Summary: Jesus offers freedom from our past and from our bondages. We don’t have to make peace with our chains and just get used to them, because Jesus came to set free those who are captive! You can grow! You can and should move forward in your faith!
Philippians 3:7-16 7… whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 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 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
Intro: Memorial Day is a day to remember. Here are 4 things to remember: 1. Sacrifices Made (freedom isn’t free). 2. Courage Displayed (soldiers and martyrs). 3. Honor Due.
4. The Charge to Be True. I hope you are able to do something meaningful that involves some of these things this weekend. But along with remembering certain things, there are some things we should forget. Never hold a memorial day for past offenses! Don’t let bitterness, unforgiveness, or the mistakes of the past rob you of God’s powerful love and grace!
-When our past invades the present, our spiritual progress is often hindered. We have trouble growing in Christ, because of our hang-ups. We fail and then feel guilty. And sometimes that makes us want to do what Adam & Eve did after they sinned… hide! We get discouraged and begin to think that we’ll never be free. However, there is freedom that Jesus offers to each of us! Jesus offers freedom from our past and from our bondages. We don’t have to make peace with our chains and just get used to them, because Jesus came to set free those who are captive! You can grow! With God’s help, you can start making progress that will pay dividends in your life now and in eternity. And that’s what I’d like to focus on today! [Read Text]
Prop: We can and must keep moving forward in our relationship with Jesus!
Interrogative: How can we maintain the necessary progress in our walk with Christ?
TS: I’d like to offer some helpful thoughts from the Bible verses we read.
I. Put the Past Behind You (13)
(There is a sense in which we can learn from our failures and celebrate and build on our successes, but Paul is saying, “What are you going to do with today and tomorrow?)
A. Do not rest on the satisfaction of past accomplishments
-Someone once said, “Nothing is more ruinous to progress than supposed success.” It seems so easy for us to want to relax after we have some success in our lives.
-I had a coach who had been warning our team about getting overconfident in our own abilities. Just the week before, we had beaten a team badly, and were pretty proud of ourselves. Then, we went and played a little school in the middle of nowhere, Long Creek, and they walked all over us.
-If anyone could have patted themselves on the back for a job well done and retired to Easy Street, the apostle Paul certainly could have. However, something was compelling him to do more than asked and go farther than expected. What kept Paul from just taking a deep breath and saying, “Wow! We’ve done pretty well. Now let’s just sit back and enjoy the fruit of our labor”? I think it all ties in with having that living relationship with the risen Christ. If we love Jesus and listen to what He is telling us through the HS, then we will never become satisfied with coming this far. God will help us see that we must keep pressing on until the day He calls us home.
-We must resist the urge to settle. This world is not our home. We still have a mission to accomplish. There is much work to do in God’s kingdom. Work as if everything depended on you. Pray as if everything depends on God- and indeed it does.