By Josh Petras on October 3, 2022
By Josh Petras on October 3, 2022
It is so good to get together on Saturday night, sing about our great Savio, look at his word together. I am so thrilled to be here with you all. Tonight, if you have your Bible, let's go ahead and turn to Philippians chapter three Philippians chapter three. And while you're turning there, just two things I need to mention number one thing is this is the first time in history I've ever been described as speedy. It's a historic moment for me. Coaches from the past would be proud and surprised. But here we are. The second thing is I will emphasize, as Pastor Bobby mentioned to you, do see on the front of your bulletin this launch of a new ministry called The Press. I am very excited about this ministry; been praying about it. This is a ministry that is aimed for those, that says in the bulletin, who are past college aged. It's sort of older than our Underground, but who are not yet married. There's the ministry to minister towards that a group of people, if that's something you're interested in being a part of, we'd love to have you. You know, it's funny. I've served in student Ministries for fifteen years before coming here. And so, it's kind of like children's ministry, a lot of excitement. Junior High, it builds High School, it builds college it builds. And then like the excitement of ministry, sometimes, not here, but sometimes sort of peter-out, you know, we'll just wait for you to get married and hope you don't mess up your marriage or your kids etc. But that's not what we want. You know, we say, at every stage of life, we want to honor the Lord and maximize the stage of life that we're in for his glory. And so if you're in that sort of group, past college age, not married, we would love to have you be part of that ministry, if you know people that this would benefit them, we're going to meet every other Friday night, it's going to start on Friday, the 14th, just under two weeks from now, we'd love to have you there. And if you're also saying, you know, I don't actually meet either of those requirements, or any of those requirements, but I'd like to serve in that ministry and help minister to those people, I would love to talk to you. If you think that's a way that you could serve as well, then you could just come find me or shoot me an email. And we'd love to talk about that. So excited about The Press, again, starts Friday, the 14th. And we'd love to see you there.
With that, let's get to Philippians chapter three Philippians 3 is where we're going to be tonight. And we're going to specifically look at Philippians 3:12-17. I want to read from the beginning of the chapter, so we understand what's happening. Because just like you wouldn't jump into the middle of a movie and guess what's going on, it's helpful for us not to jump in necessarily right into the middle of a thought and guess what's going on. So, let's look what Paul has been writing about. And then let's look at our text Philippians chapter 3, we'll start at verse 1. And I know we stand for the reading of God's Word. So would you go ahead and stand and if you're streaming either in the overflow or online, we'd ask you to stand as well. Philippians chapter 3, the Word of God reads:
“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God[b] and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am 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. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 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.
This is God's very Word. You may be seated. And as we consider God's Word tonight, let's pray and ask for his help. Heavenly Father, we are so thankful that we get to be here tonight to hear from you. We ask now that this time you would help us to see you more clearly. Help us to increase our affections for you. Help us to be those who press on. Lord, use this night to shepherd your people who are so thankful for Your Word. We pray you bless it now. It's in your Son's name we pray. Amen.
How many of you have heard before somebody say, I don't believe the Bible because it has so many contradictions. You've heard this before? Right? And it's funny because then you start asking, well could you tell me some of them? And they don't have any; they just know I've read on a blog sometime. I've heard on the news, there are contradictions. What's funny is we, as Christians, sometimes are more aware of the seeming contradictions in the Bible than non-Christians are. Let me give you an example. Who wrote the Bible? Was the Bible written by men? Or was the Bible written by God? The answer? Yeah, yes. Good job. Yes, it's written by men, in their own personality, to a specific group of people, in their own time, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, such that it's exactly God's word, every word of it. Were you saved? Because you turned and trusted in Christ? Or were you saved because God chose you even when you were dead in your sin? The answer? Yes, both of those are true as well. There are these contradictory contradictions. And sometimes these seeming incongruencies in the Bible. So how do you get found? Well, you need to realize that you're lost, right? Well, the question I have tonight, is this. Is the Christian life one of rest? Or is the Christian life one of exertion, energy, sprinting? The answer to that, as you've said already is, yes. If you take a look at your handout, that very first verse that's at the top, it comes from Matthew chapter 11, where Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” God promises rest. The God of the Old Testament, the book of Exodus, gave the people what Pharaoh didn't give the people. He gave them rest. He promised to bring them into the land and give them rest from all their enemies. Heaven is about eternal rest in Jesus for those of us who turn to Christ. Now, many of you have experienced this, have experienced the rest for the weary soul. That despite all you're searching for the next thing to fulfill your heart, you have found rest in Christ, amen. Amen. The fourth century theologian Augustine said it right, our hearts are restless until we find rest in you. And that rest comes not just from that relationship with Christ, it's the rest of knowing our sins are forgiven. Jesus paid it all. It's the rest of knowing Romans 8:1, there's “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We have real rest real peace when we've trusted in Christ. And yet, the New Testament describes the Christian life in terms of running a race, not jogging a race, not participating in a race, running a race. If you look at your handout, it says Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” It is a race, it is a sprint, it is a marathon. It is, though it seems like a contradiction, a working rest. That is what the Christian life is like.
