Faithlife Sermons

Pressing On Toward The Goal

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 26 views
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
“Pressing On Toward the Goal”
“Pressing On Toward the Goal”
READ:
PRAYER ************************* Introduction
I have always been amazed by Olympic athletes.
Most Olympians are “every day” people like you and me. Many of them have regular jobs. Many have families to support. And a great number of them are pursuing college degrees.
And yet each of them is focused on reaching a “higher goal”....... and that is to make to the Olympic games. Many of them invest years of their life just to have the opportunity to compete in an event that may be over in as little as 10 seconds.
***************
A lot of people have NO GOALS, NO DREAMS and NO PLANS. They simply live life one day at a time and take whatever life brings their way. For many, the greatest goal in life is to get out of bed each morning and draw a paycheck at the end of the week or month.
Christian, what is your goal in life? What is the one thing that “drives” you and motivates you? What is the one thing you are most passionate about? Is being a financial success your goal? Is being a well liked person your goal? Is pleasing everyone around you your goal?
Under normal circumstance, our goal usually controls our life and behavior. These goals can and usually are destructive to us, if they are fleshly goals. Our Scripture today is
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
Philippians 3:7–14 KJV 1900
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Do you realize GOD HAS A GOAL FOR YOUR LIFE AND MINE? As we look at our scripture text here in , we want to consider three questions about GOD’S GOAL for your life and mine.
Philippians 3:7-147 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
Pressing Toward the Goal
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Do you realize GOD HAS A GOAL FOR YOUR LIFE AND MINE? Tonight as we look at our scripture text here in , we want to consider three questions about GOD’S GOAL for your life and mine.
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
*****Do you realize GOD HAS A GOAL FOR YOUR LIFE AND MINE? As we look at our scripture text here in , we want to look at GOD’S GOAL for your life and mine....
Do you realize GOD HAS A GOAL FOR YOUR LIFE AND MINE? As we look at our scripture text here in , we want to consider three questions about GOD’S GOAL for your life and mine.
I. WHAT IS PAUL’S MAIN GOAL WHICH WAS GOD’S MAIN GOAL FOR PAUL AND US ? verses 7-11
Read: VERSES 7-11 again
1.
A. . THE GOAL TO KNOW CHRIST JESUS was Paul’s greatest passion and desire in life.
1.
2.
Paul wrote NEW TESTAMENT BOOKS,
Paul wrote NEW TESTAMENT BOOKS, but writing New Testament Books was NOT his main goal in life.
Paul wrote NEW TESTAMENT BOOKS, but writing New Testament Books was NOT his main goal in life.
Paul PREACHED THE GOSPEL,
Paul ESTABLISHED CHURCHES, but these were NOT his main goal in life.
Paul’s main goal in life was TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST. You notice Paul says in verse v 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection
profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.”
10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection
Imagine Paul sitting down with a ledger book in front of him. On one side of the ledger are THE PROFITS and on the other side of the ledger are THE LOSSES.
B. Paul Considered EVERYTHING Else As Loss, Rubbish, as The ESV Translation says. v7, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.”
7, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.”
Imagine Paul sitting down with a ledger book in front of him. On one side of the ledger are THE PROFITS and on the other side of the ledger are THE LOSSES.
Imagine Paul sitting down with a ledger book in front of him. On one side of the ledger are THE PROFITS and on the other side of the ledger are THE LOSSES.
On the PROFIT SIDE of the ledger Paul wrote......
-To know Jesus Christ. v. 8, v. 10 -To know the power of His resurrection v. 10 -To know the fellowship of sharing in Christ’s sufferings. v.10
-To become like Christ in His death. v. 10 -To attain the resurrection from the dead. v. 11
And on THE LOSS SIDE of the ledger, Paul simply writes two words: EVERYTHING ELSE!
***Paul Considered Knowing Christ Was The Most Important Thing In His Life....
II. IT WAS THAT GOAL THAT DROVE PAUL AND MOTIVATED HIM IN EVERYTHING HE DID....
 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified
IT WAS THAT GOAL THAT DROVE HIM AND MOTIVATED HIM in everything he did.
 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified
IT WAS THAT GOAL THAT DROVE HIM AND MOTIVATED HIM in everything he did.
(KJV) 2  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
IT WAS THAT GOAL THAT DROVE HIM AND MOTIVATED HIM in everything he did.
