13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, 14 I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. 17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. (We should live in such a way that we are not afraid that people copy us!) 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
( Luke 9:23 ...If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.) 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, (Ro.16:17-18) and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. (1Jn.2:15-16) 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, (NIV)
· God has created a system of how relationships will works.
· Relationships with God, Marriage, Friendships, the family of God, etc..
· Faithfulness, Commitment to stay with someone, is the connection and the right to their blessings. (zb.. the straws taped together)
· Many want the benefits of a relationship without the commitment to faithfulness. Living together instead of Marriage, they want kids, sex, security, etc.. That’s why God is against sex before marriage, you are taking the covenant blessing without the covenant commitment! (This is why so many marriages break up, they are going through the motions of relationship, but there is no real connection, so so much is lost.)
· How about with God? We want his blessings without the commitment to him!
· How about your relationship to the Body of Christ? We want the blessings, but we are not commited to it! Pastors? Your commitment to me determines how much you receive from me! (Remember this is a principle from God not Pastor Jerry) Oh the Pastor and the Church are not a blessing to me! Maybe it is not because the Pastor is not a blessing, maybe it’s because he is not a blessing to you because you are not commited to him and the church!
· We are so confident in who we are! We all think we are faithful! We are confident in our abilities and knowledge and we think that we know ourselves pretty well.
1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. (KJV)
27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. 28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. 29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.
30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. 31 But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all. (KJV)
· 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; (this is a type of the Lord’s testing, he will be silent and see what you do!) 49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (KJV)
· Your true character is not what you do when people are watching, but what you do when you think you could get away with it!
10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? (KJV)
· God is proving us first with small, non life threatning, things that seem unimportant, before he gives us things that are dangerous to others and ourselves.
1 Cor 4:2-3
2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. (KJV)
Problems and difficulties do come.
12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. (NIV)
v It is amazing how quickly people will abandon you when the problems and accusations come. I wish it were true today that because of the chains the brothers would be encouraged. We in the body of christ because of our high sense of right and wrong, we kill our wounded and quickly remove from our midst anyone that might make us look bad. In verse 14 we see the the opposite is true. They were encouraged to speak the word of God more than ever! WOW! That´s spiritual warfare at it´s best.
But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow-worker and fellow-soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honour men like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.
Philemon 1:23 Epaphras, my fellow-prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings.
1. Brother: What does it cost you to be a brother in Christ? Let me put it this way what did it cost you to have brothers and sisters? It may have cost you your place of being the center if you were the first born, it may have meant you had to learn to share. That is it!
2. Fellow-worker: companion in labour, (fellow-) helper (-labourer, -worker), labourer together with, workfellow.Here we begin to see division in the body of christ. When the work begins. Joke: blisters and christians. There is a practical side of christianity, not just a spiritual one.
3. fellow-soldier: an associate in labors and conflicts for the cause of Christ. We seem to always find enough people that are ready to fight, but they seem to be fighting against you instead of by your side. Conflict is unavoidable, but we have to go through this too.(2Tim 2,1-4)
4. fellow-prisoner: one who is willing to be a prisoner of war with you. When the battle really gets rough, he will stay with you and serve even in captivity. They are even willing to serve till the death.
· Did Paul suffer the things that he suffered because of his unfaithfulness? Sin? NO, because of his faithfulness to God and men he suffered!
22 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control; and here there is no conflict with Jewish laws. (TLB)
How do we remain faithful to one another?
· Be the first to Love (Love puts yourself in the shoes of others so that we can have compassion. Matt18
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. (KJV)
· God’s faithfulness to us is not based on our goodness, but his!
· Avoid the sin of Familiarity
· Love covers a multitude of sins.
· Understand the circle of Priorities
Absolutes: Unchanging truth
Interpretations: What we understand when we read a passage of scripture
Deductions: conclusions from more passages of Scripture
Personal, feeling, opinions: i.e. service length, church buildings, ties or not, which translation is from God, etc...
· In the Church
· In our personal relationships
Abs: Love God and Love one another,
Inter: Our understanding of Life
Deduct: New things that we learn
P.F.O.: our likes and dislikes