Messages from Pastor Raddatz

October 4, 2020 Mount Olive Houston Other texts for the day: Isaiah 5:1-7 and Matthew 21:33-46

Deleting Junk, Christ is Most Important – “I count all as garbage for the sake of knowing Jesus Christ…”  Phil 3:8 (Philippians 3:4b-14)

Grace, Mercy and Peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

  • How much junk mail do you receive? 8

American mailboxes are inundated with junk mail. More than 100,000,000,000 pieces of junk mail are delivered each year—that’s more than 800 pieces per household. In fact, junk mail in the United States accounts for one-third of all the mail delivered in the world. Even though 44% of that mail goes to the landfill unopened, we still spend 8 months of our lives dealing with it all.  From

  • What is your pedigree? Vss. 4-6

Paul had a pedigree that every Jewish man would envy.  READ AND EXPLAIN PAUL’S DESCRIPTION OF HIS LINEAGE AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS.   Paul separated from those who were considered unclean.  That was the core philosophy of a Pharisee. 

In the movie THE FIRM based on a novel by John Grisham, a scene accurately describes pride.  Tom Cruise plays the main character named Mitch McDeere.  As a full of himself young Lawyer, he gets hired by one of the best firms: Bendini, Lambert and Locke.  While unpacking his boxes in his new office he decides which wall will be the place where he displays all his accomplishments.  He calls this his EGO WALL.  We know this practice all too well.  You and I can have ego walls too!  These are the places where we proudly display our earthly accomplishments: Diplomas, Plaques and trophies.  These walls can be physical walls or mental walls.  These may be signs of achievement on earth, but they will not get us into heaven.

  • Why the most important thing is Jesus Christ? Vss. 9-11

Righteousness produced by using the law is an attempt to merit God’s approval and blessing is called legalism.  Legalism is more concerned with rationalizing our behavior as right or comparing our behavior to others.  The focus of legalism is on the individual person.  It is opposed to the Gospel which focuses on God.  One form of legalism is perfectionism.  It has been said that perfectionists take pains and give them to others.  Perfectionists will always be frustrated when trying to obtain heaven by their works.  All of us are suspect to this temptation.  All of us have pride as part of our DNA because we are human. 

  • There is none who are righteous, not even one, Romans 3:10

When Paul met Jesus face to face (Acts 9:4) his self-boosting righteousness was a false imitation.   The thundering applause he heard when he persecuted Christians was meaningless.    All of his credits were bad debts.  All of his trophies were worthless.

Our righteousness is like filthy rags to God.  All of us have become unclean, Is. 64:6.  Paul considered his trophies trash in the presence of God.  He used a stronger word’s like rubbish, dung or excrement.  He found meaning in Christ alone. 

  • A righteousness of my own is impossible. God declares me good on account of Jesus.

Jesus lived the perfect life.  He was true God and true Man, but God chose that all would be declared perfect in his sight through his sacrifice.  This is why Jesus’ attitude was to please his Father first and love his father most.

How can we live with JOY, a Jesus based joy when we receive accomplishments and awards?   Any present accolades we have received are seen as losses in view of the surpassing knowledge of knowing Christ.  Why are they losses?  Because they puff up our pride and fool us into thinking that God must be proud of me for what I have done.  So let us give credit to Jesus Christ.  It is a balancing effort till the day we die.

This is why Paul says, in verse 12, Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect but I…

  • …Press on, for Jesus took hold of you before you could hold anything or anyone. 12-14

              The plan is progress not perfection.  P. 91, Charles Swindoll, Laugh Again, A Study of Philippians

During Jesus day, gifted students approached a rabbi and asked, May I follow you?? in effect, saying, Do I have what it takes to be like you?? The rabbi either accepted the student as a talmid or sent him away to pursue a trade. Jesus broke this pattern when he chose his own talmidim. As he asked his disciples to follow him, they knew without a doubt that their rabbi believed in them.

God has chosen you.  God has taken hold of you.  Keep your eyes on Jesus as you finish the race he has set out for you. 

This athletic picture is of a runner who wants to finish the best he or she can.  As the runner sees the finish line they do not look back at who is following or who is challenging them.  The runner is so focused on the finish line and moving arms and legs as fast as they can that they are oblivious to the crowds lining the street cheering them on.  All around them seems like a blur except for one thing:  the finish line.  This is not junk. 

How do we finish well hang tough and press on?  See vss 13 + 14

              FORGET WHAT LIES BEHIND – the past is over, forget it

              Press on – straining toward what is ahead, which is heaven as our certain hope.

              The plan is progress not perfection – we work to become more like Jesus every day.

All things are under the power of Jesus Christ, all things are under his control.  This is not junk.  He will not delete you from him.  This is no junk.  Knowing Christ is the greatest treasure.  Becoming like Christ is the greatest prize.  Amen.

And may this peace which passes all understanding keep your heart and your mind in the one true faith, in Christ Jesus, to life everlasting.  Amen

Your Fellow Servant, in Christ,

John Raddatz, Pastor

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