Summary: This sermon looks at four aspects of Successful Christian Living. 1. Face your SHORT-COMINGS 2. Let go of your PAST 3. Focus on the FUTURE 4. Fight to the WIN
The Joy of Successful Christian Living
Our text for today is found in Philippians chapter three. Please follow along with me as I read – Paul is speaking and he says:
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV)
In Philippians chapter three – Paul writes about succeeding in life. Today there are many people who talk about being successful in life. In fact the book stores are full of books on success. Everyone thinks the latest book will be the one to make their life full of meaning and purpose and solve all of my problems. The ironic thing to me that many books on success are written by people who have no track record of success. They have no real experience in the world – all they have done is wrote a book!
When I want to learn about success – I want to find someone who has done it! I want to look at somebody who has accomplished what I want to accomplish. I want someone who can lead by example. We learn much more about success – from models than we do from manuals.
So who is your model? Of course the Lord Jesus Christ is – but next to Him, the most successful Christian who ever lived would have to be the apostle Paul. He was an incredible man. He lived life to the fullest. He made his life count.
In Philippians chapter three Paul gives us a model for successful living. He encourages us to follow his example. In verse seventeen it says:
“Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.” Philippians 3:17 (NKJV)
How did Paul walk? What was his pattern? In today’s text – Paul explains four keys to successful living.
1. Face your SHORT-COMINGS
No-one here is perfect. No-one has it all together. It is important to remember this – you and I still have a long way to go. It is important to inventory your life. You've got to know where you are before you know where you want to go. Look for areas that need improvement. Paul said:
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” Philippians 3:12-13 (NKJV)
Paul is saying: "I don't claim to have it all together. I don’t claim to be a success. I don’t claim to be perfect – but I strive to move closer to Christ. I have a goal and I am trying to reach it.”
Paul’s statement is an amazing statement. Why? Because when Paul is writing this – he is an old man. If anybody had the right to claim he had arrived – if anyone could claim that he had it all together – it would be Paul. He wrote most of the New Testament. He – for the most part – single handedly spread Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. There is no doubt that He has made an incredible impact on the world. Yet Paul, at the end of his life, says "I don't have it all together. I haven't arrived yet. I'm not perfect. I'm still growing. I still have not achieved my goal."
Folks – here is a fact: Successful Christians Never Stop Growing
Successful Christians are always developing, growing, expanding, and learning. Even when Paul is an old man – he says, "I haven't arrived."
Folks let me tell you that this concept is contrary to much modern day theology that is being passed around today. Many Christians – and much preaching – will give you the impression that Christians never have any problems. They will give you the impression that they have “arrived”. That they have reached some state of sinless perfection – that they have no problems – that they have no worries – that they have no doubts – that they have no fears. But the longer I am a Christian – the more I grow as a Christian – the more that I examine my faith – the more I am convinced that I still need to grow in Christ.