Summary: What is tonight all about? It’s about the beginning of a New Year. It’s all about new beginnings, new opportunities. It’s all about time.
LIVING IN TIME (New Year’s)
SCRIPTURE: READ Philippians 3:7-14
* Philippians 3:13 - 14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
(v. 14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
“There is an allusion here undoubtedly to the Grecian races. One running to secure the prize would not stop to look behind him to see how much ground he had run over, or who of his competitors had fallen or lingered in the way. He would keep his eye steadily on the prize, and strain every nerve that he might obtain it. If his attention was diverted for a moment from that, it would hinder his flight, and might be the means of his losing the crown.” Albert Barnes
What is tonight all about? It’s about the beginning of a New Year. It’s all about new beginnings, new opportunities. It’s all about time.
A. Forgetting (Remember to forget.)
1. Past Accomplishments (This is really what Paul was referring to.)
a. When they interfere with looking forward.
Phil 3:8 “for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count
them but dung, that I may win Christ,”
“NOTHING so renders our real excellences vain and puffs them away, as to
be remembering the good deeds we have done; for this produces two evils, to both renders us remiss [negligent, thoughtless, careless], and raises
us to haughtiness [pride, arrogance].” St. John Chrysostom
b. The “good ole days” are in the past. Enjoy them, but do not enshrine them.
2. Past Failures
Some people think one way to avoid failure is to do nothing. But then again, isn’t failure to try failure?
3. Past Sins that are under the blood.
Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”
I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Matthew 6:10-12 “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
(v. 11) Give us this day our daily bread. (v. 12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
Phil. 3:9 “not having mine own righteousness,”
“It may be, and is, profitable for a Christian to look over the past mercies of God to his soul, in order to awaken emotions of gratitude in the heart, and to think of his shortcomings and errors, to produce penitence and humility. But none of these things should be allowed for one moment to divert the mind from the purpose to win the incorruptible crown. And it may be remarked in general, that a Christian will make more rapid advances in piety by looking forward than by looking backward.” Albert Barnes
4. For the most part, don’t look back. Luke 17:32 “Remember Lot’s wife.”
“Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness, or else forgiving
another.” --Jean Paul Richter
“We are a little too much disposed to glorify the past and prophesy concerning the future, forgetful of the fact that the only golden age about which we need really concern ourselves is at our doors.” -Elmo.
A. Reaching (3:13)
The Greek word, to reach forth, signifies to stretch out the neck; a metaphor from racers, who strain every limb, and reach forward to lay hold on the prize.
-- with hand and foot, like a runner in a race, and the body bent forward. The Christian is always humbled by the contrast between what he is and what he desires to be. The eye reaches before and draws on the hand, the hand reaches before and draws on the foot [BENGEL].
B. Pressing (3:14)
A. Differing Views
There is an old story about a happy little boy who went out into the field. He had on his baseball cap & was carrying a baseball & bat. And on his face there was a look of tremendous confidence. Cocking his bat, he tossed the ball into the air, saying, "I’m the greatest batter in the world!" Then he swung & missed. "Strike one," he said. He picked up the ball, examined it, & then threw it into the air again. As he swung, he repeated,
"I’m the greatest batter in the world." Once again he missed. "Strike two," he said. This time, he stopped to examine his bat to make sure there wasn’t a hole in it. Then he picked up the ball, adjusted his cap, & tossed the ball into the air for the 3rd time. He repeated again, "I’m the greatest batter in the world," & swung with all his might - & missed for the 3rd straight time. "Wow" he cried, "What a pitcher. I’m the greatest pitcher in the world! I just struck out the greatest batter in the world!”