This is a brief excerpt of the sermon
given by Pastor Alexander Thomas during the Watch Night Service
on Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 at the International Church,
Year 2015 message was taken from Philippians 4:13-14
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one
thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and
reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward
the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ
In these verses here in Philippians chapter 3, we
find the Apostle Paul taking a spiritual inventory of his life.
The wise man and the wise congregation will look back on the
past and will learn from it. We will do our best to see that we
are never again guilty of repeating the same mistakes. Yes, we
all do things wrong. But, we should be wise enough to learn from
those things so that we will never be guilty of them again.
Paul did not count himself as having yet attained—he was not
yet perfect. Perfection is the great end of the believer. No
person achieves perfection on this earth. God has apprehended or
laid hold of the believer for one reason only: to perfect the
believer—to make him perfect so that he can live and worship and
serve Christ forever. We are perfect because of our eternal
union with the infinitely perfect Christ. When we become his
children, we are declared "not guilty" and thus righteous
because of what Christ, God's beloved Son, has done for us. This
perfection is absolute and unchangeable, and it is this perfect
relationship that guarantees that we will one day be completely
When Christ returns to take us into his eternal
Kingdom, we will be glorified and made completely perfect.
Three Parts to This One Thing:
1. I forget the ground I have covered in the race (1Cor.
9:24-27). I cannot waste time over the past (Php. 3:13).
Paul had reason to forget the past—he had
held the coats of those who had stoned Stephen, (Acts 7:57,
58,). We have all done things for which we are ashamed, and we
live in the tension of what we have been and what we want to be.
Because our hope is in Christ, however, we can let go of past
guilt and look forward to what God will help us become. Don't
dwell on your past. Instead, grow in the knowledge of God by
concentrating on your relationship with him now. Realize that
you are forgiven, and then move on to a life of faith and
obedience. Paul worked at forgetting the past. This is a verse
that is of enormous help to believers who have failed
God—miserably failed Him. Paul had so failed God, and he was
always confessing how far short he came (Romans 7:18-19; 2 Cor.
3:5; Ephes. 3:8).
"Forgetting those things which are
behind" Paul had reason to forget the past—he had held the coats
of those who had stoned Stephen, the first Christian martyr
(Acts 7:57, 58). We have all done things for which we are
ashamed, and we live in the tension of what we have been and
what we want to be. Because our hope is in Christ, however, we
can let go of past guilt and look forward to what God will help
Forget Past Sin—Acts 26:19. Paul forgot his past
life. You must do this too.
Forget Past Sorrow—Philippians
3:8. All things Paul gained, he counted them as lost.
Past Shortcomings—Philippians 3:10. No doubt Paul made many
mistakes. This is why He said, "That I might know him."
2. I reach forth to that which is before me in the race. I
strain every nerve and muscle and use every ounce of my strength
to win. My future depends on it. I am running for my life (Php.
"Reaching forth unto those things which are before"
thing I do. He was a man of single purpose. He had one aim and
ambition. In this he resembled David, who said, "One thing have
I desired of the Lord."
The Promises of God—Numbers 23:19.
The Plan of God—Psalm 143:10. Seeking God's will and doing
His will—1 John 2:17.
The Peace of God—Isaiah 26:3. The
greatest need today is for Christians to have peace!
I press toward the mark (Php. 3:14), that is, I pursue the white
line in the stadium upon which all runners must keep their eyes
fixed, lest I be disqualified for the prize (Php. 3:14; 1Cor.
THE PRESSING AND THE PRIZE
"I press toward the mark"
Involves Desire—Philippians 3:10.
If we seek Him, He meets our needs—Matthew 5:6.
Dedication—Acts 20:19. Paul was so dedicated, that he shed tears
over the lost.
Involves Determination—Acts 20:24. All
suffering and problems could not make him give up.
press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God
in Christ Jesus"
Paul pressed on toward the goal, toward
God's purpose in Christ Jesus. What is God's purpose for us in
Christ Jesus? It is to be conformed to the image of Christ—to be
perfect even as He is perfect.
Have you considered any
New Year's resolutions? If so, are any of them spiritual in
nature? We have no way of knowing what the year will bring. In
fact, we may not even see it come to pass. If it does, I am sure
there will be days of joy and sadness, victory and defeat,
unusual days and many ordinary days. One thing is certain, God
has a plan for our lives. The question is: do we want to follow
His guidance and receive all He has for us? You can face the New
Year with absolute confidence if you will approach it in Jesus Christ
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