"TIME TO MOVE ON"
I. YOU HAVE CIRCLED THIS MOUNTAIN LONG ENOUGH.
A. Have you ever felt that your wheels were spinning but you were going no where?
B. So many people are in this condition as far as their spiritual lives are concerned.
1. It seems that you are not making any true progress.
2. At the end of this old year it seems that you haven't really progressed very far from where you were at the beginning of the year.
3. In fact, you are pretty much where you were five years ago.
4. What is really tragic is to look back over the past five years and realize that you are in fact not as far along as you were five years ago. You have actually gone backward.
C. Some people's lives seem to be going nowhere, they are in a rut. Life has become routine. Phil Harris used to sing a song, "Life Gets So Tedious Don't It?"
D. It is sad to watch someone who is going nowhere.
E. For over thirty years the children of Israel were circling the same mountain. They were moving, the only problem, they were moving in circles.
F. Finally the Lord spoke to Moses and declared, "You have circled this mountain long enough."
1. It is time to move on.
II. I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS OVER INTO THE SPIRITUAL REALM.
A. There are many people who have never gone beyond the beginning stages of their Christian experience.
B. Paul bemoaned the spiritual immaturity of the Corinthian believers. He wrote to them:
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, [even] as unto babes in Christ.
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for up to now you were not able [to bear it], nor are you yet able.
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and still walking after the old nature?
1. They were still as babies needing the bottle.
2. Things must be done to please them or you will hear a horrible wailing coming from the crib.
3. They go to church to be entertained.
C. The writer of the book of Hebrews said very much the same to his readers.
For when the time came that you should be teaching others, you still have a need to be taught the first principles of the Christian faith. You can only handle milk and are not able to digest solid food.
For every one that is only able to drink milk [is] still a baby and is not skilled in his understanding of the word...
Solid food is for those who are mature, those who have enough sense to discern good and evil.
Therefore let us leave the first principles of the doctrine of Christ and move on to maturity. There is no need to lay again the foundational truths of the necessity of repenting from dead works and putting your faith in the work of God.
We need not to go over again the importance of baptism, and of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
D. The writer is basically saying, you have circled this mountain long enough, let us move on.
E. Paul told the church in Ephesus that God has appointed in the church pastor teachers for the purpose of bringing the saints into maturity so that they might become involved in the ministry. They are to build up the body of Christ until they all come into a unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. A fully matured believer, attaining to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ! He declares that the purpose of this maturing and growing up is that they would no longer be as little children who are tossed about and fall for every wind of doctrine developed by cunning and crafty men who seek to prey upon the saints:
III. SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO MOVE FORWARD.
A. Paul wrote to the Philippians and declared that he had not yet apprehended, that for which he had been apprehended by Jesus Christ.
1. He is saying that he has not yet arrived.
2. It is important to realize that God has much more for us. We have not yet attained to the full measure of that which God has for us.
3. When God apprehended you, and drew you to Himself, He had a plan and purpose for your life.
a. Jesus said to His disciples, "You did not choose Me, I chose you and ordained that you should be My disciples, and that you should bring forth fruit, and that your fruit might remain."
b. He chose them that they might produce lasting fruit.
c. He also choose you that you might also bring forth lasting fruit.
B. Paul said: "This is what I do."
1. Forgetting those things which are behind.
a. Not trying to live on past laurels or accomplishments.
b. Not trying to live on past experiences.
c. Past experiences are only valid when they are translated and continue in your present experience.
d. I am not so interested in what God did in your life 20 years ago, what has He done today?
2. Reaching for those things which are before.
a. I am far more interested in what God is going to do for me in 2001, than I am in what God did for me in the year 2000.
b. 2000 is past, I am so grateful for what God did in 2000, but I am anxious and waiting to see what His plans are for this next year.
3. I press toward the mark.
a. I am pressing toward the tape.
b. The closer you get to the end of the race, the harder you should pursue the prize.
c. You do not slacken as you approach the finish line, but you put everything into it.
d. Paul wrote that they that run in a race, though many may be running, only one will receive the prize. So run that you might obtain.
e. We that are running in this race for our Lord, will all receive a prize, but what kind of prize will you receive?
4. Paul desired the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
a. Writing to Timothy Paul said, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord our righteous judge shall give to me, but not to me only, but to all those who love His appearing.
b. He was looking forward to standing before the judges seat and hearing the words of Jesus, "Well done good and faithful servant."
c. At the beginning of every year I think to myself, "This could be the year our Lord comes for His church I want to give it my best for this just might be it." One of these years I am going to be right."