In 1 Corinthians 9:24. Paul says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” He describes the Christian walk as laborious, that you're going to sweat, you're going to work hard. And in our passage today, Philippians 3, we see what that race looks like. We see what it looks like to strive for Christ, and know rest and know we are righteous. And we know our hope is secure. We run and we run with all that we have for Christ's glory. We looked at this, you were in Philippians, Paul's writing this letter to the church in Philippi. And if you look back at Philippians 1:27, flip back there, if you would Philippians 1:27. I think what you have here is the purpose statement of the letter. All right, if you were to summarize what's Paul’s sort of main point, it looks like this; verse 27, “only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” It's about living in a way that you live worthy of the gospel; that is, not worthy in the sense that you have made yourself worthy of being saved, that none of us can be worthy of being saved, none of us could earn God's favor. No, when we use the word “worthy” here, the idea would be “appropriate”. Like if you were to say, we made a meal worthy of a king, it's appropriate for a king to eat a feast like this. And it's appropriate for those who know the gospel to live like this. That's what Paul is saying. Live in appropriate manner of those who've been changed by the good news of Jesus's death, burial, and resurrection.
And when we get to chapter three, Paul is sort of giving us his testimony. He's explaining who he was, how Christ saved him and, and what his life looks like now. So, Philippians 3:2 says, “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.” Now, by the way, if you just read that verse out of context, I agree with all three of those, like, watch out for dogs, and watch out for evil doers. And watch out for those who mutilate the flesh. All of those are good things to watch out for. But what he's saying is those are three descriptions of the same group of people who say, watch out for false teachers, watch out for those who say that salvation is by works. And what Paul is doing in Philippians 3:3-6, he's making this comparison. He's putting two things side by side, he's giving you two options. You can see it in verse 3, one choice is to glory in Christ Jesus, or the other choice is to put confidence in the flesh, confidence in the flesh. That is to say, I believe I'm saved because of my heritage, my good works, my knowledge of the Bible, you can either do that, or you can glory in Jesus. But you can't do both. It says, we glory in Jesus, we do not put confidence in the flesh. And Paul gives his criteria. He says, this is why I used to think I was saved. Philippians 3:4, I used to put “confidence in the flesh.” Why? Because Philippians 3: 5, “I was circumcised on the eighth day”; I was part of the people of Israel. He gives his credentials for why he used to think God loved him. And then we get to the heart of the passage, Philippians 3:7, keep in mind, this is building us towards verse 12. Verse 7, he says, “whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” He says, I counted all spiritual gain, all those things I used to think made me saved, they’re now loss, as I've come to know Christ. In fact, Philippians 3:8, I count everything as loss in comparison to knowing Christ.
Now, amazing, when Paul talks about his own testimony, he doesn't talk about himself. He talks about Christ. He talks about knowing Christ, talks about the better treasure that is in Christ. He says in Philippians 3:8, notice it says that I might, at the end of the verse 8 there says, “in order that I might gain Christ,” verse 9, “and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ.” Notice what Paul treasures. He treasures that righteousness that comes from Jesus, that man in Christ, if I've trusted him, it's not my good deeds that make me acceptable to God. It's only Jesus. By the way, friend, if you've come here tonight, and you're not a Christian, we are not trying to be good enough to get to heaven here. That's not what Christians do. Only Jesus makes us good enough to get to heaven. We're just trying to follow the one that's already qualified us. But did you see what Paul says? He says, I count everything as loss, that I might gain Christ and to be found in him. So, I kind of always thought that I might gain the righteousness, but also that might gain him. I get Jesus, all of life is about Christ. It's about knowing Christ, treasuring Christ. He evangelizes because he loves Christ. He obeys because he wants to be nearer to Christ. Philippians 3:10, it says that I want to know him. His whole life is centered around him. He wants to know him, and he wants to know the resurrection of Christ. Philippians 3:11, the end of verse 11 there, it says “that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Why not? So, I go to a place so I could go to a person, I get more of Christ. So that's where Paul is, okay. Paul has turned from his old ways. He's treasuring Christ, he gets Christ. He was looking forward to heaven so that he could be with Christ.
