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JoyFULL // Joy is found in knowing Christ // Philippians 3:1-10 // Pastor Josh Evans

Union Grove Baptist Church / Pastor Josh Evans
The Truth Network Radio
May 22, 2024 8:08 am

JoyFULL // Joy is found in knowing Christ // Philippians 3:1-10 // Pastor Josh Evans

Union Grove Baptist Church / Pastor Josh Evans

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May 22, 2024 8:08 am

In this sermon, Pastor Josh reminds us that fullness of joy is found in deepening your relationship with Him.

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Philippians chapter number three. And I recognize on a day like today, we have guests in the room and people that maybe haven't been here the last several weeks.

But I'll kind of fill you in. We have been in a series entitled Joyful. A study through the book of Philippians talking about how in a relationship with Jesus Christ, we can have fullness of joy. If you've experienced fullness of joy, can you say amen today? And listen, it's only found in a relationship with Jesus. I want you to know we've looked at this over the last few weeks that that fullness of joy is not found in your bank account. It's not found in your circumstances. It's not found in your family.

It's not found in any of those things. And here's why. It's because all of those things change from time to time, don't they?

Right? They change. Your bank account fluctuates from time to time, right? And if you base your joy on that, then your joy is also going to fluctuate. If you base it off of people, your family, when one of them, God calls home, if that's where your joy was, then your joy is going to be gone.

If it's on money, if it's on your career, if it's on any of those things, listen, it's always going to fall short. And so the Apostle Paul is writing this message that eternal joy, lasting joy, is only found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. It's only found in knowing Jesus Christ is your Savior. Let me remind you that the Apostle Paul, he writes these four chapters to the church at Philippians. He writes these four chapters from a prison cell. He is there chained and locked in prison with a guard standing right next to him as he pens these words to a bunch of persecuted believers. You see, the believers, the followers of Jesus, they were being persecuted because of their belief on Jesus.

And because of that, for them, many of them wanted to walk away from the faith. Many of them were struggling with having joy, and Paul, in prison, begins to write to a bunch of free people, he begins to write this idea that joy can be found in a relationship with Jesus by life or by death, good circumstances or bad circumstances, by loss, by life, whatever. It can be found, but it's only found in Jesus.

The whole theme of the entire book of Philippians is found in chapter number one. Paul, he said these words, he said, for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. That is the secret to having joy. Now, if I was to go around the room today and ask every single one of you one at a time, hey, do you want to be a joyful person?

I don't think, in fact, let's do this. If you want to be a joyful person, why don't you slip your hand up real quick? I think all of us want that, right? We want that. We want that joy that shines. You've probably met somebody that from time to time their circumstances haven't been the best, but they always have been joyful. You know somebody like that?

Give me kind of a thumbs up if you're with me. Listen, we celebrated as a church, we celebrated one of those type of people this week as she went home to be with the Lord, Miss Tanya Walzer. In fact, her life is exactly, I've thought about her as much as anything in this passage. She went home to be with the Lord this week. We had her service. And I'll tell you this, here's what everybody that's talked about Miss Tanya, here's what they've talked about, is how much joy that she had even though she battled cancer for 17 years, even though she battled some challenges, she experienced loss and the loss of her husband. But yet, in the midst of all of those things over the years, you know what she didn't lose? Her joy. You want to know why she didn't lose her joy? It's because her joy was placed in something that is always with us, a person, and his name is Jesus.

His name is Jesus. And that's what Paul is talking about here in Philippians. As he comes to Philippians chapter 3, here's what the big idea or what we're going to be talking about here today is this. It's joy is found in knowing Jesus.

So we've seen several different things. Joy is found in living for Jesus. Joy is found in humility like Jesus.

Joy is found in these things. Today we're going to see in Philippians chapter 3 that joy is found in actually knowing him. In chapter number 3, Paul, he really starts to talk about the point of Christianity. He talks about the purpose. If you've kind of slipped in here because somebody invited you and you don't know Jesus as your Lord and personal savior, and you might even be thinking, man, what am I even doing here? I want you to lean in just a little bit today because what Paul is going to say in Philippians chapter 3 is actually the point of your very existence today. It's in fact the purpose for every single one of us in this room. You're wondering what God wants you to do in life?

