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NO TURNING BACK

Preaching at Victory  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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No one ever reaches a destination without a journey.

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Open Your Bibles to 2 Tim. 3:14; Phil 3:14

2 Timothy 3:14 NASB95
You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
Philippians 3:14 NASB95
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

INTRODUCTION

Life is a journey. According to The Concise Oxford English dictionary, “Journey" is defined as “an act of travelling from one place to another”; as in, “from the cradle to the grave”. Many people choose to focus exclusively on the destination at the expense of excluding the journey. They are like little children riding in the back seat of the car who impatiently keep asking the question: “Are we there yet?” Might I suggest this morning that it is impossible to arrive at your destination without the journey. It is the journey that leads to the destination.
Diana Ross, R&B artist, recorded a song entitled “Do you know where you’re going?” And I think that question is relevant to this discussion today because our journey is taking us somewhere; “do you know where you are going?”
In Alice in Wonderland, when Alice comes to a junction in the road that leads in different directions, she asks the Cheshire Cat, “would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to go to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where,” replied Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
If WE are not able to answer the destination question in the affirmative, then WE cannot truly say that WE are committed to the journey. Oh, but when you know where you are going and when you know who you are going with, it give birth to commitment, devotion, faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty, dedication, and zeal.
When Julius Caesar landed on the shores of Britain with his Roman legions, he took a bold and decisive step to ensure the success of his military venture. Ordering his men to march to the edge of the Cliffs of Dover, he commanded them to look down at the water below. To their amazement, they saw every ship in which they had crossed the channel engulfed in flames. Caesar had deliberately cut off any possibility of retreat. Now that his soldiers were unable to return to the continent, there was nothing left for them to do but to advance and conquer!
What Caesar was saying to his soldiers then is what the Lord is saying to us today: “No Turning Back!”

BIBLICAL CONTEXT

The author of both scripture texts is the Apostle Paul. He knew something about the journey. His began on the Damascus Road when he was arrested with the reality that Jesus Christ was alive and active in the mission of His Church. While as Saul he started out to persecute the Church, but was re-routed and became Paul, the ambassador of Christ to the gentiles.
In the first text lifted for our consideration Paul is writing to his son in the ministry, Timothy. The time is somewhere in the mid 60’s AD. Paul was writing to him to encourage Timothy to remain committed to the ministry in the face of changing times. This verse under observation is found in the pericope of 2 Timothy 3:10-4:8 and deals with Paul’s charge to Timothy. His main point to the young pastor is that he “persevere through it all”.
The second text is found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians 3:14 where he proclaims his own commitment to the journey by saying “I press toward the mark (or destination) of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The Philippian text seems to accentuate the point that “Commitment doesn’t come from borrowed convictions”. What am I saying? Paul was not telling Timothy to be committed to something that he was not committed to himself!
Is there anybody here today that don’t mind being a witness and saying “I won’t turn back” because I am committed to the journey?

CENTRAL IDEA

Being committed to the Christian Journey means persevering in what you have learned, what you have been convinced of, and what you have been pressing for.

commitment to what you have learned

The journey requires commitment to what you have learned. The Apostle tells the young pastor that this commitment to the journey is not easy. The reason that it is not easy is because “in the days perilous times shall come.” He said that one of the things that will mark these times will be “evil men and imposters” who mislead people and steer them away from the truth.
Paul says “However”, You must “continue in the things you have learned.” The word continue here, in the Greek, is meno and it means to remain, stay, reside, or abide. The point is that there are those whose only agenda is to create doubt and get the POG to change there minds about what they have learned.
I am afraid that one of the greatest threats to believers today is that they are not “interested in learning”. They don’t care to comprehend, to hear, to ascertain, to be taught, or to be instructed. I’m not making it up; the vast majority of those who populate the pew has minimum knowledge about “the story that the Bible tells.” And so they move along the journey uncommitted.
Once out of school, nearly 60 percent of all adult Americans will never again read a single book.
Larry Wolwode (novelist), quoted in Youth Worker Update, Signs of the Times, October, 1992, p. 6
Timothy had learned the Scriptures, so too must we, if we are going to be committed to the Journey.

commitment to what you have been convinced of

The journey requires commitment to what you have been convinced of. Paul tells Timothy that he must continue not only in what he has learned; but also in what he has been convinced or assured of. Paul uses the word Pistoo to convey the sense of to be persuaded or sure of the truthfulness or validity of something.
Let me return to my point about “borrowed convictions”. Just in case someone may be asking:
What does it mean to live on borrowed convictions? It’s hearing 10,000 sermons, but never digging into the Bible to see what scripture says. It’s going to church because it’s family tradition, but never asking what it means to worship God one-on-one. It’s saying “no” because you don’t want people at church to think badly of you, or because you’d get in trouble at home, but not discovering the joy of obeying Christ as a modern-day disciple.
Paul instructed Timothy that he needed to continue in his “personal conviction” about the scriptures.
James 1:21 NASB95
Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
We who are truly committed will hold on to what we have become assured of

commitment to what you have been pressing for

The journey requires commitment to what you have been pressing for. The text says “continue in what you have learned and become convinced of, “knowing from whom you have learned them.” Timothy had received his teaching from his grandmother, mother, and from Paul. See 2 Timothy 1:5
2 Timothy 1:5 NASB95
For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.
Paul could encourage Timothy so strongly because he was keenly aware of who he served. There was no doubt in his mind about who it was that he met on the Damascus Road. He was convinced that the course of his journey was set by none other than the Lord Jesus. That is the reason that he could write 2 Corinthians 11:26 and say:
2 Corinthians 11:26 NASB95
I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;
He was Committed to the Journey
Listen to him as he writes about his personal conviction and commitment in his letter to the Philippians. His words help us to take a good look at why we are really on this journey. He says, in essence, that he is interested in the destination but not at the expense of enjoying the journey.
See Phil 3:7-14
Philippians 3:7–14 NASB95
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
He is determined - he is pressing. to strive after ⇔ chase v. — to strive for something, conceived of as going after something with the intent to catch it.
Is anybody committed enough to the journey to say to the Lord “I’m chasing after you?”

CONCLUSION

Staying committed to the journey means to continue in what you have learned, what you have been convinced of, and what you’ve been pressing for. In Phil 3:14 , Paul says that he has not arrived at his destination yet, but he is committed to press toward the mark (the goal) of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Because of this message, everyone of us in here today ought to make a commitment to go forward for the Lord. Let’s not be like “some folk” but let’s decide to follow Jesus and declare with personal conviction: “No Turning Back

INVITATION

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