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Summary: 3 of 4. Paul told the Philippian Christians the value & means of maintaining a proper level of commitment to Christ. Christians are expected to maintain their commitment to Christ. But Who will, & How? Those who maintain their commitment to Christ...

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CHOOSING EXCELLENCE Over Loss-III—Php. 3:7-16

Attention:

Try to Be Ugly:

Everyone in the apartment complex I lived in knew who Ugly was. Ugly was the resident tomcat.

A life spent outside had it's effect on Ugly. To start with, he had only one eye & where the other should have been was a hole. He was also missing his ear on the same side, his left foot appeared to have been badly broken at one time, & had healed at an unnatural angle, making him look like he was always turning the corner.

Ugly would have been a dark gray tabby, striped type, except for the sores covering his head, neck, & even his shoulders.

Every time someone saw Ugly there was the same reaction. “That's one UGLY cat!!!”

All the children were warned not to touch him, the adults threw rocks at him, hosed him down, & squirted him when he tried to come in their homes, or shut his paws in the door when he would not leave. Ugly always had the same reaction.

If you turned the hose on him, he would stand there, getting soaked until you gave up & quit. If you threw things at him, he would curl his lanky body around your feet in forgiveness.

Whenever he spied children, he would come running, meowing frantically & bump his head against their hands, begging for their love.

If you ever picked him up he would immediately begin suckling on your shirt, earrings, whatever he could find.

One day Ugly shared his love with the neighbor's dogs. They did not respond kindly, & Ugly was badly mauled. I tried to rush to his aid. By the time I got to where he was laying, it was apparent Ugly's sad life was almost at an end.

As I picked him up & tried to carry him home, I could hear him wheezing & gasping, & could feel him struggling. It must be hurting him terribly, I thought.

Then I felt a familiar tugging, sucking sensation on my ear. Ugly, in so much pain, suffering & obviously dying, was trying to suckle my ear. I pulled him closer to me, & he bumped the palm of my hand with his head, then he turned his one golden eye towards me, & I could hear the distinct sound of purring.

Even in the greatest pain, that ugly battled scarred cat was asking only for a little affection, perhaps some compassion.

At that moment I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever seen. Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, try to get away from me, or struggle in any way. Ugly just looked up at me completely trusting in me to relieve his pain.

Ugly died in my arms before I could get inside, but I sat & held him for a long time afterwards, thinking about how one scarred, deformed little stray could so alter my opinion about what it means to have true pureness of spirit, to love so totally & truly.

Ugly taught me more about giving & compassion than a thousand books, lectures, or talk show specials ever could, & for that I will always be thankful.

He had been scarred on the outside, but I was scarred on the inside, & it was time for me to move on & learn to love truly & deeply. To give my total to those I cared for.

Many people want to be richer, more successful, well liked, beautiful, but for me. . . I will always try/choose to be Ugly.

—Author Unknown—

?Do you maintain the level of commitment necessary to honor Jesus?

Paul told the Philippian Christians the value & means of maintaining a high level of commitment to Christ.

Christians are expected to maintain their commitment to Christ.

How can Christians maintain their commitment to Christ?

4 means of maintaining commitment to Christ.

Last Sunday morning we found that

Those who maintain their commitment to Christ...

1. SEPARATE TRASH From TREASURE(:7-8)

2. CHOOSE The TREASURE(:9)

Today we will also discover that...

3—Those who maintain their commitment to Christ...

NURTURE INTIMACY With HIM(:10)

Explanation/Argumentation:(:10)

:10—“....that I may know Him, & the power of His resurrection & the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;...”

“that I may know Him”—This resumes :8—“that I may gain Christ” &/or :9—“& be found in Him.”

Our verse describes the practical outworking of living righteously by faith.

“Know Him”—

God’s people have an experiential knowledge of Christ. An intimate & growing knowledge of Jesus Christ is expected.

1Jn. 5:20—“And we know that the Son of God has come & has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; & we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God & eternal life.”

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