Faithlife Sermons

Forward 12/27/2020

Philippians 3:12–14 NKJV
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. 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.


At the time of this writing Paul was a seasoned well established Christian. Writing to a church he established.
Paul was honest with his present state. I have not already attained, or am already perfected. I press on. Pressing on that He may lay hold of that which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Christ attained me for a purpose. I must press toward fulfilling that purpose.
I have not laid hold of it.
Do you ever feel like there is something greater out there ready for you to apprehend?


Paul must have had some past time in mind as he wrote. I have not apprehended, but this is what I am doing. I am forgetting those things which are behind.

Negative past experiences

Disagreement with Barnabas over John Mark. Acts 15:36-39.
Withstanding Peter. Galatians 2:14
Suffering for the cause of Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:23-33
2 Corinthians 11:23–33 NKJV
23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? 30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me; 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.
2 Corinthians 12:7 NKJV
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.

Negative personal failures

Persecuting the church. Acts 9:1
Persecuting the Lord. Acts 9:4

Past great experiences with God

Being caught up to the third heaven. 2 Cor 12:2-4, Acts 22:17
Vision on road to Damascus.
I am forgetting those things.
Luke 9:62 NKJV
62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
There are some things back in the past that must be forgotten and left. Repentance is a form of turning away from the person of the past and turning toward the future God has for you.
The old man, the past man must die. Must be let go and a new man brought in place.
Ephesians 4:20–24 NKJV
20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
The importance of letting go of things in the past.
Kutol Products was a wallpaper cleaning manufacturer founded in 1912. In the 1950’s, Gas and Electricity began replace coal and wood fire as the prominent methods for heat and cooking. Kutol whose main product was used for cleaning off sooty buildup saw their business decline. Nearly becoming obsolete Kutol made a major shift in their company and repurposed their cleaning product into a toy.
SInce 1956 more than 3 billion little cans of Play-Doh have been sold. It was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998. Most recently they are offering some new versions for adults with scents like: Overpriced Latte (coffee smell), Mom Jeans (clean denim), Grill King (smoked meats), Dad Sneakers (rubber), Spa Day (floral), and Lord of the Lawn (fresh cut grass).
You can’t embrace the future if you don’t let go of the past.
What do you need to let go of? What do you need to forget from the past?
I call this Godly division.
One of the first times in scripture we see the Spirit of God move it is an act of division. The Spirit of the Lord hovered above the waters and divided the waters from the land.
Anytime the Spirit moves there will be a division. The Spirit brings with it distinction and some division, not in disunity, but in change from imperfection to perfection. It is a separating unto God.
He separated the waters and the land. Called it good.
He separated the light from the dark. Called it good.
He separated a people to Himself.
We are to separate from the old man.
He calls us to separate from the world.
Because God uses division in our lives for His purpose and glory. For some of us, God separates us from some things kicking and screaming, we hold onto them way beyond the point that we should. We would not let go except that God force it.
We don’t like separation. But after the separation what is left is good. We want God to add to us, but what if there are things to be discarded, divided, separated, and let go of so that a harvest can come.
In the parable of the Wheat and Tares of Matthew 13 Jesus said they grow up together. But at the harvest there is a separation. Separating the wheat from the tares there is a division.
There will always be in that separation a good that comes out of it. There may be some thing that you discard, but there will always be a harvest.
Paul is saying, I am going to embrace this Godly process in my life. Let go of some things in the past. So I can have the harvest of my future.
Some things to leave behind:
Things you hold onto from the past in your relationships that need to be forgiven
How you think God let you down, when really you were asking for something outside His will for you because it would be more comfortable.
We need to leave behind cultural Christianity and comfort Christianity.
Culture - say I am christian but life does not reflect Biblical values.
Comfort - I am christian as long as it brings me comfort. Empty of sacrifice and suffering for the cause of Christ.


I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ.
With all that Paul had experienced the goal was still to be gained.
So it is with us, the goal is still before. More to be done in God.
High calling - upward call of God.
Some people stand only on the past.
What are you doing in the present to reach forward to the future?
Philippians 3:16 NKJV
16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.
Philippians 3:16 ESV
16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
The things I have attained I will keep on doing. But I am going to reach for the things I have not attained.
Some things to reach for in 2021!
More prayer. More prayer meetings.
More time in the Word.
Sharing Jesus with more people.
Hurting people, hungry people.
Giving more.
Serving in a meaningful way.
Having more faith and trust in God. Taking some risk while you lean on God.


If you will ask, the Lord will show you what you should let go of and what you need to reach for.
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