Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
» Get directions

Lent 2 – March 17, 2019 – Phil. 3:17-4:1 “KEEP YOU EYES ON JESUS”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Epistle Lesson just read, from Philippians 3 and 4.  We begin with prayer.

 

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • In the book of Hebrews we read: “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith,”
  • This is what all of the apostles did, and why the apostle Paul could urge us to “join in imitating me” and to keep eyes on those who were living as the apostles were. To do so was to “KEEP OUR EYES ON JESUS.”
  • Paul shares what has happened to some who lost their focus on Christ, and did not imitate the apostolic example of Christian living.
  • He then reminds us of our high calling, which we have received through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He reminds us of the coming day of the Lord, Judgment Day, and the wonderful transformation we will experience.  This should be sufficient to move us to always “stand firm in the Lord.”  That is the goal of this portion of Scripture.
  • So the logic runs like this:

I.  The Apostles Keep Their Eyes On Jesus, The Author And Perfecter Of Our Faith – So Let Us Imitate Them In Our Living

 

Text:  “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.”

 

Statement:  Paul is not claiming to be inerrant and without sin in his way of life.  First of all he would urge all of us to remain in repentance and full faith and trust in Jesus, in Whom we have forgiveness, mercy, and the blessings of God.  Second, in his public behavior he honors Christ and the Word of God, and seeks to conform to what is truly good and right, what is truly loving.  For God is love, and His Word shows us the way of love.

 

Application:  Doing this will not only preserve us from the behavior and fate of the “enemies of the cross,” but it will benefit us greatly, and bless those around us.  It will continue to make us “stand firm in the Lord.”  Nothing could be more important!  For:

 

II.  Some, Who Lose Sight Of Jesus, Fall Into Unbelief, Cynicism, And Destruction

 

A.  They End Up Living As Enemies Of The Cross Of Christ, The Gospel, And Jesus

 

Text:  “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.”

 

B.  Their Way Of Life Is Focused On Sinful Pleasures, Shameful Things

 

Text:  “Their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”

 

C.  They Are Headed For Destruction

 

Text:  “Their end is destruction.”

 

Statement:  This is what was happening to some who had been part of the church.  It is a terrible thing!  Not only do they forfeit the blessings of forgiveness and eternal life in heaven, they actually heap up punishment upon themselves by opposing the Gospel and bringing shame upon themselves. 

 

Application:  Paul, and every other genuine servant of God’s Word, would strongly encourage this very same thing.  Some say that losing a child to death is the worst sorrow and pain.  Losing a fellow Christian to such a way of life is exactly the same – the worst sorrow and pain.  For we know how much God’s children mean to Him, and how it must hurt Him to lose one back to the devil!  Let’s make sure it does not happen to us, by “KEEPING OUR EYES ON JESUS.”  For in the case of believers:

 

III.  Our Destiny Is Heaven

 

A.  This Is Where Our True Citizenship Is

 

Text:  “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

B.  He Will Give Us Glorious Bodies

 

Text:  “He will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.”

 

C.  He Has Subjected All Things To Himself – Therefore What He Promises Is Sure And Certain

 

Statement:  It is a great privilege and honor to be a U.S. citizen.  We don’t think about this enough, but there is likely no country whose citizenship is better.  People covet American citizenship.  But it is not eternal.  It does nothing to better our sinful nature.  It provides no benefits after death.

 

Application:  So our heavenly citizenship is much greater, much more blessed, and eternal.  Our bodies are to become glorious, like Christ’s glorious body, and we will be in heaven, the home of righteousness.  Here there is no sin, no sorrow, no suffering, no tears, no dying.  Here there is only the greatest of joys and goodness.  And it is all sure and certain, for Christ is already seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty, and reigning over all things. 

 

We can remain firm in all of this by paying heed to what Paul wrote.  We “KEEP OUR EYES ON JESUS,” as did the apostles.  We imitate them in this, and walk as they did, in holiness and purity of life.  When we sin we repent and turn to Jesus for forgiveness and cleansing, which we receive through His Word, through absolution, and through the Sacrament of His body and blood.  And we return to a life of goodness and decency, longing for the return of Jesus and the Last Day.

 

Conclusion:  All around us are folks who do actually live as enemies of the cross.  Appetite for earthly pleasures, luxuries, and shameful things is the focus of many of our fellow men and women.  Sadly, this leads to their destruction!  And we can easily be tempted likewise, and shift our focus to “earthly things.”  God forbid!

 

This is not our destiny, for God has called us to faith in Jesus, and we are devoted to Him, and standing firm in our faith.  Our destiny is where our citizenship is – in heaven.  And so we live in accordance with that destiny.  Thanks and praise be to God, Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.