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Seek and Serve

"and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 if somehow I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."
Good Morning my Beloved,
Welcome! Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We're so glad you're here. 
Today we would like to welcome our brothers and sisters in Canada, Kenya and France.
Please know that we are keeping all of you in our daily prayers, we hope that you will do the same for us.

I'm sure we have all heard the expression "Attitude is everything." The message is clear, our attitude
makes the difference. In fact, our attitudes affect everything we do in life, both great and small. It effects the way we do our jobs, the way we treat our loved ones, the friends that we have, and it even effects our relationship with God. 
Do you have a spiritual role model? Someone you look up to, someone who you would like to be like spiritually? The truth of the matter is that you can be. The spiritual giants we have come to know, don’t have some special power from or grace from God that we don’t have. The Apostle Paul and Peter and James and John all had the same Holy Spirit that we have. We all have the same potential to be just as close to God as they were. Its all about attitude. 
Do you have the attitude you need to have in order to grow closer to God? In a nutshell, if we want to grow and mature in our Christian lives, we must have the proper Christian attitude. We must live with the proper Christian attitude.
In Philippians 2:8-14, Paul reminds us "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross. For this reason also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.

Do all things without complaining or arguments;"

If we want to grow and mature in our Christian lives, we must value Christ above all else.

Let us bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this rich and powerful truth in Your Word. Thank You that through Your Spirit we can have understanding of Your Word. Lord, we thank You for the grace of salvation. Thank You for the assurance that because we've been saved by grace we can rejoice in You. Thank You for the confidence that our joy is not tied to our circumstances but bound in a relationship with Your Son, Jesus Christ, which transcends the circumstances of life. O' good and gracious Father, how can we adequately show our gratitude for all that You have already done, in and through our lives? That we would present the image of Christ to the lost in a world in darkness unbelieving.

Father, we pray that You would bind Your Word tightly to our hearts, help us to make application of these truths, and cause us to live our lives in such a way, that they would bring glory to You.
We pray this in Christ's name. 

Today's Message: Seek and Serve

In Romans 12:1, Paul exhorts us to be living sacrifices to God. "Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." Here, Paul calls us to lay all that we are on the alter. However, the problem with living sacrifices is that they occasionally crawl off the alter, don't they? If we are to continue to grow as Christians, we must learn to stay on the alter, we must value Christ above all else.
There is a kind of contentment that we should all have as Christians. We are content with our station in life. If we are rich or poor, if we are loved or hated, if we are famous or unknown doesn’t matter to us, regardless of theses things we remain content in Christ Jesus. This was the type of contentment Paul had while he sat in a Roman jail.
Open with me your Bibles to the book of Philippians chapter 3, verses 9-11. This is a very personal passage, by the way. Paul's usage of the word "I" and the word "my" appear a number of times. Indicating that he is speaking very personally from the viewpoint of a first- person testimony. 

I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read to get the text set in our minds. Philippians 3:9-11.
"and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; if somehow I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."
People pursue many ambitions in life: pleasure, success, financial security, political power, or being the best at what you do. It may be being a good husband or wife, or any other number of things, but according to the apostle Paul, the greatest pursuit in life is knowing with great intimacy the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul’s greatest ambition in life was to know Jesus Christ. I want you to understand, there is all the difference in the world between knowing of someone and personally knowing someone. 
Paul wanted to know Christ. To know Christ with great emotional and spiritual intimacy was his greatest pursuit in life. He wanted to know the One who created the earth and moon and stars. He wanted to know the One who lived and breathed our air, who died for our sins and rose again the third day. He wanted to know the One who experienced our life to the full, who tasted its joys, who felt its sorrows, who experienced its possibilities and pains. He wanted to know the One who fully understands, who loves and cares, who encourages and forgives, and who still calls out to us today to know Him.
There is also a negative kind of contentment that Paul, and everyone that is Spiritually mature, shuns. Paul was never content with his own growth as a Christian. No matter how much he grew spiritually or how close he got to God, it was never close enough. "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect" Paul says. In other words, I’m not there yet! I strive for perfection, but I haven’t gotten there yet, so I continue to reach for it. Paul said this at the height of his missionary work, I still need to grow closer to and become more like Jesus. 
Beloved, we must never become satisfied with where we are spiritually. To many of us become satisfied and think that we are "mature" don’t need to grow and more. Then we stagnate and eventually we will start to slide backwards and away from God. I have heard a number of people say things like, "But I’m a pastor!", "I’m a deacon", "I teach Sunday school!" Well, isn't that all fine and good, but you must continue to push forward in your relationship with Christ. You must continue to pursue Christ!

