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Perspective - Week 3

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Okay, well welcome to another week of the series called Perspective, as we're going through the Book of Philippians. If you have your Bibles or your YouVersion Apps, let's open it up to the Book of Philippians, we're in the third Chapter this week. The title of this week's message is, Seeing From a Different Perspective. Now, as you're preparing your hearts to hear God's Word, I want to ask you, how many of you remember seeing the old movie, it's kind of a creepy movie with a great twist, how many remember the movie the Sixth Sense, does anybody remember that? What was the key line the little kid would say? The little kid would say, "I see dead people, creepy!" Okay and it really was! He'd say, "I see dead people!" What I want to announce to you all is something that is true and may or not be a surprise to you; but that is, I see things that many of you don't see. I really do, I see things that many of you don't see. And the reality is that many of you see things that I don't see. In fact, if you're taking notes, kind of a key thought is this: What you've experienced determines what you see. What you have experienced in life determines what you see. For example, when I grew up, I played a lot of different sports. My wife Amy on the other hand didn't play sports; but she was really, really into music. And so, today whenever we go to any kind of sporting events, I see things that she doesn't see. Like, that player is really good and that one's not and that was a foul and that wasn't and that was a bad call. And she's like, "How do you see that? How do you know before the game starts which one is a good player?" I'm like, "I don't know, I just grew up in it!" And I see it and she doesn't see it. Well on the other hand in anything that's musical, we can go to some kind of incredible musical production and for me, it's like a good time to get caught up on a nap! I just kind of zone out like, you know, it's kind of good and stuff! Well, I look over at her and she's crying! I mean, it's like she's in the moment and she's like, "Didn't that just move you to tears?" I'm like, "Almost, but that's because I was bored you know!" And she gets into this other zone and just loves it and she sees things and hears things that I don't fully appreciate. In fact, three years in a row in American Idol, she's picked the winner during tryouts, and then spends the whole rest of the year telling us how good she is at recognizing talent by literally picking the winner! I listen to a song and I have to lean over and say, "Was that good or not?" I don't know, I just don't see it! It's the same with church leadership. Because I've been in the church world so long, I can walk into a church environment and immediately see what's working and see what needs improvement; where other people walk in and are like, "Hey, it's just church!" And they don't see what I see because they haven't experienced what I've experienced. If my car breaks down on the side of the road, some of you guys and gals, you can open up the hood and you can go, "Oh, here's the problem." I'll open up the hood and I'll look in it because that's what you're supposed to do, but if it's not on fire, I don't see anything, you know! And so the reality is, that I see things that some of you don't see and you see some things that I don't see, because what we've experienced determines what we see. The Apostle Paul was talking to some people in a church that he loved. It was actually a church that he started, and because of his experiences he saw some things that they didn't see. Now, Paul had perhaps experienced more of the sinfulness of man than most people alive and also more of the goodness of God than most people alive and because of what he had experienced, he saw things they didn't see. Let's start with the sinfulness of man. He said: I'm the chiefest of sinners. And you have to know that because the Apostle Paul persecuted and even killed Christians, he knew just how horrid the darkness of man's sinful heart could be. He also was beaten again and again by sinful men, he was stoned and not recreationally speaking, you know what I'm saying? He was whipped again and again and again, and now he's imprisoned in Rome for preaching the Gospel, and so he had experienced the depths of the darkness of the sinful hearts of mankind. At the same time, he had experienced the goodness of God in a way that many people hadn't. He was either walking along, or some think he was on a horse on a road, when a light blinded him. And it was the very real presence of God and he heard an audible voice of God and God stirred him and God called him and God empowered him. And we're even told that he was caught up into another spiritual realm, something that he called the third heaven; a place that was beyond what anyone else had really known and that he was really on a higher spiritual plane for a moment with God. And because of what he experienced, he wanted to help the Philippians, the church that he loved, see some things that they otherwise wouldn't see. Now, if you were here in previous weeks, you have to remember that he was writing this from a Roman prison. He had always wanted to go to Rome as a preacher, but instead he was in a prison, something we would say is horrible, but he's looking at it from a different perspective and he's going to see some things that others might miss. Here's what he says in Philippians 3:1, he says: Finally, my brothers, rejoice in... What? All of our churches let's say this aloud. He said rejoice in: ...the Lord!... Let's say it again everybody, I need your help! He said: Rejoice in the Lord! Next week, this is a phrase that we are going to camp on about what we do in the Lord. He said: It's no trouble for me to write the same thing to you again... Because he said over and over and