Summary: This sermon is about the activity that Paul called "pressing toward the mark."
Pressing Toward the Mark
December 31, 2006 (Philippians 3:14) LBC a.m.
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14 KJV)
I watched some golfers from the back of the deck of the condominium where we were staying. They were teeing off on one hole. I have no idea what hole it was, but they were enjoying their game. One man apparently hit a bad shot and approached the tee the second time to take his shot. He took a mulligan. That is a “do-over.” He sounded as though he was happy with the second try.
Today, we are at the end of another year. Tomorrow will be the beginning of a brand new year. It’s sad in a way, but happy in so many more ways. It depends on how we choose to look at it.
2007 will be a new beginning for each of us. We have been given the opportunity for a “do-over.” I guess you could say tomorrow is our mulligan to correct some mistakes we made in 2006. We don’t often get the opportunity for “do-overs,” so we had better take advantage of this one.
Let me be frank with you this morning. Today is the time for each of us to take serious consideration of our lives. Furthermore, this is the time for us to make the necessary adjustments if there are things we need to change in our lives so that we may bring glory to God.
In consideration of 2006, is there anything you would like to do over if you could? Do you have any regrets of your performance in 2006? Could you be any closer to the Lord Jesus Christ than you are now? If your life were to come to an end in 2007 would you be happy with your spiritual achievements? If you were to face the Lord in 2007, would you want to face Him with things as they are? If not, this sermon is for you. You have to make a decision today. That decision is, “Will things remain the same in my life this year or will I allow God through Jesus Christ to change me for His glory?”
There are five things that I would share with you concerning this passage and the subject “pressing toward the mark.” I want you to remember this:
BI – “If we keep doing the same things in the same way we will keep getting the same results, but we can, by the grace of God, give ourselves totally to His will and accept this wonderful opportunity today for a spiritual do-over.”
As we press toward the mark in Christ in 2007 we must remember that this activity is:
I. Personal – “I”
In this section of his letter to the Philippians, Paul told about his life. In the first part of the chapter he told us and them about his pedigree. He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews and a Pharisee of Pharisees. He was the man. Yet he counted all of that as nothing just so he might know Jesus Christ more intimately.
He had the right attitude about life. It did not matter what he had accomplished. It did not matter who he was or what he had done. What mattered in his life was Jesus Christ. Is that what matters to you this morning? Are you more concerned with Christ in you than what you can gain from life?
Paul understood clearly that God had left him there for a purpose. That purpose was in bringing glory to Christ. He called that activity “pressing toward the mark.” He understood that it was a personal activity.
APP: Beloved, no one is going to do this for you. You must determine by the grace of God and help of His Holy Spirit, through His infallible Word, that you are going to aim your life at the purpose of bringing glory to God and then off you go.
Serving Jesus Christ is a personal thing. No one is going to do that for you. You must do that by yourself along side of others for are doing that for themselves.
As we press toward the mark in Christ Jesus in 2007 we must remember that this activity is personal. Secondly, we must remember that this activity is:
II. Physical – “press”
This word means to “pursue, to follow after, or to press forward.” In most cases it carries the idea of physical persecution. It’s used in 43 verses in the New Testament, and most of them refer to persecution.
Let me share a few references with you where it is not used of persecution, but still in a physical way.
Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (Philippians 3:6 KJV)