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Life's Ultimate Goal - 16

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
July 17, 2022 7:00 pm

Life's Ultimate Goal - 16

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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July 17, 2022 7:00 pm

The goal of the Christian life is Christ-like perfection. Pastor Greg Barkman continues his exposition of Philippians.

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Well, evidently the apostle Paul set goals, as he tells us in our text today in Philippians chapter 3, as we are looking at verses 12 through 14. Now that statement will initially please the goal setters that are found in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the world today. That statement may unsettle others in the church today who are not so keen on goal setting. But what we need to understand is that Paul's goals are very different from the kinds of goals that are so often set before us in the world in which we live, and goals that we are told by some are necessary if the church is going to be able to make progress in the world today. But Paul's goals had nothing to do with a one-year plan and the five-year plan and the ten-year plan and growth plans and attendance and numbers and that sort of thing, nothing like that at all. But Paul's goal, and it is really one goal but there are different aspects, maybe sub-goals that point to the main goal, but Paul's goal was to achieve greater Christ-likeness.

That was his goal. That's the supreme goal that was guiding, directing, and undergirding everything in the life of the apostle Paul, the goal to achieve greater Christ-likeness. Sadly, a goal that doesn't seem to interest many Christians in our day. What's wrong with us today?

We need to consider that. Now today's text shows us how this goal played out in Paul's life, and when I say that Paul set goals, now I'm going to back up and say, I put it that way in order to get your attention, but that's not exactly accurate. Paul didn't so much set goals or set a goal as he did embrace the goal that God had set for him.

He wasn't figuring out a goal and saying, I think this would be a good goal that would please the Lord, so let's do this and we'll ask God to bless it. But Paul recognized the goal that God had given to him, and he made that his goal in life, and that's what we're going to see today. We're going to do that, I trust, by considering three key words. Number one, perseverance. Number two, focus.

And number three, motivation. We begin with perseverance as we look at verse 12. Paul says, not that I have already attained or am already perfected, but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

This statement of verse 12 is actually an elaboration building upon what Paul said earlier in the chapter, and particularly in verse 11, where he said, if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. And we saw last Lord's Day that what Paul is talking about is that day of final salvation, when everything that God has given to us in Christ, everything that Christ Jesus has purchased for us upon the cross of Calvary is brought to its ultimate culmination. And that takes place on the day of Christ's return.

That takes place on the day of our bodily resurrection from the dead with glorified bodies. And at that time, salvation's purpose has been fully accomplished, and in that state of perfection, we shall enter into all eternity. And that's what Paul was looking forward to. And so Paul says, not that I have already attained. If by any means I may attain, verse 11, to the resurrection from the dead, but verse 12, not that I have already attained. You see that connection between the word attain in verse 11 and the word attained or not have attained in verse 12. And so Paul is recognizing that the ultimate goal is full and final redemption, Christ-like perfection, which will take place on the day of Christ's return and our bodily resurrection.

But the question is, what drove Paul to make this statement in verse 12? He tells us that he is desiring to attain to the resurrection from the dead that day of ultimate and final salvation, the completion of all that God is doing in our lives to bring about the full redemption of our Adamic fallenness to Christ-like perfection. But he follows that up by saying, but I have not yet reached that goal. I'm not there yet.

I haven't already attained. And what drove Paul to make a statement like that? And though he doesn't tell us why, the most likely answer to that question is, apparently there were some that were claiming present sinless perfection. And so Paul has made reference to the day of sinless perfection that he is looking forward to. If by any means, verse 11, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

That's the ultimate goal. But I'm not there yet. And what ought to be very clear is neither are you.

I'm not there yet and neither are you or is anybody else. And if anyone claims to have reached a place of sinless perfection, they are badly mistaken. I don't know if you ever had any interaction with people like that, but I have a few times along the way.

It's an interesting conversations that I have had with folks like that, and I won't go into those details. But it did become clear to me very quickly that their idea of sinless perfection and the Bible's idea of sinless perfection are miles apart. And I still remember talking to one lady and I said, no, you haven't reached sinless perfection. Nobody has reached that in this life. And she got so mad at me, I thought she was going to hit me.