It's found in Philippians chapter number 3. If you're having questions about, hey, I don't know what to do with my life, go to Philippians chapter number 3 because this is actually the purpose. I want to take you back real quick by way of introduction because I think this puts the entire Bible together is if you go back to the very beginning of time, creation of the world, God created man and woman, and here's why we were created so that we could have a relationship with God.

You see, that's the original creation of why. That's the purpose of every single one of us so that we can have a relationship with God. Well, that relationship was created with Adam and Eve. They walked with God. They talked with God. They lived in the Garden of Eden forever in the presence of God.

They had exactly the perfect design that God had created. Chapter number 3, everything changed because man sinned. When sin happened, they were cast out of the presence of God, and now because of that, they could not come into the presence of God. There had to be a sacrifice to make themselves clean again so that they could enter into the presence of God. The entire scripture from Genesis on is all about God pursuing mankind so that He could see you and me back reunited to that original design of having a relationship with Him. You want to know why Jesus had to die? He had to die, of course, to take away our sins, but you want to know the deeper reason why Jesus died? It's so that you could have a relationship with Him, so that you could know Him. Well, what we see here in Philippians chapter 3 is that knowing Him, fostering that relationship with Him is where fullness of joy is found.

You could say it this way. Know Jesus, know joy. If you know Jesus, you know joy. You're going to experience joy. If you know Him, let me tell you, you're going to be able to be joyful in your life. Regardless, good circumstances, I'm still joyful because I know Jesus. Bad circumstances, I'm still joyful. Why?

Because I know Jesus. That's the point of what He's saying here. Let's look at it this morning. First thing I want you to see is found in verses 1 through 8. It's really a warning that the apostle Paul gives us. He gives us this warning in verses 1 through 7. He says this, finally. Now, let me stop you right there. This is one of the reasons I love the apostle Paul. It's because he's just a great preacher, and here's why.

It's because he's not even close to done with his letter, but in chapter number 3, he says, finally. Have you ever been there where maybe me or whatever, I'm like, hey, I'm almost done, and then I go for 20 more minutes? Have you ever been there? You can agree. It's okay.

Some of you are judging me right now. I get it. I kind of resonate with him. He's not coming up to the end. He still has chapter 3.

He still has to go into chapter 4. He has a ton that he's writing about, but he's basically saying, hey, furthermore. In other words, everything I've said up to this point, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. Can we say that phrase together? Rejoice in the Lord. By the way, I want you to notice that joy is for, it's found before the word rejoice. It's found for the brethren. Say, what does that mean?

Christians, followers of Jesus. The joy that Paul's talking about, it can only be found in knowing him. It can only be found in a relationship with him, and he says present tense, rejoice in the Lord. Now, remember, Paul, he's sitting in prison. He's shackled. He's there with a Roman guard right there by him, and as he's writing this, he's saying, I can almost hear him shouting it as he's saying it. He's pinning this, and he's saying, rejoice in the Lord. The guy from prison is telling a bunch of free people to rejoice in the Lord. I want to tell you as your pastor, rejoice in the Lord today. Listen, I don't know what your circumstances are. I don't know what a day like today brings to you, to your family.

I don't know even what's happening in your own personal life, but let me challenge you today. Rejoice. You can present tensely, rejoice.

It is a command. You choose to rejoice. You choose to not allow the circumstances, good or bad, to hold you hostage, but yet your joy is going to be proclaimed regardless of what you are in. He goes on to say, to write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. He goes on to say, beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision, for we are the circumcision which worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh, if any other man thinketh that he hath, whereof he might trust in the flesh, I the more.

Then he goes on and he really gives him his resume. He says, verse number five, I was circumcised the eighth day of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. As touching the law, I was a Pharisee. Concerning zeal, persecuting the church, touching the righteousness which is in the law, I was blameless.

But what things were gained to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Here, the apostle Paul, he gives us really two specific warnings that I want you to see in our pursuit of knowing Jesus and our pursuit of knowing him and learning more about him. Two warning signs. The first thing he tells us to warn, he warns us about, is he warns us of false teachers. He warns us about false teachers. In verse number two, you see that he says, beware of dogs, beware of evil workers. That word, dog, it was a derogatory term that they would use, speaking specifically of Gentiles. They would always think of them as less than, and when he goes on, he's saying, beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware the concision. Here's what was happening to them. The reason why Paul was having to give them this warning, they were pursuing the purpose of their existence.

