Keep Your Eyes on the Prize!

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize!

Sunday Evening English Worship

November 4, 2018 - 5:00 pm

Messenger: Don Frank


Bible Passages: Philippians 3:14


Introduction: Boy, I tell you, we got so much stuff going on in our world these days. Things are changing. Things are getting better. And all kind of new stuff is coming into our world constantly.

    My brother-in-law just got transferred back here to Sapporo after working for several years as a company branch manager down near Tokyo. And when he came back, he brought the usual souvenirs to share with us and also a package. In the package was a Toshiba Robot vacuum cleaner! Now, we already have a Roomba vacuum cleaner, but he said that if we could use it, he was happy to give it to us! I don’t think it’s quite is good as a Roomba, but still the technology is fantastic and the vacuum cleaner can go all over the house by itself, sucking up all the dog hair! For those of you that have been to my house, you know that I have lots of space and this kind of a robot vacuum cleaner is very handy!

    And as all these new technologies come along, they are so very attractive and it’s easy for us to get hooked on them and take our eyes off other important things. And that’s what I’d like to talk about this evening.

    The title of my message tonight is "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize" and I'd like to start out tonight by reading together our first Bible passage, Philippians 3:14 (NLT). "I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize" is an old expression probably originally taken from an old, African spiritual song called Keep Your Hand on the Plow. The idea of the phrase and the song as well is that we should be faithful to God and never give up until it's time for Him to take us on to heaven!

    My study tonight is in 3 parts with 3 Bible verses that talk about 3 things we Christians need to remember to do, using the English word FIX.


1. Fix My Word in Your Hearts. (Deuteronomy 11:18 - NET Bible)

    "Fix these words of mine into your mind and being, and tie them as a reminder on your hands and let them be symbols on your forehead."

    The idea here with the English word "fix" is "to put and to keep without changing." And that is exactly what God is telling us to do. He’s directing us to put His Word in our hearts, our minds, and deep inside of us so that we will never forget His promises. Now, you might be thinking, “OK Don, that’s all well and good, but how do you do it?“ And this is very similar to another question that I get often, “What’s the best way to learn English?“ It’s going to be different for each person. Personally, I really like being able to use my smartphone to connect to the Bible, even when I stop at a read light while I'm driving, and just enjoy reading a passage of Scripture.

    I think the key point is to have a desire deep inside to read and remember God's Word as much as you can! Is reading the Bible refreshing and enjoyable for you? If you're not interested, you'll never get started. If you're not motivated, you won't continue. If you don't practice, you'll never get better. The more time you spend with God, the more you'll fall in love with Him! Try it and see how sweet God will become to you!


2. Fix Your Attention on the Unseen. (2 Corinthians 4:18 - BSB)

    "For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever."

    Now, each of these three points is tricky and can be pretty difficult to do. The first one that we just looked at, Fix God’s Word in Your Heart, takes a good bit of effort and time. But this second one is maybe the most difficult for us humans to do. We live every day by looking at all of the physical things around us. And yet, God says in his word that this world will one day pass away. Now, it doesn’t seem like that to us. Sure, somethings in this world disappear and new ones come. But God says that all of this is going to disappear one day, and that includes not only the bad things of this world, but everything that we can see around us!

    Paul tells us here in 2nd Corinthians that we need to fix our attention on the things that aren’t seen because they are going to last forever. So, let’s think about this for a moment. What are the things that we can’t see that Paul tells us we need to focus on? How about God, our Savior Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, heaven, eternity, our relationship with their brothers and sisters in Christ forever?

    It’s so easy for us to keep our eyes on the things of this world because we see them every day, right before our eyes, in real life, on television, on the Internet and just everywhere. But God tells us here that those things are not so nearly important. It’s all the things of God that we can’t see with our physical eyes that are actually the most important things of all!


3. Fix Your Eyes on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2 - BSB)

    "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

    So, we need to keep our eyes on God‘s Word and we need to keep our eyes on all the invisible things of God’s kingdom. But there’s one more thing that the Bible tells us we need to fix our eyes on. And that is our best friend and Savior, Jesus Christ! And to be honest with you, the more time you spend looking at Jesus Christ, the deeper your faith will become and the more you will discover how beautiful he truly is!

    And we can see all of that beauty in the rest of this Bible passage. His beauty is in the faith that he gives us every day and will perfectly give to us when we get to heaven. The cross that he died on is beautiful because by that cross we could get on the highway to heaven! And his beauty also comes from the fact that he is truly God, and as the conquering Son of God, he sits right beside His Father in heaven, shining for all eternity, brighter than the sun!


Conclusion: So, my time has come to an end for this evening’s Bible lesson. But the key takeaway point that I want to leave you with this evening is that though it’s difficult to keep our focus on these 3 things, God’s Word, all the unseen things, and Jesus Christ Himself, these 3 things are more important than anything else in our world! Let me encourage you to join me day by day as we focus all of our attention on all the good things that God is and on all the good things that he has promised to us!


Closing Prayer: Let's finish this evening by taking our last Bible passage and reading it together.


Hebrews 12:2

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."


Now let's look at our closing prayer and pray it together:


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so very much for this sweet fellowship together this evening. Thank you also for teaching us some important lessons from your Word. Help us to love reading the Bible more and more every day. Help us not to be in love with all the things of this world. Help us also not to be worried about all the problems and the bad things in this world. But help us to be in love with your kingdom and your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. We pray all these things now in Jesus' precious name, Amen.