 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
****The Goal That God Had For Paul; Knowing Christ, Is Also...
14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
4. Do you realize this is also GOD’S MAIN GOAL for your life and mine?
4. Do you realize this is also GOD’S MAIN GOAL for your life and mine?
III. GOD’S MAIN GOAL for your life and mine?
TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST supersedes everything else we may set out to do in this life.
TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST is far greater than any personal or career goals we might set.
5. TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST is by far the most NOBLE goal anyone can have in this life.
6. Every day when you and I get out of bed our main goal for the day should be TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST BETTER TODAY THAN I DID YESTERDAY!
-Which is a greater goal, TO SAIL AROUND THE WORLD or TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST/
*****We Should Desire To Know Christ Better Today Than We Did Yesterday. In Doing This...
-Which is a greater goal, TO WIN A GOLD MEDAL IN THE OLYMPICS or TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST?
-Which is a greater goal, TO FLY TO FARTHEST STAR or TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST.
6. Every day when you and I get out of bed our main goal for the day should be TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST BETTER TODAY THAN I DID YESTERDAY!
IV. WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT WE HAVE NOT ARRIVED YET, I HAVE NOT ALREADY OBTAINED ALL THIS...... I HAVEN’T REACHED MY GOAL......I’M NOT THERE YET! ....
IV. WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT WE HAVE NOT ARRIVED YET .....
II. How Do I Measure Where I Am In Reaching That Goal?
1. One of the keys to reaching any goal in life is to be able to “measure” progress.
- For the SALESMAN whose goal is to become “Salesman of The Year” the goal is measured by comparing this year’s sales with last year’s sales.
Paul tells us in VERSE 12...“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”
-For the OLYMPIC RUNNER whose goal it is to win a Gold Medal, the goal is measured by checking his current times on a stop watch with his previous best times.
2. How do we “measure” how we are doing in attaining our GOAL OF KNOWING CHRIST JESUS?
Paul tells us in VERSE 12...........
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”
A. Paul Said He Was’t There Yet. He Said...
I want to FULLY KNOW CHRIST and experience the complete POWER and FREEDOM and JOY that comes
from living in the light of His resurrection.
I want to have the same attitude CHRIST had whenever I face trials and experience the same PEACE CHRIST
experienced even in His times of great suffering.
I want to live IN VICTORY now as one who has already been resurrected from the DEAD on this side of the grave.
Warren Wiersbe says, “A divine dissatisfaction is essential for spiritual progress.”
Warren Wiersbe says, “A divine dissatisfaction is essential for spiritual progress.”
We see that “divine satisfaction” in Paul’s statement, “Not that I have already obtained all this.”
******Paul Admitted His Incompleteness. Will We ever reach the full measure of Christ-likeness in this life? NO! We will not FULLY AND COMPLETELY KNOW CHRIST JESUS UNTIL WE ARE IN HIS ETERNAL PRESENCE. But that should not keep us from PURSUING THE GOAL! We must keep “pressing on” until the final goal is obtained.
Paul’s statement, “Not that I have already obtained all this.”
*****Will We reach the full measure of Christ-likeness in this life? NO! We will not FULLY AND COMPLETELY KNOW CHRIST JESUS UNTIL WE ARE IN HIS ETERNAL PRESENCE.
*****But that should not keep us from PURSUING THE GOAL! We must keep “pressing on” until the final goal is obtained.
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
***One Thing That Slows Down Our Growth In Christ Is We Dwell To Much On The Past. In Order To Grow In Christ, We....
IV. DONT LIVE IN THE PAST [ESV]13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind
A. What this doesn't mean....
A. What this doesn't mean....
Paul tells us that if we want to be focused on our growth we must forget the past. Obviously Paul is not telling us to literally not remember anything. Certainly we should remember who we were before Christ found us. We should remember the times we have seen God’s faithfulness demonstrated.   We need to remember the mistakes we've made so that we can avoid them in the future. 
says.........
B. What it does mean....
When Paul talks about forgetting he is telling us that we can’t and must not live in the past. What happened in the past is past and we must keep going forward. There are two reasons we need to forget the past. 
First, we have a tendency to fixate on the past. We will hold on to some bad experience and it will become an anchor that weighs us down.
Second, we have a tendency to rest on the past. We will replay the past victories and be content to remember instead of continuing to push ahead. Paul determined that he would not rest on past accomplishments but always look forward to what yet needed to be done.  There are Christians who are always talking about the great times of faith in the past. We must forget the past and focus on the present.
says.........