Think of your spiritual life like a treadmill. You must always be in motion, because the second you stand still, you will find yourself thrown off the thing. But the more you move and the longer you walk the more endurance you build and the stronger you become.

So in verse 9, Paul says "and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,"

I believe that one of the greatest statements ever recorded in Scripture by the Holy Spirit, that ever fell from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ in found in several books of the gospel. For our study today, we'll look at Matthew 16:25-26 where He says "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what good will it do a person if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul? Or what will a person give in exchange for his soul?"

Here Jesus is talking about an exchange. Giving up something in order to gain something greater. In other words, if you want to save your soul, it will cost you your life. And if you want to save your life, it will cost you your soul. This is a very significant spiritual principle.

Mark Twain, shortly before his death wrote, "A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle;...they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble for little mean advantages over each other; age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; ...those they love are taken from them, and the joy of life is turned to aching grief. It (the release) comes at last--the only unpoisoned gift earth ever had for them--and they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence,...a world which will lament them a day and forget them forever."

The world is filled with sad testimonies of men and women who never knew the joys of a relationship with Jesus Christ, but I don’t want to kid you, I am perfectly aware that there are many other people who not only do not feel any sort of emptiness or sorrow; while they may be spiritually lost, they are perfectly happy and content with their lives. Don’t make the mistake of saying that all lost people are miserable. That’s just not true! There are plenty of lost people having a great time. They may be happy now, however, their end is a devil’s hell, where they will experience an eternity of suffering and sorrow.

Have you been born again? Do you have a personal saving relationship with Jesus Christ? No, I am not asking you if you are a Christian. Everybody and their dog is a "Christian" today in America. Have you ever repented of your sin and placed your faith in Christ? If not, that is your greatest need. Why? Because God created you to bring Him glory. You were placed on this earth to glorify God, but you can’t glorify God because you’re a sinner. Scripture clearly teaches that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." In fact, the very fact that you don’t care whether you glorify God or not, testifies to your sinful nature.

You need to understand today that the wages, or the payment for your sin is death. You are separated from God today and one day you’ll die and go the way of the grave and you’ll spend eternity separated from God, but not just from God. You’ll suffer and eternity of sorrow and isolation thinking about this moment when I asked you to put your faith in Christ. You will think about all the opportunities you had during your earthly life to receive Christ as your Savior. To accept His atonement for your sin.

"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me." There is only one way to heaven. 

Listen, it’s not the Baptist way, the Methodist way, the Pentecostal way or even the Catholic way or  the way of any denomination. It is the way of the Word of God, repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. You must turn away from sin, from self, from denial, from disbelief and doubt and turn to trust in the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ!

Verse 9 tells us that Paul’s righteousness meant nothing to him. The only righteousness acceptable to God was Christ’s righteousness in Him. This is more than the righteousness of Christ that comes to the believer when he is saved, but it is also the righteous character of Christ that is to become our character as we are transformed into His likeness. 
The Apostle Paul was consumed with Christ, knowing Him and becoming more and more like Him. He wanted to act like Jesus, think like Jesus, see like Jesus, feel like Jesus, sacrifice like Jesus, love like Jesus, and serve like Jesus. In verse 8, Paul said that the knowledge of Christ was the most excellent thing there was, that the knowledge of Him surpassed all else. He wanted to know Him unlike he knew anyone else. 
In verse 10 Paul said, "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;"
Paul wanted to know the power of His resurrection. There is no power in a dead Savior! But in the One who was crucified for our sins, suffered and died, was buried and three days later was resurrected, rose up from out of the grave! 
It certainly wasn’t a dead man that Paul encountered on the Damascus Road that day, the day that changed his life, but the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. It wasn’t some dead prophet or lunatic that Thomas had doubts about, but a triumphant Lord. It wasn’t a defeated fool that Peter turned his back on when he denied Him three times as was foretold by Jesus and later spoke with on the shores of Galilee, but the Faithful and True,  Jesus Christ!  
Paul served a risen Savior and there’s something experiential about knowing Christ that gives us the power to overcome sin and follow after Him and do what He says.

