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Sermon for October 4, 2020 16 Minutes

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Sermon for October 4, 2020 16 Minutes

This morning I'll be reading Philippians chapter 3 verses 4 through 14
And I'll be reading from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.
Philippians 3:4-14
Paul is beginning his argument here to the Philippians by stating that if anyone has reason to boast about confidence in the flesh,,, then it should be him. Yet he counts it all as loss because of Christ.
Philippians 3:4-14
4 although I once also had confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; regarding the law, a Pharisee; 6 regarding zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness that is in the law, blameless. 7 But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ —the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead. 12 Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.
God bless the reading and the hearing of your word this morning.
Let us pray:
Dear Lord,,, as we begin this morning,,, with everyone here today and all that are listening and watching by video,,, we ask that you open our ears to hear and our hearts and minds to receive the message that you have for us today,,, In Jesus' name I pray,,, Amen.
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As you sit here today,,, either here in the sanctuary,,, or watching by video,,, do you as a Christian,,, ever look back over your life and wish that you would have done things differently?
Or,,, maybe you haven't accepted Christ as your Savior and you tend to look back and think that there is no way that God can accept me the way that I am or the way that I used to be?
There is an answer to both of these questions.
Hopefully,,, today after looking at these scriptures of Paul talking to the Philippians,,, you can get that answer by the time that we finish!
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Verses 4 through 6 say: 4 although I once also had confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; regarding the law, a Pharisee; 6 regarding zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness that is in the law, blameless. 7 But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ —the righteousness from God based on faith.
My commentary says that for generations,,, the devout Jews,,, those who were determined to keep the covenant,,, had come to place great reliance upon purity of ancestry.
And Paul came from the correct family,,, he had been raised in the law,,, he had studied the law and he lived by the law,,, before he met Jesus on the Damascus Road.
Paul had every qualification that he needed,,, to be considered a devout Jew.
In this respect,,, Paul was second to none.
But he considered it all as a loss to him because of Christ.
He thought that he had everything that he needed,,, until Christ showed him that the law wasn't the answer.
His faith now is in Jesus Christ alone,,, nothing else will do now!
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Verses 10 through 12 say: 10 My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead. 12 Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.
Paul's goal was to truly know Jesus,,, and the power of His resurrection,,, along with the fellowship of suffering that he was enduring now in prison.
My Faithlife Study Bible says that when Paul says that he is being conformed to His death,,, he means that he wants to imitate the sacrificial love that Jesus displayed on the cross.
It also says Paul anticipates that being conformed to Christ’s death will lead to new life in the power of Christ’s resurrection.
When “we” respond by faith during any of our trials,,, this makes us one with Christ.
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John Wesley says "There is a sense in which the Christian is always being crucified with Christ."
"He is to die daily."
"He is constantly to mortify the flesh."
"This enables him to rise in “newness of life,” to walk as a “new creature in Christ.”
"Only as he has put off the “old man” can be put on the “new man.”
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Then in verse 12,,, Paul wants the readers to know that even though he is making every effort to reach the goal,,, he hasn't reached it yet.
And even though he hasn't reached it,,, Jesus Christ has taken hold of him!
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Verses 13 and 14 say: 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.
My Bible Knowledge Commentary says Paul pursued Christlikeness,,, with the enthusiasm and persistence of a runner in the Greek games.
He was still pressing on,,, pursuing that for which Christ Jesus took hold of him.
Nor had he yet taken hold of it,,, that is,,, he had not yet attained perfection or ultimate conformity to Christ.
But he was determined that he would forget the past and,,, like a runner,,, press on toward the goal.
Paul refused to be controlled or absorbed by his past heritage or his accomplishments.
Vigorously and with concentration,,, Paul sought to win the prize to which God had called him heavenward.
Again the Greek games must have been on his mind as he wrote of the prize.
The winner in those games,,, was called to the place where the judge sat,,, in order to receive his prize.
Here,,, Paul may have referred to ultimate salvation in God’s presence,,, or,,, to receiving rewards at “the judgment seat of Christ” like he talked about in 2 Corinthians 5:10.
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As we finish with these verses this morning,,, Paul is doing what we need to be doing,,, and that's pressing on toward the prize.
And that prize is eternity in heaven with Christ.
We can not reach that prize if we continue to concentrate on what's behind us.
I've seen this illustration used several times but I'll use it again anyway.
When we are driving down the road,,, in our car,,, truck,,, no matter what it is,,, there is a reason why the windshield is so big,,, and the rear view mirror is so small.
We must be able to see the road ahead of us clearly,,, it's not as important what's behind us as what we are coming up on.
If we spend all of our time looking behind us and worrying about what we've past already,,, we will not be able to get to where we are going,,, because we will run off the road.
It's the same way on our road to heaven today!
We must be sure that we do everything that we can to stay on the right path,,, and we can't do that by worrying about our past!
Paul had a terrible past if he would have looked back too much,,, I'm sure that the ones that he had arrested and those that he had participated in their death sentence bothered him if he took the time to think about them.
But,,, he didn't,,, he kept his eyes on the prize and kept pushing forward,,, doing everything that he could to obtain it,,, just as we should be doing!
Nothing in our past can disqualify us for the love that God has for us!
So we need to be sure that we don't dwell in the past,,, look to the future,,, that's where our eyes need to be focused!
If you have accepted Christ as your Savior,,, you are forgiven,,, no matter what it was,,, you should only be looking ahead,,, God isn't worried about that anymore!
The only thing that God can not forgive us for,,, is not asking!
No matter what it is,,, or how bad,,, if you ask,,, God will forgive you!
So if you haven't accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior,,, you need to release yourself of that load of guilt today and let Jesus give you His peace!
It's through the relationship that we have with Him that gives us the peace that we need to get through anything,,, even your sins that will be in the past after you ask Jesus to forgive you!
And if by chance you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus,,, let me remind you that all you have to do is ask Jesus to come into your heart,,, believe that He came to earth,,, died on the cross,,, and was resurrected for your sins and give your life to Him and then live your life fully for Him.
Don't put this off because we aren't promised tomorrow.
We don't know the hour or the minute when Jesus is coming back or when our time is up on earth.
Paul spent his time,,, always looking forward,,, because he knew that he couldn't look back and stumble when the prize that he was seeking was right there in front of him.
It's our time now,,, “we” must continue our journey,,, never looking back,,, keeping our eyes on the prize as well!
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