So, what is Paul up to now? What is happening between conversion and maturity? And then that gap that is between that and eternity? What's Paul up to? That is what Philippians 3: 12-16 tell us. For those of us who are in Christ and are following Christ, what does life look like before we catch that last bus to heaven? That's what verses 12 to 16 are going to inform you about now before you do, Paul has invoked verses 12 through 16. He's still talking about his own testimony. But if you read verse 17, it's going to help you understand verses 12 through 16. Look at Philippians 3:17. It says, “Brothers join in imitating me.” So, when Paul is talking about his heart, in verses 12 through 16, it's not so that you would go, man, Paul is a stud; he's an ON-FIRE Christian, he's really fired up. Now he's writing this so that you would do the same thing. This isn't just so you can have your, you know, PowerPoint of the history of Paul presentation and go, wow, wasn't Paul amazing? Now he wants you to imitate him. He's spilling his heart here so that you would have the same heart. Friends, we need to see how is it that we're supposed to believe that we've been saved? Right? We have that rest, that security, knowing we will one day be with Christ. So, what does life look like until we get there? My prayer this evening is that you will be challenged in your walk with Christ, that you'd be challenged to consider if you're really giving Jesus your best, you'd be challenged to reconsider, am I honoring Jesus the way he wants me to? And that you'd be challenged or run and to stretch on three things I want you to notice from this text. What do we learn from Paul here? Three things. Number one, I want you to see that in this life, we never arrive. In this life, we never arrive.
In Philippians 3:12, Paul says, not that I have already obtained this, or am already perfect. And in verse 13, he says, Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. Paul wants to make it abundantly clear, he has not arrived. Now if you've been reading the Scripture of the Day, and you've been reading the book of Acts, you might be thinking, wait a second. Paul, like Paul is a stud. I mean, have you ever met somebody that preached the gospel, got stoned, had large boulders thrown on him where people thought he was dead? Then he got up and kept preaching. I mean, that's varsity level Christianity right there. I mean, that he is all in and what do you mean this, but even Paul says, I have not obtained it, I am not already perfect. So, we need to think about this. What does he mean by that? And, and the key to understanding this is going to be by a really, really important word here. What does he mean in verse 12 by the word this? Not that I have already obtained this. Or verse 13? I do not consider that I have made it my own. What is the “it” here? Or how do we figure this out? So, what is Paul saying? I'm not obtained to what is he saying? He's not? What level has he not gotten to yet? We think back to our context, that's why we looked at it. The theme again is knowing Christ. Look at verse eight. Back to Philippians 3:8. He says, “Indeed, I count everything as loss, because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord.” That's not just knowing about him, that's knowing him personally. Paul knows Christ. He has seen Christ in a vision on multiple occasions. If you read through the book of Acts, he's communicated personally with Christ. And yet in verse 10, he also says that I may know him. I want to know him personally. I want to know the power of his resurrection that the change that he's brought in my life. I want to know him and his suffering, becoming like him in his death. I want to be closer to Christ. I want to know him more. And then he wants to get to eternity to be with him. And so, when Paul is saying, I've not yet arrived, what he's saying is, I don't know him as nearly as I could. I haven't served him with everything I've got yet. He hasn't received everything that he's worthy of yet. And I'm pressing on because I'm not done serving Jesus. And I'm not as close as to Jesus as I want to be.
And so, Paul wants more of Christ in his life, because his life is all about Christ. Though he's got enough Christ, he's not quite gotten all of Jesus yet, and he wants more of him. And so, if that's true, then even Paul has things to work on. Even Paul would have sinned. Talks about that even in Romans 7. Friends, Christ has done enough to save us. He's done enough for salvation. He's given us everything we need for life and godliness. Right? You are secure in Christ. If you're here and you're not a Christian, the good news of the gospel is not here's a debt repayment plan. Right? It the good news of the gospel is not, hey, your sin, here's this mounting weight of sin, but God might work out a short sale with you in order to pay that off. That's not the Gospel. The Gospel is that Jesus has come and paid the price for your sins. So, if you cry out and say, God, I am a sinner who has rebelled against you. I need your forgiveness, that mercy is offered in Jesus who lay down his life to rescue us from our sin. Christ has done everything we need for salvation. But we can never say that we've done enough for him. He's always worthy of more. He's always worthy of us laying down our life more, doing more for him, not to earn it, but because he is worthy. Why is that? Why is it that we can never say we've arrived? Why is that we can never say yep, I reached this level that I'm perfect?
