Summary: Part 2 of a 2 part series on Philippians 3. This sermon deals with the importance of forgetting the past and pressing on.
GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS FOR A PASTOR
Good News: You baptized seven people today in the river.
Bad News: You lost two of them in the swift current.
Good News: The Women’s Guild voted to send you a get-well card.
Bad News: The vote passed 31-30.
Good News: The Elder Board accepted your job description the way you wrote it.
Bad News: They were so inspired by it, they also formed a search committee
to find somebody capable of filling the position.
Good News: You finally found a choir director who approaches things exactly
the same way you do.
Bad News: The choir mutinied.
Good News: Mrs. Jones is wild about your sermons.
Bad News: Mrs. Jones is also wild about the "The Osbournes," "Survivor" and
"Texas Chain Saw Massacre."
Good News: The trustees finally voted to add more church parking.
Bad News: They are going to blacktop the front lawn of your parsonage.
Good News: Church attendance rose dramatically the last three weeks.
Bad News: You were on vacation.
Good News: Your biggest critic just left your church.
Bad News: He has been appointed the District Supervisor of your
Good News: The youth in your church come to your house for a surprise visit.
Bad News: It’s in the middle of the night and they are armed with toilet
paper and shaving cream to "decorate" your house.
I’ve got some good news for you this morning. In fact, to put it in a nice little package for you, I’ve got some words of encouragement, some words of exhortation, and some examples to follow. And it all comes in this nice little package for you found in Philippians 3, picking up where we left off last week.
If you rememeber, Paul was telling us that we need to rejoice in the Lord. Why should we rejoice in the Lord? Because it is by his grace we are saved. Not in the works of the flesh. All the things that Paul had accomplished in his life. All his laurels that he had to rest on—he counted them as waste. He counted everything that he did for himself as a loss for the cause of Christ. And as we concluded last week, we saw that his overwhelming desire was to know Christ and the power of His resurrection.
Here we get to where we start off this morning in verse 12—and paul tells us that he’s not there yet.
Can you imagine this? When you look at the life of the apostle Paul and what he has accomplished for the cause of Christ, and he states, “I’m not there yet.” He’s been on two missionary journeys to this point in his life, planted several churches, led thousands of people to the Lord, and he is not where he wants to be yet. That is amazing.
Many of you know what our goals are here for the church. 30 new people by the end of the year, a new pastor by June. These aren’t goals so that we can just have a more packed church. Once we hit 30 new people, we aren’t going to say, “THAT’S IT! WE’VE MADE IT, NOW WE CAN RELAX. WE’VE MADE OUR GOAL, AND THAT’S ALL WE HAVE TO DO.”
The apostle Paul, after several “successful” missionary journies, says I haven’t accomplished my goal yet; I’m not satisfied; I’m not perfect yet. Here’s what he does, and this should be words of great encouragement to us this morning, almost 2000 years later.—READ 13-14.
Paul is using running terms here, straining toward, pressing on—it gives the example of a race, and running it to completion.
Many of you know I started to run several weeks ago. I’d run for a little bit, and I’d walk, then run and walk, until I did almost 2 miles. Can I tell you something—I HATE RUNNING! Last night, we played ultimate Frisbee at the Seminary picnic—EXPLAIN IT—I got back and my feet hurt!!! So when I look at this illustration and I think of running, I think of pain, sweat, tears, and something I don’t want to do again!
But I want you to get past the running illustration to look at this one point, and this is your word of encouragement this morning. YOU HAVE A SECOND CHANCE.
It can almost get lost in the illustration, but it is the one thing that screamed out at me as I read this passage. We can skip right over to the pressing on toward the prize, but we can miss the simple truth of verse 13—forgetting what is behind.
Let me stand before you this morning as someone who has a hard time forgetting what lies behind. It can be a spiritual draining, and damaging to sit and dwell on the past. But Paul wanted to encourage us to forget it.