That's to know God. And on their pursuit, what was happening was there was a lot of people that were trying to pull these followers of Jesus, the church of Philippi, there was a lot of people that was trying to pull them back into what we would call Judaism. They would go back, they were trying to pull them, they were like, hey, listen, hey, why don't you come over here and let's start reenacting and reacting on all of the Old Testament law.

You know the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. They were all, when Jesus came, it's all about what Jesus has done for them, and there was a lot of people trying to pull them back onto what they can do for God. In other words, the reason why I would call this false teaching, they were adding things to the gospel.

They were adding things. They were saying that, listen, knowing Jesus requires you to keep the law. Knowing Jesus requires you to do X, Y, and Z. I read this week that this is good.

This will help you to write things down. Jesus plus anything messes up everything, right? And so here's what I want you to understand. If anybody is ever going to tell you to add something to the gospel, it's going to ruin everything in your life. You see, the gospel, it's Jesus plus nothing equals everything.

And you see, the point is, what he's saying is, beware of all that false doctrine, all that false theology. Now, if you're in here today, you're probably thinking like I do when I read stuff like this. I'm thinking, well, we don't really do that. I mean, nobody in here is really wanting us to abide by all of the 600 plus laws that are in the Old Testament, right?

Whatever. We don't do that. Listen, I'll tell you this.

I don't care what denominational background you have. Every single one of them lean towards this a little bit, don't they? We have rules for our rules, don't we? Listen, we do. We have rules for everything. Hey, before you can do this, before you can do this, before you can walk, you got to do this. You got to look like this.

You got to do this. And what we want is somebody who comes in, they get miraculously saved by the gospel. We have tons of different rules that we add on to a relationship with Christ. And what Paul's saying is, listen, stay away from that type of stuff. Stay away from that type. Anybody that adds anything to the gospel, they're a false teacher and they need to be taken away and you need to stay away from them.

That's what he's saying. He tells us beware of false teachers. But then he says this, beware of legalism. He says beware of legalism. You know, here in verse number five, you really see Paul and he's talking about Judaism and how, you know, it was just legalistic.

It was a bunch of rules for everything. And Paul is saying, hey, Jesus saved us from that. Jesus did all the work.

Okay. And Jesus is the one who did all the work. So he gives us this resume. And here's what I want you to understand. He mentions two different times, verse three and verse four, he mentions confidence, the word confidence.

Here's what you got to realize what he's saying. His resume, what I'm about to read to you, his resume is what he had confidence in, right? If you go to apply for a job, okay, you go to apply for a job, you're going to try to find everything that the employer wants to hear on your resume and you're going to try to find a spot to put it on there, right? You're going to beef it up and you're going to sound, I mean, listen, when we all write our own resumes, we all sound really good, don't we?

Right? We all, man, we're like great for the job. And so we write everything down. What we're doing essentially is we are saying our resume, our list of reasons why we should be hired for this position, we are placing our confidence in our resume to give us the job. Well, what he's saying here is Paul, he's saying the confidence, that confidence that we have, I want you to know if anybody could have been confident in something that they had done for God that would be worthy of getting into heaven, it would have been the apostle Paul. In other words, what he's saying is I was the one that should have been confident because I lived a life that from a lot of the humanistic standards would have been worthy of a relationship with Christ. He goes on to say this, he mentions in verse number five, he was circumcised the eighth day of the stock of Israel. What he's saying is he was a Jew. He was born an Israelite. It was part of Jewish culture that on the eighth day you would be circumcised. And in order to know God, you had to become Jewish. You had to go through these rituals.

You had to be born into this family. And Paul's saying I was circumcised the eighth day of the stock of Israel. And so he's putting that out there. I know some of you wonder from time to time about church membership here and everything. Listen, can you imagine how hard it was to be to get to know God here?

Listen, I want you to know to be a member at Union Grove, it doesn't require surgery of any sort, okay? And so here's the thing. There's all this stuff that you had to do and Paul is saying this. He's saying this to them.

Listen, I had all of that. I was born into the family, into a Jewish family. He goes on to say I was from the tribe of Benjamin. Here's why that's significant. This is Jacob's second favorite son.

And here's what I want you to know. This is where their first king was from, the tribe of Benjamin. This was the only tribe that didn't rebel against David when the kingdom separated. This was one of those tribes that was considered the elite, the elite of the Jewish community. And when he's saying that, he's like, man, listen, this was me.

This was me. I was born a Jew. I'm from the tribe of Benjamin. He goes on to say this, I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews.