And I said, aha, you just lost your temper. No sinless perfection there. You still got a ways to go, don't you?

Don't we all? Nobody has reached sinless perfection. But apparently some had claimed to. That seems to be the implication behind Paul's statement. And so he says, even though there is a perfect state ahead of us to be attained, and I'm looking forward to that, and that's my goal to attain that, I haven't done that yet. Not that I have already attained or am already perfected, but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me. Paul's condition presently is that he had not arrived yet at sinless perfection. He had not arrived yet at perfect and final completion of salvation. His salvation was not yet complete. He knew that full well. He had not yet attained perfection. He knew that full well, even as an apostle who had been saved for 30 years and serving the Lord in an incredible way. But Paul's condition did not negate his responsibility. Even though he had not yet attained, he recognized that it was still his responsibility to try to. And here's another one of those mysteries, another one of those paradoxes, another one of those seeming contradictions, which really isn't a contradiction at all when it's properly understood. But it is this, namely, that though we cannot, nobody can, attain sinless perfection in this life, nevertheless, it is our responsibility to try to.

Do you understand that? That is our goal that we must keep striving for. And Paul understood that though he had not yet arrived, it was his responsibility to keep pressing on toward that goal, to make effort to strive for Christ like perfection, recognizing that that would not be achieved until the day of the resurrection.

Recognizing that that goal was absolutely guaranteed and assured for the true people of God. And some would say, therefore, there's nothing that I need to do by way of effort now. I just coast. I just wait. I just let let go and let God. Paul said, not me. I strive.

I press on. I'm putting forth effort because God expects Paul to strive toward that goal. God expects all of his children to strive toward that goal.

It is the process that God has designed for our life here upon the earth. And doing so is a mark of divinely bestowed life. Those who are not striving toward this goal have very little right to claim that they have been born again.

They may be. I can't say God knows the heart, but there isn't much biblical evidence of it. There isn't much biblical reason to claim that as your position if you don't have this desire to become like Christ. So that's Paul's condition, number one, and his responsibility, number two. And his ambition, number three, is to lay hold of that, verse 12, that I also may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me. Paul's ambition was to lay hold of Christlike perfection that will come on the day of the resurrection. Christ's ambition was to reach forward toward that Christlike perfection, that resurrection fullness, I guess is the word that I'm trying to get a hold of here at this point. And Paul was encouraged in that by this statement, for that which Christ also has laid hold of me.

I am pressing on to lay hold of that for which Christ has laid hold of me. If he hadn't put that last statement there, it would sound like it's all up to us. And because we know that we can't achieve that in this life, it might seem like a futile effort. And why in the world should we even bother?

Because it is impossible. But Paul says, I press on to lay hold of that for which Christ has laid hold on me. Since Christ has laid hold on me, I'm in his hands. I do this by his power. I do this to please him.

I do this by his direction. I've got a pretty good chance of making progress. I can't reach the goal until the day of resurrection, but I can achieve a great deal of progress toward that goal now. And that's what Christ wants me to do.

That's what Christ has laid hold upon me to do. Paul's encouraged that he can make strides toward Christlike perfection in this life. And he can do this because of what Christ has done. Christ not only lived and died to redeem Paul and all who trust in him, but Christ had also claimed Paul as his own.

Christ has laid hold on me. Paul doesn't say, I'm so glad I made a decision for Christ one day. He says, I'm so glad that Christ laid hold on me on the Damascus road and I haven't gotten free from that grip yet. Christ had claimed Paul as his own and purpose to bring him to the final goal. And so therefore, Paul realized that what he is doing, though it does require his effort by the design of God, is nevertheless not so much his effort as it is Christ's effort. It's not so much his goal as it is Christ's goal. It's not so much his striving as it is Christ working through him to achieve this goal. This is not so much what Paul is doing, but what Christ has done and is doing in his life.

