This is an "End Time" Message
And it's not about a "rapture"!
That I May
Luke 19:12,13 “He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.”
This is the first line of the very familiar parable of the talents as told by Luke. In this message I want to concentrate on the aspect of the Kingdom. Each of the servants was given a certain amount of money. It was a gift. Then they were expected to “occupy” or to “do business” until he returned. They were to “earn” something. In verse 15 Jesus tells us that the man received the Kingdom and returned and his servants had to give an accounting of what they had done with their “gift”.
This parable quickly shows us that the “gift” is Salvation and what we do with it will determine our standing with Christ when He returns. This parable is evident in the life of the Apostle Paul. He, as we have, received the “gift of Salvation” but he took that gift and worked with it like none other. His reward must have been great in heaven and can you imagine what it will be when Jesus returns and sets up His Kingdom on earth? This is part of what motivated Paul to do and to be what he did and what he was. Let’s apply it to our lives too.
Philippians 3:7-14 There are 7 things the Apostle Paul wanted to attain in his lifetime. He was already saved and filled with the Holy Ghost and so these 7 things are things that have to deal with “going on to perfection”.
To win Christ
To be found in Him
To know Him
To know the power of His Resurrection
The fellowship of his sufferings
To be made conformable to his death
To attain the Resurrection of the dead
In order to do attain to these things Paul said he was going to forget the things behind and press on towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. This “high calling” is better translated “upward calling” but we will look at that later. Let’s look at these seven things:
1. To Win Christ:
There are external things that are seen in Christian that we may have in meetings, etc. Salvation, Preaching, Gifts, etc. but we don't “win” them...
Colossians 2:3 “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge:”
It is the deep unfolding of the treasures that are hidden in Christ that we “win”. These treasures are in Christ... that's interior... You don't get that as a gift... you win it! You must be seeking, seeking, seeking!
Matthew 11: 28,29 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
First you are given a rest by coming to Jesus; that's Salvation and then you find a rest by taking his yoke upon yourself... that's a discovery!
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find:”
There are many things that you can receive on the asking level... Winning Christ is not one of them! That's only received on the seeking level!
2. That I may be found in Him:
Every Christian is "in Christ"... but that's a positional truth:
When you invite Jesus inside of you... He comes in and places you inside of Him too. But, have you "found yourself" in Him? Do you find that each day He searches you out a bit more and shows you about yourself so that His Holy Spirit can do a more complete work in you?
There are so many people who are in Christ but have never "found out" what that means! They have not really found the real new person that they are... that is a continual discovery, something that goes on and on throughout our lives.
3. That I may know Him:
A small example: A preacher wants to instill humility into the congregation so he preaches a long sermon about all the terrible things that people do... it gets to them... it has a deep psychological effect on them but does that make them humble? Not really. It may scare them. It may make them ashamed too, but humble them... No.
What humbles us is to get good and close to Jesus and get to know Him... The more that we know Him the more humble we become...
Paul didn't say that he wanted to know more about Jesus... read more about Him, get more theological knowledge of Him... he wanted to know him in a personal way!
4. To know the power of His Resurrection:
To know that... you have to go to the very door of death... physically, emotionally, mentally, whatever... Then you can discover that. You can't discover that unless you do!
5. The fellowship of his sufferings:
You can get rid of sins at Calvary... but you can't get rid of suffering no matter how much you'd like to. We want the fellowship of His joy, His power, His Love, etc. But the fellowship of His suffering produces something wonderful in us and gives us a great treasure:
Romans 8:17 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
2 Timothy 2:12 “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him:”
6. To be made conformable to his death:
To live as He died; selfless, giving, caring, forgiving, not holding onto resentment, no bitterness, no anger, no jealousy...
7. To attain the Resurrection of the dead:
Everyone is going to experience a resurrection whether they want to or not…
We know that all Christians are going to be resurrected unto life and sinners unto death... Well then Paul is not talking about that Resurrection because that's not something you attain...
