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October 12, 2020 8:00 am
What is it that excites you the most dear Stephen, the best thing about the prize that awaits us at the finish line is not the taste of food. The land separate is having tears of sorrow I provide is an streets of gold are estates that never need repair or alarm system. The most intense pleasure of heaven is found in the final vision or we shall worship him and see his face, to the glory and praise of Christ forever was actually a very healthy perspective in that one of the things that can hinder us is dwelling on our past dwelling on yesterday's sentence losses and grief can lead you to discouragement dwelling on yesterday's successes victories enjoys can lead you to lethargy. So how do we truly let go of yesterday and sees today.
I'm glad you've joined us because Stephen Devi has an important lesson from Philippians 3 called moving past the past. Let's join Stephen right now that your Bibles, iPads and androids and turn the Philippians chapter 3 is not there already. Look at verse 10.
Let's get a running start that I may know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering, being conformed to his death in order that I may attain the resurrection from the dead… I have already obtained or have already become perfect. What did he not obtain would be the resurrection that he references earlier in a sense, yes, but it's it's more than that in fact were given a clue with the verb translated perfect there at the end of that phrase. I haven't already become perfect. The only time Paul uses it in verb form in any of his letters means to reach moral and spiritual perfection.
You could translated not as though I were already perfected. Paul uses the same word in adjectival form in several Z uses and I gives is a little you know what he means he uses it to refer Romans chapter 12 is something that is pure, something that is consistent.
Romans talk to Laura uses it to the Corinthians in first 2014 20 to be mature to be an adult in your thinking. So if you take that back. What Paul is more than likely saying here is, I haven't reached a point in my Christian experience where I III think after Christ. I walk with Christ. I modeled Christ with consistency and purity and perfection and even maternity anything when you read that I must've read that wrong. This is the super apostle right this is the author of one New Testament letter after another. This is the leader of the New Testament outreach to the Gentile world. This is the recipient of a heavenly vision that he was given of heaven.
This is this is the one given a personal tour trained personally by the spirit of God this is the clear thinking theologian. This is the persevering missionary statesman and pioneer and he is admitting to the church, shock of all shocks. I have not arrived. How absolutely refreshing aren't you sick of three ways to arrive in seven steps to making the perfection of this is that you can be on the other victories side.
He is living one author wrote here with a sense of holy dissatisfaction. By the way, that is the attitude of any successful athlete you've ever met. There always working to improve.
They can swing better. They can run faster. They can train harder.
Why do we think in the Christian race we can arrive and rest on our laurels pulses listen to what you all to know in Philippi and that is mature is it like to be posted. He was satisfied with Jesus Christ, but he was not satisfied with his Christian life and he lived one author said with a sense of sanctified dissatisfaction. What a wonderful example fact so many of us can get tripped up on that racetrack by being self satisfied and we become self-satisfied and where we are more than likely because we compare our running to other Christians and we always find somebody running slower very easy to watch the think Paul could've found someone slower. We had him avoid the danger of comparing ourselves to others.
In fact, we will compare ourselves to those who run slower that I sent. We will and this is even equally dangerous. We will compare ourselves to those are running faster than a either extreme will not lead you to maturity. They either lead you to pride. On one hand because I'm so much faster than guy were deleted to despair because I will never be as fast as that Paul is comparing himself to the goal of Christ likeness and he says I have not arrived. How refreshing it is to hear someone's honesty clothes in humility.
Rightly we live in an imperfect world right we belong to imperfect families. We belong to shock you, but we belong to an imperfect church means morning are surrounded by imperfect people look around looking don't point in anybody just stare.
They Paul. Paul effectively says let's get real here. Keep in mind, by the way, the Paul was at the top of his game with rare transparency.
He basically admits I have come a long way, but I've got a long way to go is the first essential attitude in the race second essential attitude is critical at this juncture of self-evaluation and honesty only put it this way and I'll paraphrase it were Paul goes on to say I'm not quitting. I am pressing on.
I'm not quitting.
I'm pressing on other words, not only should we get really need to keep moving. We were struggling but I press on, so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of my Christ Jesus. Paul uses the verb twice translated to grip or to capture you understand Paul be writing but I press on to capture it. That is to grow more like Christ it as much as I have been captured by Christ, but I press on to grip greater than see greater consistency, greater maturity with Christ in my walk, knowing that I am grip by Christ. That's essential in the balance numbers rather rather than give up and quit all never be able to run that fast on them to slow. I always get tripped up somebody else's running better. The race is better than mine. By the way, even though Paul is been serving Jesus Christ now for just over 20 years is admission of immaturity combined however with his confidence in being gripped by Christ, captured by Christ then compels him to stay in the race. I press on, which means I move decisively toward an object. Paul uses the same word earlier in his testimony to prove how zealous he was impressing on and persecuting the church now can you imagine the change in his life before he was captured by Christ on the Damascus road and saved he was pursuing he was running after the church, but now he is pursuing he is running after Christ. He wants a better grip, as it were, on Christ knowing he is being gripped by Christ. Keep in my Paul is not talking about chasing down his salvation is not talking about running after his justification reminded run fast and of all get into the family. He has been captured by the Lord. Now he presses on vector uses the present tense every time I get out of bed. I am pressing on to capture him in a deeper greater more intimate, more mature manner as if these one author writes, gritting his teeth.
