This message was preached by Colin D'cruz at Word of Grace Church on July 17th, 2016. To listen/download the audio please click here. To listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here
Q. How many know the distance for a marathon! How many have taken part in a marathon?
The record is 2 hours 3 min held by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya.
Imagine if you had to run the Olympic for India! How would you compete? What would you do? Train! They spend months, years prospering themselves. There is a lot of effort and sweat.
The better news is this. You have been chosen to run a race. You have been chosen to become like Jesus. All who have trusted in Jesus have been translated from the kingdom of darkness to light . This is goal for every believer- To become like Jesus!
Phil 3:13-17: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, 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. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.”
This is the great apostle Paul saying this is his goal. In the following verses he talks about how we can accomplish this goal.In verse 17 he emphasizes that you are not on your own. Join with others who are a part of this race and follow my example. Our citizenship is in heaven. The goal is a very high one. It's not becoming a marathon runner which is low in comparison to becoming like Jesus.
We can have a set of instructions but sometimes it's not enough. Today when I want to learn something I go to YouTube because I see how it's done.
Q. Can you learn how to tie shoes laces through instructions?
No, you watch and learn. This is true for many things. This is true for the Christian life as well. How do I love my neighbour, how do I love?
You may have a plumber or electrician in your house and turn they come with an assistant who is in training. The same way we follow someone example and someone is following us.
1 Corinthians 4:16- “Therefore I urge you to imitate me.”
Paul is saying imitate me. But he is not physically present. So he says I'm sending Timothy, imitate him!
1 These 1:6- “You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”
The focus was on imitation. Too many Christians say I imitate God. I submit to you that that is not biblical. It's good to learn from others experience. Jesus imitated his father. We can learn from older parents, married couples, work situations.
1 Tim 4:12 gives a list of things to follow. Whether you like it or not you are an example for others. Our children imitate us.
Q. Are we living a life worthy of imitating?
In verse 18 is something that makes Paul sad. Matt 7:15, Acts 20:29-30
Paul is warning them of false teachers. Watch out there such people in Christendom
Q. How do we identify them?
Paul gives us a few indicators:
· Their destiny is destruction. These people are going to hell.
· Their God is their stomach. It's not clear who is being referred to. There were two groups - the judiats who were going back to the law. The other extreme was the agnostics who said the spirit is good but the body is evil so what you want with it. Their God is their stomach I.e they live to eat. Living a sensual life - if it feels good I'll do it. The world is like this today. It lives to gratify r flesh.
· Their glory is in their shame - they boast about shameful things.
One day we will all leave this earth and stand before God. Two things you can't escape, death and taxes! We don't know how long we have. That is in God's hands. There is so much sin everywhere. The newspapers are full of depressing stuff.
The story of the gospel is this. Although we are sinners and need to be punished, God in his mercy sent Jesus to die in our place so that we will not be punished.
The law will say that we are not guilty.
2 Thess 1:6-9- “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might”
The truth is that there is a judgment and destruction. If you knew of some disaster you would want your friends and family to know. In the same way we should weep over their eternal destruction and prevent it by praying for them and sharing the gospel.
The false teachers have their minds on earthly things
Q. How should we live?
1. Realize we are citizens of heaven. John14:2- “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”
2. We are aliens on earth. We are here for heaven. When he comes the second time we will be transformed. So we remind ourselves of who we are.
John says the things of the world are attractive. It's not writing to have them. It's when we focus on these things alone then it's a problem.
Good had given is a mission. How can we grow in Christ? How can we keep going.
1 Thes 4:14-17- “For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
Whatever problem you are facing is temporary. When we are with Jesus every problem will disappear.
Rev 21:4- “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
So follow an example. Realize we could have given into a false teaching. Let's set or
minds on heavenly things. When we do this we will stand firm.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.