3 Steps to Pressing On

By Bobby Blakey on September 22, 2019

Philippians 3:12-17

AUDIO

3 Steps to Pressing On

By Bobby Blakey on September 22, 2019

Philippians 3:12-17

This is a rush transcript.

[00:00:01] You're a part of our CompassHB family. You know about the three most important words, if you heard about these words before. These are a summary of what Jesus says in Mark 1:15 when he's begins his ministry and he is preaching. And he says the time is fulfilled. The kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel. And so those are three words right there. Gospel, repentance and faith that we want every single person on planet Earth to understand, no matter what language they're speaking. And we want them to know what Jesus called all of us to do. And so we've been trying to explain these now for the last five years. We've been asking people what is the gospel and telling them the good news that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God, and that you had sin between you and God.

[00:00:56] But Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice, offering his body and shedding his righteous blood to atone for your sins. And then the Jesus, he rose on the third day so that you could have a new and eternal life and entering to relationship with God, no longer to be judged, but to be loved for all of eternity. So we try to tell as many people as we can that good news. And if Jesus died for all of your sin, well, then you shouldn't keep living in that sin. You should change your mind about it. You should repent, turn from your sin to Jesus.

[00:01:35] And it's not about you trying harder not to sin. No. You're trusting that when Jesus died and when Jesus rose again, he broke the power of sin and that you now have his resurrection power in your life. It's all about your faith of transferring your trust to Jesus and receiving his righteousness, not your own righteousness, but the gift of grace that comes in the face of Jesus Christ. So we've been spreading these three most important words and a lot of people are getting saved. Praise God. Over five years, there's been a lot of people who are who are now new creations in Jesus Christ as they hear the message and they respond. So if you're coming to our church and you're not yet a Christian, you haven't yet repented of your sin and believed in Jesus to be saved.

[00:02:24] Well, you need these three most important words.

[00:02:27] And and the good news is there are many people in this room that if you ask him after the service, how could you explain to me those three most important words? They would be happy to do so and they could do so, and they would take you through all the way what it means to be a Christian, to trust in Jesus Christ.

[00:02:44] But I want to talk this morning to those who have believed who have repented and, you know, Jesus. Well, what we need then is the three steps to pressing on. That's what we're going to find in our passage today. These are the three steps of spiritual growth and we're gonna find them in Philippians Chapter three. So I invite you to open the Bible and turn with me as we now kind of begin a new era in our church where we have many people here at the church who are saved. Praise the Lord. Okay, well, then what do we do as saved people? And Paul here in this passage is going to make it very clear and he's going to give us this idea of pressing on. So this is Philippians. Chapter three versus 12 to 17 will be our text here today.

[00:03:30] And this is Paul writing From Jail to the Philippians Church. And he's been telling his testimony. He's been sharing, hey, here's how I was growing up, a Jew being a Pharisee, thinking that I could keep the works of the law to be righteous. And then I had to realize all of that was loss. And the game that I needed was Jesus. I could only find righteousness by faith in him. In fact, he says more than that. Now I count everything as loss because knowing Jesus is so much better than everything else. And then if you were here last week, we got we got to the idea of what does it mean to know Jesus?

[00:04:09] What what is the power of his resurrection? What is the fellowship of his sufferings? And so now he's bringing up to how he grows as someone who knows Jesus. And so if you know Jesus, this is an imperative passage for you to think through your own relationship with Jesus Christ. I'm going to ask that everybody would stand up again as we read the scripture. Now we're gonna study together and we really need to learn what this is saying and make sure we're doing it in our lives. This is Philippians three versus 12 to 17. Please follow along.

[00:04:44] It says, not that I have already obtained this or I'm already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own brothers. I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

[00:05:14] Let those of us who are mature think this way. And if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

[00:05:23] Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Brothers join in imitating me. And keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. Please go ahead and have your seat. That is our text this morning. And we left off where Paul was talking about attaining the resurrection from the dead. He was talking about life after death. And he was saying knowing Jesus is the only relationship that can see you through to the other side after this life, through death, into eternity, into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus is the only one who can bring you into the eternal glory of God forever. And so he's talking about the resurrection of the death where we're going to be with Jesus and be like Jesus any ternary. And then he goes right into this verse twelve. Not that I have already obtained this or I'm already perfect.

[00:06:22] So he starts right here with I have not yet arrived. I am not yet there with Jesus.

[00:06:27] When the Bible's very clear that all of us who believe in Jesus, we will be with Jesus. And when we are with him, we will be made like him when we see Jesus. And all of his perfect splendor and his glory. We will be transformed into. He is like this. But he says, I'm not there yet. I'm not perfect. I haven't reached the end.

[00:06:50] I haven't been made fully complete yet in Christ. I haven't yet attained it. Now, there's one thing that that is clear here in the Greek language that you and I won't be able to see. Reading this passage in English is that this same word is actually used for different times here in versus 12 and 13. So when he says not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own. Obtain this and make it my own are actually the same root word there in the Greek language, Lambe Bano, which means to take or receive. And so that word is shown up here in different forms sometimes Carter Lamb Bano, which shows like intensity here. So there's a taking, there's a receiving, there's a making of your own and obtaining that he's talking about. And he's saying, I haven't obtained yet perfection with Christ. So I press on to obtain it. And the reason I press on to obtain it to make it my own is he says next, because Jesus Christ, Christ Jesus has made me his own. So Jesus has received me. He's taken me. He's obtained me. So I'm going to press on to obtain the perfection that I have and Jesus that I haven't yet attained. So he's keep. He uses the same idea here. And even in verse 13 brothers. I do not consider that I have made it my own or obtained it or received it. So four to four times he says the same word. I haven't obtained it. So I'm pressing on to obtain it. And the reason that he's pressing on to obtain it is because Christ Jesus has obtained him. He has received him. So point number one, if you're gonna learn how to press on a first step is you need to live in response to Jesus day. He makes it very clear that this whole passage about pressing on the reason he is pressing on to make it his own is because Jesus has made him his own, because Jesus has received me. Therefore, I'm going to receive this perfection of Jesus Amen of press on towards it.

