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September 6, 2021 2:00 am
One of Paul's favorite metaphors for Christian living was the race. As Skip begins the message "Put On Your Running Shoes," he shares how you can be a champion in the race towards Christlikeness.
This teaching is from the series Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians .Links:
This week's DevoMail: https://connnectwithskip.com/devomail
Think today of your life as a race course you are running the race toward Christ likeness. Think of today as an aid station eight stations and races of places where applicable water power bars medical attention see today is the aid station for your long marathon. The Christian life because even if you fall in even if you struggle, we want to see you not eliminated invigorated people. Olympic athletes spend years training in their sport. It's grueling and tiring, but the reward is worth in the end, as Christians, we can look forward to an even greater today on connect with skiff heights Skip shares how you can be a winning champion in the race of before we begin want to let you know about an opportunity you have.
To visit the sites with the prophets and kings in the Bible heard from God in his life. When you are taking a trip to Israel in 2022 90 on the journey visit places like Nazareth, the Jordan River. The Dead Sea in Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount in the car.
Continue and that's just a quick look at the trap. Find out more about the trip and inspiration cruises.com/CA Q okay. Let's dive into today's teaching will be in Philippians chapter 3 Skip Heitzigs and begins the study. I think it's safe to say that the most famous Christian song ever written and recorded multiple times is the song amazing Grace was written by a former slave trader by the name of John Newton who legitimately and honestly was celebrating God's grace in his life. But about 16 years ago, CVS hijacked the term amazing Grace for a show that they called the amazing race of the amazing race which is binary. Since that time is all about sending teams around the world. Teams 10 or 11 teams of two people to travel the world in a month to collect clues they compete in different exercises and they have to meet at checkpoints along the way and the way it works is the last team to arrive at a checkpoint is eliminated from the race altogether. So there's not much amazing grace in the amazing race, but I suppose that if there were a section of Scripture that could be called the amazing race in the New Testament, it is Philippians chapter 3, beginning in verse 12, because the metaphor is rich from the athletic world that Paul is writing so in this section, Paul would say put your running shoes on and get on the track. Let's look at verse 12. 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 brother and I do not count myself to have apprehended. But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward. Picture a runner now in the race 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. Therefore let us as many as are mature have this mind and if anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.
Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be the same mind for my reading of the New Testament.
I have always believed that Paul the apostle was sort of a sports fan. He obviously knew the Olympics that was going on during his time or he was familiar with what are called the gift to me and games. The games similar to the Olympics that took place around Corinth and either if he was watching Monday night cherry races or things like that. But if you were alive today, I think he would probably have watched the World Series the other night and he would've rooted for the Dodgers. By the way, but nonetheless, in his day and age.
He was a sports fan because he writes with the analogies of the athletic world on many occasions to describe the Christian life. For example, he employs the analogy of boxing in first Corinthians chapter 9 he says I fight that as I box not as one who beats the air.
In other words, I'm not shadowboxing I'm not just going after the air. I'm really in the rain and I'm fighting the good fight at the end of his life.
That's what he said. Second Timothy chapter 4 I have fought the good fight.
Also, he speaks of rustling Ephesians chapter 6. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, but by far his favorite analogy in Scripture of the Christian life is the race the foot race in the fifth chapter of Galatians.
He writes of them and says you were running a good race who cut in on your who hindered in first Corinthians chapter 9 do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize run in such a way as to get the prize.
Now in that show the amazing race. There is a prize it's a million bucks if you happen to be the bid team that gets all the checkpoints and you get to the very end. You will get $1 million check on one occasion even give a $2 million check but to Paul the apostle. There's a much greater prize than that. Listen to what he writes in first Corinthians 9, the chat priority mention all athletes practice strict self-control.
They do it to win a prize that will fade away. We do it for an eternal prize.
Did you know that you will be rewarded. One day based on how you ran the race of the Christian life.
Paul says that we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Second Corinthians chapter 5 to be judged. We will receive whatever we deserve for the good or the evil we have done in this earthly body.
So think today of your life as a race course you are running a race toward Christ likeness.
Think of today as an aid station eight stations and races of those places where athletes get water or power bars or medical attention, so see today is the aid station on your long marathon of the Christian life because even if you fall in even if you struggled, we want to see you, not eliminated, but invigorated to keep going back in 1992 there was a gal named Beth and DC entities. She wanted to qualify for the Olympics that year. The qualifying time for a marathon Americana. Some of you know was around 27 miles of the female qualifying time for the Olympic was two hours and 45 minutes you have to get that time or below so she ran her qualifying race and she was doing well. She started out strong but she started having trouble around mile 23 I got a laugh at that, because I would have trouble before mile three she's at mile 23 and she's experiencing a little bit of trouble. She rounds the corner into the last right away. She's got two minutes left qualify.
