We Look for the Savior Sermon

We Look for the Savior Sermon

We Look for the Savior sermon teaches us that while we watch and wait for the Lord’s return, we must do the Lord’s work every day. We should look forward to the day that we will be like Him.

Philippians 3:13-21:

Philippians 3:13: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”

Philippians 3:14: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:15: “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”

Philippians 3:16: “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”

Philippians 3:17: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”

Philippians 3:18: “(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:”

Philippians 3:19: “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)”

Philippians 3:20: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:”

Philippians 3:21: “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

What do we do when looking for the Savior? We need to wait expectantly for the Lord and have God guide our lives according to the expectation that soon Christ Jesus will return.

Matthew 24:42: “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”

Matthew 25:13: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

When Will Christ Return?

The first scripture indicates that we don’t know what hour and the second scripture says that we don’t know what day or hour. Nobody knows when Jesus will return. Jesus said only God, the Father knows when that’s going to happen, and not even the angels in Heaven know when.

Every now and then you read about somebody who uses mathematical formulas and signs and declares that they have figured out when the Lord will coming and invariably, they’ve been wrong. It happens time after time. It actually works against the truth that the Lord wants us to understand because it makes it look like nobody knows what they are talking about, that they are obviously wrong, and therefore the Lord is not coming. And yet, Jesus said He would come. But what are we supposed to do while we are waiting for Him to come? You and I may live our entire life before He comes and then again, we may not.

He says, “Watch therefore:” in Matthew 24:42, “for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” And Matthew 25:13: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” It means to be awake, to be alert, to be on guard, and to be active.

Some say those who believe in Jesus sit back and they don’t participate in anything, they don’t worry about anything, they don’t take care of anything. If that were true, it would be silly and that is certainly not what the Lord told us. He said, “stay on guard and be always watching.” But how do you do that in everyday life? How do you stay on guard? How are you always watching?

Here’s what we are not supposed to do. We are not supposed to become afraid of everything and we are not supposed to live in constant fear. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and sound mind, Paul writes to Timothy. But in these verses, Philippians 3:13-21, He instructs us on what it is like to be watching for the Lord’s return.

Watching for the Lord’s Return

In Philippians 3:13: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:” is an important statement. We are saved by grace. Paul, himself, taught that and believed it and proclaimed it and we learn that from his writings. We are saved by grace, but what is grace? Grace is the love and kindness of our Lord and Savior toward man. And we are saved by His grace. We are saved through faith through believing in the Lord. Jesus said, “Believe on the Lord and thou shalt be saved.”

So, these remarks are for the brethren, the believers only. But when Paul says in verse 13, “I count not myself to have apprehended,” he is using the analogy of running a race. And what he’s saying is that he has not finished the race, and in this book, he says he hasn’t finished, and later, he wrote to Timothy, “I finished the race.” But not here in Philippians, he’s saying that he has not finished the race and that he has not crossed the finish line.

If you’ve ever run a long-distance race, you get tired usually before the race is over. But you’ve got to keep your eye on the finish line and not give up, and not stop, and not quit until you get close to the finish line until you cross the finish line. So, Paul says that he has not attained everything he needs to tend to, that he hasn’t finished the race and not gotten to the finish line.

The One Thing

Paul says, “but this one thing I do.” He says that there is one thing that he is sure of. What if there was one thing, one bit of wisdom you could pass on to somebody, one thing to change about your life. Every new year, people want to make changes. It’s alright to do that, but most tend to not do it at all or do it for a little while and give it up. But if there is one that you would stick with and Paul says there is one thing that he does and that’s the idea in verse 13. “But this one thing I do,” he does it continually. What is this one thing he does?

Notice the next phrase, “forgetting those things which are behind,” meaning forgetting the past. Does that mean Paul did not remember anything in his life before he wrote this? Certainly not. What he’s saying is that he doesn’t dwell in the past nor live in the past. You and I must not do that either. There are people who have had tragedy in their life, and they have never been able to move on. They stay there and that tragedy governs them for the rest of their life.