[00:09:00] But it starts with the work that Jesus has done.

[00:09:04] And this is a way that we all need to make sure we are thinking about being a Christian. Being a Christian is not something that you or I are doing, or being a Christian is a way that we are responding to what Jesus has already done. That's what it's about. It's not about you live in your life.

[00:09:21] It's about the life of Jesus living in you. That's what it is. You're responding to his death and resurrection. And so this is a big problem that we have a church because people come to church thinking that they're doing something. A lot of people all over America. Maybe some of you here this morning, you come to church thinking this is something good for me to do. But the truth is, that's not how it works. We don't gather together for us to do something. We gather together in response to what Jesus Christ has already done. That's why we start by singing, because we're ready to praise him as we remember what he's done for us. That's why we talk about serving or giving, because these are things we do based on what Jesus has done.

[00:10:06] And the way you respond to Jesus really shows actually what you think about Jesus. Turned Romans, Chapter 12.

[00:10:14] We really need to look at this passage. This is the classic response passage really in all of the letters of the writings of Paul Romans with Paul, writes Philippians.

[00:10:25] He also wrote Romans. This is really his masterclass on the gospel in Chapter 12. Page nine hundred forty seven. If you got one of our books, he I mean, he starts out that the wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness. And he describes how unrighteous we are in our sin, but how we can be made righteous because of the righteousness of Jesus and his blood that was shed for us and how how once we are made righteous, we can start to live righteous. We can live right in a relationship with God. And that by the towards the end here he is getting to nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ, Jesus, our Lord. So he's been building from where we were not being Christians to becoming Christians to what it looks like to be a Christian who has a relationship with God.

[00:11:16] And he's been building that up for 11 chapters. What God has done for you to say. You in the gospel and then in Chapter twelve, there's a. Therefore, how should you now live? What is your response to the gospel of Jesus? And he says here in Romans 12, verse one, I appeal to you. Therefore, brothers. And that's the main way that Paul addressed other Christian people. The main way that he described them, the name that he called them by his brothers, which were which referred to everybody, the brothers and the sisters. That's.

[00:11:51] He said, hey, I'm right here with you and I appeal to you, therefore, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, wholly unacceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. So based on the mercies of God, and that's all he's described in the first 11 chapters, God has not given us what we deserve because of our sin. God has given us Jesus instead of our sin. And he poured out all of the wrath for our sin on Jesus instead of us based on those mercies of God.

[00:12:28] You should then offer yourself as a sacrifice if you can see that Jesus left heaven on a search and rescue mission for your soul because Jesus loved you.

[00:12:38] He left his father behind. He left heaven behind. And he came down here to be one of us, the creator becoming his creation. And he did it for you. And when he died on that cross, he paid for all of your sins. If you can see the sacrifice of his body, the shedding of his blood, so that you could be made right with God, then the only thing that makes sense in a response is for you to offer yourself as a sacrifice in response to Jesus offering himself as a sacrifice.

[00:13:10] That's what it's saying here.

[00:13:12] Like, this is the only thing that you could possibly do if you really understand the gospel of Jesus and how he gave his life for you, how he did not come to be served, but to serve you.

[00:13:24] And how could you not respond in the same way to Jesus?

[00:13:28] And so it says you've got to offer yourself as a living sacrifice. And and the whole scripture has been revealing to us, going all the way back to Cain and Abel, offering their sacrifices, not because we believe God is worthy. We respond by offering sacrifices, because we believe God is wholly there needs to be a sacrifice to pay for sin. And so now it says you're the sacrifice. This is what it means to be a Christian. I'm giving my life in response to Jesus, giving his life for me. I give my life to him and I do what I'm set apart. I'm not my old self. I'm wholly unacceptable to God. All through the work of Jesus. And then it says, which is your spiritual worship.

[00:14:13] Now, he got one of our Bibles there. You'll see the number six next to that. And if you look down there another way, you could translate the Greek there. It says spiritual worship or you could translate it rational service, because the word that's translated, they're spiritual or rational is logic costs. We understand that right away. Hey, the logical response to Jesus giving his life for you is you would give your life for Jesus. So if you're doing Christianity as something that you think you should try to do. That's not how the Bible presents it. I'm given my life in response to what Jesus has done. It makes sense. And in the word there that's translated, worship could also be translated. Service. We think of worship sometimes as just our hearts being offered to God or singing songs and praises when we gather together up to God. That's definitely a part of worship. But you could just as much translate it service when you're serving the kids for God, when you're going out and doing parking to help other people in the church get out of here. Don't anything you're doing as a response to Jesus is a part of this logical and the way that you should live this worship, this service. It's all a response. So let me ask you, how big of a deal is it to you that Jesus gave his life for you? You'll be able to tell by how you're living in response to him.

[00:15:43] Are you just come in and check in with Jesus a couple of times a week? Are you thinking about Jesus? A couple of days a week?

[00:15:50] Or is it like 24/7 all the time, your your life is dominated with a mindset of a relationship with Jesus of his life in you, because you're responding by giving your whole life to Jesus just as he did for you.