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
***By Not Living In The Past, We Look Ahead And Concentrate On Christ And....
8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our
Lord Jesus Christ.
V. BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT YOUR GROWTH.... v14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul tells us that he “presses on”. This is the same word that was used in verse 6 when Paul talked about his zealous persecution of the early church. It is with that same kind of intensity that Paul pursues God’s plan for his life. Paul also says "this one thing I do".  He is single-minded.  Paul was not distracted.  He was clear where he was headed.
Paul tells us that he “presses on”. This is the same word that was used in verse 6 when Paul talked about his zealous persecution of the early church. It is with that same kind of intensity that Paul pursues God’s plan for his life. Paul also says "this one thing I do".  He is single-minded.  Paul was not distracted.  He was clear where he was headed.
He tells us that he is stretching forward and he is reaching for his goal.  He is not only concentrating, he is “straining forward”[ESV].  The image is like that of running in a race.  You see people in a race leaning forward to try to beat their opponent to the tape.  This is the image Paul uses for his desire to grow spiritually.
Some of mankind's greatest contributions have come from people who decided that no sacrifice was too large and no effort too great to accomplish what they set out to do. Edward Gibbon spent 26 years writing The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Noah Webster worked diligently for 36 years to bring into print the first edition of his dictionary. It is said that the Roman orator Cicero practiced before friends every day for 30 years in order to perfect his public speaking.
Now think about how much energy we put into the Lord's work. The comparison can be rather embarrassing. And it should lead us to ask ourselves some heart-searching questions: Why is our service for Christ sometimes performed in a halfhearted manner? Why do other things always come before our time with the Lord?  Why do we prepare more diligently for our responsibilities in the world than we do our responsibilities in the church? 
Growth will not happen if we are haphazard about our spiritual life.  Practicing diligence means, making time for God in our schedule, finding time to thoughtfully read the Bible, planning for times of prayer, making worship and service a priority in our calendars, doing a regular and honest spiritual evaluation of our lives regularly, turning away from some worldly pursuits, pushing ourselves to study and read for growth and daring to reach beyond what is always comfortable and safe
making time for God in our schedule finding time to thoughtfully read the Bible, planning for times of prayer, making worship and service a priority in our calendars, doing a regular and honest spiritual evaluation of our lives regularly, turning away from some worldly pursuits, pushing ourselves to study and read for growth and daring to reach beyond what is always comfortable and safe
A. How Much Do I Do To “Know Him”
6. To determine how you are doing in obtaining your goal of truly KNOWING JESUS CHRIST, you and I need to measure two critical areas: OUR INPUT and OUR OUTPUT.
A. How Much Do I Do To “Know Him”
How much time do I spend in the word? -How much time do I spend in prayer?
How much time do I spend in fellowship with other Christians?
other Christians?
B. How Much Is Showing In My Life........
How much “spiritual fruit” am I bearing?
-How much “spiritual fruit” am I bearing? -Does my life show the “fruit” of love? The fruit of
joy? The fruit of peace? The fruit of patience? The fruit of kindness? The fruit of goodness? The fruit of faithfulness? The fruit of gentleness?
Does my life show the “fruit of the Spirit”? of love? of joy? of peace? of patience? of kindness? of goodness? of faithfulness? of gentleness? And of self-control?
And the fruit of self-control?
I Hope you all don’t think I am just picking on you, there are still many areas of my life where I fall far-short of Christ-likeness.
I don’t know about you, but there are still many areas of my life where I fall far-short of Christ-likeness.
God convicts me before I prepare a message. He picks the subject, I don’t.
I don’t know about you, but there are still many areas of my life where I fall far-short of Christ-likeness.
I would like to say I always show THE FAITHFULNESS OF CHRIST, but the truth is I know I often fail people in spite of my best intentions.
- I would like to say I always show THE JOY OF CHRIST, but the truth is I whine and complain more than I should.
- I would like to say I always demonstrate THE PATIENCE OF CHRIST, but the truth is “bad drivers” drive me
nuts.
- I would like to say I always handle every situation with THE KINDNESS and GENTLENESS OF CHRIST, but the truth is some people can bring out the worst in
me.
- I would like to say I always show THE FAITHFULNESS OF CHRIST, but the truth is I know I often fail people
in spite of my best intentions.
me a liar.
