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STEP UP!  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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School has not started for almost everyone here. Families have finished vacations and getting back into a routine. As you get back into a new year, How many of you can say you have finally arrived? I know some students would say, “Yeah, I’ve had enough of school, I’m done.” Well OK, I get that. But, are you done as a person? Have you grown to be all you ever dreamed? Have you truly matured to the point you say, “Why mess with perfection?”
I don’t imagine anyone here has said that in particular. However, we will live DOWN to the status quo if we don’t look up towards God and Step Up for Growth! You know God wants you to grow. He made you for an eternity of exploration. God wants us to utilize the time, gift and talents we have while in this life to prepare ourselves and others for eternity. While we will all be involved in worship, service and evangelism, the other parts will look a bit different. Today, I’m going to challenge you to step up in your life for the Lord.
So let’s read these verses together and key in on “reaching forward to what lies ahead, I PRESS ON TOWARD...” In fact that would be the key verse for us during the next 4 weeks
Philippians 3:12–16 NASB95
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. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
Philippians 3:13–16 NASB95
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. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
Philippians 4:13–16 NASB95
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.
PHIL 4:13-
Phil 3:12-
I. Backgrounds.
a. the city of Philippi.
The city of Philippi received it’s name from a guy named Philip of Macedon. That city had been overtaken and called out to the Great leader Philip who liberated the city. He wanted to spread the Macedonian way and empire, but he died. His son took the helm. You may remember him as Alexander the Great. He began the process of Hellenization. The Greeks referred their civilization of Hellenist. The Romans called them a different name. But Alexander introduced the Greek language and culture far and wide. The Romans continued that tradition.
i. Philip of Macedon:______________________________.
1. Philip of Macedon:______________________________.
ii. Hellenization of the world:_________________________.
b. Background of the church at Philippi.
Acts 16:7–10 NASB95
and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Paul intended to continue up to Asia Minor, but God called his team to enter Europe. Philippi would be where the first European church had been planted. Paul and his team had gotten comfortable Staying in the ancient Near East, God wanted them to Step up to Europe. He had prepared the route for the Gospel to travel through Europe by the Hellenization or the Greekyfying . People spoke Greek as the common tongue. The Jews had translated the Old Testament into Greek, the Septuagint (Supposedly 70 people translated it; to Asia, but
The Macedonian call: ________________
The Via Egnatia: The East West Highway Roman Road.
You basically have the first stop on the road to Rome. God wanted Paul to step up to a bigger picture.
He could have stayed there in the Near East and Asia minor, but God said, Step up. Do something amazing. Grow my Kingdom into Europe.
The First Church established in Europe.
That’s an important step up. but according the what Paul said to them in our main verses, he wasn’t done.
Paul said, he was still pressing on. Through Paul we have an example of stepping up.
Maybe you had that experience where you just got down or you went through the motions. You just didn’t want to step up. Maybe you have a dream job but you delay applying. Maybe you want to be on a team but you don’t even register. Maybe you don’t want to give the necessary work to reach your full potential. God says He’s wants more for you.
How many of you ever had that person that just pushed a little bit more out of you. I remember to this day my honors English teacher in High School, Mrs. Snyder. I did not want to be in that class! I hated the idea. I don’t need honors english. That’s hard work. Get me out of here. So I figured my way out would be by not doing well and flunking out. Well, she flunked me. Big ol red F. She said, “I expect more out of you.” Well, I didn’t. I thought my dad would see that and here my explanation that I’m not able to do the work. Well, she called my dad. Jim can do better. My dad wouldn’t sign me out and he made me rewrite the paper and turn it back it. It would not change my grade, but Mrs. Snyder would grade it. Well, low and behold, I got a better grade. I went through all the honors classes at High School and learned to enjoy it in the end.
She pushed me. My dad pushed me. I did not like them one bit. But I learned more than English through that process. I learned to stretch.
I want to share with you a theologian that has particularly inspired Dusty Hackney. Here he is. The reverend Rocky Balboa.
II. Action Steps for you.
a. Admit your dependence upon God for Success. (The Macedonian Call).
James 4:10 NASB95
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
It’s easy to say. Hard to do. Paul had a plan. He wanted to go a different direction. It wasn’t a bad thing he wanted, but to be successful, he needed to go the way God wanted.
Commit your way to the Lord and He will prosper you.
God sized goals, God sized prizes need to have God’s guidance and blessing.
b. Confess your sin and short-comings to God. (v. 12: 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. )
Hebrews 12:1 NASB95
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
You have ongoing sin. You keep letting it get back in your life. You pray over it, but you don’t ask God to really remove it. You have some habits or behaviors you need to stop in order to stop the process of sin. You hang on to it. It pulls you down so you won’t step up to that new role at work, church or in the family. You miss out on so much for such a little thing if you would really see it.
