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Summary: A review our the importance of using what God has given us for the purpose of growing and building up the church.

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I. REVIEW FROM TODAY

Where is Paul? Prison

What has happened? Judaisers adding circumcision & other requirements to grace 3.2 (we do the same)

READ PHIL 3:12

1. What had Paul not obtained? (Vs. 10)

2. What were 4 parts of vs. 10

3. Describe Godly perfection (12) – Phil 1.6 & Eph 2.10

4. What is Paul talking about in “I press on to take hold of that”? Sanctification (process of being holy)

Philippians 3:12 (Phillips NT)

12 Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have "arrived", spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal - my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ.

II. THE CHURCH IS TO “PRESS ON TO WIN THE PRIZE”

READ PHIL 3.13

Unlike the Judaizers, Paul did not consider that he had achieved spiritual maturity (perfection - sanctification).

Christians KNOW they are saved, but PERFECTION must be their GOAL.

READ MT. 5.48

… but “ONE THING I DO” (focusing on ONE GOAL…)

1. “forgetting what is behind”

So many use the past as a barrier to the future. HOW? An excuse for dropping out, or for avoiding proper spiritual conduct and fellowship with each other and God.

Q: Does he mean literally forget our past? NO

Couldn’t Paul use his past to help his future?

He was forgetting his focus – his priority of life (the heart which was left out in 4-6)

2. “straining toward what is ahead”

Like a runner in a race with his whole body reaching for the finish line – he would press on towards the goal…

READ PHIL 3.14

1. “I press on to win the prize”

Paul wanted to reach the end of the race and receive the prize.

While Paul still doesn’t identify the prize, it seems to ref to gain full knowledge of Jesus Christ) which is a race that continues until we reach home!

12 “this” & “that” – both referred to the complete knowing of Christ from vs 10-11

READ 1 COR. 9.24 AND 2 TIM. 4:7-8

Paul aimed to win the prize which all who finish the race win as well. But the full knowledge of Christ is the final prize for which all believers strive to achieve.

III. OUR ROLE IN THE CHURCH

I made some tough statements this morning for some to understand. It was regarding spiritual gifts.

My Belief (without agreement from many) is that

1. our spiritual gift is not for ourselves but for others within the church

2. we, as individuals, cannot become all God desires (even with His Spirit living within us) without the church.

3. the church is our training ground to prepare for God’s use

I want to offer scripture to understand this in hopes that as we go into 2009, we will take our role of the church, our commitment to the church, and our support of the church more seriously than ever before!!!

1. our spiritual gift is not for ourselves but for others within the church

1) Eph 4.7

“grace has been given” – grace = gifts of enablement

Why? Vs. 12b “… the body of Christ may be built up”

Why? Vs. 13 “until we all reach unity in the faith & knowledge of the Son”

Wasn’t that Paul’s goal? 10- I want to know Christ!

2) 1 Cor 12.12

“… thought all it’s parts are many, they form one body.”

12.14-18 – different parts to form one body!

24b-26 – God as combined us to be one body without division!

27-30 – “each one of you is a NEEDED PART” (27)

Are the listed gifts the only gifts? What are they for? THE ADMIN OF THE CHURCH AS GOD SEES FIT!

3) Rom. 12.2

How are we to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds”? (2)

Some say they can do it themselves – based on attendance and commitment to the church. But notice…

Vs. 3-5

5- “each member belongs to the others”

Vs. 6-8

AGAIN, each of these gifts were for God’s use to build up the body of Christ for His use in the world!

(notice some of these gifts do not agree with the group listed in 1 Cor.)

Again, our “gifts of enablement” are for God’s use to prepare his church for “works of service”.

2. we are to “prepare and build up each other” for God’s use

Back to Eph 4.

READ vs. 12 again.

‘to prepare God’s people for works of serve SO THAT the body of Christ may be built up’

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