over again, 'rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, rejoice..', and he said that it is a what? He said that it is a: ...safeguard for you. And what he realized is that there were some who were vulnerable to the lies of the enemy, because of what he had experienced he saw the danger of some different things that the Philippian Christians could unknowingly slip into and he wanted to present the truth as a safeguard. So let me give you a little bit of the back story to help you understand what was going on. When Jesus came, died and rose again, the first century believers were taking the message of the Gospel out. And they first took the message of the Gospel to the Jews. In fact, if you read Acts 1-7, you can see how they took the message of the Gospel to the Jews. Then they took the message of the Gospel to the Samaritans. Now, if you don't know what a Samaritan was, a Samaritan was a person who was half Jewish and half Gentile. And so, that was kind of acceptable, but kind of questionable and the Jews were wondering, 'Can you really do it? Well, at least they're partly Jewish, so yes, you can do that.' You can read about that in Acts, Chapter Eight. Well by Acts, Chapter Ten, there were some who were taking the Gospel not to Jews, not to those who were half Jewish, but they were actually taking the Gospel to the Gentiles. And all of the sudden the strict Jewish Christian leaders said, 'No, no, no, no; wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait; Gentiles can't just become Christians, they have to first become Jewish and follow the Jewish Law before they can become Christians.' And one of the big arguments was they need to be circumcised, okay. And so you can only imagine what a tough sell that would be to a grown man, "Come to Jesus!" And you've got your scalpel out! You know and I mean, you think about that, we can hardly get men to get baptized! Imagine me at the end of the service saying, "Okay men, let's go! Let's do this! You love Jesus? Prove it!" You know, and so there's all of this tension going on; can a Gentile just become a Christian, or do you first have to follow Jewish Laws? And so they got into this big debate and you can read in Acts, Chapter 15, that they actually went to something known as the conference of Jerusalem where they battled it out and they determined, 'Okay, here's the technical call and that is, you don't have to first become Jewish and you don't have to follow Jewish Law to become a Christian.' And suddenly, that set Paul and others free to take the message of the Gospel to all people. Well, when he would go in as he did in Philippi and other places, after he would say, "All you need is Christ to be right with God". There's another group that would follow him in known as the Judaizers. And the Judaizers were often Jewish; sometimes just Gentiles who just believed this, who would say, 'No, no, first you have to be circumcised, first you have to follow these rules!' And the Judaizers would try to follow him up and try to say what Paul said was good but there's more, you still need to follow the Jewish Laws. Because of what he experienced, he saw some dangers that they didn't see. And he said, 'I want to help you see three dangers that you all need to be aware of.' What are they? The first one if you're taking notes is this: He's going to say in different words to the Church in Philippi: You need to see the dangers of legalism. You need to see the dangers of legalism. Now, you may say, "What is legalism?" My most simple definition for legalism is substituting rules for relationship. It's saying that I'm going to be made right with God by what I do or don't do by this set of rules. It could be Biblical rules, it could be my own man-made rules, it could be the Jewish rules, it could be the rules of my Assembly of God Church, or Baptist Church, or Catholic Church, or Methodist Church, or Non-Denominational Church; it's substituting what should be a relationship with God through Christ for rules that we follow. And this is what he said in verse two; He said to the Philippians, he said: Watch out for those... What? Everybody say it aloud, watch out for those: ...dogs... Now, what he was doing is he was taking a jab at them because the Jews would often call Gentiles dogs. So he's kind of like saying, 'Oh you want to call us this? Well, we're going to put it back in your face!' He should have said, "Watch out for these cats!" But evidently that wasn't an issue at the time! So he says: Watch out for these dogs, those men who do evil, whose mutilators of the flesh. Now, what do you think he's talking about there? Circumcision, gross, I know, but that's what he's talking about! He said: ...For it's we who are the circumcision... In other words, our hearts have already been cut back. We've been spiritually circumcised, it's: ...we who worship by the Spirit of God who glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence... Where? Everybody help me out, he said we put no confidence: the flesh... Now, what does that mean? That's not like mean in my skin, what that means is we don't put any confidence in being right with God in our human efforts. It's not about how good we are or all of the bad stuff we've stopped doing. We don't put any confidence in the flesh. He says in verse four: ...though I myself have reasons for such confidence... In other words, 'Hey, if there's anybody who could put confidence in their flesh, he's saying, 'I could,' and that's what he says very directly, he says: If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more. And then in verse five he kind of offers his religious resume of what some would consider success. He says: Here's my story. I was circumcised on the eighth day of the people of Israel of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legal righteousness, I was faultless. In other words he was saying, I was born of the right group; I was in the elite