Notes by Chris G | May 31, 2011 | Audio available at https://www.theporch.live/blog/media
Intro: in America, we really like to document our successes. We love to live in the past and tell people what we accomplished. High school trophies. Hunting big game trophies. In Dallas, we become our own trophies here, at the gym, at the lake, on resumes. JP got the religion award 8 of 9 years in Catholic school. How weird is that?
We love to perform for a prize. But when you bring that into the gospel, it says, "Jesus Christ, you're not enough". It belittles the gospel.
The Prize That We Play For (Phil. 3:1-14)
1) A prize not earned (3:1-6)
- Judaizers said it was the gospel plus something else
- Paul calls them dogs and mutilators of the flesh
- these are the people that Jesus went after and told they didn't have it figured out
- think about what you would answer if God asked why He should let you in
- if you thought anything other than the work of Christ, you're them
- it's not about these things (circumcision, works, etc)
- Paul's preaching against that; and it still happens today
- we have this idea in the church that if I perform well, God is going to bless me specifically
- God loves you because of Jesus, not your performance
- illustration: Presley holding her breath under the water at the lake
- - to show that it isn't about what she does, though, JP tells her at home that he loves her regardless
- God loves you because of what He's done for you through Jesus--that's the good news
2) A prize found through faith (3:7-11)
- compared to Jesus, everything is rubbish (crap)
- Paul knew with all of his heart that Jesus was the best thing for him
- ...more important than a wife, friends, popularity,...anything
- C.S. Lewis: our desire for pleasure is not too great, but too little--we don't hold out for enough
- illustration: JP asking Finley if she wants to live in the condemned house with the red slide
- - she forgets and discards everything she has at home to have the red slide in front of her
- - we do the same with sex now over a good marriage in God's time or porn or attention
- we don't understand how Christ is good, because we only have the scale of this life as "good"
- Paul had a greater revelation of who and what Christ was, because he lived for Him and pursued Him
- the one who has everything, the house, the car, etc, but not Christ, has nothing
- the one with the condemned house yet Christ, has everything
- when you woke up this morning, was Christ your greatest desire?
- Paul is describing not just an emotion but a devotion; everything falls under the shadow of Christ
- we pursue Him out of a realization of the gospel
- yet we pursue Him how we see Him pursued around us
- illustration: JP's grandmother playing bingo and JP observing that people shout "bingo" to get a prize
- - he didn't understand that you have to have the bingo on the card
- - a lot of us observe Christians and then do church, etc and try to please God that way
- - we start pretending, not truly loving God through Christ
3) The prize is what we strive for (3:12-14)
- the prize is Christ
- if you don't want Christ today, you don't want heaven, because heaven is more of Christ
- and if you don't want heaven and Christ, study the Scriptures and understand what it is all about
- Heb. 10:19-25:
- - our confidence comes from Christ; He is our motivation; He is coming back and every person will meet Him and He is going to judge us (that's not popular)
- - forgetting our past; odd because we are often called to remember; we are to forget our accomplishments (Gal. 6:14); shame: "forget" doesn't mean to push it down; it means don't let it own you
- - God is in the business of restoring; He is bigger than whatever you've done; confess it and be made new; you think you can't tell anybody--you can
- Heb. 12:1-3:
- - we know Jesus is good because of everyone who has interacted with Him, lived for Him, died for Him, trusted in Him
JP's last week: the hardest of five years of ministry because of others in ministry going through difficulties and protecting the flock from predators (those here with the wrong motives). The encouragement from the men around him in his life was to not grow weary in doing good (Gal. 6:9), and to look to the prize and the witnesses of those who went before.
Christ is the vehicle we are driving in. The road we are driving on. The destination to which we are traveling to.