Summary: The only way I can miss the mark is if my attention is drawn away from the mark. If my attention and my focus is constantly on the mark there’s no way I can miss it. But if something takes my attention off the mark there is that possibility that I could

Paul says in verse 12 of Philippians 3, that he had not attained everything that God had in store for him. The great apostle Paul who we revere and hold up said even I haven’t attained everything that God has for me. But I press on everyday that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. In other words, Paul says he saved me for a reason. He saved me or laid hold on me for a purpose. There is a divine destiny that I must strive for and fulfill in my life. If I do anything else than fulfill his will for my life I am missing the mark.

One of the things I say when dedicating a baby to the Lord is: “God has a purpose for this child’s life. To find that purpose and to live it out fully will mean success; to refuse or ignore it will mean failure, no matter how much worldly acclaim may come. It is your privilege and duty to guide your child in such a way as to make the will of God the greatest ambition of his life.”

So, I am going to press on everyday. I am going to strive everyday with every ounce of strength that I have to hit the mark.

∑ when it feels good and when it doesn’t feel good

∑ when it’s convenient and when it’s not convenient

∑ when it’s easy and when it’s hard

∑ when everybody’s with me and when everybody’s against me.

∑ when I feel like it and when I don’t feel like it

∑ when I understand and when I don’t understand

I press toward the mark!!! I don’t want to miss the mark. I don’t want to miss my divine destiny.

The only way I can miss the mark is if my attention is drawn away from the mark. If my attention and my focus is constantly on the mark there’s no way I can miss it. But if something takes my attention off the mark there is that possibility that I could get off track from my course.

One of the Greek words translated sin in the New Testament means this: - to miss the mark and not share in the prize. So when I sin or allow sin to come into my life what I am doing is “missing the mark”. I am allowing the enemy to cause me to miss out on the will of God for my life. When sin is present in my life I can’t fulfill the divine destiny that God has for me.

Don’t miss the mark! DON’T MISS THE MARK!!!!!!

James 1:14 - But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Paul said I haven’t attained everything just yet. James says every man is tempted to be drawn away and enticed.

I’m running along with my eyes on the mark and all of the sudden, “BOOM”, something tempts me and my eyes leave the mark.

1 John 3:4 - Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Sin is anything that goes against the laws of God. Sin is that which is contrary to God. Sin is that which stands against God. Sin is anything that goes against this book - the Bible. Sin is anything that gets my eyes off of the mark and causes me to miss the mark.

Sin will take your eyes off of the mark.

∑ come on and take a puff

∑ take a drink

∑ try some drugs

∑ look at some pornography

∑ watch this movie

∑ have a little sex

∑ it’s not church music but hey music is music

And when we look back we can’t find the mark. We look all around and we can’t see it any longer. Where is the mark???? Where’s the mark??? Where’s the mark!!!!!!!!!

Oh, oh, oh, there it is. There it is. I found it again. My eyes are back on the mark.

We feel pretty good now because we had an encounter in the world and we still made it back again. But when we start messing around with things that are against God’s laws it says in Genesis chapter 4 and verse 7 that “sin lieth at the door”. The scripture says sin is crouching or hiding at the door waiting to pounce upon you. The language virtually personifies sin as a demon crouching like a crazed animal at your doorstep.

Let’s get one thing straight this morning:

∑ the devil hates you

∑ he wants to do you in

∑ he doesn’t want you to make it to heaven

∑ he wants you to sin

∑ sin will destroy you

∑ sin will ruin you

∑ sin will leave you empty

∑ sin will leave you broken

∑ the devil hates you

But there is a God this morning that is concerned about everybody in this room today. He wants you to hit the mark. He wants you to press toward the mark. He’ll be there for you in the good and bad. He’ll be there for you when your lonely or when in a multitude of people. He cares for you. He cares for you!!!

Hebrews 3:13 - But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Sin is a deceiver. Sin looks good on the outside but when it is finished it always leaves you ruined. The more you sin the easier it is for your heart to be hardened. And when your heart becomes hardened you won’t listen to anyone. You won’t listen to:

∑ parents

∑ friends

∑ pastor

∑ youth leader

∑ S. S. teacher

∑ nobody

James 1:14 - But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15 - Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Sin is a:

∑ Deceiver

∑ Fake

∑ Masquerader

∑ Cheat

∑ Imposter

∑ Liar

Sin will destroy you. When sin is finished with you it will leave you empty and alone. Sin when it is finished brings forth death. The Bible says in the book of Romans that the wages of sin is death. Run from sin!!!! Run from sin!!!! Don’t wait around and see what it feels like, but run from it!!!

So, we’ve got this dude running along with his eyes on the mark and “BOOM”:

∑ I’ve still got my eyes on the mark

∑ what was that?

∑ I ain’t letting it slow me down

∑ Pastor preached run from sin

I’ve been running for Jesus a long, long time I ain’t got tired yet. “BOOM”

∑ what was that?

∑ I ain’t got time to stop

∑ my eyes are on the mark

∑ I have to do the will of God for my life

∑ I have to fulfill my divine destiny

Don’t miss the mark!!!

Let’s digress here a little bit this morning. How many have ever heard of the story of the tortoise and the hare? Please allow me to relate it to you again today. But don’t hold me too closely to the details - it’s been a long time since I read it last.

