Summary: Paul is in the worst physical condition of his life, but he is in the best spiritual condition. This letter to the Philippines was written from a Roman jail following the perilous journey mentioned in Acts 27. Still, Paul is confident, positive, and committed to Jesus.
Text: “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12)
Bible Reading: Philippians 3:7-21
Please refer to our text for today; Philippians 3:7-21, in your bulletin.
We’ll read it after I give you a brief background for our lesson.
The Philippian letter is Paul’s testimony to the Church at Philippi.
It gives great insights into his personal life.
We already know some things about the apostle.
Such as; he was born to a well to do family, and he grew up in the city of Tarsus.
That’s why he was called Saul of Tarsus before God changed his name to Paul.
He was educated in the best schools, and he was taught by a famous teacher by the name of Gameleal.
As a young man, he lived as a respected Pharisee.
He studied the scriptures from the time he was a child, and he was proficient in the Hebrew language and traditions.
Since he was born in the Roman city of Tarsus, he was a Roman citizen.
That will become important in the future.
Paul called himself a Pharisee of Pharisees, meaning that he was a Pharisee in the strictest sense.
He tried to keep all the laws of God and all the customs and traditions of the Jewish faith.
But later, in one of his letters, he confessed he was a slave to religion and unable to keep all the commands of God.
He believed, along with the Jewish leaders, that those who followed Christ were enemies of his religion.
And he was convinced it was his duty to stamp it out.
At this time Christians were called “The Way.”
They were persecuted and even killed for refusing to deny Christ.
Paul was the leader of the movement to eliminate Christians.
He dragged men and women from their homes and sent them to the Jewish Council to be punished and jailed.
But, one day everything changed.
He was given papers from the temple in Jerusalem which gave him the authority to arrest Christians living in Damascus.
However, Paul never arrested any Christians in that city, because Jesus met him on the Damascus road.
He spoke to Paul, and then struck him blind.
Paul fell to his knees in the middle of the road.
He now knew that all his life up to this point was committed to the wrong cause.
Jesus was the Messiah; He was the Son of God.
When he could speak again, he called Jesus “Lord.”
He was changed forever.
It was because he now had faith in Jesus, who had chosen him to take the message of the gospel to the Gentiles.
The subject today is commitment.
Paul was just as committed to working for Jesus, as he was as a Pharisee and persecutor of Christians.
There are only two points to our lesson for today.
1. I want you to listen to Paul’s testimony of commitment.
2. I want you to look at the practical considerations of this commitment.
The lesson will conclude by asking, “What would happen if every believer in this room decided to press on in his or her relationship with Jesus?”
We can all follow Paul, as an example of commitment to serving Jesus.
Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians, because he wanted them to “press on” despite troubles and hardships.
He uses a personal pronoun over 100 times in this short Epistle.
He’s talking about himself.
It’s his personal testimony of how important Jesus is to him and that he intends to press on serving God as long as he is able.
At this time, Paul is in the worst physical condition of his life, but he is in the best spiritual condition.
This letter to the Philippines was written from a Roman jail following the perilous journey mentioned in Acts 27.
Still, Paul is confident, positive, and committed to Jesus.
We can learn some things from Paul, who demonstrated such a great attitude toward life regardless of his circumstances.
For example; Paul tells us how to live confidently in the face of the worst storms.
In several of his Epistles, he writes about all the hardships and suffering that he had to endure.
It’s a long list, so he is certainly qualified to talk about the storms of life.
He’s a good example, because he was never discouraged; he always pressed on.
He also tells us how to keep our lives fresh and meaningful.
That’s the abundant life that Jesus said he came to give believers.
It involves obedience and committing our lives to following Christ.
But, many people do not enjoy life because they have “stale” commitments.
They are committed to the wrong thing.