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We live in a world where people are slow to own up to things.
Some actually never seem to own up to anything.
Whether the thing is good or bad, people are noncommittal on big issues.
Ask someone what they believe about God or religion or politics and many people will start stammering and spend most of their time being apologetic for what they believe.
They oftentimes will appear to talk themselves out of what they believe as they attempt tell you what they believe!
How would you respond if someone asked what you believe to be true about God, Jesus, heaven, or hell?
Would you try to brush off the question?
Would you stammer around trying not to be offensive?
Or would you kindly and graciously reveal the truth of the Word of God to them and share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
In other words...would you Own It?
Join me as we read Philippians 3:12-16
Today we are going to discuss a section of Scripture that is all about persevering despite our inability to be perfect this side of eternity.
How do we continue to own up to our faith?
Sometimes people think of owning up to something in the negative sense of the word.
Like admitting to a mistake.
This phrase can also mean confessing something.
For us as believers, we are to confess our faith in Jesus Christ and persevere despite trials.
And we are going to discuss three reasons why we can do this:
I. Believers Can Own Up to Their Faith…Despite Their Failings (12a, 12c, 13a)
Philippians 3:12–13 (ESV)
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect......because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.... (Verses 12a, 12c, 13a)
These first two points run from verses 12-14 and overlap.
Pardon me for the choppy verse splices but they help us see the points that Paul is trying to make.
Paul had just finished teaching what we discussed last week.
He had just discussed counting everything as loss or rubbish or trash in comparison to the surpassing worth of Christ.
If you recall he ended verse 11 with discussing the resurrection power that we talked about last week.
So when he starts off verse 12 saying ‘not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect,’ we understand that he is saying that he has not obtained the resurrection of the dead.
He is not living in perfect harmony with Jesus Christ.
He has not obtained perfect sanctification or perfection.
In verse 13 we see him echo this same idea - I do not consider that I have made it my own.
He knows that he still makes mistakes.
He has failed time and time again.
Despite how hard he works for Christ, he understands that he has not reached full perfection.
I love the humility Paul lays out here.
If anyone had reasons to boast in the fact that they were closer to perfection than others, Paul was that guy.
He had been a devout keeper of the law prior to being saved.
And now as a Christian, he was zealous and went on missionary journeys throughout much of the known world to spread the Gospel.
If anyone could look around and say they had arrived at perfection - Paul was that guy.
Just ponder the list of qualifications we saw last week in Phil 3:4-6!
Yet he sees his sin and imperfection.
He refuses to look around at those running the race to his right and left and behind him.
He refuses to be content with being better than so and so.
Instead he uses the measure of Jesus Christ and realizes that he is light-years away from where he is called to be.
Brothers and sisters, do we have this kind of humility?
Or do we oftentimes feel pretty good about where we are because, in relation to some others, we are doing pretty good.
There is only one measuring rod when we stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ - and that is Christ’s perfection.
Don’t look to your right or left or at who is behind you.
Look above.
Strive after Him.
This weight can feel very heavy if we leave it right there.
Are we really to compare ourselves to Christ?
But He was perfect and how could we ever compete with perfection!
But Paul adds in a very important point in the third part of verse 12 - because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
That is some amazing news my friends!
Although the measuring rod is perfection and we are called to be holy as Christ is holy - there is wonderful news among this calling of perfection.
This wonderful news, or good news of the Gospel, lets us know that Jesus Christ has lived the perfect life on our behalf!
We are saved by grace through faith in Him and Him alone.
He took our sins on the cross and rose from the dead three days later and now intercedes for us.
When we repent, or turn away from our sins, and place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ - his righteous perfection is placed upon us - the fancy word for this is imputed.
When God looks at us - He sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ!
In summary, we are seen as perfect despite our failings.
We are seen as perfect because through our weakness his power and glory are even more clearly revealed.
2 Corinthians 12:9
Our boasting is in Christ and Him alone!
Scripture References: Philippians 3:4-6, 2 Corinthians 12:9
Believers Can Own Up to Their Faith…Because of Their Future (12b, 13b-14)
Philippians 3:12–14 (ESV)
12 .......but I press on to make it my own......13 ......But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
(Verses 12b, 13b-14)
Paul presses on to make it his own and strains toward what lies ahead.
These two verbs are intense in nature.
To press on is the Greek word, diōkō (dee-o-ko), and can be used as to pursue or hunt intently.
It can also mean to cause to run.
Then we come to the word straining forward, which is from the Greek word, epekteinomai -(ep-eck-teen-no-may), which is the idea of what someone does at the end of a race when they get to the finish line.
If you watch runners, they will stretch foreword to try to win the race.
Sometimes the race can be decided by milometers and only one more ounce of energy stretching forward can be the determining factor of who wins the race.
As you can see, Paul uses some very intense verbs when discussing how he purses this goal.
But what exactly is this goal?
It is the upward call of God in Jesus Christ.
The goal is eternity with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Paul has hope for his future.
He knows that he is saved through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Christ has made Paul his own.
This is the hope that Paul has for his future resurrection and perfection in Christ.
He has not fully finished his race on earth, but he knows that Christ has finished His work on the cross.
Paul’s sins have been atoned for and covered by the blood of Christ.
He has a blessed hope for his future because he knows the prize of the resurrection and eternal life with Christ is sure.
This isn’t a prize that has similar odds of winning Publisher’s Clearing House (which I think is somewhere around 1:6.2 billion)!
The prize of eternal life with Christ is 100% for those who are true believers!
Praise God for such a glorious and wonderful prize that He offers us!
Philippians 3:13 (ESV)
13 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,
We skipped over a very important statement in verse 13 that we need to dig in a little deeper to understand.
Forgetting what lies behind - we all have a past.
Some of us have a darker past than others.
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