SERMONS

Looking Upward, Pressing Forward

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Php 4:6)


Thrust: Perspective and posture matter in the Christian walk on earth and may determine how well you measure up in heaven


Blessed is the man who does not WALK in the counsel of the wicked or STAND in the way of sinners or SIT in the seat of mockers. (Psa 1:1)



I. Looking Upward

Jesus is the Captain of our salvation, our Great and Eternal High Priest.


Therefore, He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Heb 7:25)


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Heb 13:8)


I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? (Psa 121:1)


To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens! (Psa 123:1)


Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing. (Isa 40:26)


As we shift our focus from earthly problems to heavenly provisions, we’ll take our eyes away from despair to delight. We’ll stop sighing in the pit and start singing on the mountain.


Looking to Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:2)


It is critical that we keep looking at Jesus, keep holding to His hand, and keep anchoring in Him.



II. Pressing Forward

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. 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, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Php 3:12-14)


Paul gave up everything he had as loss and considered them as dung for two reasons:

  • [1] because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus and the power of His resurrection; and
  • [2] in order that he might win Christ and become like Him in His death.


8 We are afflicted (hard pressed) in every way (on all sides), but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. (2 Cor 4:8-10)


press on toward the goal for the prize = I run straight towards the goal for the prize

  • goal (skopos) = finishing line of the race
  • prize (brabeion) = the victor’s crown


Paul is motivated by a high calling (ano klesis) = the high calling of God is entrenched IN CHRIST JESUS.


On a special occasion in Rome this call might come from the emperor himself; how proudly the successful athlete would obey the summons and step up to the imperial box to accept the award. ~ F. F. Bruce


This high calling is not a call to fulltime ministry.

to ALL THE SAINTS in Christ… at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons… (Php 1:1)


In characteristic humility, Paul admits that he has not attained perfection intended by Christ. But he does not let them hinder him from reaching his goal and winning the prize. He resolves to do the needful: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.


12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 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 (Php 3:12-13)


Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (Php 3:15-16)


Paul's makes this triumphant declaration to his son-in-the-faith:


7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing. (2 Tim 4:7-8)



Conclusion

1) Look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith and the Alpha and Omega of our destiny.

2) Press forward to reach the goal of winning the prize in the race marked out for you.