She's 200 yards from the finish line. Beth and collapses on the ground falls to the ground. She's days dizzy. She was down there for about 20 seconds. She gets back up.
She continues to run 5 yards short of the finish line with 10 seconds left to go. She falls again, this time on her hands and knees. She crawls across the finish line and her time two hours 44 minutes 57 seconds she qualified by three seconds on her hands and knees so maybe you feel strong in this race others. If you feel like I'm not so strong I've fallen a few times I've stumbled well. You may have fallen but you can get up and you need to get up and keep going and all of us are rooting for you because none of us are perfect as we will see what I want to show you in looking at the text we looked at an organ up drill down in our five essentials five things you and I need to do to run this race well to run toward the prize to finish a winning race. First of all a winner needs dissatisfaction dissatisfaction look at verse 12 pulses.
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected the gun. Verse 13 brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended. Boy am I glad Paul wrote that it's so relieving to hear. It's a breath of fresh air.
Here's the confession of a man who has walked with Christ for 30 years, saying, have arrived, have entertained.
I'm not perfect. I think you would agree Paul the apostle by any standard, was one of the greatest men of history. He was brilliant he was spiritual.
He was highly motivated. He planted churches around the world in acts chapter 19 while he was in Ephesus. Listen to what it says and unusual miracles were wrought by the hands of Paul is quite a race is run unusual miracles work were wrought by the hands of Paul, one of the unusual miracles wrought by Paul in the book of acts is when he went down the troll as he was preaching a message, any kind of preach little too long, like some preachers do the look at me that way and he was going long into the night and there was a young man by the name of teacher because he was in the window and just was getting tired. He fell asleep fell out the window hit the street, died, Paul interrupts his Sherman Holland.
He said: those answers raises him from the dead brings them back inside to a very thankful crowd and keeps preaching through the night.
Aren't you glad I don't do that now. Paul says I haven't already attained in previous statements he has made up to this point could make his audience think he had attained because he talks about profit and loss.
The things that I thought were so important to me are counted as loss for what I've gained is so much better. I've gained so much and he says previous statement and be found in him, not having my own righteousness which is of the law, but the righteousness that comes by faith from God that I might know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death. If by any means I may attain the resurrection of the dead, they could read that go. Oh my goodness, who is the sky. He has made it. He has arrived he is attained so we immediately says not that I have already attained them already perfected brother and I do not count myself to have apprehended.
This tells me a couple of things number one it tells me that none of us. None of us reach perfection this side of heaven. You'll never arrive, though I have met people who think they have arrived and are always obtained to be around right because they think they have attained this special class of Christian maturity and other trying to convince everybody that they have, but everybody really knows them knows they have somebody want set up a perfectionist is one who takes great pains and gives them to everybody else and there are people who believe in perfectionism. There are Christians who believe in what is called total sanctification or complete sanctification or the second blessing they come to a place where they are morally perfect. Charles Spurgeon said he met a couple young men who walked up to them. One day, claimed that they work morally perfect that they had attained the second blessing that they were similarly perfect Spurgeon happen to have a picture of water in his hand. The story goes, and that he just couldn't resist the temptation and he poured the pitcher of water on the two similarly perfect ones, and he noticed their reaction was the same as anybody else's reaction and when they reacted hostilely and violently. He said I thought so. MRD Han wrote self-satisfaction is the death of progress. The most boring people I ever meet are the ones who take up my time telling me what they have done when they ought to be doing so none of us reaches perfection. This side of heaven. The other thing that shows me the is that it is imperfection that drives us onward and upward.
If you think about it.
Probably every invention that is ever been invented in history is the result of men and women not being satisfied with the way things are little like this condition. Why does that have to be this way. Maybe we should figure out a way to make a different I'm sure the wheel was invented by some dude just got tired of carrying stuff on his back, but there's gotta be a better way.
Ralph Waldo Emerson the Great American essayist author said, unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered you will never grow that this is essential in a race if a runner running down the track is absolutely satisfied with their performance up to this point.
This could be a tendency to slow down, especially if they find other runners that their passing. Oh, I'm better than that one better than that. Yeah, but you may not be better than the one coming behind you at a fast pace so it is in the Christian race. If you are looking around at other Christians are to slow down and his wife. We have a tendency we compare ourselves with other people to find people who are doing as well as we are. That's ones we find a comparison of 20, I'm a better Christian than they are cool. I do this much better so we need a healthy sense that says I have arrived.
