in the God’s kingdom you are investing in your kingdom - your future -
Our vision is to see the lives of individuals, families, and communities transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ as we live together in community, seek to benefit the neighbourhoods we live in, and network together with like-minded churches to be a continually expanding ‘family of families.’
BONUS MATERIAL:
Two of our greatest needs in life are a sense of belonging and purpose. Without these, we eventually become overwhelmed by all sorts of negative emotions: depression, loneliness, anger, and even despair. Belonging to a family and being part of a community that has purpose in this world is foundational to enjoying a healthy sense of self and well-being.
Yet, In a culture where we are encouraged to focus on ourselves – to pursue our own goals and desires, to build our own careers, to focus on meeting our own needs - The sense of BELONGING TO A PURPOSEFUL COMMUNITY is being lost.
The concept that we belong to a family and that our family has a purpose is foundational to enjoying a healthy sense of self and well-being.
You’re not going to find a truly vibrant faith with a deep sense of belonging and purpose outside of God’s purpose for our lives in this world.
Jesus is real, is present, is exciting to those who are partnering with him in the mission of his church.
When Jesus sent out his disciples (many of whom were uneducated, average people) the mission seemed to be clear enough that they made disciples, as a natural and spontaneous outworking of their faith. Yet 2,000 years later, this same natural and spontaneous mission has become a complex and highly programmed, specialized skill, left to highly qualified professionals.
There are a lot of different causes you can build your life around in this world -- But the purpose of Christ for our lives in this world – is big enough to fill every aspect of our lives… it brings focus to our lives, it brings eternal significance to our every day routines and struggles… it opens our eyes to the activity of God in our world, and causes us to rely on his lead, his strength…
Jesus is real, is present, is exciting to those who are partnering with him in the mission of his church.
When we contribute to the health and strength of a church family – we are building up a wonderful heritage, witness, and resource for our community and our own families as Jesus continues to work through his people, we are investing in things that will outlast us, potentially for generations! things of value that only come through the body of Christ by God’s grace…
Investing in your church family is also a guaranteed investment - because it is part of God’s kingdom and central to his unstoppable plan -
He doesn’t just save us from our sin, he places us in his family and gives his family a purpose in this world. Jesus Christ is building his kingdom for all eternity, He has trusted us to be his partners – to participate in his mission to make disciples of Jesus throughout the entire world. .
We can build our lives around a lot of things – but Jesus wants us to order our lives around his mission – to ‘participate’ in the mission of his church.
When we do, it fills every part of our lives with meaning and purpose and gives eternal significance to every aspect of life.
We are to use our wealth, use our education, use our gifts… to share with others and do good in this world…to invest in building up God’s family by contributing to the life and health of a local church…
it involves being part of and invested in a local church family,
It involves being invested in a local church family, making a significant contribution to building up God’s family
. that can make an impact long after we are gone,
- as we build up the church family we are building up...that can make a lasting impact after we are gone -
that produces good things money can’t buy! that add to the quality of our lives, provide for future generations, and that add to eternal riches in heaven.
As human beings we naturally invest in the things we think will bring us success – we’re just wired that way…
And our hearts always follow our investments – you will love whatever it is you cling to for success…
So this is really important stuff, that impacts our daily lives, how we relate to God and each other, the kind of future we will have, and what we are leaving behind for the next generation!
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