Summary: In the verses we have this morning he says we are like runners. He compares the Christian life to a runner.
Running the race.
Philippians 3:12 -- 16. 10/10/04
We have been talking about in the book of Philippians how the Christian life is a life of joy. We have learned that our joy doesn’t depend on the circumstances and situations in which we find ourselves. Our joy is in knowing the Lord Jesus as our personal Savior.
Paul is the writer of this book and Paul often found himself in difficult circumstances and situations. Yet, he tells us that our joy is in the Lord.
Paul gives us some pictures of what the Christian life is all about. He talks about first of all that the Christian life is sort of like the job of a CPA. You have three columns with the heading of the first column being the credit column. The second column heading being, the debt and the last profit. It is learning how to properly evaluate things. He talked about the joy robbers.
In the verses we have this morning he says we are like runners. He compares the Christian life to a runner. When you read the letters of Paul, you find he must have loved sports. When he made his missionary journeys, he must have stopped by the stadium to watch the sports events. Maybe one day he was watching a boxing match. He thinks about that and says that will go good into his sermon I am not a shadow boxer. Then maybe one day he was watching a wrestling match and he says that will work in one of my sermons. He says we wrestle not with flesh and blood. He must have gone to the stadium and he is witnessing a race and he makes a comparison to the Christian life. He says the Christian life is like running a race. We are to run the race and to win the race.
I want us to take the picture this morning and talk about three essential ingredients of winning the race for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now there is one thing for sure, and that is if we are going to win the race for the Lord Jesus, we have to START THE RACE. In verse 12, Paul is talking about starting a race. He is talking about the day when Jesus lay hold of his life. He is referring to his salvation experience on the road to Damascus. You have to have a starting point. When did you begin your starting point? Paul points to the Damascus Road and says that is my starting point. The day the Lord laid hold of his life. Now when was your beginning point? Maybe it was in a service like we are having now. Maybe it was when your parents prayed with you to receive Jesus as your personal Savior. Maybe someone came to your house and told you about how you can be saved and you got saved. Maybe it will be this very day. The important thing in order to win the race for the Lord Jesus, you have to start the race. If you haven’t started the race I pray that you do today. I pray that you will get on His team.
There is a second phase of running the race for the Lord and it is found in verse 13. We not only learn about starting the race but we must RUN THE RACE.
Paul talks about a few things in running the race. He says I count not myself to have apprehended. In other words, I have not arrived. But then he says this one thing I do. I want to settle in here just a moment. If we are to run and run successful, then we have to concentrate. I think the word is stay focused. We must stay focused on the present. To many Christian are not focused on the Christian life and what it ought to be. To many Christians read their Bible just once a while. They pray once in a while. They come to church once in a while and then wonder why there isn’t any power in their lives.
He talks about being focused on the present and then he says forgetting the past. I heard about a man who went to a psychiatrist and said you have got to help me. I can’t remember anything. I forget names, I can’t remember places, I forget where I lay things, you have got to help me. The psychiatrist said you have got a major problem, how long have you had this problem? The man said how long have I had what problem?
This, they tell me you never forget anything. Doesn’t that make you feel better? He isn’t talking about having amnesia. He is saying that the past performances are not to influence how present. We aren’t to live just on our past successes. Your past success is not enough for the race today. Some say I taught Sunday school for 20 years. That is good, but what are you doing today?