Summary: Reaching for the prize
Forgetting and reaching
Every experience you’ve had from the moment you were born until now has made you what you are today. The things that happened to you, both good and bad, determine how you’ll act and react for the rest of your life. Jesus said “(Read Mt 12:35)”. These are things stored up in each of us that must be dealt with before we can move ahead successfully.
· That’s why Paul wrote: (Read Phil 3:13)
Phil 3:13 those things which are behind refers both to his religious credentials (vs.5, 6), now counted as “loss” (vs.7), and to his past Christian achievements and successes. In pursuing his goal to know Christ (v.10), he refuses to let past guilt pull him down, or to rest on past glories. Which could spell spiritual mishaps. Those things which are before refers to his goal of knowing Christ, with all that implies: experiencing his power and participating in His suffering, becoming more like Him in death (vs.10), and experiencing the resurrected life (v.11).
Why you should forget and reach. (Luke 9:62)
1. True disciples are devoted to Christ
a. There are three characteristics of man: self, family, possessions. Anyone who places, these before the Lord Jesus, cannot be his disciple. This clearly delineated in the words of Christ.
i. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself” (Matt. 16:24). Love for oneself is a standard for measuring the amount of love we have for others (Matt. 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27). Love for self is innate and is the primary concern of an unbeliever.
ii. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sister, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).
iii. “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).
b. Christ did not conceal from inquirers who wanted to follow Him what the grace of God would accomplish in a believer. He did not promise eternal life, which resides dormant in the human heart. He offered God’s grace, which brings a complete change by putting Christ’s new life in man. The old nature, which puts self, family, or possessions first, is put off by the new nature. “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Col. 3:9). This “putting off” of the old man is equivalent to believing on the Lord Jesus. It takes God’s grace to do this (Eph. 2:8). Christ comes to dwell within us. Our old Adamic nature no longer has uncontested control, but it is not eliminated. Paul had this struggle between the victorious nature of Christ within him and the sin that still dwelt in him. This is why he said, “It is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Rom. 7:17).
c. When an unbeliever understands what will automatically take place as a result of salvation, he may be honest enough to reject it like the rich young ruler who came to Jesus (Matt. 19:16-22; Mark 10:17-22l; Luke 18:18-23). Jesus told him what must happen in his life for him to receive Christ’s grace or eternal life: he must be willing to give up his possessions. Jesus knew that this was not what the man wanted to do but this did not change his declaration of truth. Therefore the man remained rich materially, but spiritually poor.
d. The Lord Jesus in no way demands that all who follow him sell all their belongings and give them to the poor. However, when He saves a person, He must be first in that person’s life. Family and possessions must be available for the altar of sacrifice for His sake. The same Christ who told this young man “sell that thou hast, and give to the poor” (Matt 19:21) also said “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:33). This same Christ also said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt 16:26). What Christ impresses us with is that with Jesus Christ first in our hearts and lives we are always winners. When Jesus Christ is first, I fully enjoy my family, my possessions, and myself. All life is then subject to His command and direction.
2. The call to Cross-Bearing was for all who would follow Jesus
a. The fact that Jesus was speaking to His disciples in Matthew 16:21, 24 has given some people the wrong impression that the call to be disciples of the Lord Jesus is only addressed to believers.