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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).
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.
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(see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Return Of Judah), kept the Law of the LORD in name, but gradually replaced and superseded much of it with their own laws and traditions: "15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?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.
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.
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?
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).
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).
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.