Now. Take your Bible, if you wouldn't go to 1 John chapter 1 that's going to be to the right. If you're newer with the Bible, if you hit revelation, you've gone too far. Just go a little left. But go to 1 John chapter 1. Help us understand why in this life we’ll never arrive. 1 John1:5. What we're going to see here, this is going to help us understand why we'll never arrive. It begins with a fact about who God is. So, 1 John 1:5, it says, “This is the message we have heard from him, and proclaim to you that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” So, if we're going to understand how to be in a right relationship with God, you have to know first, God is holy. There's no sin in him, no flaw in him. And so, 1 John 1:6, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” So, here's the lie. The lie is that I could say, I know God, and walk in darkness habitually as the pattern of my life. I can walk with the Holy God, I can be friends with the God in whom there is no darkness, only light. But I walk in the darkness because that's not true. You can't say you have relationship with God, and the dominating factor of your life is marked by sin. The primary pattern of your life is you walk in rebellion. No, rather, if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another in the blood of Jesus; his Son cleanses us from all sin. So that's the first lie. But here's the second lie that can happen. This helps us understand why we want to arrive. 1 John 1:8, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Okay, so here's the God who's perfectly holy and you're fellowshipping with him. As a Christian, you're growing in your knowledge of understanding of him, and you're more and more seeing his holiness and his purity. And you say, wow, I'm kind of like that, too. He would never say that. Right? You would never look at God's holiness and go, yeah, that's kind of what I'm like right? Now, the idea would be that here's God and all his brilliance and radiant radiance. And as you're coming out of darkness, and you're coming closer and closer to him, the more you draw near to him, the more you start noticing defects in your life, the more you see you fall short, and so maybe your sins aren't like they were back when you first got saved, so outward and so noticeable. But, man, you've noticed and here's my heart, my thoughts, my mouth. They're sinful when compared against the holiness of God. That's what it's like to be in fellowship with God. It'd be wrong to be in fellowship with him and say I just keep walking in sin no matter what. But it'd be equally wrong to be in fellowship with him and think I've got no sin in my life anymore. One author said it like this, the more we come to know Christ, the more we will come to sense our need to grow. And so, friends, we have not arrived.
Brothers, Sisters, we need to be careful. Every year, there is a certain virus that spreads Don't worry, the CDC doesn't know about it, and they won't act on it. So, calm down. But every year this virus affects teenagers, right around the age of 17 to 18, usually starts around February, March and will last until June or July. This virus is called senioritis. You've heard of senioritis before? After thirteen years of school, these kids are sick of it. They're like I'm done with this. And so, they're not turning in assignments anymore. They're putting in half speed because like I already know I'm graduating already, I'm getting the cap and gown and they're going to have all the pomp and circumstance and I'm getting my diploma and off I go. Right? So, they're done with it. They're not trying anymore. There is no such thing as spiritual senioritis. Christians should not think, look, I'm already going to heaven. It's time to mail it in here for the last few laps. It's not true friends, we never arrive. And why is that? What does Paul do instead? Well, second, and this will be our longest point tonight. Second in this life, we press on.
Let's go back to Philippians chapter three. In this life, we press on. That's the key word here in this passage. It's used in verse 12. It's the dominant verb. It's used in verse 14. He's saying I actively continuously all the time press on. Diókó, it's a word that is filled with athletic imagery. There is militant imagery here. When Paul describes the Christian life, he is not talking about reaching the mountaintop, and then coasting to the finish line. Now, the Christian life is gritty and strenuous. It's marked by tenacity. This is not a casual stroll to the kingdom, friends, we do not meander to the finish line. But we're running hard. And we sweat. And we do so with purpose, not with apathy like a weightlifter who wants to finish the set with their best rep. We want the next act of faithfulness to be our best act of faithfulness to the Lord. That is what Paul is describing. And that is the heartbeat that he wants every Christian to have. Now, let's think about this word “Press on,” what does that mean? Because we get it, but it might be a little ambiguous, we want to make sure you understand it. It might not be totally clear what pressing on might look like in your life in regards to the actions. But the attitude is clearly communicated that the Greek word appears in the New Testament about fifty times, it is most often translated as persecuted. Now let's think about the word persecuted. What sort of imagery do you have if you imagine a concept of persecution? Think about it, whatever imagery comes to your mind, there is more than just an action with it. Persecution is more than just behavior. There's a mood to persecution, right? There's a motion behind it. Similarly, if I were to say, hey, let's go out and celebrate your birthday. Like on the one hand, there might be an action, I'm going to drive you. We're going to take you to a restaurant, people are going to clap and sing Happy Birthday to you by complete strangers. And there's an action behind them. If I said, I'm going to celebrate your birthday. There's also an emotion behind it right? I'm excited to pick you up. Let's go. We're so have everyone smile and hold on because we're celebrating, or the same idea behind persecution. It's not just the action, but there's heat behind it. There's violence behind it. When Paul says press on, he's not just talking about the act of pressing on. It's the determination. It's the inner fortitude and focus. I'm driven for this. And just like if someone was persecuting you, they would be hounding you. We, as Christians, are hounding Christ, pressing on, doing all that we can to honor him. Well, we're not just flippantly going about this. When it comes to this, this is what our life is about, not just selectively, but what we love to do. When we say to press on it is your whole person saying, more of my life devoted to Christ, more nearness to Christ in my life, more people knowing about Christ. How can I serve others more? What more can I give all to him? Oh, have I given him my best because he's worthy of my best? And so, I don't relax. I don't mail it in. I don't say well, I was super faithful in high school, but I don't have time for that anymore. Or, Christ gets my best today. And every day until that day, this is a zealous effort a spiritual sprint. Friend, are you pressing on? Would you say, this week, this month, this season of life that you have given your best for Christ? I know there's going to be flaws. We read that in First John, right, we are going to fall short. Because we're sinners. But have you seen a pattern of striving to give your best?
