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One Thing

Philippians 3:13



Two years ago I preached “Who Stole Christmas,” not knowing that our village would soon turn into Who-London! [pics]  What a great idea a young man in our community had.  The whole downtown has been transformed around one theme.  And so, I can’t let this go to waste.  I consulted my Doctor, Dr. Seuss, and he helped me put together a sermon.


Here’s what I want to preach about today:  one thing.  [That shouldn’t take long!]


Only a few people can do more than one thing at a time, especially us men.  It’s a proven fact that ladies are multi-tasking and multi-talented - sometimes even multi-personality!  [just kidding]  Most people never become proficient in more than one trade or occupation.  They may be a “jack of all” but usually only “master of one.”


The mind can only truly focus on one line of thought at a time. And by the time a person reaches their mid teens they are usually settled on one pattern of lifestyle.  Ideally, we get on track, and we focus on one thing, and achieve much!


I.      ONE THING I DO– Overcoming the Past.  Phil. 3:13-14


The past has passed, so let’s get past it.


Paul is looking back over his life as he is writing. He knows that his past is not worthy to steal from the present or the future.


I have reservations about people who get saved from a wicked past life and then immediately write their life story - expounding over several hundred pages of their past sin. Then on the very last page they will bring it to the climax with a brief statement concerning their salvation experience. Why not expound on salvation and the grace of God and let the past life be forgotten?  That’s what Paul is applying here.  “Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.”


Defeat and depression comes from dwelling on the past. You can’t live yesterday over again.  Dr. J. Harold Smith used to say he never gives his life story because he would have to bring up his past sins. The Bible tells us that God has forgotten them, so why bring them up again?


Peter Marshall said, “Never let the past be so dear as to limit the future.”


How Does One Overcome The Past?


Paul says, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”


You must bury those past memories of the old life / sins.  Repent!


Heb 11:15  "And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned."


God called Abraham and Sarah to a new life so they left the old one behind. You and I must also adopt the same policy.


Luke 9:62

    And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

        This is a race we are running, so we must focus on the goal or get tripped up!


If Christians would just get a hold of this one thing they would be blessed!


Let’s move from thing 1 to thing 2…


II.    ONE THING I KNOW – Overcoming Doubt.  John 9:25


John 9:25  "He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see."


This is talking about settling your assurance of salvation.


Two Factors That Give This Man his Assurance of Salvation:

                1. “I was blind” – He admitted his condition.  A lost person must admit he is a sinner.

                2. “Now I see.” –  He accepted the cure.  A person must accept what Christ has done on the cross for redemption of his sin.


That’s what salvation is.  But humans try to make salvation too complicated.  Don't muddy the waters.


There is always someone who questions the convert’s salvation.


John 9:19  "And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?"


Many religions associate certain happenings with salvation; a chilling feeling, tears, or a burden lifted.  You may have had such an experience, but remember that Salvation is a fact, not a feeling.  It is trusting Christ’s works on the cross and accepting His payment on your account.


Every Christian Must Settle This One Thing.  Doubt is the one major reason for Christian failure.


Doubts can come from 2 sources:

From God-To provoke the salvation of a lost person. [conviction]

From Satan-To paralyze the service of a believer. [God is not the author of confusion!]


Settle it in your heart today. Billy Sunday said, “With Christ you are saved; without Him you are lost.” That’s the right approach. Do you have Him?  If so, you are saved. If not, you are lost.



III.   ONE THING THOU LACKEST – Overcoming the World

Mark 10:21-22.


Mark 10:21  "Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me."

Mark 10:22  "And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions."


I believe that if he agreed to sell it all, Jesus would have added that it is not necessary - what is important is the heart attitude toward those things.  This man had great possessions.  There Was “One Thing” Between Him And Jesus…no…MANY things!

                1. Great material possessions.

                2. He was a good man.

                3. He had kept all of the commandments. Vs. 20.

                4. He feared God

                5. He was moral


Yet Jesus told him that there was one thing that was missing. “One thing thou lackest.”  And people today know there’s something missing…they feel the emptiness, they sense the void.  It’s our job to show them how to fill it and be fulfilled!


The Man Considered Jesus’ Command An Impossibility.


This one thing kept him out of heaven. Think of the millions that will go to hell for the same reason as did this man.


Are there any here today that are so motivated by worldly things that you won’t really listen to what God is saying to you?  Maybe you are holding onto just one thing!


Some day you are going to go away sad as did this young man.


On to thing 4...

IV.   ONE THING IS NEEDFUL – Overcoming Monotony.  Luke 10:42.


Luke 10:42  "But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."


In that text, Jesus has come for a visit, and Martha is busy serving, but Mary is at His feet worshiping.  Martha’s not too happy about this, clanging pots and pans, clearing her voice… “little help!”  Martha’s not too “merry”!

        But Mary is doing what’s important.


Too many of us live life like we’re on a leash, and someone else is in control.  We do what’s urgent, not what’s important.  Too many important things are being sacrificed on “the altar of the urgent”!


Psalm 27:4

    One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

        That’s spiritual focus!

2 Peter 3:8

    But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

        We feel we have many days and many things to do, but spiritual focus will keep us on task of what’s truly important!

Jesus Rebuked Martha For Her Spiritual Ignorance.

        Jesus told her, “Mary hath chosen that good part.” she sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His words.


Let’s face it:  we can’t do it all…so let’s make sure we’re doing what’s most important.  Certainly there’s much serving to be done…but worship must take priority first!


It’s better to just do one thing and do it well, than to have so many irons in the fire that we make a mess of all we do!


And remember:  The physical passes away.  The spiritual abides forever.


2 Cor. 4:18

    While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.


Let’s not wind up on our death bed having been led around by the neck on the leash of monotony.  Let’s take charge of our lives and live abundantly, focusing on what’s important…what makes a difference both now and eternally!


This Christmas, let’s focus on the one thing that is the reason for the season.  Find that one thing you can do for your Lord and do it faithfully.  Read your Bible and look for one thing every day.  And let’s all remember that the main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing!

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