[00:16:05] This is the way we're supposed to think about being a Christian is everything I do is in response to what Jesus has done.

[00:16:14] And keep going here in Romans twelve because it gives us that idea. And then it starts getting very specific. Look at verse three, look at what it says here in Romans 12 three. It says four. By the grace given to me, I say to every one among you. So this is for all the believers in the church. He says, I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think. Don't make your Christian life about you and what you're doing. There's a there's a temptation there. Even even as somebody who understands, I can't save myself by the things I do. I need Jesus to save me through his death and resurrection will still, you might think more highly of yourself than you ought to watch out. You still might make it about you and what you're doing. No. You got to think was sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned for. As in one body, we have many members and the members do not all have the same function. So we though many we are one body in Christ and individually members one of another.

[00:17:21] So look around here this morning. This is the church. This is who we are. We are all one body. So when you respond to Jesus, you respond to him individually in your heart. You offer your life as a sacrifice, but you also get brought into this group collectively where we are all now the body of Jesus and we're all responding to him together.

[00:17:43] That's a part of what it says. You want to respond to Jesus? Well, it's not a it's not just you as an individual. It's now you, as a part of the body. Don't think more highly of yourself than you are to think. Just think about your own self. Think of yourself as a part of God's people. So part of the church. And then it says here in first six, having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them. So everybody has been given now these gifts that we need to use if prophecy in proportion to our faith.

[00:18:15] If service in our serving, the one who teaches in his teaching, the one who exhorts or encourages in his exhortation, the one who contributes or gives in generosity, the one who leads with zeal. The one who does acts of mercy with cheerfulness.

[00:18:31] So there's a list of things that we all might do in response to Jesus ways that we all might live. But then some of us have been gifted at different varying forms of grace. But we might be gifted in some of these things specifically, and there's a way that we should do them as a part of our response to Jesus.

[00:18:51] So you see how, hey, you should be living as a sacrifice. And then he starts to define. That means being a part of the church. That means using your gifts to build up the body of Christ.

[00:19:04] And so the reason I'm going to encourage everybody who's a believer at our church to press on and to make it your own is because Jesus has made you his own. And if we don't understand why we do it, we won't really keep doing it, is the problem.

[00:19:20] The reason that you and I live for Jesus is because Jesus lived and died for us. And he lives for us even now he's the living one. And he's coming back to get us soon. And he's preparing a place for us. And when you and I see Jesus, we will be made perfect in his likeness.

[00:19:38] And none of us are perfect right now. We are not there yet. So we press on to make it our own.

[00:19:44] Because Jesus has made us his own. We have been obtained, taken, received by Jesus through his sacrifice. And so everything we do should be a response to what Jesus has done for us. OK, so we got to just understand this about church. When you come in here on a Sunday morning at nine o'clock, right.

[00:20:07] You can't expect a Ryan or Raun to fire you up to sing songs. You got to come in, fired up to sing songs because of what Jesus has already done for you and your comment to respond.

[00:20:20] That's how this whole thing works. That's why we gathered together. We gathered together to come together as the body of Christ, to worship him and lift him high because he is worthy, because look what he did for us. Can I get a man from anybody on that? That's why we're here. We're all here because of Jesus. If you are here because you think you're doing something by coming to church, you need to stop thinking that way today. We're here because Jesus did something. That's why we gather. Can I go back to Philippians three? That's got to be the foundation that everything we're gonna do based on pressing on toward that upward call of God in Christ Jesus. It can't be something we're doing. It's got to be us responding because we've offered ourselves as sacrifices, because we already belong to Jesus. But then he says this year. And you'll notice two times he says brothers in verse 13 and verse 17. Now, that's common for Paul to say brothers, but he says it here. Usually he says it like at the beginning of a new section. But here he says it two times, I think, in the middle of his statements, because he's talking about what he's doing, but he wants everybody.

[00:21:34] It's like, huddle up, guys, gather around. Let me tell you how this is going to work. Now that we're all in Christ Jesus, now that we've all responded to the gospel. OK. Everybody gather around. Here's what we're gonna do. Verse 13. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. We're not there yet. We've got a ways to go. So one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

[00:22:09] So this is now the second time he said I press on. He said it in verse twelve and he said it and verse 14 at least it's the second time that it's translated. I press on. He actually used the same word back in verse six. Everybody looked back at verse six here in chapter three. And he says, as to Zeil, as to his passion, as to his driving motivation, as to zeal a persecutor of the church. Guess what the Greek word there is for persecutor? It's the same word that is translated.

[00:22:43] Press on. Yoko.

[00:22:47] So this word can be used in a negative way or in a positive way. OK. So let's go back and let's think for a minute of Saul as the persecutor of the church. Just what comes to your mind when you hear somebody being described as a persecutor? Immediately you think, why is this person so fired up that they would relentlessly pursue accosting and coming after Christian people? OK. So this guy saw he was so fired up about being a Pharisee and about the law and these people now talking about the way of Jesus, he felt compelled and he had this driving zeal to shut these Christians down. And so when they killed Steven, the first martyr of the church, he was the guy that was kind of the ringleader of the mob that killed Steven. And that was just the beginning. Then he goes and he arrests more Christians and he's going around and has authority to disrupt the church. And he's on his way to Damascus to go to another city to go find the Christians that have fled.

[00:23:53] There are the Christians that live there. And now he's going to go arrest them or kill them. And then out on the road to Damascus, that's when he means Jesus and Jesus receives him and makes him his own.