And what was true of Paul is also true of you and of me, if we are born again children of God. This is what Christian perseverance is all about. What are we persevering in? What are we persevering toward? What are we persevering to achieve? We're persevering to achieve Christ-like perfection, which will be achieved finally and fully at the day of Christ's return, of his glorious resurrection. Do you ever sing this?

We do hear from time to time. How I praise thee, precious Savior, that thy love laid hold of me. That's what Paul said here. That thy love laid hold of me. Thou has saved and cleansed and filled me, that I might thy channel be.

Channels only, blessed Master, and so forth. How I praise thee, precious Savior, that thy love laid hold of me. That's what Paul is saying here. I press on because Christ Jesus has laid hold of me.

And that changes everything. That encouraged Paul in this heavenward endeavor. So number one, perseverance. Number two, focus.

Verse 13. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. Focus, concentration. Pressing on requires effort.

Perseverance requires diligence. And Paul, in verse 13, first repeats the disclaimer of verse 12 that makes it clear, I have not yet attained. I'm not there yet.

I haven't arrived yet. And then he elaborates what he's trying to get across with an athletic metaphor. He likens the Christian life to a Greek runner, a runner in the Greek Olympic Games or Corinthian Games.

There were a lot of games that they had in those days. And he said a runner who is going to succeed has to be sure that he doesn't get distracted by what's going on around him. The successful runner does not allow straying thoughts to distract him from his focus on the goal. The successful runner does not allow other people around him, other runners around him to distract him from reaching the goal. The runner who looks around to see how he's doing in the race is going to be passed by by somebody who keeps his focus on the finish line and is determined not to be distracted by those things around him.

Successful runner keeps his eye on the goal on the finish line. And the successful Christian will keep his eye on the spiritual finish line, which is this day of ultimate redemption. And so in this area of focus, Paul talks about one ultimate purpose and one primary focus and one supreme effort. And his ultimate purpose is very simple because there's only one ultimate purpose when he says this one thing I do. This one thing I do. You say, well, Paul, you're fortunate because your life must have been simple.

I've got so many things I've got to do. Well, Paul had a lot of things in life, like all of us do, but he submitted all of them to one overarching purpose. And he could say this one thing I do, even though I'm doing many other things.

Ultimately, it all points to one. This one thing I do. And though life for all of us includes many elements and embraces many purposes, sub-purposes, purposes that relate to our job, that relate to our family, that relate to our health, that relate to helping others, and on and on and on we go. These are all elements of life and all of those have certain purposes in life.

We need to be sure that every one of those are submitted to the ultimate purpose, which is achieving Christlikeness in the day of Christ's return and the day of the final resurrection. One thing I do. One thing I do. I keep pressing toward that one goal.

One thing I do. The ultimate purpose gives meaning to everything else. It's because I keep my mind focused upon the one thing that I'm able to do successfully, the many things, and to give them meaning and purpose and unity and tie all of them up together in the direction of that one purpose of life. Now, when I lose focus upon the ultimate purpose, then all of these other elements can become very distracting and frustrating and impossible. I can't keep up with this. I'm juggling all of this.

I can't do all this. Stop, slow down, focus, remember this one thing I do and make sure that everything you do is directed toward that one purpose. We must not lose sight of the main purpose or pretty soon all of the other purposes become lost as well. And how do we keep our mind focused upon the one purpose?

Well, we've got to remind ourselves regularly. My purpose in life is to achieve Christlikeness. I'm heading toward that goal. We must consistently be in God's word and prayer or we're going to lose focus upon the end goal, the one that Christ has set for us. And we need to be active in a healthy church that is biblically focused so that the ministry of the word and the edification of the other saints around us will all help keep us focused, will pull us back when we stray from the main purpose, which is Christ-like perfection, the finality of our salvation. One ultimate purpose, one thing I do, one primary focus, forgetting what lies behind, said Paul. Runners can't look back over their shoulders. Got to keep looking straight ahead, looking toward the finish line. That's what Paul is telling us here, forgetting what lies behind.

