Summary: A sermon on the importance of looking forward and forgetting what is behind.
How to Get All God Has for You
• We come to our passage in Philippians and we find Paul imprisoned in Rome and he has just a few more years to live. Paul writes to his dear followers at the church in Philippi.
• Many Bible scholars have called Philippians Paul’s “most practical letter.” It is much like a father giving advice to his children.
• Norman Geisler divides this book up by chapters:
Chapter One: Christ Our Life
Chapter Two: Christ Our Mind
Chapter Three: Christ Our Goal
Chapter Four: Christ Our Strength
• So, we see here in our chapter that the goal of Paul’s life and the goal of our life is and should be Jesus Christ. In verses 12-14, he teaches us that it is a daily task to be moving towards Jesus Christ.
• I believe that if Paul could summarize these verses into one sentence he would say this, “I want to get all that God has for me.”
• That’s my prayer for my own life and that is my prayer for this church in the year to come. I don’t want to leave anything on the shelf. I want to get all God has for me.
I. The Target of Perfection (vs. 12)
A. An Acknowledgement of Imperfection (v. 12a)
The first thing Paul does is he acknowledges that he doesn’t have it all together.
There are two specific imperfections that Paul is referring to here:
1. An imperfect knowledge.
Paul uses this phrase “not that I have already obtained.” Paul is telling us that he doesn’t know everything that he needs to know about Jesus Christ.
Paul had been doing this Christianity thing for 30 years at this point and he said this “I’m not there yet boys; I’ve still got a lot to learn.” Read Phil. 3:10
I don’t just want to know Him, I want to really KNOW Him.
Paul had, no doubt, experienced many spiritual victories in his day. He found no solace in those victories, but he kept on pushing. It is a reminder to us all.
2. An Imperfect Experience.
Then, Paul says “or am already made perfect.” Paul was telling us that he had not reached perfection. Perfection only comes at the resurrection.
Paul was here refuting several false teachings. The first was that the resurrection had already passed. Paul called these people out in 2 Tim. 2:18.
Another false idea had invaded Philippi and came from a group called the “Perfectionists.” They believed that Christians could obtain perfection here on earth.
Paul understood that he had not yet achieved complete conformity to Christ. He had a long way to go.
If we want to receive what God has, we have to acknowledge our imperfections.
Where the Spirit of God wants to do His greatest work, the flesh and the Devil will work the hardest.
B. An Announcement of Intent (v. 12b)
Paul said “I am not there yet, but dear friends I plan to get there if it’s the last thing I do.” Paul was looking towards the day when the object of his hope would become a reality.
He told us what it was in Philippians 3:20-21, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body…”
What was Paul’s hope? To be just like Jesus! He longed for that day, and he lived every day in pursuit of those goals.
So, Paul said “I press on!” He followed after the things of God in order that he might be transformed daily into the image of God.
Why did he do this? Paul tells that he sought to apprehend that for which Jesus Christ apprehended him.
Paul did not press on out of his own will or his own power, but he pressed on because Jesus showed up on Damascus Road and rerouted Paul’s course.
You and I don’t press on out of our own will but because Christ has redirected our course and taken control of our lives and claimed us as His own.
II. The Tactics of Perseverance (vs.13-14)
A. Letting Go of the Past
The first step to getting all that God has is “forgetting those things which are behind.” We have to learn let the past be what it is: the past.
The word “forgetting” in the Greek language literally means to neglect or to care nothing about.
Sure, it is there and we remember the past, but we do not let it hinder us from being used by God. We neglect it; it doesn’t matter to us.