of the elite. As a Pharisee he was saying, 'I obeyed more laws and rules than you can even count; I got it all right.' In our world it would be like saying, "Yeah, yeah, my Dad was Billy Graham and my Mother was Mother Theresa!" "You know I was dedicated as a baby and I was also baptized as a believer as an adult!" "I grew up in a Christian school and I got my Masters of Divinity from such and such!" "And you know, I love Christian liturgy and I speak in tongues!" You know, it's like; I've got the whole thing covered completely. I was born in the right place, I behaved the right way. I was a Pharisee of Pharisee. And when he said that, what he was implying that they would have known, a Pharisee didn't follow Ten Commands, they followed 613. Okay 613, and there were some wacked out crazy ones. Let me just give you three of them and these are real. They were real into guarding the Sabbath, you can't do anything on the Sabbath. One of them was you can't eat an egg laid by a chicken on the Sabbath. That's right, okay! Now, somehow that ties into the reason that Chick-fil-A is closed on Sunday! I'm not sure how, but it does I think! Chick-fil-A is a Christian company! Some of you in other parts of the world you don't know what I'm talking about. If you ever come to my country eat Chick-fil-A, just not on Sunday. There was another one that said if you got bitten by a mosquito on the Sabbath you couldn't scratch it because that would be work. There's another one ladies, this one's for you; you're not allowed to look in a mirror, or any kind of reflective glass on the Sabbath because you might see a grey hair and be tempted to pluck it! I'm not making this up okay, this is the real thing! And we look at that and go, "Well that's ridiculous! I mean, well who would consider that to be the things that make you right with God?" Well, in our world, you translate it into whatever the legalistic environment could be, "Well I'm right with God because I go to church and never miss!" Or "I go not only to Sunday morning, but Sunday night, even if there's a big football or soccer match on!" Or you know, "I go to prayer meeting, I pray at least an hour a day! If you only pray 58 minutes you're not as righteous as I am! You know, I read the Bible, I read through the Bible in a year!" Or "I'm not bad like those other people!" And then we define our righteousness by what we don't do. You know, "I don't go to rated R movies, even the Passion of the Christ, because it was rated R!" You know, "I don't drink alcohol! Not even communion, its grape juice baby!" You know, "I don't listen to secular music!" In fact, when I was a brand new Christian, I was convinced that all secular music was bad, evil. If my friends were listening to secular music, I would get behind them like, "We need to pray for so and so!" And to this day, I listen to almost all worship music, only because it feeds my soul. But I was in a very legalistic place, where like you can't be right with God and do this and so many of us get sucked up into this performance mindset. Now, what does legalism do? A couple things; it leads to false guilt when we do something wrong, and it leads to false confidence. There are so many Christians today that beat themselves up, that have no joy, that are always walking around going, "I've failed, I'm not right with God, I'm no good, I can never make a difference because I did something wrong!" Legalism. The flip side of that coin is a false confidence, "Hey, look at me I'm better than them, I go to the right kind of church. My worship is the right way, the way we do it is right and everybody else is wrong!" And Paul said: Watch out for that, be careful, you haven't experienced. If you've experienced what I've experienced, you'd see what I see. There are false teachers, there are those who are going to take the Gospel of Christ and add something to it and you're going to slip into something that's going to hurt you. Watch out for it; don't get sucked into that legalism that makes you feel guilty when there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. And you don't let it puff you up with the knowledge you think you have. Watch out for it if you've experienced what I've experienced, there are those who will try to add something to the Gospel that's only going to rob you of the pureness of what Christ wants to give you. Some of you, you grew up like this. Others of you, you're stuck in it right now. You're feeling guilty and guilty and guilty and guilty, when God has forgiven your sins and you need to forgive yourself. Others you're all puffed up, "I wouldn't go to a church like that, and LifeChurch this and LifeChurch that!" And you know what? You're full of pride! You've got false confidence in something that doesn't add to your standing. It's all about Christ; Christ plus nothing. That's good preaching! Somebody help me out because I always need a little bit of help! Paul says to see the dangers of legalism. The second thing he says is to: See the dangers of worldly distractions. Don't let the things of this world distract you. I don't know about you, but I'm so easily distracted by things that don't matter. Can I brag for a minute, just brag on my youngest son Bookie? I've got two sons, like fierce soccer players; Sam he's offense, Bookie he's defense, he's a goalie. No one has scored on him all year long, the kid is a wall! The kid, no one scored on him. In his last game, I video everything with a phone and then I show it to you if you want to see one of the defensive plays I'll show you! And so, they're playing this championship team and they come down to try to score on him and then I realize that the shirt I was trying to buy on eBay, the time was about to be up. So I'm on my phone going, "Oh my gosh, someone outbid me!" "Oh I can't lose!" And so, I'm trying to bid when they shot on Bookie and they made the greatest diving defensive play in the history of eight and