Verse 10 also says that he wanted to know the fellowship of His sufferings. If ever a man suffered it was Christ. Isaiah said he endured things that no other man has endured. Yet while He suffered the rejection, the betrayals, the mockery, the beatings, the whippings and the cross, He was thinking about people like you and me. Paul wanted to know that. It is a wonder how suffering for Christ can move a man closer to Him, how the love of God moves in a man’s heart to make him love and have compassion for those who hate him. That’s the result of knowing the fellowship of His sufferings.

In verse 11, Paul writes "if somehow I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."

Paul wanted to be made conformable to His death. Christ gave His life for those He loved, and Paul wanted to know that kind of love: that kind of passion. Paul wanted to know dying to self for the sake of others and what it meant to deny himself daily, take up his cross and follow after Christ.

Paul looked forward with great anticipation to the day when he would meet Jesus face to face. There would come a day when the dead in Christ would rise, when Paul would exchange his old sinful, beaten, worn out body for a new, heavenly, immortal, glorified body.

He wanted to apprehend that for which he had been apprehended. While he waited for the Lord’s return, Paul knew he had been saved for a purpose, and he wanted to fulfill that purpose. His life had been changed and he was going to give it doing what he had been saved to do.

Beloved, surely there could be no greater ambition in all the world than to know Christ. We’re not called to have a relationship with a book. The Bible doesn’t tell us to give our lives to some great cause, but to knowing and experiencing Jesus Christ in all His fullness. When we begin to do that, we’re going to find that we’re living up to our reason for being here, which I’ve already told you is to glorify God.

Not only must we be saved, but we must be growing in Christlikeness. There ought to be a constant state of "spiritual soreness," as we allow God to stretch us, pushing us to new heights in our walk with Christ.  
I think it is important to note, that you will never be effective in answering God’s call to ministry if you have not been faithful in answering God’s other two calls. Each one builds upon the last. Your willingness to answer the call to ministry, whatever that ministry is, is the outflow of the intimate relationship you have with Christ.

Every child of God has a ministry in His church. Yes, you have a personal ministry to your family and friends, but as a child of God and as a member of the family of God, He has placed you here for a specific purpose, and I’ll go so far as to say that if you have never found your place of ministry, it is highly likely that you still need to answer God’s invitation to salvation and or Christlikeness.

To know Him, to be in tune with His heart, with His passions, with His love is to begin to see people as He did, and you cannot see people as Jesus did and be content letting someone else reach them. Paul said, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." How was Paul able to press toward the mark? He counted all things loss. Until you make that same decision you will experience trouble, wherever you are with Christ.

In Closing...

For some of you, that may mean that you need to finally surrender to God’s call to preach His Word. God may be calling you to mission work. But this much we can be sure of: every believer has been given talents and abilities by God so you might further His kingdom work.

There is no doubt that God had a special work in mind when He saved Paul, and although your name or mine, may not be well known throughout the world or even remembered at all, He has a specific work for you to do today. Do not be content to sit in the pew or in your easy chair. Do not be content with complacency. I am not here to do your work for you. The fact is, I can't. God has placed everyone of us here to do His work together. He is inviting you to join Him in ministering to a world that is starving for the truth. 

Today, you have a decision to make. You can either turn a blind eye, or you can choose to be like Christ, feeding those who are hungry for the truth, by sharing the gospel, inviting them to Christ.

We've all seen the Verizon commercials where the man walked all over the world with his cell phone to his ear asking, "Can you hear me now?" Whether you know it or not, everywhere you go, in everything you do, God is calling out to you, asking "Can you hear me now?" 

You may not want to admit it, but many of you know that feeling you get when the phone rings and you answer it, but then don’t really want to talk to the person on the other end. And then, there's a little bit of static comes through the phone, it gets a little hard to hear, and you start bailing out on the conversation. Saying "What! I can’t hear you!" and with a little more eagerness than is Christian, we hang up and pretend we really did have bad reception.

Do we do that with God when He calls us? When we don't want to hear what He's calling us to do. Well, I want to assure you that the signal is never bad! The reception may be bad, but the call comes through loud and clear.

Throughout the Bible, you and I are called from labor to rest; from death to life, from bondage to liberty, from darkness to light, from anxiety to peace, to the fellowship of His Son, and today, to simply know Him better than we did yesterday. The greatest fulfillment in life: is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Will you turn away from everything else, you've been holding on to, will you count it all but loss, and will you risk it all to personally know Jesus Christ today? I pray that you will.

May it be so...

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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