He saying I'm going to keep at it every day while I got athlete to get out of bed hits the track hits the gym on a keypad to develop work hard. Paul here is saying I am in the grip of the grace of Christ, and I will one author says press on in a hot rasping pursuit of an ever deepening walk with him.
There's a balance there, knowing that Christ is working in you and you are working for him. No court I get out of the field and says to his teammates with the guys we are to do just let go and let the coach must let him do it all, nor should he get out there and say you heard the coach but forget him. Paul uses this idea here of working hard for Christ knowing he belongs to Christ, and Christ is working through him. This grid he realistic attitude of pursuing after Christ. I have pulled from my file a parable illustration by an author of this kind, gritty perseverance, it's a parable.
Parable about an old dog that fell into a farmers dry well. It was a long fall but he survived farmer came along and after discovering and assessing the situation, he sympathized with his old dog but decided that neither the dog nor the empty well worth the trouble of saving so we decided to fill it in bearing the dog the same time the farmer began shoveling initially, the old dog was hysterical.
But as the farmer kept shoveling as the dirt hit the back of that dog.
The dog just kept shaking it off. It dawned on that old dog every time shoveling the dirt landed on his back. When the auditors just shake it off. Step up this he did blow after blow, no matter how painful or how distressing the situation.
The old dog fought panic and just kept shaking it off and stepping up was along the way stepped out over the edge of that well and hope to the ground. What seemed as though would barium ended up benefiting them all because he kept shaking it off and stepping my good guy, the other serve as a you know if it'd been a cat should use cement.
I thought that was absolutely brilliant. I mean, I have come a long way, but I'm not arrived. I'm not quitting impressing on third essential attitude and summarize it with this paraphrase, I am not narrowminded, but I am single-minded Paul writes in verse 13 brother and I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet but one thing I do stop described that one thing with a couple key phrases, but I want to move fast, too fast for quickly past this point of precision and focus. One common commentator added like a heat seeking missile. Paul is locked onto the gall of pursuing Christ like. It is the main thing you've heard before applying here in the main thing in a Christian's life is to keep the main thing the wine. The main thing in athletic terms, this would mean you minimize the distractions you narrow the focus of the 19th century evangelist Jan Moody once said on this text is better to say this one thing I do, then these 40 things I dabble there will always be the push. There will always be so many things that will crowding into your calendar and your life in your heart and your mind. Make sure they do not crowd out the main the analogy of the sporting world. No athlete is successful at every sport he specializes Michael Jordan in basketball is not Michael Jordan in baseball. In this context, Paul is referring here to his single-minded concentration. He is a runner.
He is racing. He is racing after the knowledge of Christ on a deeper level. His commitment to Christ on a more personal and consistent manner and intimate growth with Christ recognizing here as eat grits his teeth so to speak that Christianity is not as a level race. In fact, really more like running hurdles to jump over wine here comes another one obstacle after another. One distraction after another.
One difficulty after another one refusal after another by the believer who chooses to concentrate on the main thing Christianity one overrode is the it is the art of of learning to refuse the wrong thing and focus on the right thing is not being narrowminded thing. Single-minded giver had anybody work so you know you're really kind of a fanatic about this thing called Christianity. Praise God they don't know you're committed to him. There is something amiss minimize anything that would pull us away single-minded pursuit of Christ.
Paul says something else. Fourthly, we paraphrase them in a sentence he says I can remember yesterday but I'm choosing to move past the past. I can remember yesterday but I'm choosing to move past the passenger verse 13, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. Nepal is painting here a picture of his one pursuit is main thing with two parallel clauses, forgetting what is behind and straining toward that which is future were ahead if Paul had been the running coach of John Landy just before the British Empire games. This would have been his locker room speak I think you would've said something along John no matter what you do, do not look back over your shoulder. Keep your eye on the tape at the end of the race dwelling on the past is is like attaching to change your ankle can't do it you can forget the past but don't dwell on it.
Paul think of this, he could've dwelled on his former life right it did trouble we've reviewed the fact he never forgot he persecuted the church.
He was a killer. He and his zeal a jihadist was running after what he thought was right and it was wrong and was persecuting the church along the way.