I mean, you read some words. And let me tell you when I asked you what words would best describe your Christian walk, would it be described by words like pursuit? Strive? Seriousness? Earnestness, intense? Or would it be described by words like selective? Seasonal? Measured? Distracted? are you pressing on? Let's consider this more. I have sort of two blanks on your outline, just to kind of again, think about the idea of pressing on, I wanted to ask myself two questions. One is, where are we running? So, if you got that sort of first blank under point number two, where are we running? Let's think about this, so we understand what this means. Which way am I'm pressing? If you're telling me to hound the person, where are we going, I need a direction here. I better know where I'm running. If you tell me where to run, I like directions when running. That's why I know you'll be shocked to hear this. I didn't do cross country in high school. No surprising. And it's because if I'm going to run, I usually need like a ball or an endzone or a basket to run towards. And none of you thought I did cross country anyway. And that's fine. I digress. But where are you running? Well, you're running towards Christ. You're running towards him. I want more of him. I'm heading in his direction. Remember again, Philippians 3:8, Paul said that I might know him. Philippians 3:14, it says, I press on, toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. And so that prize I want is that upward call that I that I might receive, which I've been called to use to go to heaven with Christ. I want that prize of getting to be in heaven. Look at Philippians 3:20, he says, but our citizenship is in heaven. And from it, we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him, even to subject all things to himself, I'm going to go be with Christ, I want the place of heaven. And I want the person who is at the center of heaven, namely, Jesus Christ. So I'm striving for Christ, I want the prize at the end of the road. And I'm running towards Christ now. And so, I'm trying to think about how to illustrate this. I'm running towards the prize, which is knowing Christ perfectly. I mean, doesn't that sound great that the Savior who you love, you get to be with him? That there is a real person in heaven right now who has flesh and blood, Jesus, who died for our sins who rose from the dead, who prays for us, who stands as the evidence that our sins have been forgiven? You get to know him, be you. In fact, Philippians 3:21, says he's going to transform your body so you might know him without sin in your life. I want that. That's why if there's no Jesus in heaven, we don't want heaven. That's the price.
And so, there's the goal at the end, and yet, as I'm running, I'm getting deeper and deeper into Christ. I'm getting more of Christ until I get him fully, one day between me and there is me growing and nearness to him. And there is more Christ until one day I get all of Christ. That is what Paul wants. And so, my second question kind of sub under there is, then how are we getting there? How are we getting there? At this point you might be thinking, and it's good if you're thinking this. I thought this was about living for Christ, not just knowing him. I thought this was about living for Christ and not just knowing him. Well, if you're asking that question, that's a great question to ask. Because how we're getting there is that's the same thing. You know Christ by living for him. The more you live for Christ, you know him and I'm getting that that's I'm making that up. I'm getting that from verse 10. So, verse 10, Paul says, that I may know him. So, what do you want? So how do I get to know him? Let's walk through this here, because I know him in the power of his resurrection. So, I know Jesus in the power of his resurrection, one day when I'm resurrected, but Romans 6 says that just as he was resurrected a newness of life, so you too, Christian, have right now been resurrected a newness of life. That's what Bobby Pastor Bobby talked about last week, we talked about regeneration, that your new heart that loves to obey, when you walk in obedience is you experiencing a sort of right now, but not fully yet resurrection? Your old self died, your new heart that loves Jesus has been raised from the dead, and you know the power of his resurrection as you walk in holiness. Right? The Scripture says, draw nearer to God and he'll draw nearer to you. We draw near to him in obedience to him, not near to him in our righteous standing in our sins are forgiven, but relationally we enjoy better fellowship with Christ, when we're walking in holiness. I might know the power of his resurrection. Next, what does it say I might know might share his sufferings. Well, his sufferings what does that mean? Well, there is a way to fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. Now, none of us have ever died on a cross, I don't think. I'll double check that, but heads are there. So, what does that mean? Well, why did Jesus suffer? He suffered, says in 1 Peter to entrusting himself to a faithful Creator, he