Now, what is he talking about? What should we forget that lies behind? Certainly, we are not to forget God's many mercies to us.

We should continue to rehearse them regularly. That will give us help and strength along the way. Certainly, we shouldn't forget the valuable lessons that God has taught us along the way that help us to mature and grow and to keep from making foolish decisions in life. But what we must forget that lies behind is anything that hinders godly effort toward the ultimate goal. Paul doesn't spell out exactly what that is, but there are several things that we can consider that need to be left in the past, forgetting those things which are behind, such as sins of the past. Some people's lives get so wrapped up as they think about their sinful past, their shameful failures.

They get so discouraged, so distracted by these things that they can't seem to make any progress in life. Oh, woe is me. Oh, how awful I have been. Oh, how bad I have been. That's true.

That's true of all of us. Did you see that quotation in the bulletin today? When contemplating what he is in himself, the Christian mournfully cries, oh wretched man that I am. But if that's as far as you get, if you stay there, you're in trouble. You're not forgetting what lies behind, are you? But the quotation goes on. But when he views himself in Christ, he triumphantly exclaims, who shall lay anything to my charge?

You've got to move on, don't you? Past the dwelling upon the sins of the past. We do consider those from time to time. They rightfully humble us. They remind us of what God has done for us in Christ. They remind us of the wonders of salvation in Christ, the marvelous grace that God has shown us. But we can't live in those sins. We can't dwell upon those sins. We can't splashing around in the mud puddle of our sins and keep flagellating ourselves continually because of our sins.

That's what Martin Luther did, you know, until he came to an understanding that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. And that when we trust in Christ, all of those sins are gone. Did you sing that as a child? Gone, gone, gone, gone. Yes, my sins are gone. Now my soul is free and in my heart's a song buried in the deepest sea.

Yes, that's good enough for me. I shall live eternally. Praise God. My sins are gone.

They're gone. Forgetting those things which are behind. Sins of the past or disappointments. Some people get so wrapped up in their disappointments that they just can't seem to manage life and manage godliness anymore.

Sometimes bereavement will do that to people. Now to lose a loved one is a deep blow. It's a great sorrow. It troubles us greatly and should, but we don't stay bound by that sorrow to the state of inaction so that we can't move on forever and forever. Amen. We deal with it. We grieve. We commit it to the Lord. We'll never completely get over that. That's not something that we'll ever forget or ever, ever lose sight of. But on the other hand, it cannot be a hindrance to our life. We've got work to do. Christ didn't promise us that we would have a life without any deaths, any difficulties, any trials.

In fact, He promised just the opposite. How do we think we can live in a world under the curse of sin in which everybody dies, but somehow in our little circle, nobody dies? It doesn't touch us. And when you put it that way, it makes no sense whatsoever.

So why are some of God's people paralyzed by bereavement or by bitterness? You don't know what He did to me. You don't know what she did to me. No, I don't know. Well, I'll be glad to tell you.

I don't need to know. You need to get over it. You need to forgive them in your heart. You need to quit being bound up by that. You need to quit letting that root of bitterness consume you because it's soon not only going to affect you, but those around you.

Many are going to be defiled by that root of bitterness that is you dwelling in the past. Because somebody did something bad to me, then I can't do what I'm supposed to do. I can't live for Christ. I can't make progress toward the goal. I'm not responsible for these things, says who? Not the Bible, not Christ, not the word of truth.

You're listening to the wrong voices. Get over that bitterness. Quit looking at the handicaps. Well, you don't know what handicap I have. If I hadn't been born this way, then I could do these things. If I hadn't had this tragedy in my life along the way that has handicapped me physically or in some other way, then I could do what I'm supposed to do. But because this has happened to me, I can't. I can't. I'm unable to do that, forgetting those things which are behind.

If the Bible tells us to do that, then we can do that, can't we? Forgetting the things which are behind. We can forget the things which are behind because the Lord tells us we can forget those things which are behind.

