Summary: This sermon helps believers set the goals necessary to become a "champion" in their Christian life.
“SETTING THE RIGHT GOALS IN LIFE” Phil. 3:12-21
INTRO – 2004 Summer Olympics taking place in Athens, Greece, this week. Been so much fun to watch these games and these athletes. Absolutely amazed at their abilities and dedication to their chosen sports and events. We’ve cheered them on like we’ve known them all our lives, these athletes w/ names like Phelps, Hamm, Beard, Kupets, Gardner, Patterson, Iverson, Roddick, and Piersol. We’ve seen them excel and we’ve seen them fall. We’ve seen them perform flawlessly and we’ve seen them stumble. We’ve seen them cheering victoriously, and we’ve seen them sit in silent dejection and defeat. We’ve seen them win and we’ve seen them lose. Sounds a lot like the Christian life, doesn’t it?
One thing is true – they all want to be champions. They all want to hear their name called as the champion; to stand on the highest platform, receive the victor’s crown, the gold medal; and hear the “Star Spangled Banner” play, followed by the cheers of the crowd of spectators.
Again, this, too, ought to be true of each of our lives as Christians. We all ought to want to be champions in our Christian life. Today, I want us to think about what it takes to be a champion in the Christian life.
Tom Landry, former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was once asked by a reporter, “What makes a champion?” Landry’s answer was power-packed. “A champion is simply someone who didn’t give up when he wanted to.” He went on to say: “Success is not accidental. We learn how to achieve. I’d like to list 4 short steps it takes to be a champion in the field of sports. 1. Faith – believing you can win. 2. Training – the Cowboys work out 4 times a week. They lift millions of pounds of iron each session. They run many miles to win. 3. Goals – all winning teams set goals. 4. You must possess the will to reach the goal you set for yourself. This is probably the most important quality of all champions.” (www.sermoncentral.com)
Did you hear what Landry said? To be a champion, you’ve got to set goals and then have the will to reach the goals that you set. I’m not talking about goals like cleaning off your desk at work, or washing your car, or weeding your flower bed. Those may be worthy goals, but are not significant goals in your Christian life. Cancer survivor Greg Anderson once said, “When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life” (Greg Anderson, www.worldofquotes.com). We’ve got to set some goals in our spiritual life that will move us toward being the champion Christians that God desires for us to be.
Paul gives us some goals to reach for as we pursue an ongoing relationship with God. In this tender letter to the Philippians, he has already encouraged them with his words of praise and rejoicing for their partnership with him in the spreading of the Gospel. He has shared his deep love for them and his desire for them to continue standing firm. He has challenged them to have the attitude of Christ in their relationships w/ one another – to be encouraging, comforting, fellowshipping, and unselfishly looking after the interests of others. And now he comes to this place in chapter 3 of ramping up his message to them to press on in their faith walk with God. As their pastor, he had a deep desire to see them grow and mature in the relationship with God. He wanted them to be victorious, to win the prize, to be champions!
As your pastor, I share that same passion that Paul had for the Philippians in my passion for you. I, too, want to see each and every one of you experience victory in your Christian life. I want you grow and mature in your faith, experiencing more and more of the Spirit’s work in your life. I want you to have your prayers answered; to learn and obey God’s Word; to worship deeply and authentically; to have the joy of serving God in ministry; to learn to witness and do it; to fellowship in the community of believers here. I want you to have the joy of the Lord in your heart, the light of the Lord in your eyes, and the song of the Lord on your lips. I want you to win the prize and be champions in your Christian life! To be a champion in your Christian life, you need to set some goals. Let’s think about what those goals need to be.
I. THE GOAL OF PERFECTION – v. 12a
Ever hear people say: “Well, I’m not perfect,” or “Nobody’s perfect,” or “You can’t expect me to be perfect,” or “I never said I was perfect”? Usually say this when they are under conviction about some sin in their life and they think this little sentence gives them an excuse.