I was as good as they get. As touching the law, I was a Pharisee. Now for us today, we look at Pharisees in a negative tone, right?

You think Pharisee, that's bad. In their day, the term Pharisee meant something elite. They were the religious leaders. They were the intellectual ones.

They were the most respected people in the society during that day. And he's saying, listen, I was a Pharisee. I kept the law.

I did everything right. Then he goes on, verse number six, concerning zeal, persecuting the church, anybody who professed to know Jesus or to believe on Jesus, I was zealous to arrest them. He said, touching the righteousness, which is in the law, listen, I was blameless. In other words, he's saying this, nobody was more moral than I was.

No one had higher standards than I did. You see, what Paul's saying is this, all of those things, I was flawless. Now for us, they don't mean a whole lot, but you know what we do in churches a lot of times? I was born in church. I've been in church longer than anybody else. Man, I've always done everything right.

You know, I always treated people the right way. And we put all these different things. And in essence, what you're doing is you're listing out your resume before people and before God. And I want you to know that today, nobody comes close to where the apostle Paul was. But here was the problem of what he was pointing out to the Philippians, is this. Paul, he had enough morality to keep him out of trouble. He had all the morality that he needed to keep him out of trouble, but there was a problem in his life.

He didn't have enough righteousness to get him into heaven, though. And here's what I'm afraid of today in churches all over America. We have a bunch of people that have a lot of morality. We have a bunch of people who might even be a leader in the church. They might even be respected in the church. And here's what I want you to know.

Paul was that. And here's what I want to caution you today. Morality does not save you. Good works does not save you. Trying to live your life into this box does not save you. Trying to keep all of the rules does not save you. None of those things save you, because if it did, nobody would be more justified than the writer of the book of Philippians. He's saying, listen, I was blameless. I had all the morality that I needed, but I still didn't have enough righteousness to get me into heaven.

Paul was saying that all of his talents, all of his standards, all of his righteousness, all of his abilities, all of his accolades, all of his accomplishments, all of the good things that he had ever done, he says in verse number seven. All of that, I used to gain purpose from it. I used to find fulfillment from it. I used to find purpose from everything in it. That's where I found my value and my worth.

It was in all of the things I just listed. But he says now, when I found Jesus, all of the things that I used to look at as gain for me, now I count it all as loss, as loss. You see, the point is, Paul found something better. Paul found Jesus. And listen, when you find Jesus, when you find Jesus, I want to tell you, there is nobody like him.

He is better than anything you're searching for, and I'll tell you this, anything that you're looking for to try to find the value that you need, man, I'm just telling you, we all struggle with this. We try to find value and try to find worth. That's what all of us want. Every single one of us, we're looking for acceptance in our life. And what the apostle Paul is saying is I used to find all the value and worth and acceptance in keeping the rules and keeping the law and being the Hebrew of the Hebrews and being a Pharisee and doing everything the right way. And I want you to know that when I found Jesus, I found something better for me. I found something that actually made me accepted before an Almighty God. It wasn't the rules.

It was the blood of my Savior, Jesus Christ, that made me to be able to enter into the presence of God. That's the point. That's what he's saying.

The second thing we see is the reward, the reward of knowing Jesus. He gives us the warning, beware of legalists, beware of false teachers, the ones who really abide by the rules, the ones who walk around policing the rules. You know what I'm saying? He's like, hey, stay away from those guys.

Those are not the ones that we want. No, no, no, that's not the thing. He says, listen, you need to stay away from all of that because he was that and still fell short. And now he goes on to say here's the reward of knowing Jesus.

Here's the reward of knowing Jesus. He says, wait, yay, doubtless I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung that I may win Christ. You see, if Paul, if his incredible flawless resume is loss, then what is the alternative? What's the alternative? He says that he has found something better.

He has found something better. And it's found in this phrase in verse number 8. The excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. The excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus.

Here's what he means by excellency. He's talking about value. He's talking about the thing that you treasure.

He's talking about this idea of what you treasure. And he says this, listen, I used to treasure keeping the law. I used to treasure keeping the rules. I used to treasure all the respect that everybody has for me.

I used to treasure the position that I found myself in. But when I found Jesus, I considered all of that loss because I found something that I treasure more. That I treasure more. In chapter 13, Jesus tells a parable. And in this parable, he talks about the kingdom of heaven and how it's a treasure. This relationship that we have with God, it's a treasure that we should value.