[00:24:05] But what kind of a drive is that?

[00:24:07] That's not that's not driving a type Toyota, my friends. That's a Lexus kind of a drive. You know what I'm saying? That's the relentless pursuit of perfection. Like, why would this guy wake up every day thinking, I got to go arrest some Christians? I got to go make life hard for Christians. I got to go kill some of these people. That's the idea here of pressing on.

[00:24:28] It's this relentless pursuit. It's like because Jesus made me righteous. I know where I'm going. I'm going to perfection. I know what my end is. It's being made complete. In Jesus Christ. And so relentlessly, I'm pursuing being like Christ, knowing that's the end that I'm going towards.

[00:24:50] Does that describe you as somebody who is like persecuting spiritual growth?

[00:24:56] As somebody who is pressing on relentlessly, like, yeah, I'm not perfect yet. And I acknowledge that I've got a ways to go.

[00:25:03] I haven't obtained the yet, but I'm relentlessly pursuing that Christ like this in my life. I want to be more like Jesus. I am moving towards Jesus every day.

[00:25:17] And then he says this verse 15. He says, let those of us who are mature. Think this way. So some of us might need to redefine this morning what it means to be a mature Christian.

[00:25:30] Because being a mature Christian does not mean that you know at all there's not much more to learn in the Bible, you kind of been through it all or you've done it all. You've got your resum�. You served at this church doing this. I remember when I owe all those things that you're announcing. I remember when I used to do the parking or I used to do the kids or when I used to do high school ministries. So we might think a mature person is someone who's been around for a while, who knows things, who's done things. It actually says the mature people are those who realize they're not there yet and they're pressing on.

[00:26:00] That's the definition of maturity, that they're the people who know they haven't reached the end. They are not yet complete. And so they're relentlessly pursuing that perfection to be more like Jesus than they have been. That's the definition he gives of maturity. Here in this passage, you see somebody pressing on. That's a mature Christian. You see somebody in cruise control, Christianity, who they've plateaued. They think they've reached the top. They think they've done enough, served enough, know enough, given enough. That's not maturity. That's immaturity. They should be realizing they still have more of a ways to go.

[00:26:39] So are you an immature or immature Christian here among us? Are you somebody who's real? Is that is isn't. I need to keep pressing on. Or are you kind of fine? You're doing OK. You've really grown along way in your life and you feel good about where you're at today with Jesus Christ.

[00:26:56] He said the mature people think that they need to keep pressing on like a persecutor. That's that's the relentlessness they're going after, being coming more like Jesus, growing closer to Jesus. And then I love what he says here in verse 15.

[00:27:12] Look at this, he says, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. If you don't think that maturity means pressing on. This is like the nicest, most spiritual way I've ever read. To say you're totally wrong. You know what I mean? Like, he's like, well, if you don't agree with me, God will reveal that to you. Right. Next time you're having a debate with somebody and you think they're wrong. Well, hey. God will reveal that to your brother or sister. Don't you worry. God will reveal it, too. Right. And let me just tell you, growing up in the Church of Jesus Christ, I've been given the impression by many people that maturity means I know what the Bible says and I've done it all before. Not that I'm pressing to grow right now. I've definitely met people who are giving the impression that they are mature at where they're at right now, at their current level, not like they're striving to get to the next level of Christ's likeness in their life.

[00:28:06] So Paul saying, hey, we got to press on. He's saying to the brothers and he's like giving it a level of one thing I do look back at verse 13. He actually says there's a couple of different steps here to pressing on. This is like one thing I do. This is something that's of the utmost importance, is like the one thing forgetting what lies behind and straining foreword to what lies ahead. So pressing on towards being like Christ towards the end, towards the completion of being made perfect in Jesus it actually that that to do that actually has a couple of steps that he gives us here, even though that's our one thing is pressing on.

[00:28:46] Well, you gotta forget the things that are in the past. The things that are behind you. You got to neglect those things in the past and then you got to strain forward towards what's ahead.

[00:28:57] So there's going to have to be things that I'm forgetting about that I'm losing interest in, that I'm neglecting. And then there's going to have to be this straining.

[00:29:07] If you look up that word there. That's translated, straining forward other words that are going to come up, there are words like stretch or words like exten. So it gives the picture of the person and they're running. And there's that finish line. And so they're lunging. They're sticking their neck out. They're not slowing down. They're not like I'm almost there. They're not kicking it into crews. They're actually starting to pick up their pace. And now they're pushing their body out. They're extending themselves. They're stretching themself out to try to get to that finish line.

[00:29:41] So I hear people at church say, well, I can't serve because I don't want to extend myself. I hear people say, oh, I don't know if I could give, cause that would really stretch things at our house. When what's interesting is that's exactly what Paul is telling us to do here today. Is to stretch ourselves, to extend ourselves.

[00:30:04] That's what it's going to take the press on, to become more like Jesus. We're going to have to become less like ourselves. And so we're gonna have to do this stretching, this extending. That's what growth is. It's pushing yourself beyond your current limits to grow, to extend. Point number two, let's get it down like this. You need to stretch yourself towards Jesus. Stretch yourself towards Jesus. This is a key step to pressing on. Is there has to be that extension that that's straining. That's why we refer to them as growing pains, because things are getting extended. Things are getting stretched. It doesn't always feel good. That's exactly the kind of thing he's talking about here with pressing on. There's gonna be a forgetting of what's behind and is straining foreword to what's ahead. That's what pressing on is going to look like. Go with me to Hebrews Chapter 12. Everybody turn with me to Hebrews Chapter twelve, which is another passage that gives this same idea here in Hebrews Chapter twelve, verse one and Hebrews 12 is a transition coming off all the examples of faith.

