Summary: A review of Paul's challenge to the church regarding its purpose and the importance of pressing forward to serve Christ by serving others.
BACKGROUND TO PHILIPPIANS
LOVE LETTER WRITTEN TO A CHURCH encouraging them of their purpose.
Q: What is the Purpose of the Church?
Q: What is Your Purpose to the Church?
KEY VERSE: PHILIPPIANS 3:12
READ VERSE 12
1. ‘not that I have already obtained all this’ (3.12)
‘this’ goes back to vs. 10 – HAVE SOMEONE READ VERSE 10
Vs. 10 gives 4 Parts in this phrase: “obtain all this”:
1. “I Want to Know Christ”
‘know’ –GRK used same word in 3.8 – READ – Php 3.8
Q: so what would ‘know Christ’ in vs. 10 mean? – Response
- Refers to more than “personal knowledge” of something or someone.
- Grk. word used for “knowing” here speaks of a personal, experiential, and progressive knowledge based on ones experience. The Judaizers might have their rituals and rules, but Paul had a personal relationship with Christ Jesus
2. “I want to know – the ‘power of his resurrection’”
The same Spirit that brought Jesus back from the dead is available to ALL believers.
What is His Purpose? (hint) -- twofold:
1) To raise from ‘spiritual death now’ – READ - Eph 1:13-14; 1:19-20
2) To raise from ‘physical death in the future’ – READ – Rom. 8:11
Paul says ‘I want to know that power that grants me spiritual newness of life (NOW) .AND. eternal life in the (FUTURE)!’
3. “fellowship of sharing in his sufferings”
To learn what it means to suffer with him and for him. (is he talking about the hardships of life? NO – 1.29 – to suffer FOR the gospel. (where was Paul? Why?)
Q: How do we suffer for the gospel? DO WE?
4. “becoming like Him in his death”
Believers share his death as they die to sin and to self being daily transformed to become like Christ.
Paul says “Not that I have already obtained all this” … .OR.
2. ‘have already been made perfect’ (3.12)
Q: Discussion on the ‘perfection’ talking about? RESPONSE
Obviously not a ‘worldy perfection’ – but a “spiritual perfection”.
Paul says he has not achieved this perfection.
READ – Php 3.4-6
In all Paul lays out, do you notice something missing? HIS HEART
READ – Php 3.7-9
Discuss. None of what he had achieved was wrong (God desires we pursue excellence)
…spoke of good values including family, community, and even God. (everything but the heart)
- What used to be success and riches became rubbish.
- Went from riches and wealth to being a tentmaker and gifts from others.
APPLICATION: A different type of perfection.
A perfection that will not be obtained until Christ’s second coming - (Paul may have seemed like a nearly perfect Christian, he emphasized that he had not achieved that perfection.
Have you reached ‘perfection’? b/f you answer – do a quick ‘This is Your Life’.
ILL: THIS IS YOUR LIFE
Music Show where owner of a large Music Distribution company was honored with a program called “This is Your Life…”
– Suppose you were up standing before everyone and they began to recite what they know of you and your life. WHAT WOULD THEY SEE? Commitment to family, career, community, church
- Suppose one more witness -- Christ … of what you had accomplished, including your family, community, and church
- What would he say about your heart. Would he talk of the perfection Paul is talking about? (allow Paul’s testimony of ‘worldly perfection’ to speak for himself…)
Paul says, “Not that I have attained this goal to know Christ as I desire; not that I have achieved the perfection of becoming like Christ, …
3. ‘but I press on to take hold of that for …’ end of vs. 12
What is “THAT”? Godly Perfection - the process of SANCTIFICATION – “being set apart and prepared for holiness” - working toward becoming ALL that Christ Jesus desires us to be!
… described in Php 1.6
… described in Eph 2.10
This is the GOAL FOR EVERY BELIEVER! This is what we are to “press on to take hold” – to become all God desires us to be.
“This Is Your (Our – NHBC) Life!” -
But the question is still out: Have We Realized Our Purpose?
If I simply consider the example of Paul and other NT writers, it’s easy to see that…
We have NOT
- ‘obtained perfection OR readiness’
- ‘taken hold’
I truly believe we are a Work in Progress:
- “Have we truly realized our purpose?”.
I AM NOT CERTAIN THAT WE TRULY HAVE REALIZED THAT PURPOSE…
Please follow my thought:
1. Eph. 5, GOD established the relationship between Christ and His Church. His BRIDE and are to learn submission to others and to Him and His leadership.
2. God knew that we could NOT become all HE DESIRES ON OUR OWN (even with the power of His Holy Spirit living within us). Not being the ‘full package’ – we would NEED EACH OTHER - To BECOME PREPARED FOR GOD’S USE.