Think of what he could have dwelt upon. He never forgot it.
But he chose to move past. Strain toward the future you study the life of Israel as a nation, especially during the Exodus and you can well remember what you learned that one of their problems was they tended to forget the right things and remember the wrong they forgot the power and the provision the protection the providence of God in multiplied events and they remembered Egypt fact. On one occasion recorded present numbers chapter 11 they said as a complaint, we remember the fish we you kidding we were in the mall lens, the leaks in the garlic we remember. Evidently they forgot why they needed to escape from Egypt there thereafter say we remember the Lord about what Paul is in writing here that we need to forget everything about her past Holden started his biography. In this chapter is recalling his former life that there are things in your former life before you came to faith in Christ that leads you to praise God. Important to remember that Paul is writing in the context of a race is effectively telling us to forget anything that hinders our reaching forward in the pursuit of Christ like her. In the words of one author I read just this past week. One way to get ahead is to leave some baggage behind the bed lose the baggage. Now you think about this in your left to wonder, and I would with you and had to think about this quite a bit.
Is Paul asking the impossible, isn't it true that the more tragic or traumatic or or violent or sinful or painful past the more difficult it is to forget is Paul suggesting that if you're going to mature as a Christian then you you need to be in the process of effectively losing your memory that's the case I am maturing about you. Paul is talking about developing spiritual amnesia. What is he mean keep in mind that in biblical terminology forgetting doesn't mean you can't remember forgetting does not mean you can't remember to forget in the Bible mean to no longer be influence or affected by, which explains God's promise is the writer of Hebrews chapter 10 verse 17 records God is saying, and their sins and their lawless deeds. I will remember no more.
Forget anything in your life you can't doesn't he never learns anything is always known he never forgets anything he sees everything all at once. What it means is that God will no longer allow our sins to in fluids him in regards to our standing neck in a deal with you in relation to your sin anymore. That's what he means to pause and suggesting some sort of mental nor psychological game or you do these four things and you know you're able to just you know be amazingly forgetful or whatever. You know know we we we we can't erase the sins and mistakes in the pain of the past. We remember them well.
But Paul is effectively telling us that if you want to run the race.
There are times where you must break free, as it were from the power of the past by living for. Here's the other parallel clause by reaching for Bystrom, raining toward the future, the sin, beloved, we cannot change the past but we can change the meaning of the past right. We can see how God used that to break us to mold us maybe convert us to rescue us to develop us so that now he can use us in some manner. Paul implies that you run this race. You break the power of the past by giving new meaning and that meaning comes to light.
As you strain toward the future, you can't run your race. Looking over your shoulder. This of the enemies doing in your life today you want to run for Christ. You want to walk with Christ but your head is constantly looking over your shoulder reach forward. Paul writes verse 13, translated here, reaching forward that that word comes right out of right out of the athletic world for a runner in a foot race with his arms outstretched and his body then and straining forward toward the tape seen an average of you done straining to reach the finish line. What is the finish line that Paul has in mind only paraphrase one more time. This fifth and final essential but first let me let me quickly review Paul is first, that I have come a long way, but I'm not arrived. In other words, Gabriel. I'm not quitting, but I'm pressing on. In other words, keep moving.
Thirdly, I am not narrowminded, but I am single-minded in other words, they focus far as I can remember yesterday but I'm choosing to move past my past. In other words, lose the baggage that fifth we paraphrase in this way, I am not expecting the race to get easier but the prize makes it worth notice verse 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
What's the prize the upward call is not hoping that he gets cold upward. He says that's the prize of the believer and was the upward call to heaven. More importantly, a person wanting along the walk with intimately and no deeply is waiting for the upward call and that will be completed. The finish line is the doorway to heaven, since I can't wait just can't wait. One author provoke my thinking challenges the church by writing the prize in Paul's mind is bigger than escaping the world's misery is better than never going hungry, being free from pain and sickness, or even reuniting with Redeemer Lublin. Those are all good things but the best thing about the prize that awaits us at the finish line is not the taste of food at the lambs banquet separate is it having tears of sorrow like from Ryan's is an streets of gold are estates that never need repair or alarm system. The most intense pleasure of heaven is found in the final vision we shall worship him and see his face, to the glory and praise of Christ forever pulses I'm running the race as you run your taste. I hope this time in God's word has encouraged you the lesson you just heard is entitled moving past the past and it comes from Stephen series aiming higher if you missed a portion of this lesson and want to go inherent in its entirety. We've posted it to our website which is wisdom online.org. I encourage you to go to that site to keep caught up with our Bible teaching ministry while you're there, be sure and sign up to receive heart-to-heart magazine, we be happy to send you the next three issues of heart-to-heart call us at 86 648 Bible and join us at this same time tomorrow for more