Citizens: A Study On Philippians (Part 13)

September 6, 2020   /   Jesus Church

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Citizens: A Study on Philippians

Welcome back to Jesus Church

So glad you are here with us…

  • If you’re new or just coming back – Week 13 of our series
    • Going through Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi
    • Last week we dove into Chapter 3
    • Paul is really starting to get warmed up by now
  • Chapter 3 starts with talking about FOUR things we “GAIN” in Jesus
    • We are found in Him
      • When God see’s Jesus… He see’s us
      • Also when God see’s us… He see’s Jesus
    • We know Him in a new way
      • Not in a head knowledge way…
      • Gonosko – Knowing Jesus better than I know myself
    • We get to be found in his sufferings… sounds harsh
      • But it’s in the hard times we grow the most
      • Resurrection comes on the other side of the cross
    • We get a new future in Him
      • We get to look forward to a perfect future with God
      • And should always have on eye on that truth

Today we will pick up  – Verse 12

Phil. 3:12-16


Ever read the book: Pilgrims Progress

I read it in 6th grade – Went to a Christian school

  • Until then… thru Sunday School my understanding of Christianity was…
    • Things are gonna to be easier for you in life
    • You won’t have any real problems
    • Everything will go smoothly through life
  • It wasn’t a specific teaching… it just was a reflection of perception
    • You sing happy songs
    • Everyone u learn from seems euphorically happy
    • Everyone was dressed in really nice close
  • So naturally becoming a Christian means that is what life looks like

Then I read Pilgrims Progress… didn’t look like Sunday School at all

  • There is a map of everything this guy goes through
    • Slough of despond… hill of difficulty
    • Valley of Humiliation … Pleasant meadow (that’s nice)
    • Valley of the shadow (terrifying)… Black river of Death
  • Sorta blew my mind – B/C I thought following Jesus was easy

But is following Jesus – Hard… not a walk in the park

  • Do you ever get tired… worn down… discouraged… wanna give up
    • Do you ever get off track
    • Do you get off focused
    • Knocking heads with those around you
  • Am I alone in that… If you ever feel that way (this is hard)
    • Ya – Its supposed to be hard… Bible says its a fight
    • And if you feel that way… I am with you
    • And not only that… PAUL is with you
  • Remember this comes right off Paul talking about
    • But moving towards the ultimate goal of resurrection
      • Brand new body
      • Brand new world
      • Brand new universe

But then Paul comes back in verse 12 to say

Phil 3:12

Translation: Hey, I’m not there yet… yes great things are coming

  • But I haven’t made it to the goal I’m talking about
    • I haven’t ATTAINED and I haven’t ARRIVED yet
  • That word Attained – Lambono in the Greek
    • Means to chase after or grab after a chase
      • The picture was that of a hunter and its prey
      • Think of a lion chasing down a gazelle – striving to catch it
    • That’s what Paul says he is after… I am AFTER God
      • I’ve not yet attained
      • I’ve not yet grasped
      • I’ve chased after… but its not quite in my hands yet
  • And then haven’t ARRIVED at my goal – Telli-os in the Greek
    • That’s a philosophy term where we get telliology (end goal)
    • What you are created for… made for… what its all about
    • Paul says I’m not to the end goal yet
      • I’m a work in progress… still working all this out

Then Paul goes on to say

…but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

  • And Paul uses exact same Gk word 3 times in one verse
    • 1st: I am not already Attained (Lambono)
    • 2nd: I press on to take hold of what (Kata-Lambono)
    • 3rd: Christ Jesus took hold of me (Kata-Lambono)
  • Love what Paul is saying here: I haven’t grasped… chased down
    • But I chase after… what Jesus chased after in me

THAT is the in ONE sentence

  • You and I chase after God – We pursue God (but why)
    • Because God first chased after us
    • He Kata-Lambono after you
  • Jesus pursued you in a mind blowing way
    • Becoming human… living… dying
    • And as be hung from a cross pouring out his blood
    • He saved you – He rescued you – He took hold of you
  • And now ALL OF YOUR LIFE is a response to the gospel of Jesus
    • Everyday you wake up to a reality that GOD PURSUED YOU
    • And now you get to do the same
      • To earn God’s love??? NO!!! In response to God’s love
      • To earn God’s blessing??? NO!!! B/C you are blessed

Then He goes on to verse

Phil. 3:13-14

  • Now its really odd Paul would put that in middle of a paragraph
    • And Paul uses this lot (B/C to Paul the church is family)
    • Usually its at the beginning of a letter or at least a new thought
  • But here its right in the middle of a flow of though
    • And scholars believe the reason for this…
    • It’s to get there attention
    • Like grabbing someone by the shoulder… please – pay attention

Literally how to read that is “BUT ONE”

  • Meaning here is the 1 THING you need to wrap ur head around

Phil. 3:14

That whole sentence is a metaphor from games

  • There was a stadium in Philippi and Rome
    • Every year they would fill up 10’s of thousand of seats
    • THE main event in Paul’s day was the foot race
    • Athelete’s run in a straight line from 1 end to the other
      • Make it 2 the finish line & stand before the entire stadium
      • And receive the prize
  • Paul says that is what following Jesus is like


3 moving parts to the metaphor

1. Forgetting what is

Paul is saying “I don’t live in the past”

  • When was the last time u saw an Olympian run w/ a backpack
    • NO… in order to run – You have to let go of everything
    • Implication is: YOU SHOULD DO THE SAME… move on
  • Well… what is behind
    • For some its moving on from your past
    • Getting over fears that hold you back
    • Its forgiving yourself from that condemning voice
  • Paul says you have to let go of that if you want to run
    • How can I do that – Because you are IN Jesus!!!
    • Remember last week – When God see’s Jesus – See’s you
      • The past is no longer what defines you
      • Who you are is not who you were… it’s who u r becoming

And maybe its not that at all… maybe it’s the allure of the world

  • You had everything the world could offer you
    • Paul says the same thing… forget what held u down/back
  • And obviously its easier said than done… mind isn’t a computer
    • Drag and drop all your garbage into the trash (I WISH!!!)