[00:31:19] All the examples of faith from the from the heroes of old going all the way back through Genesis and the Law of Moses. All of these people in what you see there and Hebrews eleven is that their faith wasn't just this belief they had in their head, but their faith led to bold action in their lives. It led to them taking steps in leaps of faith. And so after reading all of these examples of faith, it says, therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, all the examples that they just looked at there in Hebrews Eleven, let us also lay aside every wait and the sin which clings so closely and let us run within durance the race that is set before us.

[00:32:10] So this is a very similar idea here to pressing on and it has the same two steps. There are things that we have to let go of behind us and there are things we're going to have to run towards straying towards, stretch towards moving forward.

[00:32:26] So let's break those down.

[00:32:27] Let's think that through. What is it? What is the wait here that it's talking about or the sin which clings so closely?

[00:32:36] So he says Paul says that he has to forget what lies behind, so I can't stretch towards being more like Jesus if I'm still being tempted to do the same old sins that have always been a problem in my life. So you can't be pulled in two different directions. Maybe that's really the problem with some of us. When we talk about getting stretched or extended is we're really being pulled in two different directions. We have these sins that we still want and then we want Jesus to. But we're going back and forth, tossed to and fro it, saying, no, if you want to stretch towards Jesus, then you've got to be done with these things over here. And they could be downright evil temptations that, you know, are wrong, that God commands you not to do or they could just be Waitz.

[00:33:25] They could just be some kind of bird and some kind of thing that you're even putting on yourself that you don't need to be carrying around, that you're choosing to carry around.

[00:33:35] So the way I like to think about it, when when it talks about leaving the past behind us and forgetting neglecting what was in the past, I like to think about killing our cucumber's. Do you know what I'm talking about when I say that? Right. I like to go back to the nation of Israel when they were wandering through the wilderness. And God had just done an amazing thing. If you've ever gone through the Book of Exodus. I mean, the 10 plagues that God brought when Pharaoh said no and Moses said, let God's people go from the from the Lord. I mean, God brought these 10 plagues and then he delivered his people out of slavery to Egypt.

[00:34:12] And then there they were free and they came up to the Red Sea. And here came Pharaoh and his army. And here they come and they're coming after them. And so they have their backs against the wall there. They got there right there on the Red Sea. Here comes the Egyptian army. They're going to come and they're going to run them down and they're going to kill them. And God literally parts the Red Sea, leads his people across on dry ground. And then when the Egyptian army comes in, the water comes crashing down upon them and the horse and the rider got drowned in the sea. An amazing victory for his people. And they were singing and celebrating. And then God's providing hay, manna from heaven. He's bringing water out of rocks in the middle of the desert. He's a pillar of fire by night, a pillar of cloud by day. And he's saying, I'm taking you to a promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey and the Israelites. And they start saying things like, are we there yet? God.

[00:35:07] God, why did you bring us out here in the wilderness so hard out here? I'm so thirsty. And then they start saying these ridiculous things like I remember back in Egypt when we used to have cucumbers, we used to have leeks back in Egypt. Does that just seem ridiculous when you put it in the context of the whole story? That you're wishing you still had cucumber's? You want to be a slave and eat cucumbers, like I've had some cucumbers. They aren't worth it. You know what I mean? They aren't worth it.

[00:35:43] So I don't know what your cucumber is. I don't know what the thing is for you, that you can't really put your whole heart into pressing on because you're still complaining about what could be some sin that you wish you could keep doing, could just be something in your life that is important to you that you identify with.

[00:36:01] But actually, now there's some kind of tug of war going on between pressing on for Jesus or this other thing. And he says, you got to forget what was behind you. You know what some people in this room might need to forget is all the service and all the things that you've done in response to Jesus in the past. Because you might be resting on your laurels, you might be thinking. Yeah, I've done a lot for Jesus in response to him. Well, that's great. Praise the Lord. But it's in the past now.

[00:36:30] And pressing on is in the present, and you're not at the end yet. So you got him, you might have to forget all the things you've done for Jesus in the past because those things are not how you're pressing on today, how your straight and forward right now.

[00:36:44] So it's like you got to run and running takes effort, like you got to commit yourself fully to move forward in this direction and the direction we're going is towards Jesus. Let's make that very clear. Look what it says. Verse two, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecta of our faith.

[00:37:03] OK. He is the one who he's the founder. He's the one who established us. Everything we're doing is because Jesus made us his own. It's all a response to Jesus. But he's also the perfecta. He's also the one who's gonna make us complete. In the end. Jesus is our starting line. And he is our finish line. He's the reason we're running and he's the reason we're running today. Straining forward because we want to get to the end. And it's all about Jesus.

[00:37:31] The point of growing is to get closer to Jesus, not to be a better person or a better Christian. The point is Jesus that's who you're looking to. That's the reason you're running. That's the reason you're extending and stretching as you're trying to get closer to Jesus Christ.

[00:37:46] So it's like, that's your eyes, it's easier to run if you can see the finish line, if you know where you're going and the one you need to keep your eyes on is Jesus. That's who we're following.

[00:37:57] That's who we're living for.

[00:38:00] And he's going to be there, he's gonna be there to welcome us in. And when we see him, we will be made like him and will receive the inheritance he has, the place that he has, like there's Jesus waiting for us with everything that our heart desires for all of eternity. We've got to keep looking at him.