You could go on mission trips, but gambling gobbles your money.
You could soar with the eagles, but your too busy hooting with the owls at night Bing watching Netflix so you can’t get up to worship with your family.
You settle for second best Christianity. So you have a good life but not a great commission life. You have a good commandment but you really don’t love anyone like you love yourself.
i. You need to let go of sin to reach for the prize. .
ii. You need to keep maturing yourself and others. (I PRESS ON; Keep living by the same standard we have obtained.)
c. Take your fears to Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 NASB95
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
d. Set goals.
i. Join worship regularly. (Same standard we… a military units reference to discipline and solidarity).
Surround yourself with God’s people. Get pepped up, picked up and ready to roll! Don’t just roll over in bed.
Don’t just stand there, sing, take notes, join in. Be a greeter, usher, SMILE. I’ve got the joy deep down in your heart. Well your face tells me it’s staying there because it hasnt made it above your neck. Really and we wonder why people think Christians have no fun. Do you love Jesus and His family? then act like it, do it. Grow up in maturity and be an example of recognizing Jesus as King. Sunday, worship day is GO DAY.
ii. Get in the Bible Daily.
You know I’ve heard people say, I have questions, I don’t get the Bible. Now you can hear a good sermon, but you will never grow if you are not in the bible yourself. Have you ever heard that the Bible is a love story? BASIC INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE LEAVING CHURCH. Well if you do not read it like a novel. Now it’s more than a novel, but did you know that Bible has over 60K cross references to itself. Genesis to Revelation. So if you just read a verse here or there or go through 1 Book verse by verse, you will never really understand it. Recently, I heard about a New Testament professor call an OT scholar and say, “Hey does this passage in Paul relate to Ezekiel?” The OT scholar had to walk that guy through something that a kid who read the Bible cover to cover could have picked up. But that guy just hung out in a few books he liked and he missed an entire theme of the Bible.
First, I know most of you are not going through the bible through and through. Once you are in the habit of going through the Bible, you will never tire of making a new connection again, over 62K, that’s almost 1000 cross references per book. In a life time, you won’t delve into all of them. But once you start catching there is a hero in the Bible an antagonist, there is heavenly realm that functions, an earthly realm, you suddenlty start seeing the threads of God even in daily life, school,work, TV, theater. You see the themes of brokenness, redemption played out again and again, echoed through the pages and life. I see the world in one world view, Christ’s rule and those in brokenness and rebellion. You’ll start growing more and more when you read on your own.
iii. Pray consistently.
Jesus said you have not because you … Ask not. Keep knocking. It’s not KNOCK three times, but keep knocking...
iv. Find a place to serve.
iii. Find a place to serve.
Before you offer how things should be done, offer to serve. Get to know the people, the resources, the need.
I remember all the work that went into the Billy Graham Crusades. Thousands and thousands of people and details all working together to accomplish it. Many people served and it got done. But I remember one person who had a Doctorate, well, why don’t we do this why don’t we do that. I think etc… The response was well, Mr. Graham has been doing this 50 years and we have changed many things to improve, but we’ve learned that once you get the train moving, you have to work what has been here and then implement at the next stop. But, they had books of improvements they made over the years, and all of her suggestions had already been tried. Had she asked… and served she would have had better input. But there were thousands of people who served and they made some changes, comparatively small and they got implemented at the next Crusade.
Same thing here, there are things that as pastor, I don’t get to choose. Woe is me if I don’t preach the gospel. We can do a Block Party, but woe if we don’t preach the gospel. We don’t get to say, do we need to do children’s ministry? Jesus said, LET THE LITTLE KIDS COME TO ME. He did not say adults were not important, but they were to be mature. To take others down the Romans road etc…
v. Get discipled.
Tell your life group leader, hey, I think I’m missing some things. I’d like to go through a 8 week discipleship...
vi. Pass it forward.
You know there are some people in our church said, hey the body is the Lord’s temple. I want to get in shape. I need to do something about it. So they joined in the LOSING TO LIVE. they do Bible study and encourage people to start healthy diet and exercise. One lady just shed the weight after years of trying. Well they pay it forward, they are going to start again Sunday Sept. 8, 6:30 to 8 pm here at church. They will finish that session before Thanksgiving.
Hebrews 11:6 NASB95
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Hebrews 12:15 NASB95
See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
Hebrews 10:24–25 NASB95
and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
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