I have an attained. Imagine if Paul were to compare his own running with everybody else who could match him he had a vision of Christ on the Damascus road he saw miracles of healing.
He was caught up into the third heaven, he had seen and experienced so much so for this guy to say I have an attained shows us that a divine dissatisfaction is essential for spiritual progress.
So that's first winter needs dissatisfaction second essential is a winter needs concentration in verse 13 he says something I find fascinating brother and I do not count myself to have apprehended. But one thing I do stop right there. The words I do are in italics, meaning they are not in the original so it it actually reads this brother and I do not count myself to have apprehended. But one thing one thing forgetting those things are behind and reaching forward to those things which are that phrase. One thing is a very important biblical friends example, a rich young ruler came to Jesus one day said you know I have kept all the commandments from my youth. Jesus said, well, there's one thing you lack go so what you have given to the poor, and then follow me Martha, who had invited Jesus over to their house and Mary and Martha, Martha was cooking.
She was busy.
Mary sitting on the floor just listening to Jesus given a Bible study she just stoked to be in his presence. Martha gets to that Mary is ensuring the work and complains to Jesus, and he responded saying Martha you are distracted by many things but one thing is needed and Mary has chosen the better part of a blind man was healed in the temple.
The religious elite came to him and said the one who healed you is a center in the environments that weather is a sinner or not. I don't know. But one thing I know I was blind and now I see David in Psalm 20 7471 thing I have desired of the Lord and that will I seek after here's the point. Winners become winners because they concentrate on one thing one thing they narrowed their focus on one thing I discovered something and watching athletes over the years. Those who are professional athletes very proficient.
They typically are proficient at only one thing. Rarely do you find athletes that can do as well in multiple sports example when you hear the name Charles Barkley what sport you think basketball great basket. He's good about one thing.
Have you ever seen his golf swing. So don't do it now. Please will go home and Google Charles Barkley golf swing and watch you get the point.
Oh my goodness, yes this is why he's not in the in the in the golf circuit, but he is great at what he did that one thing he excels at Michael Jordan same thing. Excellent. But he decided after he retired basketball that he was to try his hand at baseball.
Can I just put it this way, a less than impressive record few athletes are good in multiple sports and its past. They have discovered they concentrate on one thing Nehemiah in the Old Testament understood this principle when he came to Jerusalem he came to do one thing to build a wall. There was a lot of other things that required his attention, but he didn't care. He focused on one thing he was tempted to meet with different people who wanted to voice their concerns, meet with enemies wanted to have private meetings with them. And here is his response. I am doing a great work. I cannot stop to come down and meet with you to which they probably thought how rude. I need to meet with him. I need to talk to the mind them. I said no I'm about one thing and that is building this will one of the greatest problems we all have in life is that we tend to spread ourselves so thin and we fail to be effective at one thing he Stanley Jones, the great missionary theologian said your capacity to say no will determine your capacity to say yes to greater things. I discovered that no is a holy word skip. Can you do this no, why not because I'm doing that. One thing so picture this college class in a business college.
The professor wants to teach time management to his students so he goes up to the lectern on a class Davises class would have a quiz.
He reaches down gets a gallon largemouth Mason jar sets it on the lectern. Then he takes about a dozen fist -sized rocks and places them inside the gallon Mason jar, filling all the way up to the top.
The students watch the professor then said students is this jar full and they said yes. He said really. He reached down and took a little bucket of pebbles and began to pour the gravel. The gravel pebbles over the rocks. The rocks, the pebbles found the spaces between the large rocks any did that filled all the way up to the top and then he asked him again is the jar full will. They were catching on by now, they said no said good.
He reached out again. This time he took sand and poured the sand over the pebbles and over the large rocks all the way up to the brim, and it held quite a bit and he asked again. He goes class is the jar full.
They all in unison said no and he said good.
This time he reached down, took some water in the picture and poured the water till it went all the way up to the top. Now, he said, do you understand what my point is in this little analogy and one very energetic student said yes, that no matter how full your schedule as you can always fit more in. He said now that is not the point of this exercise. The point is this if you don't put the big rocks in first you'll never get them in at all. He was teaching them.
Time management and priority of verse things that Skip the message from the series Technicolor joy.
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Skip six years what it truly means to give you is your pursuit of Christ. Can you imagine a runner trying to go forward one direction to fall flat. You can't run the Christian race, always thinking about so he says, forgetting those things in the Bible. Forget doesn't mean to lose your memory. It doesn't mean failure to call it actually means. Don't let it influence you. This is forget about about it means don't let that pass influence so Skip presentation of connection communications to God's unchanging truth, ever-changing time