And he says two things about it in his parable. He says that it is so valuable that once you find it, it's like if you were going out and you found this treasure in a field and you go out and you find this treasure in a field and you're thinking, man, this, what I just found in this field, it's so good. It's so valuable.

It meets my every need. It is so good that you are willing to leave the field behind, go back, sell everything that you have to go back and to purchase the field. He says that's how valuable it is. He says, you still don't believe me?

It's like this. You find this pearl that is so valuable and it's worth something, you could never part ways with it. He says that this is what a relationship with Jesus is like, is once you find it, you're willing to leave everything behind in order to have that one thing. You see, it's that you treasure that. It's more valuable than anything that you could ever leave behind. That's the point.

That's what he's saying. The treasure of knowing Jesus is more valuable than anything you walk away from. If you've come in here today and you say, hey, listen, I don't need a relationship with God or I don't want that because I'm going to have to walk away from something in order to get it. I'm going to have to walk away from a relationship to get it. I'm going to have to walk away from friendships to get it. I'm going to have to walk away from a lifestyle to get it. Let me just tell you this.

I really want you to understand this. I want you to hear this, is that what you find in a relationship with Jesus is way more valuable and will meet your every need than anything you ever have to walk away from to get it. That's what he's saying. That's the reward. You see, the reward is not the resume. The reward is not the rules. The reward is just getting to know him more.

It's just getting to know him more. Some of us in church, and I admit that when I was growing up, you know, I've been around the church my whole life. Like, honestly, it's all that I know. When I share my testimony, I mean, it's not one of those, man, I was a drunk on the street. God saved me.

It's not like that. It's more like, man, I was a church kid. I was a Christian school kid and things like that. You know what I looked at my relationship with God like growing up? I looked at it like a means to an end.

I vividly remember being a teenager and I would be a teenager. I would pray things like this. This is so foolish, but this is true.

Some of you are probably like this, at least make me feel better for a moment. I would say things like this, dead serious to God, teenager. I would say, hey, God, I will live for you if you let me date that girl. Dead serious.

I did say that. Like, there was a few times in my head I was like, man, and what I was doing was I was using that as a means to an end. Hey, God, I'll give my life to you. I'll know you. I'll do this as long as you get me this relationship or as long as you help me remember the prayers that we prayed before we haven't studied for tests. Like, God, I'll give you everything that you need if you remember the things that I didn't read last night, right? I've been there. And what I did growing up is I would use God as a means to an end.

Fast forward, 39 years old today. Here's what I want you to know. If you miss anything that I'm saying, Jesus is not a means to an end. You know what Jesus is? He is the end. He is the end.

You know what I love? I just want to know Him. I just want to have a relationship. I just want to know Him.

I want to walk with Him. That's what matters to me. Listen, I love the kind things that you say to me and stuff, but at the end of the day, I'm not living for your acceptance. I'm not living for anybody's acceptance but His. And I want you to know, I don't know how life looks like from heaven down, but there's sometimes, because as a pastor, you always feel like you're falling short a little bit, like you're not doing enough, you're not doing this right. You always feel like your life's on a pedestal. Everybody's judging me for everything. Here's what I've learned.

I've been a pastor for two years. I ain't living for any of you. You know what I'm living for? I'm living for Him.

That doesn't give me a license to do whatever I want, but here's what it does. It takes the pressure off of me to try to perform for every single one of you, and what it does is it gives me no pressure at all because the pressure's already been put on Jesus Christ when He died for me. I'm living for the audience of one today. And for some of you, you do the same thing. You live for the person at work. You live for your neighbor. You live for the person in your Facebook feed.

You live for the people that are trying to speak in. Let me tell you this. What Paul's saying, Paul did that. He had a resume that fit that. He lived for the people.

But you know what he said? When he found a relationship with Jesus, he found something better, something so good that it freed him from all of the legalism that he had been a part of. It freed him from every bit of it. Jesus is not a means to an end. He's the end. He's the treasure. He's the answer.

He's what you need. The third thing you find is this. Quickly, the result of following Jesus. It's found in verse number 10. One of my favorite verses in Scripture says this. Paul, he's kind of bringing some of this to a close.

He's talking about beware of false teachers, beware of legalism. He's giving his resume. He's like, listen, I was blameless, man. There ain't one thing you could ever want to say about his life. And then, ultimately, you know what he says? He says, here's the passion of his life. And wherever you're at today, here's what my prayer is for you. I pray that verse number 10 becomes the passion of your life.

