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Summary: Inspired by several resources. Gene Mimms’ books "The Kingdom Focused Church" and "Kingdom Principles for Church Growth, Rick Warren’s "Purpose Driven Church and Thom Rainer’s "Simple Church."

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THE KINGDOM FOCUSED CHURCH

Embracing the Kingdom Focused Church

Philippians 3:7-20

> The – Kingdom – Focused – Church. Think about those 4 words for a second. Each word has significant meaning.

> The – An article denoting specific, distinctive nature. It identifies something which is special, unique, and even “one of a kind.”

> Kingdom – A kingdom is that which is ruled by a King. It is His dominion, His sovereignty, and His reign.

> Focused – To be focused is to be zeroed in like a laser. This can be seen in optometry. If you wear glasses and take them off, the world is out of focus or blurry. This can also be directed in the person who is focused on a goal. A couple of weeks ago we saw Tiger Woods with focus that was unmatched win the Fed Ex Cup.

> Church – Although people call many things “a church”, a true church is “a group of Baptized believers, banded together to fulfill the mission and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

> The Kingdom Focused Church, as we saw last week, has but one priority (the Great Commission), one philosophy (Whatever it takes), and One plan (to know and do the will of God while totally depending on Him).

> Hopefully, we can now identify the Kingdom Focused Church (KFC), but that is not enough. Thinking the KFC is a ‘good’ thing, recognizing what is right, nor saying “it is good” fulfills our requirement as a church.

> The truth is this; as a member of the Kingdom of God, the Church of God (who is the Children of God), if we are to be obedient, we have no choice but to focus His Kingdom to the point of Embracing the KFC.

> Take a minute and consider this word “embrace.” Most of us think it’s a ‘hug’ and in a simpler sense it is exactly that. Yet, it is also used of accepting, encouraging, even to the point of participating in a project, event or goal.

> When I look to God’s word for a person to embrace the KFC, I go to the Apostle Paul. Every letter he writes is an encouragement to embrace this type of church. Go with me to Philippians 3:7-20. (Read) Be reminded of 2 things.

> First, Paul is writing this letter from his prison cell to the CHURCH. They were people like us. They met, prayed, worked, served, and played together. So, by all accounts, there were and are “believers”. Now against that backdrop, read verses 17 & 18 and become some what uncomfortable. Did you catch His words, their indictment? Perhaps these two verses are the nucleus for a message entitled, “The Plight of the Church.”

> So exactly HOW does this passage call us to “embrace the KFC” and exactly how is this done? I’ll offer 4 thoughts.

> If we are to be a KFC, here’s what must happen:

1) There are some things we must “FORSAKE”.

> Consider the attitude of Paul. We find it in verse 10 where he states his personal goal of wanting to KNOW CHRIST. To this end everything in his past life is forsaken and counted “loss”, “garbage”, and trash. It was all cast aside and forsaken. Literally, turned his back on all of it.

> This is a common theme which Paul teaches. He says we should put down some things, put off other things, put away even more. Why? Because the old things are passed away. This is the life of the believer. This speaks of repentance; it is the turning of our backs on the old.

> This concept or the requirement of forsaking is some thing which is not very popular to teach or preach, yet it is very Biblical. For every person in this building, coming to Christ in faith was accompanied by something we had to forsake. It may have been greed or gossip, pride or popularity, alcohol or anger, or any other traits which brings shame to the name of Christ.

> In this same way; almost any modern day Americanized church must do the same things. We have come to believe our organization, our schedule, our fellowship, our prestige, our buildings, and many other such things give us a place in the Heart of God. The heart of God is geared to an eternal perspective about people. He desires for all people to be saved and for Him, there is nothing too sacred or too costly to achieve that purpose. It may well be that one of the things which we must forsake is our “preconceived notions” about His work.

2) There are some things we must “FORGET”.

> Some might argue that forsaking and forgetting are the same, but Paul said there are some things I counted as loss and other things I had to forget. Certainly to forget one must forsake. But I’m reminded of a story in the Old Testament. As God was destroying Sodom & Gomorrah He sent His own angel to bring Lot and His family out of that debauchery which would be destroyed. They left with the angel literally turning their back on the city. That is exactly what Paul means to count loss. However, Mrs. Lot may have had her back turned on it, but she couldn’t let go of it and had to take one more look.

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