Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:12-16
1. Philippians 3:1-11 has much to say about Paul’s attitude in his pursuit of the resurrection. His attitude was, “whatever it takes.”
2. Paul writes in 2Corinthians 10:11, “such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present.” He was much more than words.
3. He also wrote in Colossians 3:23, “whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord.”
4. He realizes that he has not obtained all that he wants, but he is not giving up. (Quit is not in his vocabulary.)
5. Paul describes the things he is actually doing in his pursuit for the resurrection, “If by any means.”
I. Persistent (follow after or press on) (vs. 12)
A. Many things can interrupt our resolve to follow Christ.
1. Discouragement, fatigue, failure, rejection etc.
2. Pressing on is always necessary. The wolf knows he can last longer than his prey. He is driven by hunger.
B. There is a driving force behind Paul. (vs. 12)
1. That I may lay hold of that which Christ has laid hold on me.
2. God considers us his own. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…” (1Jo 3:1)
3. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1Cor 6:20)
C. “Pressing On” involves hard work.
1. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. (1Thess 2:9)
2. He labored so he would not be a burden on the churches.
3. We want to have something to give to the church or to help someone in need. Giving to others goes a long way in maintaining our resolve for Christ.
II. Moving Forward (vs. 13) One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before
A. Remembering former things has value.
1. Paul was reminded of the sincere faith of Timothy. (2Tim 1:5)
2. He remembered the faith, love and hope of the Thessalonians. (1Thes. 1:3)
3. Peter’s intent of calling to remembrance certain things was to stir the brethren up. (2Pet.1:13)
4. Here in Philippians 1:3, Paul is thankful for his remembrance of them.
5. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
6. Remembering the past in certain ways can be good for us.
B. Living in the past holds us back.
1. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. (Prov 4:25)
2. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2Cor 5:17)
3. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)
4. Are you living in the past?
a. Do you find yourself always thinking about one particular part of your past. (Always talking about your old high school football days.)
b. Do you think you will never reach a certain level of happiness that you had in the good old days?
c. Are you afraid of the future?
d. Are you frustrated about your present condition?
e. Does thinking about the past make you sad?
C. Contentment is learned.
1. Phil 4:11: “…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
2. Living in the past can be a means of avoiding the present. It is easier to remember your glory days in High School than to look at yourself in the mirror and try to deal with the extra 50 or 75 pounds you now have.
3. Living in the past can be a means to avoid the future. We may have a fear of what the future holds and therefore make no plans.
4. Life is hard and filled with uncertainties but we can take control of ourselves and be filled with the joy of Christ.
5. We can be thankful for what we have and make plans for the future.
III. Press toward the Goal (vs.14-15)
A. Goal setting is a biblical principle.
1. Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created…” He had a plan to move forward and in verse 31 it is written that God saw all that He made and it was very good.
2. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations…” is a goal.
B. There is a reward in pressing toward the goal. (vs.14)
1. The prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
2. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: (Matt. 6:19-20)
3. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (Col 3:1-2)
C. All of us seeking greater heights will think this way. (vs. 15)
1. Our goal is heaven.
2. We are very different in many ways and sometimes have very strong opinions about how things should be done.
3. When it comes to the main objective we are all “pressing on the upward way.”
4. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no division among you; but that ye be joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1Cor 1:10)
5. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psa 133:1)
6. We have a common goal.
Paul was always praying, always teaching and always looking toward the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. That is why he would say, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1Cor 11:1) May our desire to reach the goal be accompanied by our labor of love for all men and especially for those of the household of faith.