under! And ESPN is still talking about it and I missed it by being distracted by a shirt! And then I didn't get the stupid shirt, I lost twice! It's a silly example, but I honestly believe so many of us go through life missing the greatest moments we could have with God and the people around us because we're distracted by things that don't matter. And essentially this is what Paul is saying but in a much stronger way. He says in verse seven: But whatever was to my profit I now consider a loss for the sake of Christ... He said: What's more... And I love this, how much is a loss? He says, I consider what, all of you help me out, he says: I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of... What? Let this phrase sink in, everything else is a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of what? Of: ...knowing Christ Jesus my Lord... Not of just obeying rules, but of knowing Him personally. I never realized growing up you could actually know Christ. All of that is a loss compared to knowing Him as my Lord: ...for whose sake I've lost all things... And then he says: ...I consider them rubbish,... Everybody say rubbish! Now you've got to say it like you hate it! Like it's nasty! Like I consider them all rubbish: ...that I might gain Christ... Now, if you haven't heard me teach on this before, this is one of my favorite things to teach on because the Greek word translated as rubbish, who remembers what it is? It's the word "skubala", okay. And this word actually means waste, and the most literal translation is "dung", look it up. And the truth is, it's a very harsh word for dung, like a harsh word, like almost a bad word. Look it up, you could say, "Skubala happens!" That's what it means; you can look it up, okay! And he's saying, 'Hey, all of these things of the world, that's what they are they're dung, compared to Christ, that's what they are.' I don't think you're getting this, that's what they are; all of these other things compared to Christ, they're skubala; they're dung, they're waste, they're pathetic. I consider them all a loss compared to knowing that the greatness of Christ Jesus my Lord. Everything I thought was important isn't important. Some of you need to have a near death experience; you know that, where when you have a near death experience, everything comes into focus. Our family, all eight of us were in our Suburban traveling down a two-lane highway going around a corner, when this big truck carrying a mobile home went wide into my lane because they were going too fast. There was nowhere to go but into them or over a cliff, which would have certainly, we would have rolled many, many times. And I remember I had just a split second to decide what to do, slow down and get hit, go off the edge or get hit, or I had the presence of mind to look ahead and just enough ahead, the cliff leveled out some and so I gambled and I gunned it and drove faster. Everybody screamed, and I missed the thing, it must have been by feet and I went down the sharper part and our Suburban went up on a couple of wheels as we went down and then we landed the right way. And then when we landed, no one spoke, no one spoke, for like minutes. I mean like we couldn't even speak, we were so close to my whole family being gone like this. Before that, I was mad because we were late. The kids were fighting; they were in the back seat, over their iPad. And all of a sudden at that moment, I could see what mattered and what didn't. Near death, here's the deal, this moment's a near death experience, and you need to know that, life is short, boom it's like a vapor. And when you realize just how short life is, suddenly all of the worldly distractions don't matter so much. I consider it all a loss, it's all skubala compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Let's read on in verse nine: Being found in Christ, not having a righteousness of my own... I love this; it comes from the law, it's not about me it's not about my behavior: But that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God and is by... What? It's by: We're only made right with God through faith. He says: ...I want to know Christ... Many of you, I pray this is your prayer, to know Him, to know Him, to know Him. Jerome is here, he wrote me a letter about how he knows God more than ever before; he doesn't know about Him, knows Him personally. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, this isn't some empty Gospel, we have power in Christ and the fellowship in sharing with His sufferings to suffer with Him and like Him. Becoming like Him in death and somehow to attain the resurrection of the dead. I'm afraid some of you aren't seeing what's important. Experience the goodness of God and you'll see what Paul saw, what's important. The third thing is he says this: I want you to see the danger of spiritual complacency. I want you to see the danger of spiritual complacency. Here's the thing, we should be satisfied with what we have, but we should never be satisfied with what we've done for the glory of our God. We should be content with the material possessions of what we have, but we should never be satisfied with using our gifts to bring glory to the One who made us. And I believe one of the most dangerous things in the churches in my part of the world is a spiritual complacency. It's people who are spiritually complacent in their marriage and they don't care. It's raising spiritually complacent kids and being more concerned about their performance on the sports field than they are about their own spiritual development. It's about being spiritually complacent in our giving; consuming more things and not even giving a tithe for the glory of God. It's being spiritually flat and not caring because we're not satisfied with the house that we have. And Paul is saying, 'Watch out! Don't become spiritually complacent!' This is what he said from a prison, from house arrest, waiting possible