Summary: A sermon calling us to Christ-likeness
Introduction: Fastest Dog Illustration
Purpose Statement: Christlikeness is our goal, therefore...
I. Don’t Ever Quit Trying (v. 12a, b)
A. This should serve as a note of encouragement to the genuine
1. The old bumper sticker – Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven
2. Keep getting back up on the horse
B. To the unregenerate this is an excuse to continue on in sin
1. Like the many diets I’ve been on
2. If I can never be sinless why bother trying?
C. Never be content to wallow in the mud
1. Paul already addressed this temptation – Romans 6:1-3
2. If I am like Christ I will live as Christ lived
II. Don’t Ever Quit Pressing (vs. 12c – 14)
A. What is the prize/goal?
1. He’s talking about sanctification
2. He wants to be like Jesus
3. This is to be the goal of every Christian life
B. Can we achieve the prize/goal?
1. Yes/ and no – Paul hasn’t even gotten it yet
2. Only through the Holy Spirit
3. No perfectionism as Wesley taught
C. It was Christ’s purpose of Calling Us (12d)
2. Otherwise once we were saved why not take us right to Heaven?
D. It has to be our primary focus
1. Paul’s not interested in anything else (v. 8)
2. If only we lived with a WWJD attitude
III. Don’t Ever Forget Who Makes It Possible (v. 15)
A. Paul has shifted to speaking in terms of Justification
1. Your perfection is positional
2. Like the president-elect – already/not yet sense
B. This only holds true if you are living in Christ
1. This is the fruit aspect of redemption
2. Too much focus on eschatological effects only
C. Not everyone in the church has this attitude of chasing the prize
1. Too many are drug along, kicking and screaming
2. Paul suggests any other attitude will not do
IV. Don’t Ever Lower Your Standard (v. 16)
A. You are children of the King
1. Then I shall live as a princess Illustration
2. Live like what you are!!!
B. You are children of a promise
1. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; Christ’s promises for now
2. We are a culture of promise breakers
C. Restoration is possible
1. You will never find joy living outside of Christ’s will
2. AW Tozier Quote
Conclusion: Know what the goal is and strive for that goal.
FASTEST DOG ILLUSTRATION
Dog was the fastest animal in the neighborhood. One day the animals grew tired of his bragging so they brought in the rabbit to challenge him. They raced and the rabbit won. The dog just shrugged it off. “I was just running for fun, but he was running to save his life.”
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
If I am like Christ I will worship God in the way He worshipped God. If I am like Christ I will serve God in the way He served God. If I am like Christ, I will relate to people in the love in which He related to people.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. NASB
AW TOZIER QUOTE
A.W. Tozier who simply said, "Faith looks out instead of in and the whole of life falls into line," end quote
Christ is the perfect model. Christ is the pattern of perfection. But Paul and others are the patterns of the pursuit of that perfection. I see in Christ what I want to be, but I cannot see in Christ how to get there. Why? Because Christ didn’t follow some path to perfection, He was always perfect. You see? So if I look at Christ I see what I am to be, and if I look at Paul and other believers, I can see how to move that direction...
You say, "Well why? Why should I bother? I mean, if I’m already entitled to heaven and I already have these things guaranteed to me and promised to me and I will some day enter into the fullness of them in the presence of God, why bother to grow?" Well in one sense it’s kind of a moot point because if you’re a new creation in Jesus Christ you will desire to grow. So it’s not as if you’re going to stand there and say, "Well now that I’m a Christian I think I’ll have to debate whether I want to grow or not." Having been born into the family of God you are born with a hunger, in fact in many cases an almost insatiable hunger. There is a built-in desire and drive and longing for growth.