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Here's Something Worth Forgetting, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
December 28, 2020 7:05 am

Here's Something Worth Forgetting, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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Hello, this is Dave Spiker with an important reminder that midnight this Thursday is the deadline for sending your special year-end donation to Insight for Living. Be sure to contact us today while it's fresh on your mind.

If you're listening in the United States, call 1-800-772-8888. You can also give online at With less than one week to go in 2020, it's the perfect time to pause and conduct some needed introspection. And in doing so, perhaps to set some new goals. Indeed, most of us could afford to make a few changes.

Perhaps it's shedding a couple of pounds or getting more exercise. Well today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll suggests that our resolutions for 2021 might include a personal virtue that's likely to surprise you. Some of us need to master the art of forgetting. Teaching from Philippians chapter 3, Chuck titled today's message, Here's Something Worth Forgetting. The Apostle Paul wrote of the Scriptures, He wrote elsewhere, However, whatever was written in earlier times was written for our learning that we through patience and comfort from the Scriptures might have hope. So in the Scriptures we have instruction, we have reproof, we have direction, and we find hope.

It seems appropriate on this transition Sunday and along with next Sunday that we spend time thinking about something that is worth forgetting today and then next time something that is worth remembering. We'll look at James 4 next time, but today we look at Philippians chapter 3. If you have a copy of the Scriptures, please turn to Philippians 3. I'll begin reading a little after the beginning of the chapter and then I'll read along until the end of verse 14. I'll be reading from the New Living Translation. Philippians 3, I'll start at verse 4 down through 14.

We love the Lord our God and out of respect for Him and His Word, we stand for the reading of the Scriptures. Verse 4 of Philippians 3 begins, I was a member of the Pharisees who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church and as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with Him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law, rather I become righteous through faith in Christ.

For God's way of making us right with Himself depends on faith. Verse 12, I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I've already reached perfection, but I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I've not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing. Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Obviously, when you look at that 13th verse, you can see what is worth forgetting.

All of us look back today to a year that has almost passed, just a few hours and it's over. It's a good thing to remember what has been beneficial. It's healthy to forget those things that drag us down, things that need to be forgotten, things that we sought for our own glory and our own recognition.

Today's message is titled, Here's Something Worth Forgetting. Abraham Lincoln sat listening intently, hardly moving a muscle. He chose to sit on a side room of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. The Civil War was raging and wherever he went, it seemed to cause a disturbance and he wanted none of that. He was there to worship, to be fed spiritually, and he listened as Phineas Gurley, the pastor, preached his sermon. When it was over, Lincoln continued to sit and ponder what he had heard. The only one near him was his personal aide sitting at his side, who broke the silence as he whispered to the president, Well, what did you think of the sermon? Lincoln paused for a few moments and then responded briefly and bluntly, I think it was a failure. Why would you think it was a failure? asked the aide.

Lincoln's quick answer was this, because he did not ask of us anything great. I will say without hesitation, my sermon today will not fail if that is the reason for a failed sermon. I'm going to ask of you something great. But I need to warn you ahead of time, it won't be easy and it won't come naturally.

But I assure you it will be worth all the effort. Before I address this bad habit all of us must break, let me give you a statement, a wise statement. The life which is unexamined is not worth living. Those words are not only wise, they're ancient. Plato, the Greek philosopher, first thought them and then wrote them 400 years before Christ came to this earth. I've occasionally wondered if Paul in his studies read Plato and if it might have influenced him when he wrote the words in 1 Corinthians 11 verse 28, You should examine yourself.

Later in life he wrote something similar to young Timothy. In 1 Timothy 4 16, pay close attention to yourself. The New Living Translation renders that keep a close watch on how you live. J.B. Phillips handles it this way, keep a critical eye upon your own life.

Be grateful for the transition that comes annually. It's a natural time for us to pause and examine ourselves. By the way, when we examine ourselves we discover things no one else knows. We dig into the secrets of our lives we've never shared. We acknowledge habits that we've begun to form that quite likely no one else has noticed. And the self-examination is profitable.

