If you are new to this blog....

Welcome! The primary purpose of this blog is to explore and encourage around what it means to be winsome and sent into the world for God's glory. If you are new here, the definition of "lighthouse-searchlight" or our missional journey is a good place to start. Come peruse the blog and add me to your RSS feed!

Monday, June 04, 2007

that for which I was laid hold of...

On Philippians 4:1-9...

Last Sunday we talked about the ultimate significance of knowing Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:12-29). It’s of crucial importance because only Jesus is truly right with God (or ‘righteous’), and our rightness with God only comes through being with Jesus. We talked about how Jesus says of those who know him, “He’s with me… she’s with me,” and he draws us into the life of God – Father, Son, and Spirit.

That truth is the source of our hope for resurrection and life forever with God. And in this week’s text, Paul is building on that teaching to encourage us about how that truth impacts our daily life in this world. Paul uses several illustrations to talk about the whole thing. He compares our life in this world to a race, a walk, and to citizenship – and the key verse is the second part of verse 12:

…I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

Jesus laying hold of us is that “He’s with me; she’s with me.” The purpose of Jesus laying hold of us is to draw us into life forever with God. Our experience of that life with God, in the here-and-now and into eternity, is what Paul means by us “laying hold” – it’s our experiencing God’s purpose for us in Jesus.

Said another way, God’s desire is for us to be right with Him, to experience Him personally, to enjoy Him and relate to Him, and reflect His love for us back to Him and to each other. In today’s text, Paul is describing how we can live into and experience this desire and purpose of God in our lives. It involves focus, persistence, and a vision of our future – much like a race. And that’s how Paul begins describing this Christian life to us.

...for the whole thing -

Paul concludes this text with a third analogy, and my illustration from last week doesn’t go far enough. We are not just strangers who temporarily get to come over and play in God’s house; because we are with Jesus, God adopts us into His family and welcomes us into His Heaven. Set in Kingdom-language, we are naturalized as Heavenly citizens. Again, this is all because Jesus is the one who is right with God the Father and he has claimed those who trust in him, saying, “He’s with me; she’s with me.”

In the citizenship analogy, there is no sneaking across the border of Heaven or scaling the fence. There is only one way in, and it is with Jesus Christ vouching for us.

Paul goes even further, to explain that Jesus not only vouches for us (makes us qualify), but makes us ready for Heaven. It is he who “will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory.” It is “by the exertion of [his] power”. This is what Jesus does in our life as we walk in lock-step with him, as we press on to lay hold of that for which he laid hold of us.

To step out of the realm of analogy, here’s what Paul is saying in all this today. Jesus died on the cross, in obedience to and sharing in the Father's love for the world, so that he could present you to God with his own ‘rightness’ and secure a home and a relationship with God for you both now and forever. And he is preparing you and me for that future as we live each day in submission to him.

In the end, there are only two people – enemies of the cross of Christ and friends of the cross of Christ. Come, believe, and follow Jesus, for he died on that cross that you might be a friend of God and an adopted child of God.

Don’t look back; press on ahead. God would draw you close into His presence because of Jesus’ love for you. Don’t substitute self or settle for the stuff of this world. God has better and more for you than that.

Tag Cloud

2014 2015 accountability acts advent archive art arts ash wednesday aslan assurance audio auditions bands belief bigotry blessing blob bloggers blooper reel bluegrass body of christ book book reviews boomer boundaries breadth of worship builder bus calling Calvin Symposium cd ceilidh change character of god chart christmas church church partnerships civility commandments commentary communication community con ed confession confirmation contemporized hymns crisis culture D.Min. dance darkness death definitions denomination depth of worship discernment discipleship discourse dismissal dissertation drama early church easter ecclesiology ecpc emergent church error evangelism excellence exile exodus experimentation facebook failure faith family of God father fear fellowship fellowshippres following forgiveness friendship frost fruit frustration funerals GA ga219 ga220 GAhelp generations genX gift gifts girl scouts good news Google gospel grace gracious witness gspc youth hands health highlights holy spirit holy week hope hospitality humility humor hymn image of God imago dei improvisation incarnation inclusion index information insider language institutions interns invitation iTunes james jazz Jeremy Begbie john piper jonah joy judgment Keith and Kristyn Getty kids kindness language law lay renewal leadership legalism lent license life light lighthouse linked articles links listening liturgy loneliness love lyrics maddie shuler meme mentoring mercy metanarrative mgb commission millenials ministry networks miscellaneous mission missional missional identity missions moderator montreat mumford music narnia neighborhood neighbors new wineskins new year news newsletter NEXT NEXTchurch nicaragua noticing obedience obstacles organizations outreach palm sunday parenting participation pastor pastoral ministry pcaus pcusa peace performance peter pgf pictures plagues planning podcasting poetry politics ponderings pornography post-modernism prayer preaching presbymergent presbyterian global fellowship presbytery publishing questions racism reader reconciliation recordings recycled goodness redemption reflection refugees relationship relationships retreat righteousness risk roadblocks rss rules sabbatical safety salt samaritan satan satire scotland searchlight searchlight 2.0 sectarianism self-righteousness seminaries sermon snippets sermon-song sermons shalom sheep shepherding sin small church social media song songwriters songwriting spheres of influence spirit spiritual lessons spiritual power stewardship stories story sub-culture summary sunrise talent challenge tears technology teenagers Ten Commandments terrorism testimony theater theft theological education top posts tragedy transformation translation travel trees trinitarian worship trinity trust truth twitter union with christ valentines VBS video virtual reality vision waiting website wednesdays out wee kirk welcome witness word cloud wordle words workshop worship writing year-end YL you tube youth