Forget them in the sense that they don't ruin our present relationship with the Lord and our present efforts. What else in the past? Achievements, praiseworthy achievements, notable achievements, but you can't dwell in the past. Well, you don't know what I did back then. You really should have seen me back then while I really was something back then. And some people are all mesmerized by the wonderful things that they envision that they accomplished in the past.

And from a human standpoint, they may be wonderful things as well. But forgetting the things which are behind, this may be exactly what Paul had in mind. He just talked about all of his credentials as a Jew born at the time of Benjamin and the Pharisee, the Pharisees and a persecutor of the church and all the things that he had done that were so impressive in the eyes of men. But he's not going to live in that place of memory for the rest of his life. Forgetting those things which are behind, I can't keep rehearsing them. So what? That's what was yesterday. But now how about today and how about tomorrow?

I've got work to do that Christ has assigned to me. We have to forget the values of the past, those values that come out of the old life, the goals of wealth and fame or sports or whatever, clothes or on and on and on it goes, the things that we can hold so important, so valuable. These are the goals of life for many people, but not for one who's been saved by the grace of God. That changes everything. Our whole perspective on life changes. All of our goals change.

All of our values change. Forgetting those things which are behind. So one ultimate purpose, one thing I do, one primary focus, forgetting what lies behind, I focus only on the goal, one supreme effort, reaching forward to those things which are ahead. That's where my focus, that's where my efforts are directed. Now what lies ahead?

We've already talked about it. Sinless perfection. What lies ahead?

Perfect Christ-likeness, amazing as that is. What lies ahead? A future of unhindered worship where we shall be able to worship God perfectly without distraction, without sin, without anything that will keep us from worshipping Him totally in spirit and in truth without any lack thereof. That lies ahead. What lies ahead? Unfailing service for Christ.

Right now all of our service is mixed. We serve God and we thank Him that we can, but never perfectly, not in this life, never perfectly. But you remember what the Bible says about those who are with the Lord? Where His servants shall serve Him perfectly. His servant shall serve Him. We're going to serve Him in heaven. What are we going to do?

I don't know. The Bible doesn't tell us. We're going to serve Him and we're going to serve Him gladly and we're going to serve Him enthusiastically and we're going to serve Him perfectly without any mixed motives, without any distracting thoughts, without any half-heartedness. We are going to serve Him perfectly. All of that's in the future.

That's what lies ahead. Reaching forward to those things which lie ahead. Now how do we attain to these things? We do that by reaching forward.

That's too mild a term for what the Greek indicates. We attain these things by eagerly striving. Let's go back to this picture of the runner again who is straining every nerve, every muscle, every ounce of energy and focus is all spent toward reaching that goal, getting just a little bit faster, a little bit further ahead.

That's the way a runner operates if he's intent on winning the prize and that's the way a Christian operates if he's intent on winning the prize, if he's intent on pleasing the Lord. He stays focused, no distractions. We had a nice time with the Valhalla family at our house last night.

My apologies to someone else who said you invited them but they were already committed to us last night so you'll have to have them another time and I hope you will. But I learned something about Anthony. He's quite an athlete and I already knew that. But in college he was a runner among other things and to get in shape for the races he ran, he ran 70 miles a week. You know what it would take to run 70 miles a week?

We'll figure it out. That's an average of 10 miles a day. If you're not running on Sunday then now you've got to make that up. So you're running I guess 12 or more miles a day, six days a week.

That wears me out just thinking about it, doesn't it? And why would anyone put themselves through that? Why would anyone buffet their body to that extent? Well, to win the prize.

What else? To compete, to win the prize. Athletes will do things like that for an earthly prize. Will Christians be willing to put forth unusual effort to please the Lord and to gain the prize that He has set before us?

And if not, why not? Why would we do less than an athlete trying to win an earthly prize? Do you know what the prize was for those Greek runners that trained for a couple of years and just put themselves through all kinds of things and were hoping to win the prize? You know what the prize was? An olive or some other kind of garland of leaves that would be placed upon their head and you couldn't even put that in the trophy case until it would turn brown and brittle. I guess it could be there. There it is, my wreath.