suffered while remaining faithful to God. And so, as we suffer while remaining faithful to God for the sake of righteousness, there is a communion and nearness in knowing Christ better that happens. Again, it says, becoming like him in his death. So again, we can think okay, I do I become like Jesus in his death. Well, when I die, I'm like Jesus because he died. Well, well, no, yes. But Jesus didn't die of natural causes. Again, he died while being faithful. And so, as I'm faithful in my obedience, there is a fellowship in knowing Christ better that can occur, is what Paul is striving for. I want to know Christ, not just in my personal prayer life, but I want to know Christ as I follow him, and walk as he did, and go down the path as a disciple that he called me to go down. That's where I'm heading. And I'm going that way. And I'm doing it with all sorts of effort. So how am I getting there? I don't just stumble into obedience. I don't just stumble into faithful sharing of the gospel evangelizing what I do. I forget. And I strain. I forget, and I strain so it says there forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. So how do I get more of Christ? I need to forget what lies behind and what do you need to forget in order to run harder for Christ? Maybe it's past sin, or past pursuits. Past priorities. I think Paul is talking about past priorities and his past ways of thinking how to be righteous. I don't live culturally moral anymore. I live moral for Jesus. My passion isn't these religious things anymore. It's passion for Christ. And so, if we're going to run hard, there are certain things that we need to forget. Why? Because those are behind us. That's not what your life's about anymore. Your life's about him now. And I need to run, it says, straining forward. The idea in the Greek is stretching with all your mind every fiber of your being, you're stretching forward to the prize that lies ahead. You are stretching past the point of comfort. It is not, well, I'll do it if it fits in my schedule, or I'll do it if I'm able to. No, I'm giving all I have to Christ at cost. It's amazing. At the end of 2 Samuel, David says, “I will not give to the Lord that which costs me nothing.” That needs to be true for us as well. Are we straining only when there's no cost? Are we straining to the point where it hurts? Are we giving our all to him? In every category of our life. I want you to, if you have your handout, you can flip over to the back real quick. I want you to look at the question, question number five. And we're going to, you're going to think about it this week. And if you're part of our fellowship groups, you're going to talk about it this week. And if you're looking at the questions, by the way later and going, man, I wish there were people I could talk to about these questions. What a commercial that is for fellowship groups right there. And you could join in on one, please look at question five. It says, consider if or how you may need to press on in each of these categories. And I just want to talk about these, and you can think about them in your life. So, when I think about pressing on, the categories I thought of for us is making Christ known. Are we stretching? Are we doing all that we can to make him known? Flip if you were to Philippians, one Philippians 1:20. Paul is writing, and he says, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” And that word honors a word that similar to our Scripture they've had, which is megaluno, mega, to make him look great. I want Christ to look great. And I want people to exalt in his greatness, I don't want them just to know that he is I want them to know how great he is.
And so, are we doing that? Are we living to the praise of God's will that people might praise Christ? And you might think, yeah, but Josh, I can't do that. I mean, Paul could do that. But that's his job. It was easy for Paul to do that. Do you realize where Paul is writing from right now? He's writing from jail. And even there, people are preaching the gospel in a way it says in verses, Philippians 1:15-18. People are preaching in a way to make Paul jealous, like, look at me, I'm preaching with freedom, or Paul's locked up. Paul says, I don't care. I just want people to know Christ. And I'm going to do all that I can so they might know Christ. In fact, at the end of the book, he'll say, those of Caesar's household greet you, there's people getting converted, that are watching over Paul in jail, because he's committed to that. I'm not saying if you're sitting if you don't evangelize every second of every day, I just ask you this, do you actually plan for it? Are there people you're praying for? Have you rehearsed how to share the gospel? So, when the opportunity comes, you could share the Gospel? Have you asked other people? How do you get into a conversation like that? Because you seem really good at that. And, I know I need to, like because I love Christ. And like a little kid brags about his Christmas presents, the next day he's at school, we brag about the Savior who has rescued us. How are you doing, putting sin to death?