****Now That We Know That We Are Not There Yet, Nor Will We Ever Be Fully There In This Life, But But God Has Set The Goal For Us To Know Christ. How Do We Do It?.......
You see, like Paul, I know “I have not already obtained all this. How about you? This is why we must continue
to “press on!” We haven’t reached our goal yet!
*****What Is God’s Main Goal For My Life? That I know Christ Jesus.
*****How Do I Measure Where I Am In Reaching That Goal? ******I realize I haven’t obtained it yet, nor will I attain it in this life, and yet I will keep pressing on toward that goal. Now here’s the third question........
How Do I Measure Where I Am In Reaching That Goal? I realize I haven’t obtained it yet, nor will I attain it in this life, and yet I will keep pressing on toward that goal.
Now here’s the third question........
III. What Must I Do To Reach The Goal? says.........
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,
1. Any goal worth pursuing involves sacrifice, commitment, determination and dedication. This is especially true in
6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
2.
8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our
A. Any goal worth pursuing involves sacrifice, commitment, determination and dedication. This is especially true in reaching the goal of CHRIST-LIKENESS.
Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Any goal worth pursuing involves sacrifice, commitment, determination and dedication. This is especially true in
reaching the goal of CHRIST-LIKENESS. In verses 13,14 we see three KEYS to attaining our goal.
1. In verses 13,14 we see three KEYS to attaining our goal.
KEY #1: BE FOCUSED...v. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it, (NOW LISTEN CAREFULLY!) BUT THIS ONE THING I DO.” (REPEAT)
v. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it, (NOW LISTEN CAREFULLY!) BUT THIS ONE THING I DO.” (REPEAT)
Paul was a man with a SINGLE FOCUS....A SINGLE AIM a SINGLE PURPOSE in life and that was TO KNOW CHRIST JESUS.
Illustration: Have you ever noticed the eyes of an Olympic runner when they are standing on the starting line waiting for the gun to go off? They aren’t focused on the other runners. They aren’t focused on crowd. They aren’t focused on any other events being contested in other parts of the stadium. Their eyes are totally focused on the finish line.
PAUL’S SIGHTS WERE FOCUSED ON THE FINISH LINE! THIS ONE THING I DO!
The problem many of us have is that CHRIST doesn’t have our COMPLETE, UNDIVIDED ATTENTION. The more attention we focus on the things of the world the more it hinders our spiritual progress.
Key #2: BE FORGETFUL
KEY #2:
v. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: (now listen carefully) FORGETTING WHAT LIES BEHIND AND STRAINING TOWARD WHAT IS
v. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: (now listen carefully) FORGETTING WHAT LIES BEHIND AND STRAINING TOWARD WHAT IS
But the kind of “forgetfulness” Paul is talking about in this 13th verse is a GOOD THING!
Paul certainly had things in his past he was ashamed of. We learn in before he accepted Christ, he had given his approval to the stoning of Stephen and even allowed Stephen’s killers to lay their clothes at his
Key #2 BE FORGETFUL
feet while they did it.
In we learn that Paul, or SAUL as he was known in those days was the chief persecutor of Christians, doing everything he could to destroy the Church.
Realizing he could not CHANGE THE PAST, HE HAD TO FORGET IT AND MOVE ON!
Satan, our accuser knows if he can get us to remember OUR PAST SINS AND FAILURES, he can impede our progress.........rob us of our joy.....and steal our victory.
We must believe in GOD’S PROMISE that HE HAS FORGIVEN AND FORGOTTEN OUR SINS, therefore we too must FORGIVE OURSELVES and FORGET OUR PAST.
Look not back on yesterday so full of failure and regret; Look ahead and seek God's way—All sin confessed you must forget. —DJD
KEY NUMBER 1: BE FOCUSED KEY NUMBER 2: BE FORGETFUL!
Key #3 is: BE FAITHFUL!
v. 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which GOD has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
v. 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which GOD has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
The Greek word Paul uses in this verse for “PRESS ON” is the word DIOKO (DY-YOKO) which the term the ancients used to describe how a hound would pursue a fox. The hound would relentlessly pursue the fox until he gained his prize.
May you and I faithfully....relentlessly pursue the prize for which God is calling us heavenward in Christ Jesus.
NO TURNING BACK! NO REGRETS
FAITH
Church roll books are filled with the names of people who “started the race” but didn’t finish it. They may have made that great confession of faith and been baptized. But soon their commitment wained and their spiritual flame died out.