[00:38:16] And so maybe you can tell where this is going, you're going to have to identify in your life, like, how are you going to stretch?

[00:38:24] How are you going to extend? What is the what is the running? The straining forward? What is that looking like for you right now in your life? And if you look at the back of a handout, you'll see there's a bunch of personal questions there for you to think through pressing on in your own personal relationship with Jesus. What's it looking like for you to run right now and at the end?

[00:38:46] Yeah. We're gonna set a goal. What is the goal to grow? What is the goal to take that next step of obedience towards becoming more like Jesus?

[00:38:55] Now, here's what here's what happens at churches like GA's when we talk like this. Here's what I'm concerned is going to happen today. We think, yeah, I should grow right. And people start going home and I start thinking about it. OK, so I need to press on. I need to strain to stretch myself. Okay. What is that going to look like for me? What is God putting it on my heart to do? One of the things that people will immediately get convicted about is they'll be like time management. I got to do a better job with my time.

[00:39:22] Anybody want to throw our name into that right now? Oh, man, I wish I was doing better with my time. And so then they're going to go home and are going to be like, okay. My goal, I got to do better with my time. And they're going to start looking at their calendar and their day and all the things that are getting in the way. And they're gonna start doing a lot better with their time. And they're going to forget why we even talked about growing. And they're going to use that time that they now manage to like, I don't know, start a new hobby or spend more time with their family. And I know what family time means. A lot of the time it means we're all in the same room staring at the script, same screen.

[00:39:54] That's what family time is. A lot of the time.

[00:39:57] And they're gonna go and manage their time for a purpose that is not Jesus.

[00:40:04] That's not what we're talking about. We're not talking about time management for the sake of time management, we're talking about being a better steward of the time that God gives you.

[00:40:13] So you could spend more of that time with Jesus or if you want to succeed in time management. Sign up to serve here at the church today. Give a two hour chunk of your week out, and then you've got to manage your time better the rest of your week because you just lost that time. And guess where that time went towards you becoming more like Jesus as you learn how to serve other people as he came not to be served, but to serve. That'll be a great way to learn.

[00:40:38] Time management would be giving time to do something to serve other people in the name of Jesus because you want to learn how to serve like Jesus served you.

[00:40:47] She makes sure that whatever goal you make, maybe people are going to be like, man, I wish I was doing better with my money. I know I'm I know I'm wasting money.

[00:40:55] I know I'm spending money. I know a lot of the money that I have ends up going on me and on things. And if I was thinking it through better, I'd say if I was meal prep and better if I was planning ahead better, I wouldn't be wasting as much money as I am. And so people are going to go they're going to look at their budget. They're going to say, yeah, this is a way I could grow. I could challenge myself.

[00:41:14] We could stretch things here in the budget. And by the end of this process of working on their budget, their plan and a better family vacation or thinking about how they can upgrade their car, that's not what we're talking about here.

[00:41:26] We're talking about how could I use my money better to serve Jesus Christ, to build the church of Jesus Christ, to grow more like Jesus, basically. How can I give more of this away to other people like Jesus gave his life for me?

[00:41:40] That's what we're thinking about.

[00:41:42] The goal is we're looking to Jesus. This is not about your personal development. If your goal is to be like Jesus your personal development, we'll take care of itself.

[00:41:53] So don't start getting caught up in all the goals that people get caught up in that really are self focused when our goal to stretch forward is towards Jesus. That's why we put Jesus in all of these points here today, because that's the place we want to get to, is closer to him more like him.

[00:42:13] That's the goal.

[00:42:15] You need to stretch yourself to become less like you and all the things in your past and more like Jesus. He's the finish line. Lunge forward. What is your lunge you're gonna look like right now in the fall of twenty nineteen? Well, how are you lunging for Jesus?

[00:42:32] That's the idea here, and it says when you're looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecta of our faith, the starting line and the finish line, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross despising the shame.

[00:42:46] And he's seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

[00:42:50] That's the example we're following. That's the story that we're responding to.

[00:42:56] And it's amazing how we're acting like why I don't want to serve too much or give too much or love other people too much or evangelize or go to fellowship too much. I can't extend myself.

[00:43:07] We're using Stretch as a bad word in the church today when the whole reason we're here at church today is literally because Jesus got stretched out by two nails in his hands and a nail in his feet. And then we're acting like it's a bad thing for us to be stretched.

[00:43:26] That's what people look into, Jesus.

[00:43:28] What Jesus did is he endured the cross. Are you carrying a cross? Jesus said if you want to follow him, you have to deny yourself.

[00:43:38] That sounds like stretch it and you've got to take up your cross and follow me.

[00:43:45] So there's going to be things that you endure, not weight that you're carrying around because you want to, but things that you are enduring that you're running through and stretching through because they're taking you closer to Christ.

[00:44:01] That's the example, and he despised the shame. You know? It wasn't like people were rooting for Jesus when he was there on the cross.

[00:44:09] They were absolutely mocking him as he was up there exposed and naked before them stretched out on that cross. He saved others wagging their heads. They derided him, saying he saved others, but he could not save himself.

[00:44:24] Why don't you come down from that cross, then? We'll believe in you. If you could do that. While he's there dying for their sin, they're mocking him that he can't save himself.