He says, all that being said, that I may know him. That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of his sufferings being made conformable unto his death. You want to know what the result of knowing Jesus is? When you spend time with him, when you foster that relationship, when you walk with him and you talk with him, you're going to find, verse number 9, you're going to find that what you have in Jesus is the righteousness of Jesus.

It's the great exchange. In verse number 9, he's saying, and be found in him? Listen, the only reason he's found in him is the next phrase, not having mine own righteousness. Listen, if you think you're going to stand before God and start listing off the good things that you have ever done, you're sadly mistaken. No, you know the only reason you're ever going to be able to stand before God in the first place is not the list of rules that you've abided by. It's actually the grace of God that died for you. You see, that's the only reason any of us are ever going to be there.

He said, no, this is this exchange from that to this. And so I want you to understand that what you have in Jesus, once you know him, if you give your life to him, you realize that all of your shortcomings, he died for you. All of your mistakes, he paid the price that you pay that you could never pay. And he took it all away, and now you're gifted the righteousness of Jesus Christ. So when you stand before God, he sees you not because of your sin, but because of Jesus' blood that died for you, that you're trusting in.

That's the point. It's like this, I was thinking about this, you know, how can we understand the righteousness of Christ? I realize as a pastor, I've been in this all week, and so you might not have. Think about it like this, have you ever played golf? And how many of you have ever played golf before? Just at least one time, raise your hand, okay? And so how many of you have played one time and you've never played again? Anybody?

Okay, a few of you. And it's like this, it's like golf. You know how I love to play golf? I love to play golf when somebody tells me we're playing what they call best ball. Captain's choice.

And here's what that is, you take a team of however many, four or two or whatever, and you say, hey, we're playing this way. And what that means is that it takes so much pressure off of me. As I'm standing up there and I hit the golf ball, and usually I find mine in the woods or in the water or wherever, you know what I do?

I just walk off there and it's okay. You want to know why? It's because I love to be teamed up with guys like Joseph Bailey. When I get teamed up with Joseph Bailey, you know what happens to me? There's no pressure.

There's not a bit. Now, I put a lot of pressure on him, but there's no pressure on me. I get up there and as I'm just, hey, drive me to the edge of the woods and I'll go in there to look for my ball for a few minutes. You know what I know? Is that my ball in the woods, here's the good news, when I finally find it, which is rare, I'll go and I'll pick it up and you know what I get to do? I get to take my ball that was in the woods and I get to place it in the middle of the fairway. And it's awesome.

And then when somebody's like, how did you shoot? And I shot great. It's awesome.

I mean, I even sometimes take credit. Hey, great drive. Thank you. Thank you.

It was good. But here's the point. It's like taking a ball from the woods and putting it in the middle of the fairway when you're playing with somebody good.

And that's the point. That's like the righteousness of Jesus. It takes your life, you're so dead in the middle of the sea that your life is in the middle of the woods and you can't find your way out. And it's a terrible life.

It's a terrible shot, everything. And what Jesus did is he said, hey, listen, here's the beauty of the gospel in some weird golf story that I'm trying to share. It's this. It's taking your life out of the water. It's taking your life out of the trees. And it's placing it in the middle of the fairway where he placed you. That's the righteousness of Jesus. Something you don't deserve.

Something you didn't do anything. You only screwed things up. And he's the one that puts the fragmented pieces of your life back together again. You see, that's the gospel. That's what we get when we know Jesus. The righteousness of Jesus. He goes on in verse 10, the power of Jesus. The resurrection of power that raised Christ from the dead. We have that living inside of us. The fellowship with Jesus.

Think about it. The fellowship of his sufferings. The closeness. You know that closeness you feel maybe when your kids are sick? You know what I'm talking about? That closeness. It's just one of those things. I hate when my kids are sick, but at the end of the day, you remember when they're real little?

They just want you to hold them. That's what we get. When your life's falling apart, here's what God can do for you. Knowing him draws you so close together.

Verse number 11, we get the transformation to be like Jesus. Listen, in closing, I just want to leave you with this thought. Don't fall in love, because we're bad at this. Don't fall in love with the practice of Christianity. I really, if you miss anything I'm saying, fall in love with the person of it. Church people are terrible at falling in love with the practice, the rules, everything. Listen, I'm right there with you.

