Faithlife Sermons

Prescription For Progress

Sunday Morning Worship  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  55:27
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Are you stuck, unable to move forward? Try God’s prescription for progress!

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is quoted as as essentially saying that our personal as well as our collective advancement is a crucial mandate. He said it this way; If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
Moving forward is essential to progress. Moreover, as we live day by day, our progress ought to be achieved in numerous ways; physically, spiritually, mentally, socially, financially, and the list can go on and on.
However the problem as I see it is that many of us are Stuck, as my dear friend, Dr. James Forbes said from this pulpit not long ago. We’re not moving ahead and in fact, we’re not moving at all, just stuck. Are you stuck today? Being stuck is a terrible circumstance to find yourself in. When one is stuck, you’re in a holding pattern that cannot be altered. You can’t move forward and can’t move ahead. Stuck is a bad place to be in. Stuck is when advancement cannot be attained and progress cannot be pursued. Stuck is when you can’t visualize options and you don’t see any alternatives.
Stuck is, well, just stuck.
In the recently published book, “Be the One” by author Byron Pitts, he chronicles the stories of six different teens who overcome their personal hardships and “stuck-ness” through the means of hope and faith in God. These are six young individuals who were stuck, but found a way to move forward, regardless of the obstructions that they faced. Pitts himself has a personal story of going from stuck to stepping ahead. His story is an incredible saga of being illiterate, able to read until the age of 12. Moreover, if that wasn’t enough, Pitts stuttered terribly until the age of 20. He now is an award-winning video-journalist and national correspondent on the ABC News Network.
Let’s take a moment to listen to one segment of his story…
[Byron Pitts Clip]
Stuck is the “Dead Sea” of possible circumstances. It is a bad place to be. However, your stuck status can change this morning. In fact, in our text for the morning, Paul gives us a Prescription for Progress directly from the Word of God in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Let’s look at this plan to move forward located in the Word of God.
First, notice that Paul...

A. Acknowledges The Facts

Philippians 3:12 NKJV
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.

1. The Perception Of Paul’s Progress

In order to grasp the enormous relevance of verse 12, we must be reminded that Paul was seen as a spiritual giant in the eyes of the Philippians. He was seen as being “larger than life” due to his riveting, transformative confrontation with Jesus Christ that took place some 30 years earlier on the road to Damascus. Paul met the One he had been persecuting that day, and his conversion as a believer and calling as a preacher of the Word took place around the proximity of the same time. However, even though he was seen as the “poster child” for the people of “The Way,” Paul acknowledges his present status is less than he had desired. He states this status as a fact. He had not obtained the goals that He had outlined in verse 9. He had not reached the attainment that he wanted to. Plainly put, Paul let’s us know that he has not reached perfection.
Philippians 3:9 NKJV
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;
Paul’s true goal was to display and exhibit a righteousness from God that is found in and through Jesus Christ. The outcome of achieving that righteousness is attaining the resurrection from the dead, as Paul states in verse 11.
Philippians 3:11 NKJV
if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul knew that in order to reflect on where He wanted to go in the future, he had to accept the fact of where he was in the present and work from there.

2. The Perception of Our Position

Paul understood that he needed an honest evaluation of his progress when it came to his relationship with Jesus Christ. Many of us think that membership in a church is synonomous with intimacy with Jesus Christ. It is not. Paul knew that the tree is known by its’ fruit. he wanted the life of Jesus Christ, therefore Paul understood that living the life of Christ involved suffering. So his desire is to know Jesus even more. To know the power of His resurrection as well as the fellowship us His sufferings.
Philippians 3:10 NKJV
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
Moreover, in order to accurately poll his present status, Paul could not afford to rest on his previous achievements. Therefore, Paul does something that is noteworthy. I see in the text that he not only Acknowledges The Facts, but he...

B. Agrees To Forget

Philippians 3:13 NKJV
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,

1. The Rejection of Paul’s Past Performance

Philippians 3:5–7 NKJV
circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
Paul does not continue to look at his previous achievements. In fact, he does not compare them to his present goal of righteousness. In verses 5-7 he lists the notables that were associated with his name and his story. He does not minimize his former accomplishments. No, rather he is telling us that his goal of righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ is worth all of his accomplishments and more.
Nothing that we have ever done in this life is worth more than the goal of righteousness from God through faith in Jesus Christ.
Not only does Paul Acknowledges The Facts, and Agree to Forget, but he...

C. Aims To Forge Ahead

Philippians 3:13 NKJV
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,

D. Addresses A Singular Focus

Philippians 3:14 NKJV
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

E. Final illustration

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