Focus on the Right Relationship
Snap Shots of a Church 11
An image of a unity in the church
For the church to examine itself and see where it needs to improve
Focus on the Right Relationship
Last week we talked about focus. Today we will talk about relationships.
Right relationship with God does not come by
Paul was saying that Right relationship with God is not found in birth nor in religious rituals and ceremonies. Yet, how many people think they are acceptable to God because they...
· have godly parents?
· have a godly spouse?
· have godly children?
· have godly friends?
· have kept religious rituals and ceremonies?
How many expect the godliness of others to rub off on them—to count for them and to make them acceptable to God?
Paul was saying that he had the right national heritage and a very special relationship with God. He was born in the right nation, among the right people.
Paul was saying that Right relationship with God is not found in ancestors nor in social superiority.
Yet, how many think that being born in a Christian nation and surrounded by Christian principles carry some merit with God?
How many feel that the people of a so called Christian nation are more acceptable to God than the heathen of some idol-worshipping tribe in the depths of a jungle?
How many feel that they have some merit with God because they have a Christian name?
How many feel they have a little better relationship with God and are a little more acceptable to God because they live in a so called religious nation?
Paul was saying that he was of the highest aristocracy, of the most noble, of the most respectable persons of Israel.
Paul was saying that Right relationship with God is not found in social or religious status. Yet, how many feel they are more acceptable to God because they belong to...
· an upper class?
· a more elite church?
· a more dynamic church?
· a more active ministry?
Paul claimed to have the right language and the right customs
Paul was saying that Right relationship with God is not found in religious faithfulness, nor in a spiritual language, nor in the ability to know and speak in religious terms. Yet, how many think that they are acceptable to God because they..
· do good and are faithful in being good?
· are faithful in studying their religion, the Bible, and the great doctrines of the faith?
· are faithful in talking about and sharing spiritual things?
· know and use religious terms and languages?
Paul claimed to have had the right religion; to have been a Pharisee. The Pharisees were strict religionists, so strict their very name meant The Separated Ones. Paul said that he was of the strictest religious sect ever known. He devoted his whole life to the most separated and demanding religion ever known to man. He achieved separation, an exacting separation from other Men
Paul was saying that Right relationship with God is not found in religion, not even in being a follower of the true religion. Yet, how many feel the very opposite
Paul had zealously stood and fought for his religion. He hotly pursued and persecuted the church. Paul had such a zeal for his religion that he sought to wipe out any cause that differed from his
Paul was saying that Right relationship with God is not found in religious commitments or zeal. Few have ever been committed to their religion like Paul few have ever been as faithful to the worship services, ordinances, rituals, and ceremonies of his religion as Paul.
Paul was a religionist among religionists. Few have ever proclaimed and protected their religion like Paul.
Paul was as zealous as a person could be in trying to reach converts for his religion and in keeping his religion as pure as he could. Paul was full of zeal for his religion, as faithful as a person could be
Paul claimed he had sought to keep the law and he had kept it—completely and fully. This does not mean that Paul was sinless; it means that when Paul sinned, he obeyed the law and took his sacrifice to the temple. He obeyed all the commandments, rituals, and ceremonies just like Scripture said. He followed all the laws and instructions of the Scripture. He was blameless—ritually and ceremonially—in the righteousness of the law.
. Paul was saying that Right relationship with God is not found in keeping all the rituals and ceremonies of religion. They are not even found in keeping all the commandments of the Scripture.
Philippians 3:7 (NIV)
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
he had given up his own self-righteousness and works, his own attempts to become perfect
It is a definite time when Paul made a definite decision—a decision that he was unable to secure righteousness and perfection himself. If he was to become righteous and perfect, he had to trust the love of God—that God loved him enough to cover him with the righteousness and perfection of Christ.
also that this did not mean that Paul quit trying to live for God. On the contrary, it meant that Paul tried more diligently than ever to live for God.
When God saw Paul's total commitment to Christ, God knew that Paul's faith was genuine. He knew that Paul really believed that Christ was his Savior, his hope for perfection and righteousness—for eternity. If Paul had not committed himself totally to Christ, God would have known his faith was not genuine and God would not have saved Paul.
Philippians 3:8 (NIV)
8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ
The word "count" is in the present tense; it is continuous action. When a person has made the decision to seek after Christ, he is to continue to seek after the knowledge of Christ—to learn all he can about the righteousness and perfection of Jesus Christ.
It is not a matter of making a decision to follow Christ, and then turning and walking on as a person has always walked—doing his own thing and fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind.
It is making a decision to follow Christ and continuing to seek after the knowledge of Him—continuing to seek to know Him more and more.
Philippians 3:9 (NIV)
9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
Paul was looking ahead either to death or to the return of Christ. When he came face to face with God, he wanted to be found in Christ. He wanted to stand before God in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, not in his own righteousness.
Note that the righteousness of God is Christ Himself. The righteousness of God does not refer to behavior or works or deeds of righteousness. No person can ever secure the righteousness of God by behavior or works or deeds—no matter how good the works or deeds may be. The righteousness of God is Jesus Christ Himself. A person has to trust the righteousness of Christ to cover him if he wishes to become acceptable to God.
Philippians 3:10 (NIV)
10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
The power of the resurrection
The power to ignore the enticements of sin. To be able to have a Right relationship with God.