One day you have this hare bragging how fast he could run and how he could beat anybody in a race to the city. And so the tortoise challenges him to a race in which the first one to the city would be the winner. Off they go, the hare leaving the slow tortoise behind. The only thing the tortoise could say was “I may be slow but I’m sure”.

The hare has left the tortoise so far behind that he decides to stop for a while and take a nap. But while he is sleeping all the while the tortoise is slowly walking along. I may be slow but I’m sure.

The scripture lets us know that the prize will be to the one that endures all the way to the end. It’s not the one who runs the swiftest. It’s not the one who is the most outgoing. It’s not the best looking. But the one who just plugs away everyday.

The hare wakes up and sees that the tortoise has passed him by and quickly runs and catches up and passes him out again. I may be slow but I’m sure. The hare sees something that interests and he stops and gets involved in it. Again the tortoise passes the hare by.

I can mess with this for a while and still go to church. I can dabble in this and still catch up to the rest of the youth group - it’s not like we have any spiritual giants there anyway.

∑ I can get involved with a ball team or something that causes me to miss church.

∑ I can have some friends out in the world - they won’t influence me. Even if they do I can still get back in the race after a while.

∑ I can do what I want to and still do what God wants me to later on in my life.

You better be careful because sin won’t let you back in the race again. The world will entangle you so you will never be able to make it back again.

All the while this is going on there is a young person that says other people may be doing things in the world but not me. I am going to listen to my parents. I am going to listen to my Pastor. Everybody has gotten up but I have to stay down here at the alter for a while. I don’t want to miss the mark. I don’t want to miss God’s purpose for my life.

The hare all of the sudden realizes that the tortoise has passed him by again and quickly races to catch up and pass him by once more. I may be slow but I’m sure. The hare has a comfortable lead again and pretty soon something catches his eye and he stops. He is just a little way away from the finish line. He reasons that he should go on and finish the race and then come back but he is just too drawn and intrigued.

There are those that say “I can do anything I want to”. They say I don’t have to follow the standards of the church - I’m bigger than that. I don’t have to follow the word of God - I’m bigger than all of that. I can do my own thing and still get back in the race in time to finish. And while were out in the world doing just what we want to we are sacrificing the will of God and the divine destiny that he has for our life.

But there is this young person that had an experience with God that is going to last beyond youth explosion where its easy to live for God. And he or she says I’m not going to miss the mark. I am not going to compromise my divine destiny.

Hebrews 11:25 - Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

I might be down at the alter longer than anybody else but I’m not going to let sin corrupt my life. I might miss out on something fun in the world just because I made a commitment to read my Bible everyday but at least my eyes are still on the mark.

The hare looks up from his fun just long enough to see that the tortoise is almost to the finish line. He is almost to the city. The hare realizes that he has just enough time to beat the tortoise to the city. But something strange happens when he tries to run this time. He is too weighed down by all the food he had eaten. He is too weighed down by all the things he had collected at the party. If he just put them down he could make it, but he can’t let go - their his things. And so he plods along trying to make it to the city and still carry the things of the world. But he loses the race because he became entangled with the things of the world.

Hebrews 11:8 - By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

9 - By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

10 - For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

There is a city that we are headed to one day in the not too distant future called Heaven. If I am going to make it I can’t take my eyes off of the mark.


Prodigal Son - Luke 15

∑ backslide while still in the father’s house

∑ took his journey

∑ wound up in the pig pen

Naomi - Ruth 1

∑ sojourn - temporary journey

∑ famine

∑ went out full but came back empty

3 things sin will always do

1. Sin will always cost you more than you were willing to pay

∑ it cost the prodigal his inheritance

∑ it cost Naomi her family

2. Sin will always take you father than you wanted to go

∑ pig pen

∑ Moab

3. Sin will always keep you longer than you intended to stay

Prodigal made it back. Naomi made it back. But what about:

∑ Elimelech

∑ Mahlon

∑ Chilion

∑ Demus

∑ Sampson

∑ King Saul

∑ Judas

I thank God for my parents. They wouldn’t let me lose sight of the mark.

∑ made me go to the alter

∑ made me go to church

∑ gave me a whipping when I needed one

∑ got one of the worst whippings when I was 18 years old - then we prayed. Why? Because they didn’t want me to miss the mark. They didn’t want me to miss my divine destiny.

∑ had to be in the house at 9:00pm. Why mom & dad? Everybody else is out till 1:00 or 2:00. Your not everybody else - you’ve got a divine destiny on your life.

∑ when I was 10 years old I would sit around my room and preach into a portable tape recorder. I would get ahold of my grandfathers sermon books and preach away. When I was 15 God audibly called me into the ministry. My parents never let me get away from the calling on my life. They never let me lose the mark.

Philippians 3:12 - Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

13 - Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

14 - I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

∑ When can I quit pressing - never

∑ When can I take my eyes off of the mark - never

∑ When can I quit reaching forth to those things that are before me - never

But everyday until I reach that city I must keep my eyes on the mark.

Don’t miss the mark!!!

1 John 1:7 - But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

8 - If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10 - If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 2:1 - My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

2 - And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.