I was thrilled to introduce a brand new theme to the Ambassadors Department of the Bible Baptist Church last Sunday. Our theme for this year is “Going to the Next Level”. I challenged the listeners from Philippians 3 to not be satisfied with their accomplishments in the Christian life but to continue on pressing forward and gaining more territory for the Lord Jesus Christ as far as service is concerned.
I want to share with you the outline of my lesson. It is my prayer that God would use this lesson to challenge your heart.
(Message preached last January 25, 2009 during the Vision Meeting of the Ambassadors’ Department)
Text: Philippians 3:10-14
TITLE: Going to the Next Level
Introduction: Let me challenge you today to venture out, To seek more opportunity in serving the Lord. Let us take our Christianity to the next level.
The book of Philippians was written by Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to the believers at Philippi. Philippi was a chief city of the western part of Macedonia. A.D. 64 is the commonly received date.
I. Desire for a Person – v10
A. To Know Christ – walking with Him, prayer.
Note – We may know Him personally intimately face to face, Christ does not live back in the centuries nor amid the clouds of heaven, He is near us, with us, compassing our path in our lying down and acquainted with all our ways
1. Sufferings – 1 Pet. 2:21; 1 Pet. 4:14
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
To suffer together creates a dearer fellow-feeling than to labour together. Companionship in sorrow forms the most enduring of ties,-afflicted hearts cling to each other, grow into each other.
2. Conformable to His death
Note – Conformed (G-summorphoo) means to cause something to be similar in form or style to something else, specifically in this case denoting an inward similarity of attitudes and character to those of our Lord.
Quote – Hudson Taylor – Hudson
There is a needs-be for us to give ourselves for the life of the world. … Fruit-bearing involves cross-bearing. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone.” We know how the Lord Jesus became fruitful-not by bearing His cross only, but by dying on it. Do we know much of fellowship with Him in this? There are not two Christs-an easy-going Christ for easy-going Christians, and a suffering, toiling Christ for exceptional believers. There is only one Christ, and when you come to Him you get crucified and He lives!
B. The Power of His Resurrection – the victorious life
Christ has won the victory for us. The resurrection validated the victory.
1 Cor. 15:57
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gal. 2:20; Romans 6:6-11
The Power of the resurrected life. Reckoning ourselves dead to sin and alive unto God.
It is allowing the Lord through the Holy Spirit to live through us.
II. Dissatisfaction with the Present – v12-13a
A. With his own self – Paul was satisfied with Christ but never with himself.
Matt. 5:48 – “perfect” means fully mature or grown to full stature.
Behind Every Spiritual Success/ Venture There is a Man who…
Is Never Satisfied
When things are going smoothly, wants them to go smoother.
When He has given his all, wants more ALL.
When he has done his best, wants the better best.
When he has carried his load limit, seeks a bigger limit.
Never reaches his goal
When he has done all he can do, does more
When he has gone as far as he can go, goes farther
When his boss is satisfied with him, is not satisfied with himself.
Does not let his success, keep him from success.
When the victory celebration is going on, is alone planning for the next victory.
Is all he can be, but wants to be all he could be.
Doesn’t look at how far he’s come, but how far he has to go.
When he has arrived, keeps going
When things are going better than ever, wants them to go better than they are.
When others are patting him on the back, is kicking himself in the pants.
When he comes to end of his road, builds more road.
Your Growth in the Christian life will be in direct proportion to your dissatisfaction w/ Yourself.
2 Peter 3:18
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
M.R. DeHaan once said Self-satisfaction is the death of progress. Dissatisfaction with past accomplishments is the mother of invention. Because man was dissatisfied with carrying and lifting loads upon his shoulders, he invented vehicles to ride in. Pity the man who is content with his own progress and feels he has [arrived]. This is all the more true in the Christian life. Nothing here is as deadly as self-satisfaction. The most boring people I ever meet are the ones who take up my lime telling me what they have done, when they ought to be doing more.
Good, better, best, never let it rest ’till your good is your better and your better is your best.
B. Acted Upon It
1. Showed Effort – It will not “just happen”
2. Forgetting the past – What do you need to forget. Victories & Failures.
III. Drive for the Prize – v13c-14
A. Reaching Forth Before –
1 Cor. 16:9
More things were in reach. More souls and opportunities to serve God.
We need to seize the moment.
The greatest room in the world is the room for improvement.
1 Cor. 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Excellence dies in the altar of experience.
B. Pressing Toward the call –
Note – the Last call. When God calls us home.
2 Cor. 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus
Many years ago, a promising Greek artist named Timanthes was under the instruction of a well-known tutor. After several years, the young painter created an exquisite portrait. He was so thrilled with what he had painted that he sat day after day gazing at his work.
One morning, however, he was horrified to discover that his teacher had deliberately ruined his painting. Angry and in tears, Timanthes ran to him and asked why he had destroyed his cherished possession. The wise man replied, “I did it for your own good. That painting was retarding your progress. It was an excellent piece of art, but it was not perfect. Start again and see if you can do even better.” The student took his advice and produced a masterpiece called “Sacrifice of Iphigenia,” regarded by some as one of the finest paintings of antiquity.
God never wants us to be content with our accomplishments. He wants us to reach even higher plateaus of service and Christ-likeness. Paul recognized this, for even though he was a godly man and accomplished much, he admitted that he still needed to advance in holiness (Phil. 3:12-14).
Child of God, don’t be satisfied with your spiritual attainments. With His help, keep pressing on! –H G Bosch
When you’ve reached a plateau,
And your strength’s almost gone,
But the Lord still says, “Go,”
That’s the time to press on. –Hess
If you think you’ve arrived,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground. Refrain:
Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
Are you satisfied?
Let me challenge you to go to the Next Level!