It looks pretty tawdry right now, but I want it. It's not really what the prize was. It's what it stood for. And it was quite an honor to stand there in that arena before the stand and have the judge confer that upon you. And really that's what we're looking for, isn't it? To stand before the Lord Jesus Christ at that final day and hear Him say, Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Well, what does it take to hear that well done?

This is what it takes. Forgetting those things which are behind and straining eagerly forward with every ounce of effort toward those things which lie ahead. And so we've got number one, perseverance, number two, focus, and number three, motivation. What motivates Paul in all this?

Verse 14. I press toward the goal. There's the goal, goal setting. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. The goal motivates me. The prize motivates me. The divine purpose motivates me, said Paul. The goal motivates me.

I press toward the goal. Our goals are objects of human striving, whatever they may be. Here the goal is Christ-like perfection. Not a one-year plan, five-year plan, ten-year plan, but Christ-like perfection. It's an eternity plan.

This one goes way beyond the ten-year plan. That's the goal. That motivates me. I press toward the goal. What's the prize? I press toward the goal for the prize. A prize in one sense, in the sense we generally use it, is an earned reward.

And there is that aspect of it in the spiritual sense. But because our earned rewards are really not deserving, we don't really deserve them. They're God's gracious gift, but He graciously gives them to us anyway, as if we have earned them. But He's given us the strength to enable us to do that.

We couldn't have done it without it. But that's the prize. It's God's gracious bestowment.

And the prize is the same here as the goal. The goal is Christ-like perfection, and the prize is Christ-like perfection. That motivated Paul to see thought about that day when I will be perfect. I will be glorified completely. I will be like Christ. I will be Christ's younger brother, so to speak, in the family.

God will look upon me with the same love and favor that He does His own Son. These things are so incredible we can hardly grasp them. Could that truly actually be true?

Is that possible? That's what the Bible indicates, and that's the prize. That's the prize, brothers and sisters, to imagine being like Christ.

Can you imagine that, being like Christ? Can you imagine a greater prize? That's the goal, and that's the prize.

When we reach the goal, we get the prize. Too many people are thinking about prizes, the crowns that God gives, and various rewards that He gives. In terms of glorified material benefits, on earth we get this, and in heaven we get a bigger one, a better one, a bigger mansion.

There's no doubt that in the future, everything about our circumstances is going to be so much superior to what we have here upon the earth. And yes, that will necessarily include some things that we might put in the category of glorified material benefits, but that doesn't even tick at zero plus one-half on Paul's meter. There's one thing that excites him, Christ-likeness, Christ-likeness, sinlessness, glorification, full sanctification. Christ-likeness, so that, and what's the purpose of this Christ-likeness? So I can say, well now I've achieved, I've arrived, I've reached the state of perfection.

What's the purpose of all that? So that we can have unhindered fellowship with Christ. We have to be renovated to the place where that's possible. Now our fellowship with Him is not complete and can't be because our redemption isn't complete. God's still working on us.

There's still a lot of progress that needs to be made. But when we reach the goal, when we obtain the prize, that's going to enable us to have perfect and unhindered fellowship with God Almighty, with the Triune Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit for all eternity. That is why this is so remarkable and so desirable. The prize is Christ and perfect fellowship with Him. So the goal motivates Paul and the prize motivates Paul and the divine purpose motivates Paul. The upward call of God, God's work, His purpose in Christ Jesus, Christ Jesus who purchased this for us and calls us to this. The recognition that God has purposed something amazing for me. The recognition that God is accomplishing something amazing within me. So that's why we sometimes sing, ask ye what great thing I know that delights and serves me so.

What would that be? Great thing I know that delights and serves me so. What the high reward I win, what would that be? Who's the name I glory in? Jesus Christ the crucified. That's it. That delights and serves me so. That's the high reward I'm striving for. Jesus Christ the crucified.

