Summary: A lesson encouraging us to forget the past which can hurt our vision for the future.

Title: Forgetting the Past

Text: Philippians 3

Introduction: A woman was on her way to work one day on the metro and had a chance encounter with another woman with whom she had gone to high school years before. They had once been good friends, but had lost touch because their lives had taken them in different directions. They were so pleased to renew their contact that they agreed to meet in a coffee shop after work to catch up.

They became so engrossed in their reunion, however, that they lost track of the time and suddenly realized that they were long past the time their husbands would be expecting them to come home. Promising to call each other the next day, they rushed home to their waiting husbands. The next day, when they spoke on the phone, one of the women said, "Was your husband angry that you were so late coming home?"

"Not at all," her friend replied, "I told him how I had run into you, and that we were so happy to be re-connected that we had got carried away and had forgotten about the time. He was cool with that. How about your husband?"

"Well my husband was so upset that he became historical."

"You mean hysterical, don’t you?" her friend said.

"No, I mean historical. He brought up every thing I’ve done that annoyed him for the past twelve years."

The past can creep up upon us at times.

There is an article written in your bulletin this week that I ran across studying for this lesson.

Robert E. Lee, the Southern general in the Civil war, was visiting a Kentucky lady. She took him to the remains of a grand old tree at the front of her formerly great mansion. The north and the south had fought a bitter battle right over her front porch, and the limbs and the trunk of that tree had been destroyed by Federal Artillery Fire. She looked to Lee to speak some word of consolation, a word condemning the north or some word of sympathy for her loss.

After a moment, Lee said, "Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it."

As we dive into this lesson today, I want you to know that memory is precious to me.

‒ Old pictures are a thrill to look at.

‒ Childhood memories are mostly great!

‒ THEREFORE, I do not want you to think I am encouraging us to lose our good memory, but listen to the text.

(Philippians 3 NIV) “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. {2} Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. {3} For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh-- {4} though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: {5} circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; {6} as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.”

1. Paul’s Memories

a. Don’t you love to be around people who brag about things they don’t know about?

1. They caught the biggest fish.

2. They hit the longest ball.

3. The caught the touchdown pass.

1. You knew you were better and your modesty would not let you tell them.

b. The Judaizers so filled with their pride were like that.

1. They insisted that the Gentiles of that day be circumcised and become as close as possible to being Jews in order to be accepted in the kingdom.

1. They misunderstood the gospel of grace.

2. Paul had three descriptions of these Jews.

1. “Dogs” “Evil” and “mutilators of the flesh.”

1. They concentrated on the physical aspects of religion instead of the heart.

3. Paul point out that if anyone could brag about fleshly things it was him.

1. “...circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; {6} as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.”

{7} “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. {8} What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ {9} and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. {10} I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, {11} and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. {12} Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. {13} Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, {14} I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

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