Summary: As we begin this new year let us take encouragement from Paul’s challenge to press on.
INTRODUCTION: At this time every year many of us make resolutions. We resolve to lose weight, to exercise more, to be a better person, to dispense with old bad habits and begin some new good ones. None of those are surprising, but I have found a few that are. A newspaper in Boston has allowed people to post New Year’s resolutions on their web-site. Here are a few interesting
I resolve to stop feeding the office plant leftover coffee. I will use water instead.
I resolve to try and get a law passed that requires every person on the face of this earth to have to use their common sense at least once a day!
I resolve to try REAL hard to stop eating McDonalds and Wendy’s for 2 out of 3 meals a day. If that isn’t possible, I promise to at least clean the remains from my car.
I resolve to become as wonderful a person as my dog thinks I am.
I resolve to never take responsibility for my decisions, to never take the blame, not stand by my promises, and to ignore the needs of the poor. In short, my resolution is to become a politician!
Webster defines a resolution as "a course of action decided upon; a fixed purpose."
As we begin this New Year we must get our bearings straight.
Our text this morning will help us. Philippians 3:12-16.
Let’s stand as we read the Word of God.
Paul in Acts 20:24 says, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
He says in Philippians 3:7-8, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 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.”
Paul puts here a personal relationship with Jesus Christ at the very center of the Christian’s life. He joyfully accepted the loss of all other things, his religious pedigree, his zeal for the law, legalistic righteousness, for the greatness of his personal relationship. It says in 2 Cor 5:17, “For if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.” When we come to Christ he changes all that. It’s His New Years Resolution so to speak. And He keeps His promises.
In our text, when Paul says “not that I have already obtained all this” he is referring to “know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” ( vs 10-11).
Knowing Jesus means knowing the power of His resurrection. John 11:25,26 Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Jesus says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.”
1 Corinthians 15:21-22, “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”
Knowing Jesus means knowing the fellowship of His sufferings. It’s all part of following Jesus and being in Christ.
Matthew 5:10-12 says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way the persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Suffering is part of our heritage as “Kingdom Kids” - we get to be part of the family of suffering. Romans 8:17 says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”
Being conformed to His death reminds us that being in Christ also means being “in” His death.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”