This is about knowing him in the power of his resurrection, right? Our old self is dead. And yet we are to, by the Spirit ,put to death the deeds of the flesh. And so, are you striving? Are you really putting your back into it? Matthew 5:29 says, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away from you. For it is better, that you lose one of your members, then that your whole body be thrown into hell.” Now this is not literal, no eye-patches next week, please. And you know, it's not literal, because if you already tore it out, why would you throw it from you? You don't need to do that, it's out. But are you doing all that you can in your fight against sin? It's a good question for us to think about. Am I really serious about putting sin to death? Hebrews 12:4 says, in your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. It's talking about Christ and comparing our own walk. Now we have this thing that can happen sometimes. So, we're in our accountability groups. And we say you know, I send this way this week and you go, yeah, you know, brother, I'm in there with you too. And it's all feel-bad and pat-our- backs together and but is there any pursuit of holiness? are we really trying to devote our lives to the Lord? Are we just kind of confessing it so we feel less bad about it, but not actually getting more holy? Are we pursuing, are we pressing on, are you pressing on and encouraging others in their walk with Christ? It's not just the lost that needs you. It's fellow Christians. Do you work hard to build up other believers? Do you learn the Bible more and live a holier life so you might help other Christians be more holy? Do you reorient your schedule, so that you might serve others or actively look for ways to serve? There are tons of ways to serve in a church. There are needs always that you could sign up for. But in a room right here of 400 500 people, there are 400 needs right around you, of people that you can serve, and helping them keep loving Jesus. Are you pressing on in that? And finally, are you pressing on him personally treasuring Christ? Would you say you're walking nearer to him today than you were a month ago? Or a year ago? Are you communing with him in prayer more deeply, more affectionately? Are we pressing on? Do we wake up early, so we get time with him. Two more thoughts. Remove the point three, look, again, at the top of your outline, go back to the front page. Now. Top of your outline, it says Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely.” So, we talked about this when I did 1 Peter a few weeks ago: sin slows us down. But the author of Hebrews says that there's sin that slows us down. And there's weights that slow us down. There are things that aren't necessarily sinful that slow us down in our Christian race. There are neutral things that we might need to cast aside. Things that keep us from investing more in gospel ministry, things that keep us from holiness. I don't know what it is for you, but maybe there are some things you need to cast aside so you could press on with more strength, hobbies that distract or put you in a wrong state of mind, sports, podcasts, radio stations, certain friends, or are just patterns in your life with dieting and sleep that you notice. I'm just less effective for Christ's when I do these things. The Christian loves Christ. And so, they want to press on. So, we lay aside things that even give us distracting finish lines, we want to keep our eyes on the prize.
Finally, here's why I want to say that we need to jump to the point three, pressing on doesn't always mean visible results. Here's what I mean by that. Sometimes in a sermon like this, it might be very like rah rah and you think that's right. I need to go and just, you know, take the world and go for it and sometimes pressing on just means faithfulness today. Jesus, I know I want to be better a year from now. How can I better serve you today? I'm at home with these kids or my husband's at work, how do I honor Christ better today in my parenting of them with my words and how I instruct them? How do I honor Christ better today with my adult children who don't know Christ? How do I honor Christ better today, as I come home from work, or while I'm at work. Pressing on is always saying how can I give more to Christ because he is worthy of more? Let's move on number three. Number three, here's what I look at. Finally, number three tonight, in this life, we have help. We have help. So, in this life, we never arrive. In this life. We press on. And in this life, we have help.
We're back in Philippians 3:15, Paul says, “Let those of us who are mature think this way.” Now, this is one of those examples where Bible translators are trying to guess at the meaning as they're working through the words. Let me explain. I think this is good. But look, if you look at verse 12, he says, “not that I have already obtained this, or I'm already perfect”. See that in verse 12. And verse 15. It says, “Let those of us who are mature…” The word perfect and mature in the Greek are the same. And so, what Paul is saying in verse 12 is, I'm not perfect, I'm not complete. But verse 15, “Let those of us who are perfect who are mature think this way.” So, I think Paul here might be doing a play on words. Hey, I'm not perfect, some people tell you they can be perfect. I'm not perfect. And if you are perfect think like this, which is I'm not perfect, I need to keep running. So, this is what Christian maturity looks like. Right? Christian thinking thinks like Paul does in verses 12 through 14. I've not arrived, I need to keep running. Again, friends, that is not a varsity letter superstar Christian, that's normal Christianity. In fact, later, you can look at verse 19, and says that non-Christians are the ones who are guided by their passions and think on the things of the world and out of the things of Christ. We can look at that another time. Then he says this, look at the text here, Philippians 3:15, “Let those of us who are mature think this way. And if anything, you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” This is a promise of grace for God's children, to help them consider and realize when they need to press on. It's God who helps his people realize this. So, there's a few applications, I thought of this number one, as a preacher, I find verse 15, very comfortable, or comforting. Because I'm in this room, and I'm going, I have no idea all the different ways we need to press on in here. But God does. And he knows how you need to press on. And he helps his people understand the way they need to do that. So even if I didn't mention the specific way you need to strive, but you're thinking of certain ways, that's the spirit of God and his grace in your life helping you love and live for Jesus better.
