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Summary: What we don’t realize is that we can have a fulfilling relationship with Jesus here on earth. We don’t have to wait for Heaven, we can have a personal strong and rewarding relationship today. Paul had one and it came from his wholehearted devotion and e

8 RULES FOR A SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIAN LIFE:

WHOLE HEARTED DEVOTION & EFFORT

PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14

INTRODUCTION

What does a successful Christian life look like? My desire as your pastor is that al of you experience success in your Christian life. I would define ‘success’ in the Christian life as being strong in the faith and capable of sharing that with others. Sometimes we might wonder, how do we get there? Is there a process? Are there things we can do or cultivate to produce good fruit in our lives?

SEGMENTED NARRATIVE 1… http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/biojudson.html

By whatever measurement you measure the man Adoniram Judson (1788-1850) -- the measurement always is the same -- he was a mighty man!

Mentally--he was mammoth. He taught himself to read at the age of three years, took navigation lessons at ten, studied theology as a child, entered Providence College (now Brown University) at seventeen -- despite the fact he spent one year of his youth out of school in sickness. He was a "veritable bookworm." Also, he mastered the Burmese language (possibly the most difficult language to acquire, excepting Chinese), writing and speaking it with the familiarity of a native and the elegance of a cultured scholar, and he also translated the Bible into Burmese. His biographers believe that his translation was "undoubtedly his greatest contribution to the people among whom he chose...to spend and be spent for Christ’s sake." Spiritually--he was superlative. Despite the fact his father was a Congregational preacher, and in spite of his mother’s "tears and pleadings," Judson was not saved until he was 20 years of age. His conversion not only saved his soul, it smashed his dreams of fame and honor for himself. His one pressing purpose became to "plan his life to please his Lord."

Adoniram Judson’s pressing purpose in his life became “to plan his life to please his Lord.” I wonder if we find that kind of whole-hearted devotion in Scripture? The Apostle Paul was one of those men in Scripture who had a whole-hearted devotion for God. You might say that he had a one-track mind and that one-track mind was God. Paul was a Christian, of that we have no doubt, but he was also a man who worked on his relationship with Christ.

READ PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14

Devotion is one of those words in the English language that is packed full of meaning. Devotion means, “ardent, often selfless affection, and dedication, as to a person or principle. See synonyms love” (American Heritage Dictionary). To be devoted to something means to love it. To be devoted to someone means we are selfless and only think of him or her. Devotion means love. If we love God with our whole hearts, our efforts and our actions will show that. Paul lays out for us in Philippians 3:13-14 his wholehearted devotion.

1. Paul is devoted in his humbleness. He was an Apostle, chosen personally by Jesus to spread the Gospel, and he did not consider himself as “arrived” or a “perfect Christian.” In humbleness, he continued to learn and pray and work for Jesus.

2. Paul is devoted in his planning and efforts. Paul made a point to say that he was stretching for the goal and working for Christ. He “presses on towards the goal.” The goal is not salvation… that was already won at the cross and you have to be a Christian to even be in the race. The goal is his fulfilled relationship with God and life in Heaven, the ultimate prize.

What we don’t realize is that we can have a fulfilling relationship with Jesus here on earth. We don’t have to wait for Heaven, we can have a personal strong and rewarding relationship today. Paul had one and it came from his wholehearted devotion and effort.

SEGMENTED NARRATIVE 2… http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/biojudson.html

In 1809, the same year he joined the Congregational church, he became burdened to become a missionary. He found some friends from Williams College with the same burden and often met with them at a haystack on the college grounds to earnestly pray for the salvation of the heathen and petition God to open doors of ministry as missionaries to them. That spot has been marked as the birthplace of missions in America.

Three years later, February 19, 1812, young Adoniram Judson, and his bride of seven days, Ann Haseltine Judson, set sail for India, supported by the first American Board for Foreign Missions. But on that voyage, Judson, while doing translation work, saw the teaching of immersion as the mode of baptism in the Bible. Conscientiously and courageously, he cut off his support under the Congregational board until a Baptist board could be founded to support him!

The Judsons were rejected entrance into India to preach the Gospel to the Hindus by the East India Company and after many trying times, frustrations, fears, and failures, they finally found an open door in Rangoon, Burma.

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