In Revelation chapter 20, John the Apostle opens our understanding by speaking of two resurrections. He tells us in verses 4-6, that after Satan is bound, there is an elect group who will be resurrected to reign with Christ for 1,000 years.
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,"
This is what Paul is referring to when he says that he is “reaching for the prize.” He is saying that he desires to be counted worthy to attain to this elect group.
Paul understands that there is a general resurrection, which is called the “great white throne judgment,” where everyone will be raised from the dead. But he cannot be speaking of this, because there is nothing to attain to.
A paraphrase of verse 14 will help us to understand his passion; “I have set my sights on the award of the upward invitation of God in Christ Jesus, and I am pursuing it with everything I have.”
This “upward invitation” is nothing less than to be included in that group of saints who will meet the Lord in the air, and return with Him to “rule and reign” during the Millennium. He is saying that the Lord “apprehended” him for this very purpose, and that he is actively pursuing it.
Philippians 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.”
Paul uses a particular word for resurrection in Philippians 3:11 It is not the usual word "anastasis" but a compound word “ex-anastasis”. This is the only place where it is found in Scripture. It literally means an “out-resurrection” or, “a partial resurrection out of the resurrection.” John simply calls it “the First Resurrection.”
Therefore the High Calling of God is to be a partaker in this out-resurrection from among the dead, in order to be a part of this elect group that will reign with Christ. Those who partake in this "First Resurrection" are blessed and holy because they are the priests of God who will “reign” with Christ for 1,000 years. The rest of the dead do not live again until the “great white throne” judgment.
Revelation 5:9-10 “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
There is a key word that Paul uses to inform us of this great truth.
1 Corinthians 15:20-24 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.”
The key to understanding is found in verse in 23; here he gives the “tagma” or “order” of the resurrection. “Order” is the Greek military term “tagma” which means “by rank”. So Paul shows us the exact order of the resurrection. He tells us how it will take place.
A second key is found in verse 24: here the Greek word "telios", or "end", is better translated by the English words “the rest”. So we could read it this way: “then the rest come when He…”
Putting these two thoughts together we see that Jesus was the first to rise from the dead, so He is the “firstfruits” and after him we see the rest of the order of the resurrection:
First: Christ the firstfruits
Second: they that are His at His Coming: those who rule in the Millenium
Lastly: then the rest come after the Millennium
Is the Lord stirring your heart to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling?” If you desire to be among those who will "reign" with Christ for 1,000 years, then your prayer must be to become an overcomer.
Revelation 3:21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne.”
In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul uses the example of a Conquering Hero in his victory parade;
You see, when the returning Hero would come he would walk under an Arch of Triumph and close behind him, each in their order would be his Generals, his Commanders, and his Faithful Leaders, etc. Paul is seeking to be in that very first part of the Triumphal Parade.
Paul also used the example of the Harvest. When the Harvest was done the very first sheaf of Wheat was gathered and waved before the Lord. Then they had a "mowing" and after that a "gleaning".
Christ is the Firstfruits, the Wave Offering, then there are those who are part of the Mowing and after that, the leftovers, the gleanings.
Paul didn't want to be a part of the "gleanings", he wanted to be part of the mowing. He didn't want to be in the end of the Parade, he wanted to be in front with His Jesus!
“That I may “win Christ”, that I may be found in Him: That I may know Him, that I may know the power of His Resurrection: That I may know the fellowship of his sufferings: That I may be made conformable unto his death: That I might attain unto the Resurrection of the dead.”
And so to order to attain these seven things Paul was going to press onward, ever onward… these things would be found on the “seeking level”.
What part of the resurrection do you want to be a part of? The first part in which the Overcomers are raised from the dead and those who are alive meet them and the Lord in the air and come to earth to reign for 1,000 years or the second part which just goes to heaven?
Paul wanted to “apprehend that for which he was apprehended”… do you?
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