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Summary: Message 11 from Philippians

"Keep Running the Race”

Paul’s letter to the Philippians offers some key elements to “Maintaining the Joy of the Lord No Matter What”.

I. ADOPT THE RIGHT AXIS -- SUPERIOR PERSPECTIVE

The Exaltation of Christ in Everything

Passion to Praise Jesus

II. MAINTAIN THE RIGHT ATTITUDE -- SUPERIOR PATTERN OF LIVING

Humble Obedience and service modeled by Jesus

Passion to Please Jesus

III. PURSUE THE RIGHT AIM – SUPERIOR PURSUIT 3:1-21

Knowing Christ

Passion to Pursue Christ above all else

A. Paul warned against false Christianity 3:1-2

B. Paul affirmed genuine Christianity 3:3

C. Paul shared his own passionate pursuit of Jesus 3:7-14

1. Paul devalued EVERYTHING to gain something more valuable

He counted things personally beneficial to him as loss for the sake of Christ

He counted ALL THINGS to be loss compared to something of greater value.

He considered ALL THINGS to be as worthless refuse next to being like Jesus.

Paul listed six things for which he was willing to lay aside everything and count them but doggy doo in order to achieve.

? Gain Christ

? Have the righteousness of God through faith in Christ.

? Experientially know Christ

? Experientially know the power of Christ’s resurrection.

? Experientially know the fellowship of His suffering

? Attain to resurrection from the dead.

2. Paul expended EVERYTHING to become more like Christ

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

Paul affirmed he had not yet attained the full measure of those six things. They were in process.

I noticed somethings I missed in this passage. Paul considered the attainment of those things as spiritual maturity. He wanted them to know that he was not yet fully mature. This interesting thing about his expression is that he used a passive voice for the word mature. Here is the difference. An active voice would be understood as I have not yet become mature. A middle voice would be understood as I have not yet made myself mature. The passive indicates realize he had not yet been made mature. This clearly demonstrates both God’s involvement our involvement. God ultimately does the maturing but we also do the “pressing towards.”

As we discussed last time, Paul exercised his volition to its fullest by expressing his forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the ultimate moment when God calls us to himself.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

D. Paul invited the Philippians to join his pursuit of Christ 15-17,20

1. The invitation to imitate Paul 3:15-17

a) Think right 3:15

Let those of us who are perfect (mature) think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

Paul clearly maintained a laser focus on pursuing a deeper firsthand knowledge of Jesus and a daily walk that increasingly reflected His work in him. He wanted to increasingly lay hold of the purpose for which Jesus called him. Paul quite often called his readers to “live worthy of the calling with which they were called.” Such a change in living begins with a change in thinking. Therefore, Paul instructed them to adopt the same thinking Paul demonstrated. He addressed “as many as are perfect”. This served as a double reference. One, it referred to those who thought that were in some state of perfect because of their adherence to the Jewish laws and customs. Two, it recognized the standing granted all genuine believers.

For by that one offering He (Jesus) forever made perfect those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:14

Either one, Paul confidently expected that God would deal with their hearts.

What thinking did Paul encourage? The same kind of thinking expressed in the previous verses; the single minded focus on knowing Jesus. Peter taught that God equips us for life and godliness through an experiential knowledge of Jesus.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence… 2 Peter 1:3

The term translated “attitude” by some and “thinking” in others refers to the inner reflection that regulates outer action. Paul used this term seven times in his letter. 1:7; 2:2,5; 3:15,19; 4:2,10. It is definitely a clue to the source of genuine joy no matter what.

Paul clearly taught the transformation of our life comes from renewing of the mind.

Stop being conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (thinking), so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

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