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Sunday, August 28 2016

Philippians 3: Aim High

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus"

The English-language word "perfect" originated from two Latin words, per, meaning thorough, and fact, meaning to do. Perfect ("per-fact") literally means to do completely - by a wholehearted effort, then as the end-result of that effort.

"Perfect" is used three different ways in the English language (see also The Apostle Paul's Gramma).

  • As a noun, perfect means something that has been completed e.g. "it's now perfect."

  • As a verb, perfect means to make complete e.g. to perfect an ability of some sort.

  • As an adjective, perfect means a value judgment of to be complete without defect or blemish e.g. "the weather is perfect today."

From a Christian point of view, no human is "perfect." All humans are sinners, all humans fall short of perfection. But repentant Christians are in a state of perfection, not meaning that Christians are now perfect, but perfection in the sense of being made perfect, just as perfect is used in the verb sense as described above. Christian perfection is a process of repentant people (see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners) seeking to perfect their perfection.

Heaven The Law of the LORD (see What Does God's Law Prohibit?) has been given to all of humanity (see the Fact Finder question below) - first formally to the Israelites, to make humans aware of what has become wrong with them since they became dead-end sinners.

After the division of Israel into two independent kingdoms (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel and Judah), the northern Kingdom of Israel lost the Law of the LORD completely - and were completely lost for their unfaithfulness to the LORD (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes and What Happens To A Nation When God's Law Is Forsaken?).

The Kingdom of Judah (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah), after their Babylonian exile (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Return Of Judah), kept the Law of the LORD in name, but gradually replaced and superseded much of it with their own laws and traditions: "15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? ... 15:7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:3,7-9 KJV).

The result was that, instead of aiming high to true righteousness by striving to truly obey the genuine Law of the LORD, they became smug, self-righteous and "perfect" in their own eyes. Many of the righteous observances that the LORD gave to them came to mean, and identify with, those who had actually blinded themselves (see Paul's Blindness Lesson) to true righteousness with their "laws" and "rights" (see They Aren't Rights If The LORD Says They're Wrongs) - a delusion that has infected Judaism as much as it has man-made perversions of Christianity (see Jude: Ungodly Men Who Turn Grace Into Lawlessness).

"3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh.

If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." (Philippians 3:1-11 KJV)

The apostle Paul (see Paul, The Apostle To The World), like all true servants of the LORD (see Fellowlabourers Whose Names Are In The Book Of Life), taught the LORD's humility as the means to complete the journey to when and where absolute perfection will indeed happen: "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

"3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 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, 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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

3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 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: 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 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." (Philippians 3:12-21 KJV)

Fact Finder: The reason that "heaven" is going to be Paradise is because there will be no Satan or Satan-minded rebels in it - ever and forever. How will that be accomplished?
See Who Can Be Saved? and What Does Salvation Really Mean?; also The Christian Day Of Atonement: Past, Present and Future and The Feast Of Tabernacles: The Return Of Paradise Prophecy

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This Day In History, August 28

475: As the Roman Empire continued to crumble, Western Roman Emperor Julius Nepos fled Ravenna, his capital, while under attack by Roman general Orestes (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). The original Roman Empire "fell," but was superseded by "the Holy Roman Empire" (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

489: Ostrogoth forces under King Theodoric defeated Odoacer at the Battle of Isonzo.

1189: During the Third Crusade (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy), the Church of Rome "Crusaders" began the Siege of Acre (Acre is an ancient city in the western Galilee area of northern Israel).

The Siege of Acre

1349: Thousands of Jews in Mainz, Germany were murdered by people who accused them of causing the bubonic plague. The Jews were actually healthier than their ignorant persecutors because they generally observed the Biblical laws of health that the LORD gave to everyone (see Bacteria, Sexual Abominations and What Makes Creatures Clean or Unclean?).

1413: St. Andrew's University in Scotland was chartered by a papal decree from Gregory XII.

1521: Ottoman Turks occupied Belgrade (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).

1565: Spanish admiral and explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles sighted land near what is today St. Augustine, Florida. He founded there the oldest continuously-occupied European-established city in the continental U.S. (see also Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).

Spanish Exploration

1609: Delaware Bay was explored by Henry Hudson, for the Netherlands.

1619: Ferdinand II was elected Emperor of the "Holy Roman Empire."

1789: William Herschel discovered Saturn's moon Enceladus (both "Saturn" and "Enceladus" are examples of pagan names that many scientists have foolishly applied to many things in God's Creation - they hypocritically deny the existence of God, while using the names of pagan gods for their "science").

1859: A geomagnetic storm caused the Aurora Borealis ("the Northern Lights") to shine so intensely that it was seen over central and southern Europe and Asia.

1883: The British Parliament banned slavery throughout the British Empire.

1914: Three German cruisers were sunk by ships of the Royal Navy in the Battle of Heligoland Bight, the first major naval battle of the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).

1945: Chinese communist leader Mao Tse-Tung arrived in Chunking to meet with Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-Shek in what turned out to be a fruitless attempt to avert civil war.

1957: U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond began a filibuster to stop the Senate from voting on the Civil Rights Act of 1957. It became the longest filibuster ever produced by a single U.S. Senator.

1963: Amidst a national protest march for integration, U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King met with President John Kennedy at the White House. Later that day, King made his famous "I have a dream" speech. Within 5 years, both Kennedy (later that same year) and King (in 1968, the same year as John Kennedy's Presidential-candidate brother Robert) were assassinated.

1988: The Ramstein airshow disaster. Three aircraft of the Frecce Tricolori team collided. The wreckage of the falling aircraft killed 75 people and injured 346.

1990: The government of Saddam Hussein declared Kuwait to be the 19th province of Iraq, in a move that foreshadowed the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

1996: A British court finalized the divorce of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer.

2005: Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana and Mississippi, devastating New Orleans.

2011: Hurricane Irene struck the U.S. east coast, killing 47 people and causing over $15 billion in damage.



Copyright © Wayne Blank