I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:14
Text: Philippians 3:8-15, 20-21
Prop: a prize bag for each child labeled “PRIZE” (with contents noted below)
Summary: The goal is not heaven, but to become more like Jesus every day.
Do you like to participate in contests? Most contests have only one winner or maybe a second-place and third-place winner. Today I want to tell you about a contest where everyone who plays can be a winner. Look at these prize bags. I want everyone to have one, but you must agree to play. Who will play? (Look for agreement to play.)
Okay. This is how we will play. The goal of the contest is to become more like Jesus each day. To be allowed to play, you must be willing to follow Jesus as your Savior. I know what you are thinking. You want to know what is in the prize bag! Let us look inside. [Select a bag and review the contents. The contents are five labels with a phrase and related Bible verse and some sweet candy treats. You may read the related scriptures if time permits or leave it for study time.)
1. Citizen of Heaven (Philippians 3:20)
2. Born-Again Date ________ (John 3:7)
3. Certificate of Eternal Life (John 5:24)
4. Ticket to Resurrection of Life (John 5:29)
5. GRAND PRIZE: Becoming like Jesus (Philippians 3:10)
Wow! This bag even has some candy inside too! (Cheer.) Simply knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior is sweeter than all the candy in the world! The game we have been playing is called Life. Everyone can play. Paul said in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The goal is not getting to a place called heaven. God has already promised that to those who have faith in Jesus (John 14:2).
The goal is to take the time God gives us on earth to become more and more like Jesus. We do that by letting God change us from the inside out. First, inwardly in our hearts, and then outwardly in the way we live and behave. Eternal life begins the moment we are born again (that is, born spiritually by our faith in Jesus). We look forward to that day of resurrection when we will be given our new heavenly bodies. Meanwhile, we spend our lives following Jesus. It is all about Jesus: learning to love Him and serve Him, day by day, and becoming more and more like Jesus every day.
Let us pray: Dear Lord Jesus, Help me to become more like you every day. Amen.
©2003 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.