In fact, Plato is right. If one lives a life without self-examination it's hardly worth living that life. Today, as I warned you earlier, this is going to include something that won't be easy, but it will make life worthwhile. As we examine ourselves, to ignore this occasion would leave us with a life not worth it.

So it's time to cut to the chase. Here's that something great I'm going to ask of you. Stop being preoccupied with what has been and start looking forward to what might be.

It's important enough to repeat. Stop being preoccupied with what has been and start looking forward to what might be. In other words, get beyond the way you were, that is the past, where much of it was putting you in the center, and move on to a bright new tomorrow that allows Christ to take first place. Let him redirect your future in areas you right now do not know about or could even expect.

Allow him to take center stage and, in today's terms, to call the shots. Stop the bad habit of longing for things and your own life to be as it has been and start anticipating and focusing on the way things could be and, through Christ, should be. I can already hear the mental break screeching, first because of the habits that you have formed where you are stuck, and if nothing else, you found security in those habits of reliving, rehearsing, going back over the things of the way you were throughout this past year. This kind of habit breaking has good scriptural support. It's found in Philippians chapter 3, verses 13 and 14. I read that, and when I've done it earlier, I've smiled because I pictured Paul, who has a lot of things on his plate, his mind filled with a lot of situations, a number of people needs, his own battles, to say nothing of the battles he was fighting with the enemy, and he boils life down to this one thing I do. Did you miss that as you get to the end of verse 13? I focus on this one thing.

Look at it. Forgetting the past, looking forward to what lies ahead, and what a past Paul had. I realize, as I say that, I'm speaking to people who also have had some pretty illustrious pasts. We have in our congregation a person who was once a professional football player. He was a star, in fact, of the team.

We have an individual in our congregation who has been a professional musician, played in fine orchestras and symphonies, still plays very well. But all of this has passed. We have individuals who have run companies. They've done very well, and their success is now known among the business world.

I realize that. We have you who have reared a family no small task. Your children are pressing on, doing what you had longed for them to do, and that is fulfill the will of God in their lives, and you look back, remembering that past. All of these things in the past have had their great, glorious moments. You may even have a shelf where you have your awards.

Nothing wrong with that. Trophy cases are found in many homes. Maybe one of your walls is marked by plaques, photos, and images of you with other great people. I have a good friend named Jay Kessler, who was a leader of Youth for Christ and then later became the president of Taylor University, a wonderful friend and dear man. He said, you know, I realize, Chuck, as I looked over the wall, I have with pictures of my shaking hands with great people. All those great people are looking at someone else while they're shaking my hands.

I realize I mean very little to those people, though that picture means a lot to me. Paul looked back at his wall of significance, and I'm telling you, no one else in his day could have these trophies. That is, all of these, and I count seven of them beginning in verse 5 of that same third chapter. He started off exactly as a good Jew would begin, circumcised the eighth day of his life. He said, I am pure-blood citizen of Israel, a member of the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest but the significant tribe from which the first king of Israel came, Saul. King Saul came from the tribe of Benjamin. I was a real Hebrew, if there ever was one, says Paul. I was a member of the Pharisees. You and I don't appreciate that because in our world there aren't appointed official Pharisees. But when you were a Jew and you were a Pharisee, you were like none other. I've been told that a sword could pierce a scroll of the Scriptures, and a Pharisee could tell you which words in the scroll were pierced. They knew the Scriptures like that.

Much of the Word of God was memorized, especially in the Torah and always from the Old Testament. I was a Pharisee who demanded the strictest obedience of the law. So zealous was I that I made a career out of persecuting Christians, those who were standing against us, those people of the church, those who saw themselves as the ecclesia, the called-out ones. And I found them and I put thumbs down on them and I saw that they were brought to trial and I watched as some of them were put to death and I smiled all the way through it. I obeyed the law without thought.

