Remember there were false teachers teaching importance of Roman Colony Citizenship Conduct, Status by Rank, and Jewish Law. Paul knocks this down by reminding the new believers of the real goal – that of reaching heaven!
So many times, we allow Satan to change goal. He causes us, by throwing every obstacle and trial in our face, to focus on the moment rather than the outcome. The finish line is what we are after and the Preparing for that Finish Line – Becoming like Christ!
Paul teaches the importance of “Pressing One” in all areas of life. We must move towards the mark – towards the finish line – toward the day when Christ greets us face to face and says “You’ve arrived”!
We Must Move Beyond:
- Move beyond your past
- Move beyond your guilt
- Move beyond your insecurities
Christ sets no requirements for entering the race other than ourselves – just as we are – with no requirements other than ourselves. Leaving everything behind gets us into the race and running one stride at a time towards the finish line without looking back, Christ calls on us to be heaven bound for the prize God has called us to achieve!
PASSAGE: PHILIPPIANS 3:12-4:1
START BACK WITH 3:10 & 11
GOAL: “I want to know Christ”
Saw where the word ‘know’ implied a knowledge to be found IN HIM.
ACCOMPLISH THAT GOAL BY 3 THINGS:
1. “Power of His Resurrection”
The Ability to Overcome Resistandce (to know the power; to experience the same power that brought Jesus back from the dead)
2. “Fellowship of Sharing in His Suffering”
There was some questions over whether the suffering could refer to his pain on the cross.
The though here is a participation in suffering (not AS HE did) but one his behalf!
Not referring to his pain on the cross because we can’t participate in that act – that was HIS ALONE TO BEAR.
Read 2 Cor. 1:5; Pe. 4.13
3. “becoming like Him in His death”
Believers share his death as they7 “die” to SIN and to the OLD NATURE (SELF)
RESULT FROM THOSE GOALS ARE THAT:
“attain to the resurrection from the dead”
Now in verses 12 – 4.1, Paul explains those goals, but MORE of the METHOD IN WHICH to reach those goals!
READ VERSE 12
1. “Not that I have already obtained this” – The goals above
The Christian life from the moment one accepts salvation becomes a process of sanctification.
WHAT IS SANCTIFICATION?
To be set apart for a sacred purpose!
From the moment we accepted salvation – from that moment until the moment we achieve the goal – heaven, we are set apart for the purpose of becoming like Jesus!
That process of sanctification involves learning 1- the power of his resurrection, 2- participating in the sharing of suffering on His behalf, and 3- becoming like Him by dying to sin and to self!
Paul says, I HAVE NOT OBTAINED THAT YET! Sanctification requires a lifetime!
… “BUT I PRESS ON…”
READ VERSES 13-14
Paul says, “I AIN’T THERE YET!” BUT “ONE THING I DO”:
“FORGETTING WHAT IS BEHIND AND STRAINING TOWARD WHAT IS AHEAD, (14) I PRESS ON TOWARD THE GOAL”
Q: “WHAT IS THE GOAL?”
Go back to Vs. 10
1- to know Christ
2- to become like Christ in his suffering
3- to become like Christ in his death
How do you do that, IF you hang on to the past?
IF your past dictates what you do or do not do in the present
IF your past causes you to drop out of the race
*** The past should not be used as a barrier to the future.
The past should not be an excuse for dropping out of the race.
The past should not be a tool for dropping one’s relationship with God.
We are to learn from our past but NOT punish ourselves. Otherwise YOUR PAST BECOMES YOUR GOD!
Paul says he would forget all his accomplishments and his sins and STRAIN TOWARD THE GOAL – THE FINISH LINE.
Q: What is the Prize? (Vs. 10) To Know Christ and Become like Christ
HOW ARE YOU RUNNING?
Reader to read 1 Cor. 9.24 (Run!) & 1 Tim 1.a5-6 (applies to false tch but point good)
How are you running?
READ VERSE 15-16
He says that every Christian should agree on these basics. But there is something else from Verse 16.
“to what we already attained”
I kind of talked on this a few Sundays ago from Paul in 2.17 looking at how a pastor gauges his evaluation of his ministry. I look at lives, at
• examples (how we treat others),
• at baptisms (is there a call to present the gospel – to see others saved)
• at the way ministry is performed (is there a commitment level?)
Paul is saying “you hear the word, now act on it”. How do you gauge our ministry?
READ VERSES 17-20
17 – 2 words for discipleship: Example & Pattern
Paul’s Example in giving Christ Lordship (3.7)
Paul’s Pattern that he has described. (3.10)
1 “their god is their stomach” – Whatever it is that satisfies their desire other than Christ.
2 “their glory is in their shame” – Their accomplishments, bragging rights – the things that keep them on the throne which keeps God off the throne. That bragging will eventually become their shame.
3. “their mind is on earthly things” – Was on what the false teachers were pushing – the status of being a Roman Colony Citizen, credentials, and their observance of OT customs.
“our citizenship is in heaven” – See 1.27 – Manner worthy of the gospel!
READ VERSE 21
(20) the Lord Jesus who (21)…
“by the power that ENABLES HIM”:
1. “to bring EVERYTHING under His control” - What IS EVERYTHING?
(good/bad; past/present, finances/material possessions – EVERYTHING)
2. “to TRANSFORM us to be like HIS GLORIOUS BODY”
To have minds like his; To have the same attitude, spirit of love and forgiveness, the same mannerism. To BE LIKE HIM!
THEREFORE - READ VERSE 1
“this is how YOU SHOULD STAND FIRM”
Church, this is how we should stand firm. Do WE?
POEM: DON’T QUIT
When things go wrong as they sometime will,
when the road your trudging seems all up hill,
When funds are low and debts are high,
and you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit
rest if you must but please don’t quit.
Life is queer with it’s twist and turns
as every one of us sometimes learns
and many a failure turns about
when we might have won if we’d stuck it out.
don’t give up though the pace seems slow
you may succeed with another blow
Often the goal is nearer than
it seems to a faint and faltering man,
often the struggler has given up,
when he might have captured the victor’s cup,
and learned to late as the night slipped down
how close he was to that victor’s crown.
Success is failure turned inside out,
the silver tent of the clouds of doubt,
and you can never tell how close you are,
it may be near when it seems so far.
So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit.
It’s when things seems worse that
YOU MUST NOT QUIT.