Summary: A child of God is to be alert and looking for the Savior’s return in a world that does not have time to hear His voice and be prepared for His coming.

-- Philippians 3:17-21

Proposition: A child of God is to be alert and looking for the Savior’s return in a world that does not have time to hear His voice and be prepared for His coming.

Objective: My purpose is to challenge people to look for the Savior’s return and be prepared for His coming.


When it’s time to take a long car trip with small children, the question they ask over and over is, "How much longer?" Children are not mature enough to realize that patience is the prerequisite for pleasure. In fact, given the choice, they might prefer not to "go to Grandma’s house" if it means sitting in the car all day. But once they get there, they realize the wait was worth it. Some Christians have a childlike attitude when it comes to traveling to heaven: "How much longer? I’m tired of waiting for Jesus’ return." Time is a problem for us, not for God. For Him, a thousand years is no different from a day (2 Peter 3:8). Rather, God will send Christ to call His church home at the perfect time.

What are you looking for? This is as severe a condemnation as you can find of those who profess to be Christians. They claim to be Christian, yet they contradict their profession by their lives. Their God is their belly—that’s an awful thing! This means that they are led by their appetites. Some professing Christians have an appetite for money. Some are looking for riches & what that can bring. They will do most anything for the almighty dollar. Others are looking for a good time with alcohol and others with drugs. Others have such an appetite for sex that it becomes actually their god. They live for self and self only, and they actually glory in this. Nothing will keep our minds spiritual more than looking for the coming of Christ. “Watch out for the worldly crowd!” Paul is weeping over the professed Christians whose lives were bearing the fruit of worldly-mindedness. The Cross defeated the world & the flesh; the Cross speaks of sacrifice & suffering, yet these people live for the world & seek only to please themselves.

Barclay writes, Here was a picture the Philippians could understand. Philippi was a Roman colony. Here & there at strategic military centres the Romans set down their colonies. In such places the citizens were mostly soldiers who had served their time—21 years—& who had been rewarded with full citizenship. The great charac-teristic of these colonies was that, wherever they were, they remained fragments of Rome. Roman dress was worn; Roman magistrates governed; the Latin tongue was spoken; Roman justice was administered; Roman morals were observed. Even in the ends of the earth they remained unshakably Roman. Paul says to the Philippians, “Just as the Roman colonists never forget that they belonged to Rome, you must never forget that you are citizens of heaven; & your conduct must match your citizenship.”

I. WITH A COMPASSION THAT IS TENDER (vvs. 17-19) “Join in following my example”— And note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. This refers to any others who were living the same kind of life as Paul.

1. Example to follow (v. 17)“follow…my example”-- Now Paul turns to exhortation, first by encouraging the Philippians to be followers, or imitators of himself. It is a tribute to his exemplary life that he could ever write such words. We often hear the expression in jest, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Not so the apostle! He could hold up his own life as a model of wholehearted devotion to Christ and to His cause.

Illus: There was a lawyer who was not saved. He had a boy about 10 or 11 years old. One morning snow had fallen on the ground. It was his habit as walked from his home to the main street down the street to his office, to stop in at a tavern for his morning drink. On this morning as he walked with his law book under his arm as he making tracks in the snow, he heard a sound behind him and looked behind him to see his son reaching as far as his little legs would let him and stepping and stepping and stepping. He turned and said, “Son, what are you doing?” The little boy said, “Oh, nothing, just stepping in Daddy’s tracks.” He sent the boy back into their house; but he was unable to send away from his mind and soul the words of his little boy. When he got down the street to turn into the tavern, he remembered what his son had said. He went to his office and sitting down opened his law book and read on every page, “Stepping in Daddy’s tracks,” “Stepping in Daddy’s tracks.” That man became conscious of the responsibilities that he had on him in his life before his child and became a great Christian lawyer. He didn’t have to go to the tavern and he determined to be a positive Christian influence on his son.

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