3-Week Series: Double Blessing

Sermons

Summary: Most people have experienced bizarre or inappropriate thoughts and have engaged in repetitive behaviors at times. However, people with obsessive-compulsive disorder find that their disturbing thoughts and behaviors consume large amounts of time . . . . .

7-1-04

Title: A Magnificent Obsession

Text: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

Bible Reading: Philippians 1:21; 3:7-11

Introduction:

The title of today’s lesson is “A Magnificent Obsession.” So let’s begin by answering the question, “What is an obsession?” I want to give you two definitions:

1. It is having a total passion with something to the point that nothing else matters.

2. It is the pursuit of an idea, purpose, or goal that takes precedence over everything else.

I believe that all of us, at one time or another, has been obsessed with something, and that’s ok. But, there are some people who suffer from what’s called Obsessive-Compulsive disorder. It’s a mental illness in which a person experiences recurring, disturbing thoughts and feels compelled to do certain behaviors again and again. Most people have experienced bizarre or inappropriate thoughts and have engaged in repetitive behaviors at times. However, people with obsessive-compulsive disorder find that their disturbing thoughts and behaviors consume large amounts of time, cause them anxiety and distress, and interfere with their ability to function at work and in social activities. Most people with this disorder recognize that their obsessions and compulsions are irrational, but they cannot suppress them. I have been obsessed with many things in my life; such as my children, my wife, the Lord Jesus, Football and my job. But, I don’t believe that it’s gone too far, or could be classed as obsessive-compulsive behavior.

I know people with this problem. Sierra’s mother has it, and in her case she worries about things that are unimportant or may never happen. The result is that she is very unhappy. Now, I believe we all understand what it means to have an obsession and what obsessive-compulsive behavior is. However, today I want to talk to you about a magnificent obsession. It goes beyond your common or day-to-day obsession. To be magnificent, it has to be an idea, purpose, or ambition of great beauty or worth.

I know someone who had a magnificent obsession and you do too. It was the apostle Paul. In our text, it’s easy to see that Paul’s testimony from a Roman jail was an admission of an obsession. Paul is saying, “Life and Jesus Christ are inseparable to me.” He could no longer separate the two, since he was obsessed with Jesus. He was completely devoted to the Lord and to giving the gospel to those who were lost. That was his life, and he was obsessed with it.

Paul made this statement in his letter to the Philippians, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

One preacher interpreted his words this way: “Life means Christ to me.” Christ is not something; He is everything. If more people knew that and believed it much more would be accomplished for the kingdom of God. That’s one of the great questions for our day. What does Jesus mean to you; is he everything to you? Now, I want to read our text for this lesson: Philippians 1:21 and 3:7-11.

21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.

8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ

9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

There are only two points to be made today, and the first is LIFE MEANS DIFFERENT THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE. Some people are obsessed with earthly pleasures. For example: Many sports figures become so obsessed with their performance that they train constantly. Men and women who aspire to be world class gymnasts and to compete in the Olympics must train the year around.

I watched a piece on TV that followed a young female athlete through her day. She got up very early, around 4:30. She didn’t eat breakfast, since she had to keep from gaining weight if she wanted to stay on the team. Her day began at the gym with exercise and practicing her routines over and over again. After spending 3 hours under the watchful eyes of her coach she headed off to school. School began at 8:00 am. But when school was over at 3:00 pm, it’s back to the gym for more training. She would usually get home at 7:30 in the evening. After supper and doing her homework, she has time for an evening run of 5 miles or more. Bed time came at 10:00.

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