Can that thought get a hold of your soul? Let me suggest two areas of application here for us. Number one and the primary one which pertains to the Christian life. The Christian life has a goal. It has a purpose. But too many of God's people have lost focus.

They are not striving for the goal that God has revealed to us in His word. It's too easy to become distracted. And therefore we need to regularly examine our heart to make sure we haven't lost sight of the focus. We need to regularly acknowledge our sins and confess and forsake them for they will divert us from focusing upon the prize.

We need to regularly examine our life for all kinds of distractions, whatever they may be that keep us from this pursuit from a biblically centered life. And there's so many things that fall into that category. I don't even know where to begin. I was talking to somebody the other day. Oh, I know who it was. I was talking to Jim Warrick on the phone, who's going to be our Bible conference speaker again this year in October. I'm looking forward to that with great delight.

He was such a blessing to us a couple of years ago. And we had played a lot of phone tag before we finally connected and talked. And I apologized and I said, I don't really keep my phone with me all the time.

And he said, no apologies necessary. I don't either. He said, I can't understand these people who live their lives with their phone welded to their body or to their hand. They can't go any place without being on the phone. They can't go any place. For goodness sakes, folks, turn that thing off, put it in the drawer and go do a few things for a while.

If you get anything important, it'll be there when you come back. You've heard of voicemail, haven't you? Now, is that sinful? Yes and no. It is if it distracts you, if it keeps you from the goal, if it's one of these things that becomes so tedious, so consuming, so distracting in your life that you can't stay focused on the goal that Christ has set before you. Yes, that is a sin in that category.

And that doesn't even mention the things we know are sins. But there are plenty of things like that that we're going to just have to evaluate and say, if I'm going to please the Lord, I've got to set this aside. If I'm going to reach toward this prize, I've got to set this aside. Let's reconnect to the goal of pursuing greater Christ likeness. Some are drifting from this pursuit. Some in here are drifting from this pursuit.

Snap to. Wake up. Deal with it.

Make the changes you need to make and let's get on with it. But there's also a lesson here about salvation, and that's this. Without Christ, life has little meaning. Some people have found that out. Some haven't found it out yet. But you will. Eventually, if you live long enough, you're going to find out that all the pursuits of this world do not satisfy.

They all disappoint after a while. And some people are mightily puzzled as to why that's possible. I thought if I pursued this and got it, I would be happy. I thought if I pursued this and got it, I would be happy. And they go through a whole series of things and they never quite achieve it. And so many times after a while, they just become jaded and bitter and it's not worth it.

Well, of course not. Because you're not living for the purpose for which God Almighty created you in His image. And in order to achieve that purpose, you've got to be redeemed by the blood of Christ. You've got to be saved.

The new birth, you've got to be regenerated. And then you've got to live for Christ. And when you live for Christ, all these other things fall into place and they make sense in their rightful place. If they're kept submitted to the main goal, life becomes delightful, life becomes full, life becomes joyful. All of these other things are just little blessings along the way that God gives us as we are pursuing the main goal. But as soon as we lose sight of that main goal, then these things become a problem. And until we come to Christ, life really has very little meaning. And that's because the God-appointed goal has been ignored. The goal of gaining Christ.

That's it. And if that's your situation, then you need to go to Him and acknowledge your need and ask Him, say ask Him for what? For salvation? Ask Him for eternal life? Ask Him for heaven?

Ask Him for forgiveness of sins? Well, yes, all of those things. But what do you need? What do you need? What do you need? And I trust I understand that enough to know that this is what you want. What do you need? You need divine life implanted within you that changes your present life and gives you an eternal life, an eternal perspective, an eternal goal which you start striving toward now.

That's what you need. And there's only one who can give that. I'll tell you where He is. He's seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. And He will hear your prayers if you'll go to Him with a humble and repentant heart and call upon Him for the life which He can give. Let's pray. Father, show us the truths that we have looked at today. May they be more than just interesting thoughts. May they grip our souls. May they guide our paths in all the days that You give us here in this world as we ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-23 09:55:37 / 2023-03-23 10:11:10 / 16

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