10. Press On Toward the Goal

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Philippians: Joyful Living For This Earthly Life  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:58
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Come walking up with baggage… picking up some baggage along the way up. Encourage audience to take a load off and sit down.
Dismiss children’s church
MANY OF YOU… feel like I look! You come this morning with all sorts of baggage
Preston comes up with game bag
Nathan comes up with guitar case
Lisa comes up with laptop case
Sometimes it just seems more and more is added…
THE WE COME TO CHURCH Sunday morning and there it is, a sermon about “Pressing Onward!”
We know and understand things in scripture like the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 my burden is light...
Matthew 11:28–30 NASB95
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
LAST WEEK… we hear a message about the heavy burden of works based salvation vs the free gift of salvation… We hear we are to lay it all down at the cross!
YESSSSS!!!! That’s it!!!
If only it were… at the moment of salvation all struggles, temptations, suffering and pain were absent
But it is not that way… at salvation you and I continue in this life
We engage the suffering, pain, struggles for His GLORY!
That message of salvation taken out of the context of scripture can be dangerous ( a FREE gift FREE of expectation )
At salvation we become a child of God
As His child He has expectations for our life… life abundant!
Remember our sin was laid on Him and his righteousness bestowed on you and me!!!
We are told to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus… A Spiritual Mindset (the old made new)
The chief end of our salvation is sanctification the process of being made into the image/likeness of Jesus Christ!
It is to this end and challenge that Paul writes in Philippians 3:12-16
Philippians 3:12–16 NASB95
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.

Not There Yet...

Paul is using today the metaphor of running a race like the Greek Olympic games of his day!
Not a sprint… quick and easy
Not the 3000m or even the 10,000m track and field race
Nice smooth track with your own lane
This is a cross country marathon, through mud, over hills, rough ground, rugged terrain, streams and marsh to dusty ground kind of race!!!
Paul directs attention to himself here… the respected Apostle Paul had NOT ATTAINED this perfection yet.
While these who demanded keeping the law for salvation and BOASTED in their works…
Paul simply states, I’m not there yet
Paul states I am “Pressing On”
Paul has not yet reached perfection, but this does not cause him to cease striving…


Pressing On: striving hard for something, pushing ones self, to gives ones energy and effort towards a goal
The Goal: the target, is Christ likeness… Perfection!
It is the very perfection of Christ that allowed Christ to pay the atonement for our sin
It is the character and Likeness in which we strive for
Then in humble manner Paul says… “I don’t have it yet
It is about our progress as we move toward perfection
BUT… this is his goal, this is his aim, he is moving forward PRESSING ON… and he gives some suggestions for us to focus on…


Remember Paul is addressing this as a runner running the race, looking for the prize…
I have watched cross country and field and track events (not participated… observation)
Looking back when you run is NOT GOOD!
You can trip, fall, if nothing else it ALWAYS slows your progress and takes your eyes off of the GOAL!
Notice the second part of verse 13-14… “but one thing I do...
Don’t look back and stay focused!
What would Paul be “forgetting about that is behind?
In the context we see that he would forget or let go of all those works (pick up a bag)
Maybe looking back to some of those sins… not big ones just “comfortable” ones (pick up a bag)
Maybe those regrets, we know Christ forgave us, but we just won’t let them go (pick up a bag)
Tragically we can look back and hold onto past hurts, struggles, or even glories that we long to either change the past or glory in the past!!! (pick up a bag)
Sometimes we focus so much on the past… we find ourselves no longer making any forward progress, we just stare and remember dwell
We live each day wondering why our christian life is showing no progress or change, we come to church and wonder when we see in scripture that we are to PRESS ON for a prize when we struggle just to stand…
Paul would share with another church in Corinth these words 1 Corinthians 9:24 … The prize
1 Corinthians 9:24 NASB95
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
Looking back and holding on to the past… Paul is saying NO WAY!!! (DROP ALL BAGS) “I look ahead… to the end of the race, for the Heavenly prize God calls us to!
We let go of the past and turn towards the future, what lies ahead!
As a runner throwing ourselves forward, with all our energy, all our passion and pursuit!
Every fiber of our being striving towards the goal
We do it for temporal trophies, ribbons, achievements, promotions, victories
Moving towards being found perfect in Christ and attaining it when we finish this race of life!
Paul in verse 15 speaks to this being our attitude, our mindset… setting our mind to doing something… and we need each other for this!

Team Effort

Paul shifts from I and Me to the pronouns WE and US! There is a working together that is needed in this race…
The NASB translates the word here PERFECT… HOWEVER others translate it MATURE which I feel is a better rendering of the word. It gives a clearer sense of what Paul is declaring to these saints.
Each one of us are at different stages of this race… some are further along
Stuart Briscoe paraphrases this verse well “I am complete in the sense that I have grown as far as I can at the present, and I am ready for the next lesson.”
Swindoll, C. R. (2017). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 76). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
The writer of Hebrews writes Hebrews 6:1 … speaking to our Maturity & running the distance
Hebrews 6:1 NASB95
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
Some are at the elementary stages “God will reveal to them” their progress needed
Some have matured through some very difficult lessons, able to come along side of others and help ease their LOAD…
Some are discovering yet another “bag” so to speak that needs to be dealt with
Some today felt like I looked at the beginning,
Holding on with a clenched fist
Struggling to take the next step…
Some may need to lay everything down at the cross (SALVATION)
Some may need to FORGET what lies behind and refocus today on the GOAL!
Wherever you are, whatever it is, God is able to do the work…
The Bible Knowledge Commentary (3:15–16) Walvoord
No doubt the greatest need among God’s people is to live up to what they already have in Christ. Most live far below their exalted position in Christ. Paul’s plea to the Philippians was that they live up to what they had already attained, namely a righteous position in Christ!
Let’s encourage one another to LIVE and RUN as God has intended PRESSING ON TOWARD THE GOAL TOGETHER!!!
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