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Sermon

Reaching for the Goal

Theme

Reaching for the prize God has for us

Object

A trophy or a medal

Scripture

Philippians 3:4-14

Have you ever run a race? (Give time for the children to respond.) When I was younger, I loved to run. I started out running short races, but as my love for running grew, I ran in some longer races. The longest race I ever ran was a marathon. Do you know how long a marathon is? (Allow response from the children.) A marathon is 26 miles and 385 yards. Wow! That is a long race, isn't it?

This is a medal I received for running a marathon. One day I showed some friends the medal I had received and one of them asked me, "Did you win the race?"

I answered, "Well, I wasn't the first runner to finish the race, but everyone who finished the race was a winner and received a prize." So, even though I didn't come in first, I finished the race, and earning this medal is the greatest prize of my days as a runner.

In our Bible lesson today, the Apostle Paul writes a letter telling the people in the church at the town of Philippi about the joy of being a follower of Jesus. He told them that being a follower of Jesus is like running a race and winning the prize that God has for us.

Paul explained, "I don't mean that I am exactly what God wants me to be. I haven't reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach that goal and make it mine. That is what Jesus wants me to do. I have a long way to go, but there is one thing I do: I forget about what is past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal that God has for me."

Do you know what the prize was that Paul was talking about? It is eternal life in heaven with Christ Jesus. That is the prize that Paul was looking forward to, and it is the prize that you and I look forward to as well.

Paul continued, "I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."

As a follower of Jesus, you and I are running the same race that the Apostle Paul ran. When we finish the race, we will claim the same prize that Paul told the Philippians about—eternal life in heaven with Jesus Christ.

Dear Father, help us to run the race and claim the prize of eternal life in heaven with Jesus. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

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