Temple Baptist Church - 8-22-2012
A. There are several things in this passage that can be a wonderful help to us if we will apply them to our lives. Paul, once again, is giving us some insight into his personal life. We often think of men like Paul as the epitome of Christianity and do not realize that they are just men with all of their “down sittings” and “uprisings.”
B. Paul stated in the preceding verses his perspective concerning the things that he had lost verses the things that he hoped to gain. God may allow you to lose some things because of your conversion, but the things that he replaces them with will outshine the ones lost. “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth!”
C. Paul counted those things that were lost as nothing compared to the new life that he had found in Christ. To Paul, to live was now Christ and his gain was future. The most important thing in his life was his Lord and Saviour.
D. I want to look at these “essentials” for living our lives for Christ.
1. The Essential of Apprehension – “I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” The word apprehend is one that we hear on a regular basis. Normally, it has to do with the apprehension and arrest of a law breaker. The news media will say, “He has been apprehended.” That means that he was a suspected law breaker; he had been running freely to that point; he had been sought; and he had been taken captive. We can take the use of the word and make a practical application to our salvation. We were lawbreakers, we were running loose; we were sought and apprehended. You will never live for Christ until you have been apprehended by Christ. In Acts 9, we see Paul’s Calling, Confrontation, Conviction, Choice, Confession, and Conversion.
2. The Essential of Accomplishment – “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect” The child of God has been created in Christ Jesus unto good works. It is the responsibility of every believer to strive to do their best for the One who died for them. We are to grow in the Lord; we are to conform to the image of the Lord; we are to be light and salt in the presence of the unsaved; we are to be faithful to the things of God because we have been bought with a price and are not our own. We get glimpses of Paul’s faults and failures all through the New Testament: Roman’s 7 we find his Failures, with John Mark we find his Harshness in Acts 15, with his return to Jerusalem in Acts 21 where he took a vow and would have done sacrifice. Paul was possibly the greatest Christian mentioned in the New Testament but we find a flawed man of flesh.
3. The Essential of Advancement – “but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind” Those things which are behind can relate to a couple of things. 1) Paul’s past life – he was injurious and a blasphemer before the Lord saved him. There are some people who get saved but never get past their past. If a man ever had a right to feel unworthy, it was Saul of Tarsus! He almost single handedly destroyed the church! Thank God for His forgiveness. 2) Paul’s “loss” – the Bible speaks of the man, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, as not being fit for the Kingdom of God. The Bible also says that Abraham might have returned to his homeland if he had looked back. Our life for Christ allows us to get right with the Lord and put our faults and failures behind us.
4. The Essential of Attainment – “And reaching forth unto those things which are before, (14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Our best is ahead of us, not behind us. I often tell people, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” It is so easy to allow the past to dictate the future and many of us are guilty. No, we cannot undo the past nor can we always see the hand of God in it but we can learn from it and put it in a proper perspective: it is PAST! Paul stated the driving force in his life in Philippians 1 when he said, “For to me to live is Christ!” Christ first and me last! Christ ever and me never!
a. It is essential that we remain faithful to God’s Word
b. It is essential that we remain dedicated to Soul Winning in our Jerusalem
c. It is essential that we remain committed to World-Wide Missions
d. It is essential that we remain separate from Worldliness And Ungodliness
e. It is essential that we remain Unified In Love Within The Body Of Christ
f. It is essential that we resolve to Withstand And, Having Done All, Just STAND!