Walter Hansen

Forgetting is not a passive loss of memory; no, it is an active, continuous discipline of the mind and heart. Although he (Paul) did not actually forget the past, he emphatically chose to disregard it. He forcefully rejected it. He openly declared a nonobservance of his past.

Love the line: Forgetting is a continuous discipline of the mind and heart

  • When u think about it… so much truth in that
    • Every time a thought comes in from the past (guilt/shame…etc)
    • It is a continuous discipline to say
      • NO… ABSOLUTELY NOT – I will not give real estate to that
      • I WILL NOT think about that…
      • I WILL think about what God is calling me to

Questions number 1:

What do you need to: forget/let go of/move on from

2. Straining forward to what is

Straining – Epi-tino in the Greek

  • Means to exert your body to the point of collapse
    • To push every muscle in your body to point of exhaustion
    • Anyone run track competitively
  • As some of you know… I hate long distance running (over 200m)
    • I was a jumper and sprinter
    • But my coach always wanted to me to run the 400
    • Problem is if I ran it… I couldn’t stand not winning it
  • Runners talk about the “WALL”… at some point you hit it
    • In 400 its about ½ way… where you wish u were anywhere else
      • And its that point of exhaustion… nothing left
      • You either half to give up or take on the pain
    • And at that point… throw talent out the window
      • Its all about mental fortitude
      • And how competitive you are
      • And there’s a moment… believe brain stronger than body
    • Swimming with Joey
      • How many times can we swim back/forth under water
      • It’s all about pushing yourself to the limit

That’s the idea that Paul is talking about… straining to “What is ahead”

  • Well… what is ahead? Paul says it’s the (Slopost)
    • Which in Ancient Olympic Games was a physical thing
    • It was an actual goal… a post in the ground right at finish line
  • Paul says I put it all on the line… pushed past my limits… focused
    • Grew up watching Michael Johnson in the Olympics
    • When he broke the world record for 400m 
    • Never looked to the right/left… he was dead set on goal
  • This is how to run a race.. and how to live your life
    • With purpose/focus/intentionality
    • To get up tomorrow morning… live to run for the goal
    • Live w/ purpose… too many people let life happen to them

Whatever God has called u to… stay focused… no distractions

  • Especially don’t get distracted by other people
    • Love story at in of John – Jesus tells Peter he is gonna die
    • Peter says… “Hey what about John?!?!”
    • Jesus answers… “What is it to you if he never dies”
  • There will always be a John in your life
    • Stop looking at them… focus on the goal God gave you
    • Because you will never get there focused on someone else

Question Number 2: What are the distractions in your life

What do you need to force yourself not to fixate on

So you can focus on what God has called you to

3. I toward the goal to win the prize

Meaning Paul is in this race to win

  • Of course we get that… American culture is hyper competitive
    • What is he in it to win
    • It says “The prize which God has called me heavenwards”
    • Love the NIV most of the time… but here it an exception
  • Heavenwards isn’t found anywhere in the Greek
    • Better: Press on towards goal of the upward call of God in Jesus
    • Which again is a metaphor from the Olympic Games
  • Where the runner would run through to the goal
    • Winner would walk up steps to the judge/Ceasar (beama seat)
    • In front of thousands… king would say his name/father/country
    • And place a prize on his head

Paul says this is what it’s like to follow Jesus…

  • I want to run the race and win – Make it all the way to the king
    • I want 2 receive the prize…
    • I want the King to call out my name
  • The metaphor Paul uses… its about reward 4 what u did with ur life
    • Jesus tells a story of the King – Gives out money to his servants
      • 1st servant is given 1 minas… brings back 10
      • 2nd servant is given 1 minas… brings back 5
      • 3rd servant is given 1 minas… probably late… brings back 1
    • There is a day when we will stand before the King
      • He will say… what did you do with what I gave you
      • Paul says: I want the King to say “Well done”
      • I don’t wanna be the guy who did nothing with my life
    • And you don’t have to be the guy that brings back 10
      • Just do what God called u to do w/ what he has given you
      • Don’t worry about the “John’s”… just worry about yourself
      • Finish the race and give it everything you got
  • Third question: Are u running to the prize… 
    • What has God put in your lap
    • What are you doing with that
    • Are u running to win.. stand before the King to receive the prize

Phil 3:13-14 (Paul says that is what following Jesus is like)

Then Paul says after all of that… how he closes this

Phil 3:15

This is so important for us to get…

  • Its back to the imagery of the race
    • What happens in a race if you are in first and you slow down
    • You fall behind… next thing you know your in 2nd… 3rd… last
  • Paul says… listen – Live up to what you’ve already attained
    • You are running so well…
    • So make sure every day is a step forward
    • If life is a race… everyday feels better if you are further along
  • Life goes best when u can look back and see your growth in Jesus
    • This is an encouragement from Paul…
    • Don’t ever be okay with looking back at glory days
    • Because in God… the best is yet to come


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