It was an external blamelessness that I lived my life and I loved the applause and I delighted in the significance of my role. But will you notice what he writes? Once I thought those things were valuable, but now everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

For his sake I have discarded everything. When the Apostle Paul peeled away the layers of his own personal interests, it revealed that everything is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Jesus. You're listening to Insight for Living and a message from Chuck Swindoll. We'll hear more from this study in Philippians 3 on Tuesday and Chuck is here to share a closing comment as well, so please stay with us. To learn more about this ministry, visit us online at

Let me give you a sneak preview of what's ahead in the new year of 2021. Chuck has already mapped out his preaching schedule for the program and I'm pleased to tell you that we're going to begin a brand new verse-by-verse study through the book of Matthew. Matthew provides a detailed description of the life and ministry of Jesus that begins with our King's arrival in Bethlehem and ends with his Great Commission. In addition to Chuck's teaching series, we're pleased to offer his brand new commentary. It's called Swindoll's Living Insights Commentary for Matthew and is published in two hardbound volumes. If you're prepared to deepen your knowledge of the real Jesus, we highly recommend that you purchase your copies in time to begin this study with Chuck. To purchase Swindoll's Living Insights Commentary for Matthew, call us.

If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888 or go to slash store. Chuck? In these more than 40 years of ministry that Insight for Living has been teaching the Bible, I've never witnessed a year quite like 2020.

Chances are you haven't either. This was a year defined by ginormous disruptors. The disruptors are personal disasters that derailed our plans and stole any modicum of peace we'd come to enjoy. The number one disruptor, of course, was the unnerving coronavirus. But make no mistake, the chaos cannot be isolated to a contagious flu bug alone. In addition, COVID seemed to ignite a powder keg of emotions that exploded like bombshells in our political and civil discourse.

And the end result? Our world is embroiled in a diabolical war against itself. These are serious days. And now you're probably thinking, come on, Chuck, lighten up a little.

I know, I know. It's not like me to paint such a dark and hopeless picture, but I would deny the obvious if I didn't acknowledge the minefield of troubling issues that litter our path today. So here's where I turn the corner. Lest we think we're trekking through uncharted territory, let's pause to remember Jesus has been down this road before. In fact, when you think back, his times were rife with crisis, just as ours are. In fact, when the baby Jesus broke onto the human stage in Bethlehem, the political climate in Rome was deep and treacherous.

Caesar Augustus was demanding a census. And Herod the Great was on a rampage of fury. And it was no accident that Jesus arrived when he did. Remember Paul's words? When the fullness of time came, God sent forth his son, Galatians 4-4. What he meant was Jesus arrived right on time. Ultimately, Jesus died on the cross right on time, and later walked out of the grave right on time. I believe that God has appointed Insight for Living Ministries to declare the truth about Jesus for such a time as this.

It is right on time. He is our only hope. Christ is still the one who is able to bring light when all around us is dark as night. God is still with us in this year of loss and violence, division, arguments, and pandemic. So now, as we turn the page and come to the end of this chapter called 2020, I'm asking you to join me in proclaiming the truth about Jesus with a world that's overcome with fear. Look, I'm keenly aware that many of our listening family have endured financial setbacks this year.

I realize that, and I stand with you. Some, however, are capable of giving on their behalf, above and beyond. In any case, I can assure you that your much-needed year-end gift will become a light to those who are walking in darkness. Any amount God places on your heart to give to Insight for Living Ministries will make all the difference you can imagine, and it will make a difference to those in need. Together, let's assure them of this.

You are not alone. God is still on the throne, and He's always right on time. Thanks, Chuck. Perhaps you're in a position to give on behalf of others who've come to rely on Insight for Living, just as someone once did for you. Your generosity right now will arrive at just the right time.

So here's how to connect. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888, or go online to You can also give a year-end donation by calling us if you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888, or give online at Chuck Swindoll continues his message, titled Here's Something Worth Forgetting, Tuesday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Here's Something Worth Forgetting, was copyrighted in 2019 and 2020, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2020 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-10 22:37:10 / 2024-01-10 22:44:54 / 8

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