Summary: Part of a series in Philippians, we’re encouraged to press on in our pursuit of Christ.
Jeanette Case) “Last year when I called my parents to wish them a happy New Year, my dad answered the phone. "Well, Dad, what’s your New Year’s resolution?" I asked him. "To make your mother as happy as I can all year," he answered proudly. Then mom got on, and I said, "What’s your resolution, Mom?" "To see that your dad keeps his New Year’s resolution." (http://irsweb.com/. Citation: Jeanette Case, Erie, PA, Readers Digest.)
Darren Ethier, SC.com) There was a couple who were sitting with a marriage counselor for their first session and the doctor asked them to identify what seemed to be the root of their problems. The wife responded, "It all started when we thought it would be cute to think up each other’s New Year’s resolutions" Houston Post, 12/31/91, quoted in Autoillustrator.com, NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS/FAULT FINDING.)
(Rodney Buchanan, SC.com) “I have resolved to not make any resolutions, because nobody is perfect. I’m a nobody, therefore I’m perfect.” "Starting the New Year Right"
While many New Year’s Resolutions are quickly broken, I hope the one we’re looking at today stays with us for a long time.
Last year, we began an in-depth study of Philippians called “Content in Christ”.
Review: Paul’s love for them/God, taking advantage of opportunities, his plea for unity, humility, sacrifice, and pursuit.
Today, we pick up where we left off at Phil. 3:12-14. Turn there, please.
Paul has just shared how he gave up everything for the privilege of knowing Christ.
Phil. 3:7-11 He wanted to “GAIN CHRIST 9AND BE FOUND RIGHTEOUS IN HIM, …TO KNOW CHRIST AND THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF SHARING IN HIS SUFFERINGS, BECOMING LIKE HIM IN HIS DEATH…
Today, he encourages us to press on to achieve that incredible goal.
Last week, we looked at our vision and our need to press on. Paul says the same thing.
What better way encourage us than to talk about what’s on everybody’s mind.
•What is that? Football.
Actually, Paul probably had the Greek games in mind when he wrote this.
•I thought we could relate better in football terms.
This isn’t just for football fans or to make for a cute sermon.
There’s a game we’re all in that’s much more serious than any Super Bowl.
•It’s the game of life, the game of our spiritual life.
How To Win the Game of Life
Paul knew the game. He knew what the stakes were. And he knew how to win.
•He knew how to win because he knew the five keys to winning.
12NOT THAT I HAVE ALREADY OBTAINED (received) ALL THIS (all the things of vv. 7-11), OR HAVE ALREADY BEEN MADE PERFECT (complete, fulfilled).
Paul has been growing in Christ for 30 years, but he’s not done yet.
•He says, “I haven’t obtained it, haven’t been perfected, haven’t taken hold of it yet.
(BKC) “He still had more spiritual heights to climb. This testimony of the apostle reminded the saints at Philippi—and it serves to remind believers today—that there must never be a stalemate in their spiritual growth or a plateau beyond which they cannot climb.”
Paul, of all people, freely admits he hasn’t reached full spiritual maturity yet.
He’s not there yet, but that doesn’t discourage him. Rather, it encourages him.
Some people think, “I’m never going to get there, I might as well quit now”.
Some people think the Christian life is too hard and they give up pursuing Christ.
What are some challenges you face in your spiritual journey?
How are you dealing with them?
Illus. When Brian Westbrook (RB) sees the goal line, he doesn’t say, "Man, I’m not there yet. I might as well give up”. He keeps trying.
Paul knew that pursuing Christ was a difficult battle that required all his effort.
•That’s why the first key to winning in this game of life is to…
1. Be Firm! (resolute, determined)
12BBUT I (continue to) PRESS ON (pursue, press toward) TO TAKE HOLD (seize, possess) OF THAT FOR WHICH CHRIST JESUS TOOK HOLD OF ME.
Take hold is a different form of the word obtained.
Paul hadn’t received all his goals, so he firmly resolves to take hold of them.
•He presses on toward it with all his strength.
Illus. Willie Parker says, “You’re not going to give me a touchdown, so I’m just going to press on and take hold of it myself.”
We need to be firm in our pursuit of Christ and not give up when the going gets rough.
The rewards of the Christian life aren’t going to be handed to us on a silver platter.
•We need to be firm/resolute in our pursuit of Christ in order to make Him our own.
This sentence might be better translated, “BECAUSE CHRIST JESUS TOOK HOLD OF ME.”