The second help here is that this humbles us. Right? Some of us have thought, man, I am so fired up for Christ. And sometimes I look at these other Christians, and they're not as far. What's wrong with them? Well, you only think the way you do, because God revealed it to you; that fire you have for Christ was sparked by God. And he is the one who continues to kindle it. And so, we should be thankful for that. But I think where I want to end tonight is it forces us to ask the question, how does God reveal this to us? You know, does it come in a fortune cookie? Press on and evangelism, right? Does it come in dreams? I don't think so. And so how does it press on? Or how do I know? And how do I know that I'm not falling into like earning my salvation, but just remembering, hey, I'm saved. And I need to press on? How does God do that? Let me give you four ways. Four ways that I think the Scripture says that God does that.
One of them is by prayer. Prayer. James one, James says, “If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God.” God, are there ways that I'm not giving you everything I've got? But while I want to be open-handed, are there other ways that I'm closed fisted? You know, is this relationship, you know, my favorite sports team, this money that this hobby, is this keeping me from running you towards you as hard as I can. Because I need to know, Lord, and I don't trust myself, so help me, because I know my thinking is flawed.
The second way is by the Word. The word the Spirit of God works through the Word of God to change the people of God. It's part of the reason why you listen to sermons every week, so you could hear God's word preached, and that God might help you see, hey, this part of your life, this could be for me. I don't know if all of this is all for me as best as it could be. And so, the Word works through that.
Third, and this one is right under the text, the example of other believers. So, verse 17, Paul says, “join in imitating me,” and it says, “Keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” Chapter 2 ends with an example of a guy named Timothy and a guy named Epaphroditus. I think Paul mentions their work so that the Philippians might say we need to live like those guys do. How many of you have been blessed by the zeal of those in your fellowship group? How many of you are loving Christ better today because of Christians who have loved Christ around you? That's why we're together so you could have examples forth the work and Person of Jesus. God helps us see the way we need to love Christ better. By the way, well, you need to press on by looking and thinking about Jesus. What is Jesus done for us friends? He's done everything for us. He's made us righteous, Philippians 3:9 says, we have this righteousness. That's not for me, but that comes through faith in Christ. Christ is the source of our forgiveness. In fact, in Philippians chapter 2, Paul talks about Christ as the one who though he had equality with God came in the form of a slave to die on a cross for sinners. And so, when I look to Christ it compels me to say I want more of my life to be about him. Let's close this by turning if you would to Hebrews chapter 12. And this is where we'll land. Go few books to the right, Hebrews chapter 12. If we end with just saying give more, give more, give more. And I don't have the proper motivation. It might lead to burnout, frustration. But when I look at Hebrews 12, we've already mentioned verse 1 a few times. It says, again, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
When I think of Christ, I want to press on. When I think of Christ's coming in the flesh, coming in a body where he got tired and hungry, when I think of Christ's sweating drops of blood in the garden, when I think of Christ being mocked, and spit on, and beaten, when I think of Christ being nailed on the cross for my sins, but when I think about him, being first being forsaken by the Father, becoming a curse in our place. I think of him dying. And I think of him resurrecting. And I think he sits now at the right hand of God, and he doesn't sit there doing nothing. But he sits there praying for us, praying that we would make it for the end, interceding for us as a permanent reminder as Father, their sin already paid for. When I think of Jesus, I want to press on. I want to run. Christian, look to Christ. Look at the beauty of all of who he is and press on. Because he is worthy of it. Let's pray together.
Heavenly Father, we are so thankful for your son. We're thankful that he has paid for all our sins. He's paid for the sins of every single person who had come to trust in him that any who would come to him he would certainly not cast out. Lord, we want to know him more. Christ you are worthy of, of every aspect of our life being devoted to you. Lord, help us to press on. Help us to strive to serve you, to love you, to tell others about you. Help us do more and more every day, even when we're tired to devote our lives to you, because Christ, you are worthy. And there is no one who compares to your glory. Lord, I pray that you would do exactly what you said you would do in this passage that you will reveal to each of us the ways that we need to press on and that you would help us to do that for your glory. It's in Your Son's name we pray. Amen.
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