[00:44:38] I guarantee you, if you start stretching yourself for Jesus, there's going to be some shame thrown your way by people in this world who will not understand why you're lunging so far for something they don't relate to. Well, Jesus, he endured the cross, he despised the shame, and here's what he knew it was waiting for him eternal joy and glory at the right hand of the throne, of the majesty on high. Same thing that's waiting for you. Perfection, completion, sharing in the glory and inheritance of Jesus Christ for all of eternity. As Christian people, we cannot live to be comfortable in this life because we are going to be comfortable in heaven with Jesus Christ. And right now we're crossfires, not people who are comfortable or stretchers were extenders were strainers because we're not there yet. And so I'm going to ask you, how are you going to set a goal?

[00:45:33] What is it going to look like for you to do something that feels uncomfortable, like more you than you've done before? Like you're pressing on towards the goal of being made perfect. What is that next step?

[00:45:46] To bring you closer to Jesus, you got to strain forward. This is something we're all going to do together as a church. Every single one of us right now. What is our next step to press on?

[00:45:59] I go back to Philippians three because it right away he gets to this idea that we're gonna have to do this together. We can't do this on our own.

[00:46:10] That's always where the response to Jesus leads is, not to you doing something as an individual, but you doing something as one another in a group of people of Jesus. And that's what he gets to hear. He's already said that by brothers. He's already been speaking in the plural. Let those of us who are mature think this way. This is how I think I that I need to press on. I need to forget what's behind. I need to strain forward. See, before in his testimony, he thought he had arrived. He thought he was doing everything right now as a as a Christian man, as someone who has been made his own by Jesus. Paul now realizes, I'm not there. I haven't arrived. I'm pressing on. And everybody who's mature, this is the way we should all think that we would press on in Christ together. And if you're not thinking this way, if you disagree, well, God will reveal that also to you. Then he says verse 16 only let us hold true to what we have attained. Hey, I thought the whole point was we haven't attained it yet. Well, yeah. No, I think what he's saying we have attained is we have been made. Christ has received us. We've been made his own. And we have this mature mindset of pressing on. Whatever happens, don't lose that mentality that we need to relentlessly pursue perfection. Don't lose that mindset. We got to hang on to that. Then he says this verse 17 brothers join in imitating me.

[00:47:31] And keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.

[00:47:38] So this is really interesting that he would say brothers again. So it's like huddle up. Now, another thing that's gonna be critical in you pressing on is let me tell you. People are imitating me. Gay people are following my example. He's inviting everybody there. You all should join them in following my example. And if you see other people who are pressing on toward towards maturity, the mature who know they need to be more mature. If you see that, keep your eyes on those people.

[00:48:07] Look at those people as an example.

[00:48:10] So, Paul, you could write down First Corinthians 11 one where he said, imitate me as I imitate Christ and the word there for imitate. Same word that he uses here in verse 17. It's to mimic. It's literally copy and paste. OK. So, yeah, he's encouraging everybody to press on towards the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. We're looking to Jesus.

[00:48:33] We're following him. He is our goal to be like Jesus. But if I'm looking to Jesus and I can see somebody else, that's a few steps ahead of me on the way towards Jesus. Been a Christian a little longer, pressed on a little more than I have so far in my life. And I see that I'm looking to Jesus. But then I see this person as an example of somebody is pressing to Jesus.

[00:48:55] He says, hey, you should keep your eye on that example. That might really help you.

[00:48:59] It might help you to have somebody that you can look at, that you can see that you can get to know and you can say, hey, I see so-and-so. They're pressing on. They're not coasting. There's not they're not cruise control plateau Christians, man. Look at that person. I see them pushing it further than they ever have before. Okay.

[00:49:16] I see one thing that they're doing. I could learn from that. I'm going to copy that and paste that in my life. What he's basically saying is plagiarism is his okay at churches. What he's saying. All right. You see somebody who's doing the right thing. Yeah. Take that and imitate it.

[00:49:32] Copy it. Follow that person.

[00:49:35] Yeah, we're all following Jesus. That's the goal we're straining towards. But sometimes when I can see somebody walking right in front of me, I can imitate their steps and I can follow their example. Point number three, follow an earthly example of Jesus.

[00:49:52] That's how he's saying we're going to press on.

[00:49:54] Not just setting our own goals to grow, but but who's already where we're hoping to get. Who's already a few steps ahead of us? Who can we see here in person? They're relentless. They're like a persecutor of spiritual growth. They're not stopping. I see that person. They look like they're stretched. They look like they're extending them. So I'm I need to learn something from them. I might need to follow them as a type of Christ in my life, as an example to be turned back to Hebrews, chapter 13, verse seven. Very, very some similarities here between Philippians three and the end of Hebrews. Hebrews, 13, has a lot of have rapid fire commands and thoughts at the end of the book here for how they should live and what they should do in response to all that has been said about the new covenant relationship that we have with God through Jesus Christ and the fact that we can go right up to God because Jesus is our high priest, our temple, our sacrifice was made a way for us. And so it's given this and look what it says here. Same idea. Hebrews 13, verse seven. Remember, your leaders speak. There's things we need to forget and neglect and leave behind. But here's something we should take with us as we stretch ourselves forward. We should consider our leaders. Remember them. Those who spoke to you, the word of God.

[00:51:15] Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

[00:51:23] OK, so let's just start thinking about that right now. Who is someone that has been a spiritual leader in your life?

[00:51:31] Maybe you were blessed with a Christian parent who was a leader. Maybe you've been in a small group with somebody who's a leader, who's someone that has spoken to you. The word of God. OK. Look at that person now. We're not claiming that these examples, these leaders in the church. We're not claiming that they're going to be perfect, because if we did claim that they were perfect or if they claimed to be perfect, that would be very immature of us to think that they wouldn't want to be your example if they claim to be perfect. So they're not going to be perfect, but they're pressing on towards the goal of Christ like this, that pressing on towards Jesus. So it may not be everything in their life that you would want to copy and paste and imitate into your life. But is there something about their life that inspires you? Is there something about their life that you can see that is exemplary, that stirs you up? And when you talk to them or you think about them, you get a smile on your face because you think I love how this person is like this.