When bad things happen, they will naturally affect you and can be lingering. It will be. But life goes on and we have to go on. We have to keep moving forward. Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t rest in past successes. Great successes in the past are wonderful but don’t rest in the past and think you don’t need to try anymore. Why don’t you need to try anymore? Why isn’t there more to be done? And then, don’t live in past failures. If you don’t succeed, it gets discouraging. You think of things that didn’t turn out. Don’t let that govern your life. Don’t go through life saying that you are a failure in life.

We learn that we can become successful by doing things that we don’t do well. There are choices you can make at that point. If it’s something you know you should do, maybe you can learn to do it well. Or, maybe that thing that you did not do well, maybe that is not your thing. Maybe you need to find something else that you do well. And that is certainly the thing to do, something you can succeed at. Knowing your strengths and your weaknesses is very important. Whatever your strengths and your weaknesses are and the purpose of evaluating them, is to see what we’re good at and where we need to improve.

Reaching Forth

Paul says, “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,” which is a great verse for the beginning of the year – forgetting things that are left behind and reaching for those things that are before.

All of us, every one of us, wishes we could go back in life to do some changes. What is done is done, we cannot go back and change anything good or bad. But what we can do is to forget those things which are behind and reach forth, doing those things today and press forward into the future and do things differently in the future. Learn from our experiences and press on. That is what Paul is saying to reach for those things which are before us. Do not dwell in the past but keep going into the future and make a difference.

Paul says in verse 14, “I press toward the mark.” But what is the mark there? It is the goal, what you are striving for. You must have goals in your life. Small goals, big goals, but you have got to have them — short-range goals, long term goals. If you have a goal, you have to keep going. Press toward the mark and reach out for the goal. Keep running toward the goal. When you are getting tired, keep your eye on the goal and keep going. You may stumble but get up and finish. Keep running toward the goal, keep running on because you have not reached the finish line yet.

The mark in this case is the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. What is the high calling of God in Christ Jesus? Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:15: “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” So the high calling of Christ is for you and I is to grow up and be like Jesus and we are to do the things that Jesus would have done. Jesus went about doing good. That is something you can do, isn’t it? You can also tell people how to be saved. You can encourage people and instruct them. And you can be a good example for others to follow.

On Being Perfect

Philippians 3:15: “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”

None of us are perfect, but it is a goal we can set. At the end of the sermon on the mount, Jesus concluded by saying, “Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Is he going to tell you to do something you can’t do? How do you become perfect? Perfect means to be righteous. You can be righteous, not by your own self, but you can trust the Lord and he declares you righteous because of the cross. He gives you that robe of righteousness which is His own righteousness. So, in verse 15 and 16:

Philippians 3:15: “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”

Philippians 3:16: “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”

“Minding the same thing” and “being thus minded” and so forth refers back to verses 13 and 14 “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect. You may say it is too hard to attain, but you can work towards that goal. If you are not of that mind, God will reveal this to you. So, what we need to do is to seek the Lord. Get to know the Lord better so that He can work in us and help us to grow.

Because those of us who haven’t attained, those of us who haven’t fully reached the spiritual growth that we want to get or need, remember as Paul said back in verse 13, “I count not myself to have apprended,” we haven’t arrived, but we must work to become more and more like Jesus. We must work to help others who are on the same path. And if we can help them, then we realize that we once were where they are now, encourage them along, and help them to continue to grow.

Written to Believers

Philippians 3:17: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”

These words are written to believers. You have to be saved to be on the path. You are not even on the path of being like Jesus or coming to be like Him until you know Jesus as your Savior. We talk about Jesus coming and there will be those left behind. Why? Because they have not believed. Jesus will divide the wheat from the tares, the believers from the unbelievers when He comes. Do you know of anyone who tried to fool you? You can’t always spot them. Some people put on a very good act. You may not do what they did, but is there anything in your life that isn’t right?

Paul says to be followers of him and others who follow the Lord. He could say that because he followed the Lord. Follow him and grow to be like Jesus.

Philippians 3:18: “(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:”

Don’t give in to selfishness. Don’t give in to self-centeredness. Don’t give in to worldliness. Don’t give in to these things. What happens?

Philippians 3:19: “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)”

They are enemies of the cross of Christ. No man lives to himself, no man dies to himself. We are always influencing people even when we don’t realize we are influencing people. The truth of the matter is, we are always leading people to the cross or away from the cross all the time. It has a great deal to do with what we say and how we live and the things we do.

