Summary: This is a New Years sermon designed to encourage us to keep going!
How many of you had a good year last year?
I did, I got to live another year, I learned that I was going to be a grandfather and many other great things happened. The Cardinals made the playoffs again and the Rams did the same.
In the sports world what does a team whom is successful do? What do teams that win a Super Bowl or the World Series do? (I know for you Cub fans this is not a fair question) Do they rest on their success? No, good organizations will press on and will try to improve on their previous performance.
As a church I believe that we can learn a lesson from the sports world. I cannot help but be excited over the year that we had at Auburn Christian Church. Through the ministry of this church, we immersed ten people (including my daughter) in 2001. We had four people transfer their memberships to our church. I know that in past years we have won more people, but for me, I have not been a part of this kind of growth in year.
I would consider 2001 as a championship year for Auburn Christian Church. There have been many other ones in the church’s history. 1868 was another one. That is the year that the church was organized. In 1917 the church was closed until 1921 when a group of ladies saw to it that the church reopened. 1921 was a championship year. In 1951 the House of worship was completed. Another championship year. 1969. On October 19,1969, this very building was dedicated to the Lord’s service. Many of you may have been here for that. Another championship year.
The question that every champion has to ask is “What now?” Are we going to live in our past glories or are we going to “Press On?”
This church has a glorious past. This church has been blessed with godly men to lead it, men who had a heart for God and the vision for what God wanted this church to do. Men such as Reaves Evans, Marc Criquelion, W.E. Shutt, C.H. King and many others have laid a foundation for us to build upon in 2002.
Now we have a new generation of leaders. Will they have the same heart for God, vision and support that the men of the past have had? I believe they will.
Our leadership has a high standard to obtain because of the great men of the faith that has led this church to where it is today.
Today, I want us to look at what it will take for us to be able to build on the foundation that we have inherited.
To do this I want to look at a formula that Paul gives to us in Philippians 3:12-16.
In verses 1-11 Paul speaks of how his life in Christ caused him to reevaluate his life’s goals and purpose, now he states that he has more work to do, he is not complacent with his walk.
In verses 12-16 Paul gives us a formula that he personally lived by. In t his passage we will see how we can personally “Press On” for Jesus and how we as a church can “Press On” also.
If the Auburn Christian Church is going to build like a champion we first must have:
I. PROPER MINDSET 12,13A,15,16
Verses 12 and 13 set the tone for Paul’s mindset regarding his position in the race for the prize.
In the previous section Paul spells out all of his accomplishments and then in verses 12 and 13 he tells us that even with all he has done, he has yet to reach the end of the race.
One of the things that kills the churches and our individual spiritual growth is thinking that we have made it to the top.
On an individual basis, when we feel that we have reached the pinnacle of maturity we will stop growing. We will quit putting out the effort to grow closer to Jesus.
In the church when we get into a comfort zone, we will cling on to programs and methods of the past that once worked very well. The problem comes in that when we feel like we have made it as a church, we quit looking for ways to make what we do better and more relevant to today’s society.
When we feel like we have made it, we quit trying to grow.
Not obtained it?
What is it that Paul has not obtained? Completion in Christ. He is still striving to grow closer to Jesus. He is not speaking of salvation because he tells us that we NOW possess salvation in Jesus. When he speaks of not being perfect yet, he is speaking of being fully mature, or that he is to the point that he can quit working on his growth in Christ. Paul is not speaking of being sinless.