[00:52:29] That's what it's talking about right here. Consider the outcome. That person was like that. Where did that get them? Did that take them closer to Jesus? Because if it did, then you want to copy that and paste it into your life and you should do the same thing. Is that example in front of you? Consider your leaders.

[00:52:48] Is there somebody that you can find to be an example to you? And I would like to tell you that there are examples right here at our church.

[00:52:57] In fact, if you're in a fellowship group, the people that we have leading the fellowship groups at our church, we don't ever start a fellowship group unless we think we've got people leading that group who are examples of people who are not perfect, but are pressing on towards being more like Jesus Christ and pressing on towards spiritual growth.

[00:53:19] And so we're saying publicly as a church that anybody who's a pastor here, myself or Pastor Bill or Pastor Daniel, anybody who's on staff here at this church, anybody who's a fellowship group leader here at this church, we are holding them up. These are people we would suggest to you are worthy of imitation. There's something you can learn about their life that you could imitate and follow as you saw them as a leader in your life. And we have no problem. Hold it. Hold us to that standard if we're not being examples of pressing on. Call a cell. But what has happened in the church is there's been so many bad leaders. There's been so many people in it for themselves that people now won't even look to leaders. People are very skeptical. People come into churches and they test leadership rather than follow it. As an example, make sure that you don't have this anti high authority, individual kind of Christian mindset. That's not what the scriptures telling you to have.

[00:54:17] It's saying you need an example to follow.

[00:54:20] And you can't think more highly of yourself than you ought to think. Are you willing to say, yeah, that person, they got something about themselves. They're pressing on. I could use more of that in my life. And I'm going to look to them as an example. Maybe you even go up to that person, say, hey, I'd like to meet with you and talk about this. I'd like you to help me learn more of this. Putting yourself even humbly under them, asking them, hey, how do you see me growing? Maybe maybe you even have an idea. Since we've been in this fellowship group together, we're getting to know each other here at the church. Maybe you could even give me an idea. What do you think it looks like to press on?

[00:54:54] What do you think my next step of growth would look like? So you got to have examples. And to know people well enough to see them as an example means you got to spend time with them. You've got to have a relationship with them.

[00:55:07] And so if you're not in one of our fellowship groups, you can see it there in the bulletin. You can go talk to Pastor Daniel after the service. If you're not around the church long enough, you got to get to know the people at church so you can see who the examples are so you can be encouraged to follow them as they follow Jesus Christ.

[00:55:28] And so there's got to be a level where you want to be a part of the group.

[00:55:31] The only way we're really going to press on is if we do it together. Can I get any man from anybody on this? This is a great message at a great time for our church because we need to press on. We need to be every doing everything we are in response. We need to identify right now what this straining or stretching looks like to grow. And we need to come together and encourage one another and have examples who are setting the tone, setting the pace to help the rest of us keep running.

[00:56:02] That's what we need.

[00:56:04] This is a great message for this next season, and we're going to hold everybody here at our church to this standard that we're going to expect everyone here, brothers, sisters, let's huddle up, let's get together. Let's rally together as one body of Jesus and let us, as a group of people, become more like Jesus Christ this year than we've ever been before.

[00:56:27] Can I get any man from anybody on this? OK, well, here, let's stand up and we'll close in prayer.

[00:56:31] And then there's a whole church of people here to greet in the name of Jesus and get to know some people right here today. You can go out on the courtyard with them if you would like, and spend some quality time talking. But right when we're done and we're not. That's just a fellowship has begun. And I strongly encourage you to greet somebody. Don't grumble about practicing hospitality. Go love a stranger. Get to know them here today.

[00:56:57] Love one another here at the church. Let me pray for all of us, father in heaven. We want to confess to you that it's so easy for us to become complacent with the fact that Jesus has saved us and made us his own and not to respond and to press on. And so, God, I just pray for all my brothers and sisters here today that, no, they're in cruise control right now and they need to put their foot down on that gas and they need to start growing and that there's a need here at this church for them to grow, for them to be an example to somebody, for them to serve somebody. God, I pray that they would feel called out here today at church that they need to press on toward the upward call. There's only one way for us to go as Christian people. It's never leveling off. It's always upwards. God, please put that on our hearts. And for those who are straining and forward, for those who are extending themselves, stretching their time, their money, trying to become more like Jesus God, I pray that this will be a real encouragement that they will see. This is what you're calling us all to do. And that they will be examples to those around them. We really want to be this kind of a church guy, we we just we just confess our spiritual laziness. We confess that we get convicted and we know we should grow and we do something for a few days and then our attempts. They're not they're not relentless. They're not this pursuit. They're not this persecution. We kind of tried for a little bit and then we give up so easy. God, let us see. Jesus Christ stretched out on the cross for us. Let us see how he extended himself from heaven all the way down here to earth.

[00:58:37] Let us see him enduring the cross, despising the shame for the joy that is set before him. And let us run after our Lord Jesus. Let us grow closer to him. Let us become more like him. Let us love Jesus more now than we ever have before.

[00:58:54] God, please do a mighty work among the believers here at this church. Unite us together here in this place at this time, and let there be a great revival of people pressing on towards Jesus Christ.

[00:59:09] We pray this in his name and everyone, said a man.

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