execution he writes: Not that I've already obtained all of this, or have already been made perfect, but I... Do what? He said but I: on... Say it again everybody, but I press on: take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. He says: Brothers, I haven't arrived. I don't consider myself to have taken ahold of this, but one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining, pressing on toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. If you've experienced what I've experienced, you're going to see what I see and I've seen the faithfulness of God when I was beaten and left for dead. And I've seen the goodness of God when He lifted me to a higher spiritual plain. And I've seen the unfaithfulness of men as they've turned against me and I had the dream of coming to Rome as a preacher, but I'm still a prisoner. Here's the deal, you can lock me up but you can't shut me up. I'm pressing on, I'm continuing; as long as I've got a pen in my hand and a paper before me, I can preach the Gospel. You can lock me up to four different prisoner guards a day and guess what I'm going to do? One by one I'm going to lead them to Christ, because when you've experienced what I've experienced, you can't be still, you can't be satisfied; you're going to be satisfied with what you have, but never with what you've done. I press on, I press on, I press on. So I believe that God wants to speak to us through this text. See the dangers of legalism. Don't get all wrapped up in, "Here's what I do and here's what I don't do!" and miss the power of knowing Christ, knowing Him personally. Don't get distracted by a bunch of dung, skubala, and miss the glory of knowing the power of the resurrection of Christ. Hey, and don't get comfortable spiritually. If you're not dead, you're not done. God wants to do more through you, press on, press on for the things that last to win the prize of glorifying Christ in everything you do. If you have experienced what I've experienced, you're going to see what I see. It's time to see the opportunities to lay our lives down for the glory of God through Jesus Christ. Father, I pray today that your Spirit would speak to all of us and that we'd all be different in Your presence. As you're praying today at all of our different churches, it's my prayer in preparation that God would help you to see something that He wants to be different in your life. Maybe for you it's letting go of a human standard; that you've either achieved false confidence from or maybe even a false guilt, and to step out of legalism into a relationship with Christ. For some, God's helping you to see you're distracted and living for things that don't matter and you've got to let go of that dung. Others of you, you realize God is showing you that you've been spiritually complacent. Man and it's easy to be that way at this time of the year. But guess what? God's going to build a fire within you and you're going to press on for His glory. At all of our different churches, those of you who would say, "God's helping me to see something that He wants to change in me," would you lift up your hands right now? Then I'm going to pray for you, just lift them up all over the place, just lift them up high and say, "Yes, He's showing me something in particular." God, I pray for those at all of all different churches, that Your Spirit would minister truth in our souls, God that we would be different. God, I pray today for those who are bound in legalism. God, I pray that we would be set free from the human standards of this world and recognize that we can only be made right with you through faith in Your Son Jesus. God, I pray for those that are distracted, that by the power of Your Spirit You would bring clarity and help us to think like Jesus thought so we could live like He lived. God, I pray that you would set us free from those distractions. Help us to count it all a loss compared to the greatness of knowing Christ. God, I pray today for any who may have settled into a lukewarm state, that God we would be hot, on fire, passionate, to press on for that which lasts forever. Stir your church oh God, that we would live wholly and completely for You. As you keep praying today at all of our churches, many of you, you're going to be a lot like I was growing up where I felt tremendous guilt because I had done so many things wrong. I knew I had sinned and so I had tried to do good things and I tried to stop doing the bad things, but the more I tried to do the good things, the more bad things that I did. And I didn't know how could I be made right with God? I thought it was all about my human works, but I didn't understand that it's all about God's grace and it's all about faith in God's Son Jesus. Scripture tells us that we've all sinned and you need to see this, because until you see yourself as a sinner, you won't see your need for a Savior. We've all sinned and fallen short of God's standards and God, in His love and mercy sent His Son Jesus, who was without sin to become sin for us. So, as you call on Him, He'll forgive every sin that you've ever committed and make you brand new. In fact, at all of our churches, there are those of you that you know God brought you here for this moment. You can sense it, you can see what you didn't see before, you see your need for a Savior. Call on Him; He will forgive you, He will make you brand new. You know it, that's why you're here. At all of the churches you'd say, "Yes, that's my prayer, I need Christ, forgive me, make me new." If that's you, would you lift your hands high right now! All over the place, lift them up!

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Duration: 34 minutes and 15 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
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Posted by: lifechurchopen on Jul 2, 2012

Perspective - Week 3 - Craig Groeschel -

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