Missionary Michael J. Carney
BBFI missionary to Hungary

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Philippians 3
14   I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 
15   Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing
ye are otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this to you.

At the beginning of each New Year many people will make new commitments
and promises.  They will try to think of something that will improve their life or
how others think about them.  They will try to think of one thing that they need
to do or stop doing that will make them a better person.

In this passage in Philipians I believe that Paul has a similar idea.  Paul says
that the one thing that he wants to do above all else is to serve the Lord better:

-"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended"
--Paul says I have not completely grasped everything I can for Christ.  I have
not yet learned all that I can learn, I have not yet done all that I can do for Christ.
Paul was a very Godly Christian, but even in his life he knew he could do more
for God.

-"forgetting those things which are behind,"

Paul said forgetting those things which are behind, meaning forgetting all the
works he has done for God in the past.  -- Sometimes we think about what we
have done for God and we feel we have done all we need to do.  Now we can
rest.  Paul said I am not going to think about what I have done, I am going to
thing about what I can do.

I have met good Christians that have felt that they have been serving the Lord
a long time and now they just need a little rest from the work.  Usually when that
happens the get backsliden.  They allow sin to creep into their lives.  We must
realize we are in a never ending Battle.  When you are in the middle of a war
you can not rest, because if you do the enemy will attack and destroy you.  We
have an enemy and he wants to destroy us, destroy me and you.: 

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring
lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 

--He is seeking the opportunity to destroy you and he will if you let him.

This church has seen a great year.  People have been saved.  This church
building has been built.  Now what will you do with the building God has provided?
You must decide how can you best use the things God has given you.

-"and reaching forward to those things which are before, I press toward the mark
for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

--Paul says I will commit myself to do all that I can to have a better realationship
with Christ and glorify Him more.

What can you do to have a better relationship with Jesus Christ?  What can you
do to help others hear about the gospel?  Jesus died so that people might be
saved, what will you do to help?

I.  You can have greater Faith.

Hebrews 11:6   But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh
to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently
seek him.

           A.  Without faith it is impossible to please God.
We must learn to trust God.  To believe that He is in control of all things.  His
word, the Bible, is true and that God knows what is best for our lives.

In the Old Testament the Children of  Israel always looked at the things the
other nations had, and many times they complained to God because they
didn't have what the world had.  In Malachi 3  the bible tells us that they stopped
giving their tithe to God because they felt there was no benefit to serving God.
We must believe that the things we receive from God are far better than the things
we can get from the pleasures of this world.

           B.  First you must believe that He is.

This is more than just knowing that God exists.  James 2:19   Thou believest that
there is one God; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and tremble.

You must have a personal relationship with him.  You must receive Him as your
savior.  Mt. 7 tells us that on the day of judgment many people will stand before
God and say Lord we have done many good works in your name, but He will say
depart from me into everlasting fire because I never knew you. 

--No matter how many good things you do, if you do not know Jesus as your
personal Savior you will spend eternity in hell.

II.  You can communicate to God more.

           A.  We communicate to God with through prayer:  

Philipians 4:6,7   Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer
and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your
hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

           B.   He communicates to us through His Word:

Psalm 119:11   Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee. 

III.  We can Love the Lord more.

There are many people that I love and care for, but I love my wife more.  If  I had
to choose who I would rather live with it would be my wife, because I love her
more.  If someone I loved wanted me to do something that would hurt my wife
I would not do it, because it is more important that I please my wife than that
I please others.  As much as I love my wife I must love Jesus more.  Is it more
important to you what the Lord knows about you or what others think?  Who do
you want to please?  Who is more important to you?   Love the Lord more.
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