Please meditate on Phillipians 3:13-14.
I think one of the greatest problems for many Christians is that they lack commitment. Certainly all of us can find something in our service to the Lord to which we can be committed, but we must begin with making a commitment.
The key to succeeding with the commitments you have made recently, such as being in church on Wednesday evening, reading your Bible, spending more time in prayer, etc., is to keep them. Don’t quit Don’t despair, but if you do, keep on going anyway. If you don’t come in first, come in anyway. Make a commitment to be the best you can be for God. Here are four things which I believe are necessary in order to carry out a commitment:
- HAVE A VISION. Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “Reaching forth unto those things which are before.” We must have a vision of obedience to what has been revealed by the Holy Spirit. We must have a collective vision as a church, but we must also have an individual vision.
- MAKE A START. Paul said in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark.” The decision has been made. It is too late to waver. It is too late to count the cost. It is time to make the start. If you made a commitment, now is the time to start.
- KEEP ON GOING. Again, in verse 14, Paul says, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He is pressing onward, and he will not be sidetracked. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us that we must learn to lay aside those things that cause us to stumble, to be tempted, to become weak and to yield to temptation. In other words, keep on going to fulfill your commitment.
- NEVER QUIT. Notice that Paul said, “I press toward the mark for the prize…” What is the prize? It is “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” That means we don’t quit until we see Jesus face to face.
Let us also remember Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (In other words, if we do not give up.)
Read Ephesians 1:1-12
Think of it: the blind, and the deaf:
The blind have never seen a sunrise or sunset, moon, stars, milky way, Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, etc.
The deaf have never heard the sound of Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, etc.
We ought to shout a holy shout because WE ARE ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED.
- BECAUSE OF HIS GRACE.
- BECAUSE OF HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD.
BECAUSE OF FORGIVENESS OF SIN VERSE 7.
We are “ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED.”
If you were able to get out of bed this morning in good health, able to eat breakfast; have two eyes and ears; have two hands; two feet; say hallelujah!
Not only that, but you are ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED.
I don’t understand why He loved and forgave me.
Psalms 103:3, “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Acts 5:31, “Him hath God exalted with his right hand [to be] a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”
Thank God we have forgiveness. Our sins are under the blood, and we are, “ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED.”
CONCLUSION: Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
I Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
C. GOD’S GRACE ENABLES MEN TO BE HUMBLE.
1 Peter 5:5, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Do you need His grace today?”
God has grace for the broken hearted, for the sick and for lonely because, “HE HATH MADE US ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED”
BECAUSE OF HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD! VERSE 7.
We are accepted in the beloved because the blood is Atoning.
Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”
The blood cleanses from all sin.
Hebrews 9:22, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
We ought to shout because we are ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED.
When I came to America from Germany as a 13 year old boy over 65 years ago. We arrived in New York harbor on June l4th and in Reno, Nevada on the 19th. I did not know as a young boy what God had in store for me. I do remember looking at the statue of Liberty praying that God would use me to help to keep from happening to this nation as the one I was leaving behind
We are going to talk and think about the One who said of us:
“HE HATH MADE US ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED”
We certainly have much to cry out to God about, But we must also understand that we are accepted for three reasons:
BECAUSE OF HIS GRACE! VERSE 6.
- GRACE IS NOT EARNED, BUT FREELY GIVEN.
Psalms 84:11, “For the LORD God [is] a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
We cannot earn it, because it is freely given.
Sun: Shemesh: He is our light, a brilliant light.
Shield: Magen (maw-gane), buckler, protector-like a scaly hide of the crocodile. Defend.
In the Bible, God is often called the shield.
- God said to Abraham, “I am thy shield.” Gen. 15:1.
- God said to the Psalmist, “I will protect and defend thee.”
2. GOD’S GRACE EMPOWERS MEN FOR SERVICE.
1 Corinthians 3:10, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”
Review and Read Luke 16:19-21 again.
Yesterday we addressed:
I. TWO FAMILIES VERSES 19-21 and today,
II. TWO FUNERALS VERSE 22.
- The RAGMAN in verse 22.
- He was a beggar and died first. God often takes the Godly first.
- And after He often leaves the wicked to prosper.
- The RICH MAN in verse 22.
In Latin: Exitus acta probat. “Let us wait a while and see the end thereof.” Which leads us to:
III. TWO FUTURES VERSES 30-31.
- One of great HORROR verse 23.
- Heaven is going to be a place of great comfort and hell is a place of great torment.
- Heaven is a place of joy and hell a place of weeping.
- Heaven is a place of plenty and hell is a place of pain.
- Heaven is a place of feasting and hell a place of fear.
- The other of great HAPPINESS verses 23-24.
- Lazarus was in a place of great HAPPINESS & HONOR while the rich man was in great HORROR. “In His bosom” means that it is a “holding place” for the saved. His soul existed separated from his body.
- He was in a place of care and compassion.
Thank God for this, “TALE OF TWO SINNERS.”
Which one are you in?