Paul says, not minding “earthly things.” Meaning those that mind earthly things and not spiritual things, who are glorious in those things are shameful before the Lord. What are they doing? A lot of things. We see people rejoice in all kinds of horrible things and they think it is wonderful. It is not wonderful when we are doing something wrong, bad, or harms others.

Philippians 3:20: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:”

Paul says our conversation is in Heaven. Here, “conversation” means our daily manner of living. In this case it means our citizenship, being a part of a nation. Or you are a citizen of a state and you feel a part of that and you should. Paul says our citizenship is in Heaven. That means when you are born again, you become a child of God, you already have a home in Heaven. You may already have a seat at the table of the marriage supper of the Lamb. Since we have a home in Heaven, we are already citizens there.

A Glorious Body

Philippians 3:21: “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

We are looking for Jesus to come. Jesus told us to “watch, therefore.” We look for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And that means you and I have to live every day as if it is the day that He will come. When He comes, certain things are going to happen. He is going to change our vile body, our corrupt body, our mortal body which can get sick and die. He’s going to change it. What is this “glorious body”? That is the resurrection body.

When Jesus died on the cross, he died in a physical body. They took that physical body, that lifeless body from which the spirit had left Him, and buried Him in a tomb. But on the third day, that body arose – the spirit came back to the body and the body arose. He walks out of that tomb with a changed body. A body that cannot be wounded anymore, a body that cannot get sick or die.

On the night of the resurrection, the disciples are gathered in the upper room. Some of them had seen Jesus earlier that day at the tomb or near the tomb, or on the road to Emmaus. But now it is evening time and they are gathered in the upper room and they are talking and praying about the things that happened that day and all of a sudden Jesus is just there. They are in the room and the door is shut, how did He get there?

Eight days later, they meet again and all of a sudden Jesus is just there. The resurrection body is capable of doing things that the body we have now cannot do. Among those things is being able to live forever. In the resurrection body, there is no aging? We don’t get older. Our bodies change as we get older. We can all have a resurrection body that isn’t going to get hurt or give you any problems. Our body will be like His glorious body. So, who is coming? Jesus is coming. What’s He going to do? He’s going to change us but that’s not all. God has control over all things, all of it. When He changes us, He changes us to be like Him.

While We Wait

So, what do we do while we wait for the Lord to come? As we live each day for the rest of our life, we need to stay in close fellowship with the Lord. James says, “If we draw nigh to God, he will draw nigh to you.” You draw nigh to Him.

Pray, pray all the time. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. That means to stay in the attitude of prayer all day long. Talk to the Lord anytime, anywhere. Pray and spend time in the Word. When you pray, you talk to the Lord. When you read the Word, God is talking to you and you must listen. When you read your bible, ask the Lord to speak to you and give you something for your heart and your life that you need.

Pray, spend time in the Word, and then help others. Help brothers and sisters in the Lord and encourage them as they walk with the Lord and pressing toward the mark so that we all cross the finish line.

Then help those who are lost, they are not on the path, they need to be brought to the path. They need to be going where Jesus is going because it is not where they are headed right now. Help people as much as you can. Understand that they are lost and need to be saved. Help them to know that only Jesus can save them.

We need to learn to live as looking for the Savior. We need to learn that when He comes, we are going to stand before Him to be judged according to how we lived, and we are going to answer for those things that we have done. Then we need to know that our citizenship, our conversation, our lifestyle is there in Heaven. We are representatives of Heaven no matter what happens on Earth. And we need to realize that He is coming to take us home. And as Paul writes in I Thessalonians 4, “So shall we be forever with the Lord.”

That’s how you live while you are waiting and watching. Don’t sit down and say the Lord is coming and therefore you don’t need to do anything. You need to do a great deal. You need to keep pressing toward the mark. You need to be helping others. You need to be busy doing the Lord’s work every day.

Get in-depth knowledge by viewing or listening to the sermon: We Look for the Savior

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Dr. Michael L. McClure, our lead pastor, is known for his in-depth knowledge and effective teaching style of biblical truths applicable to every day living.

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