I get it. I can be the biggest legalist in the room sometimes. Like, I notice all sorts of stuff, and I have to, it's not about what they wear, it's not about this, it's not about what they did, what I saw on Facebook from that person, it's not about that.

And sometimes we as church people, we're pointing it out, and we're policing stuff left and right. Here's the thing. Take the pressure off of you. Stop worrying and trying hard with the practice and the rules of Christianity. Fall in love with the person. He's the treasure. He's everything that you need. All I remember, and I'm done, is this.

I'll just say finally, like the apostle Paul. I remember when Abby and I started dating, and we started dating, and our first date was the night, we went to two different colleges, and so the night we had our first date, the next morning she went to her school for her final semester, and I started school at my school. So our first four or five months was nothing but long distance. It was a long distance relationship. And so we started calling each other on the phone. Young people, you might not know a whole lot about what that looks like.

And this will also blow your mind. We were sending text messages to one another, and this is back in like 2016, and when we started sending text messages, here's the scary thing, is you had like a limit of how many text messages you could send a month. How many of you remember those days, right? You had to put everything in there. I was putting like six sentences, and then I would run out of characters on whatever type of flip phone I had. And just speaking of that, you remember when you had to type like the number three times to get to the letters you wanted? What a weird time we were in. Young people are like, what in the world?

Listen, your parents will show you later. So I would do stuff, and we would text each other. We'd get as much in as we possibly could. And it was terrible when we would run out of text messages.

Then it would become like we emailed each other. For some of you, you sent telegraphs. I don't know. Sorry, that was an old joke.

Shouldn't have said that. But we do all these different things, and here's all I want you to know. I just wanted to know her. I wanted to know everything about her. I wanted to get to know her more. When she wasn't with me, I wanted to text her, or to email her, or to call her. There was this just incredible desire, if you would.

And all I'm saying is this. In a relationship with Jesus, here's what I've found. Is when I'm walking with God, it's very similar to that. I can't wait to get back to my devotional time. I can't wait to get alone and pray.

I can't wait to get alone and study some more. In fact, it's almost like you can't get enough of it. You see, that's the beauty of knowing Christ.

And here's what I want you to know. In a relationship with Him, that's where the joy is. It's not in the rules. It's not in anything that you add.

It's in a relationship. He is the treasure that we have. Would you bow your heads with me? Let's do this. Let's all stand at this time for just a moment. I'm just going to give you what we call an invitation. I'm not going to belabor this. But if you're in here today, I want you to be honest before God. I'm going to ask you a couple questions.

Nobody's looking around. Heads bowed, hearts lifted in prayer. If you're in here today and you say, Pastor, I do not know God.

I don't have a relationship with Him. I've never trusted in Him as my Savior. If that's where you are today, would you please just slip up your hand high enough for me to see it, long enough for me to recognize it? Anybody, anywhere? If you're embarrassed by that, if you want to make eye contact with me, listen, I'd love to just include you in my prayer tonight, if that's where you are. Don't be looking around, church people. Let people do business with God.

But if that's where you are, listen, tonight, or this morning, I want you to know what you're searching for. Jesus fulfills way more than anything you can find in this world. If you're in here today and you say, Pastor, I'm a Christian. I'm a believer. I'm a follower of Jesus. I know that.

I know if I were to die today, I'm going to heaven. But I've kind of neglected that personal desire of knowing him, maybe Bible reading and prayer and things like that. I've just neglected some of it.

I've gotten behind, and I just have missed a lot of days. And I just am not spending time in fostering that relationship. I do with my kids. I do with my wife. I do different things for my spouse.

But that's the one that I've just not taken the time. If that's where you are, be honest before God. Would you slip up your hand with me? My hand's there. I can always do more.

Listen, hand's going up everywhere. Listen, thank you for your honesty. Thank you for where you are. Listen, I just want to include you in my closing prayer today. Father, Lord, I'm so grateful. I'm so grateful for your word. I'm so thankful, God, that you saved us from legalism. You saved us from the false teaching. God, I pray in the few moments that we have, if anybody's in here that doesn't know you as Lord and personal savior, Father, I pray that today be the day that they stop trusting in themselves. They start trusting in you. Bless in this invitation time, for it's in your name we pray. Listen, nobody's looking around.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-22 10:24:33 / 2024-05-22 10:42:39 / 18

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