May you and I faithfully....relentlessly pursue the prize for which God is calling us heavenward in Christ Jesus.
CONCLUSION. So, what is the one thing we are focused on?  Are we focused on stuff?  Paying bills? Gaining power? Having temporary peaks of enjoyment?  Shouldn’t we want more from life than this?  Set our sights higher!  Press for the prize!  Seek to know Him better and more fully.  Jesus tells us that when we seek first the Kingdom of God, the other things we are concerned about will take care of themselves.
CONCLUSION. So, what is the one thing you are focused on?  Are you focused on stuff?  Paying bills? Gaining power? Having temporary peaks of enjoyment?  Don't you want more from life than this?  Set your sights higher!  Press for the prize!  Seek to know Him better and more fully.  Jesus tells us that when we seek first the Kingdom of God, the other things we are concerned about will take care of themselves.
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Some of us are near the finish line.  Our earthly life is nearing it's conclusion.  We don't need to coast now!  Now is the time to "kick" and to finish strong.   Other of you are just getting started.  Don't give up because it is difficult.  Keep working . . . be patient.  Growth takes time.  And others are right in the heat of the race.  Don't let down.  Keep pushing.  I know it is exhausting at times.  Focus on the goal . . . strive to finish well.
The closing ceremonies of the MEXICO CITY OLYMPIC GAMES had just finished. The spectators were picking up their belongings and preparing to leave Olympic Stadium when the P.A. announcer asked them to remain in their seats.
And so this one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I PRESS ON TOWARD THE GOAL TO WIN THE PRIZE FOR WHICH CHRIST IS CALLING ME HEAVENWARD IN CHRIST JESUS.”
Some of us are near the finish line.  Our earthly life is nearing it's conclusion.  We don't need to coast now!  Now is the time to "kick" and to finish strong.   Other of you are just getting started.  Don't give up because it is difficult.  Keep working . . . be patient.  Growth takes time.  And others are right in the heat of the race.  Don't let down.  Keep pushing.  I know it is exhausting at times.  Focus on the goal . . . strive to finish well.
9  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Paul is encouraging us to be more than names on a church roll.  He doesn't want us to merely call ourselves Christians or think of ourselves as Christians.  He wants to know Christ and wants us to be real followers of Jesus too. 
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Paul is encouraging us to be more than names on a church roll.  He doesn't want us to merely call ourselves Christians or think of ourselves as Christians.  He wants to know Christ and wants us to be real followers of Jesus too. 
Paul is encouraging us to be more than names on a church roll.  He doesn't want us to merely call ourselves Christians or think of ourselves as Christians.  He wants to know Christ and wants us to be real followers of Jesus too. 
Outside the stadium the sounds of police sirens could be heard and the flash of blue lights seen encircling someone making his way toward the stadium.
And so this one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I PRESS ON TOWARD THE GOAL TO WIN THE PRIZE FOR WHICH CHRIST IS CALLING ME HEAVENWARD IN CHRIST JESUS.”
The man was JOHN STEPHEN AKWHARI, the marathon runner from Tanzania, Africa. The last marathon runner had entered Olympic Stadium hours earlier before the closing ceremonies even began. The medals had already been awarded. WHY WAS JOHN STEPHEN AKWHARI SO LATE?
As AKHWARI entered the stadium, the confused spectators soon realized he was covered with blood. He had taken a terrible fall early in the race, whacked his head on the pavement, severely damaged his knee and endured a trampling by other runners before he could get back on his feet.
The crowd rose to their feet and began cheering on the injured runner as though he was the Marathon champion. When JOHN STEPHEN AKWARI crossed the finish line the crowd let out a thunderous roar!
AKHWARI was quickly whisked off to a nearby hospital to be treated for his injuries and severe dehydration.
The next day, AKHWARI was interviewed by a sports journalist. The first question the journalist asked was, “Why, after sustaining the kinds of injuries you did, would you ever get up and proceed to the finish line when there was no way you could possibly win the race?”
JOHN STEPHEN AKHWARI said, “My country did not send me over 11,000 kilometers to START A RACE, BUT TO FINISH ONE.
The analogy is obvious isn’t it? CHRIST has NOT called you and me to START THE RACE, He has called us to FINISH IT!
And so this one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I PRESS ON TOWARD THE GOAL TO WIN THE PRIZE FOR WHICH CHRIST IS CALLING ME HEAVENWARD IN CHRIST JESUS.”
Related Media
Related Sermons