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Faithlife

Forget the Past & Forge Ahead

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Philippians
Philippians 3:13–14 KJV 1900
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Introduction

In the 3rd chapter of the book of Philippians Paul declares that he has not yet arrived. He had indeed accomplished much in his life up to this point, some of it commendable and some of it despicable. Some of what he accomplished he wanted to forget and some would be worth remembering. There is one secret to the mindset of the Apostle Paul and he gives it to us in verse 13.
“…but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before”

Transition

So as we consider Paul’s comment on the secret to his success in the Christian life we will notice 3 important truths.
I. The Past Paul left behind
II. The Prospect Paul leaned on
III. The Principle Paul lived by
If we are going to experience the same level of success we will need to do the exact same thing.
If we are going to experience the same level of success we will need to do the exact same thing.

Transition

I. The Past Paul left behind

Philippians 3:7–8 KJV 1900
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

A. His Pedigree (vs. 4-5)

i. He was a pure Jew
“circumcised the eighth day”
this made him part of the religeous community in Israel
ii. He was a Practicing Jew
he was a pharisee - a man very zealous of the law
Paul had the kind of religeous background that would impress - but he left it behind

B. His Persecution of the Church (v 6)

C. His Previous Missionary Success (v 8)

“...I count all things but loss”
This would have included the success he had already achieved
Paul had touched two continents for Christ, but what about Africa? And what about the continents not yet discovered?
Philippians 3:7–8 KJV 1900
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
The Past Paul left behind and ....

II. The Prospect Paul leaned on

Prospect means the hope of something in the future...
Romans 8:24–25 KJV 1900
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
Romans 12:12 KJV 1900
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

A. The Immediate Prospect

“…and be found in him not having my own righteousness…but that which is through the faith of Christ”
Illustration
Years ago Dr. R. A. Torrey, the first president of Moody Bible Institute, was talking with a man about the need for him to be regenerated, to be born again. The gist of that conversation follows.
The man raised an objection: "I know some people," he said, "who make no pretense of being Christians, but live fine upright lives; they are kind and generous and exemplary. I also know people who say they are Christians, but live less exemplary lives."   Dr. Torrey replied, "It’s all a matter of what state you are in." Then he drew two rectangles in the dust on the floor and pointing to one he said: "This rectangle represents the state of unregeneracy. Let’s liken it to the state of Colorado. In the state of Colorado one man might live up here at 14,110 feet on Pike’s Peak, another man might live down here at sea level, and another man might be down here working thousands of feet below the surface in a mine. But all three men are in the state of Colorado. Just so with the state of unregeneracy. One person might live on the mountains of morality, another might live a very ordinary kind of life, and yet another might live down in the darkness and dirt of a vile and wicked life; but they are all in the state of unregeneracy. We are all born in that state." Dr. Torrey pointed to the other rectangle and continued: "This is the state of regeneracy. You get out of the state of unregeneracy and into the state of regeneracy by being born again. In the state of regeneracy one person might live on a very high spiritual plane, another might live a very average Christian life, and another might be backslidden and live a carnal worldly life. He might even fall into serious sin, but he is still in the state of regeneracy. Indeed his outward life might compare very unfavorably with the life of the man living on the mountains of morality in the state of unregeneracy. But one man is in a state of regeneracy and the other is not. "The moral man living in a state of unregeneracy is devoid of spiritual life and is lost, no matter how moral he is. The backslider living in a state of regeneracy has spiritual life, even though for the time being it is not at all evident, and he will be saved in spite of his poor showing as a Christian. It all depends on which state you are in. If you are not born again, you can be. You can pass from a state of unregeneracy to a state of regeneracy by accepting Christ as your Savior."

B. The Incremental Prospect

Philippians 3:10 KJV 1900
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Paul was looking forward past his present distress
He had his eyes on what God was doing in his life
i. The Power we need - “the power of his resurrection”
ii. The Suffering we will experience - “the fellowship of his sufferings”
iii. The Change Christ is making - “being made conformable unto his death”
Are you growing? Are you knowing Christ better today than yesterday?

C. The Imminent Prospect

Philippians 3:11 KJV 1900
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Whatever Paul was referring to here it had something to do with a potential position of reward
It seems by the time he writes Timothy he was sure he had achieved it
2 Timothy 4:7 KJV 1900
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
2 Timothy 4:7–8 KJV 1900
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
The Past Paul left behind...... The Prospect Paul leaned on ......

III. The Principle Paul lived by

Philippians 3:13–14 KJV 1900
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Phil 3:

A. It was a Realistic Principle

“I count not myself to have apprehended”

B. It was a Rudimentary Principle

but this one thing I do...”
So many times we complicate the Christian life
Paul boiled it down to one truth
Jesus did the same thing:
Matthew 22:37–40 KJV 1900
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Jesus- Love God - Love your neighbor!
Paul- Forget the past - forge ahead

C. It was a Resolute Principle

Paul lived his life with laser like focus on what he called the “mark”
Paul lived his life with laser like focus on what he called the “mark”
Illustration: The word mark has the same idea as the word Goal
Quote: “If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time” Zig Ziglar
What was Paul’s mark?
the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus
Colossians 3:2 KJV 1900
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Conclusion

Philippians 3:15 KJV 1900
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
I. Paul left behind his Past - we must do the same
II. Paul leaned on hope - his present hope- his growing hope - his final hope
III. Paul lived by a Singular Principle - Forget the past - Forge ahead
If we are going to apprehend as Paul described we must have the same mind! We must think the same way! We must embrace the same truth!
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