Time to Wake a Sleeping Giant
A Call to Passionate Pursuit
– Christians should view knowing Christ as more important than anything else in the world. What are the 4 priorities for living a life of reckless abandon for Christ: (1) Knowing Christ is more important than possessions and accomplishments; (2) Knowing Christ is more important than everything in the world; (3) Being found blameless in Christ; (4) A desire to know Christ
– Paul encourages the Philippians through the example of his own life and desires to passionately pursue Jesus Christ and His purposes for His followers.
– What are you passionately pursuing? What are you living for in this life? If someone were to observe your life, what would they say that you are living for?
– In this passage I want you to watch for 5 Important Things to remember and apply so that you can passionately pursure Jesus Christ and His purposes in your life.
1) Be humble (12a)
– None of us have arrived – the finish line hasn’t even touched down yet
– “In the language of athletic competition—often used metaphorically by ancient moralists—Paul describes his striving for the future hope of 3:11.” – Craig Keener– “obtained,” namely, a perfect knowledge of Christ, and of the power of His death, and fellowship of His sufferings, and a conformity to His death.” – Jamiesson, Fausset, Brown
> “Though Paul was a spiritual giant in the eyes of the Philippian saints, he wanted them to know that he had not yet attained the goals stated in verse 10. He was still actively pressing on toward them. He had by no means reached the final stage of his sanctification.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary
– There were people in Philippi that determined amongst themselves that they had arrived spiritually, they were mature/perfect. Paul seeks to adjust their thinking, while also calling them to new spiritual heights
2) Be determined (12b)
– Keep pursuing Christ’s purposes for you – keep running hard after Christ – run it out toward the finish line; finish strong
> “He still had more spiritual heights to climb. This testimony of the apostle reminded the saints at Philippi—and it serves to remind believers today—that there must never be a stalemate in their spiritual growth or a plateau beyond which they cannot climb.” – BKC– “Paul wanted to take hold of that great purpose for which Christ had taken hold of him when he confronted him on the Damascus road years before. There are ways in which Christians should remember the acts of God in the past, but Paul knew that he must not dwell on the past; its failures and sins have been forgiven, and its achievements in the service of Christ must not allow him to rest on his laurels. He wanted rather to be found straining towards what lay ahead, and to express this he uses another very strong word, applicable to an athletic context or a chariot race; every fibre of his being was set on the goal and purpose of his Christian life.” – DA Carson
3) Be future-minded (13)
– Don’t pursue past missions, pursue Christ’s mission – quit thinking about running the old races [the rat race], run the new race that matters
> “Paul forgot the past, Christian and non-Christian, because his goal was continual present-tense obedience that yields the knowledge of Christ. Each new moment is fresh and powerful for gaining the fruit of righteousness.” – Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary
> “Paul pursued Christlikeness with the enthusiasm and persistence of a runner in the Greek games. Unlike the Judaizers, whose influence was prevalent among the Philippians, the apostle did not claim to have attained spiritual maturity. He was still pressing on, pursuing that for which Christ Jesus took hold of him. Nor had he yet taken hold of it, that is, he had not yet attained perfection or ultimate conformity to Christ. But he was determined that he would forget the past and, like a runner, press on toward the goal. Paul refused to be controlled or absorbed by his past heritage (3 5-7) or his attainments (v. 8).” – BKC
4) Be focused (14)
– Keep Christ and His mission central – run the right race, pursue the right finish line
> “The high,” or “heavenly calling,” is not restricted, as Alford thinks, to Paul’s own calling as an apostle by the summons of God from heaven; but the common calling of all Christians to salvation in Christ, which coming from heaven invites us to heaven, whither accordingly our minds ought to be uplifted.” – Jamiesson, Fausset, Brown> “Paul sought to win the prize to which God had called him heavenward (v. 14). Again the Greek games must have been on his mind as he wrote of the prize. The winner in those games was called to the place where the judge sat in order to receive his prize. Paul may have referred to ultimate salvation in God’s presence, or to receiving rewards at “the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10).” BKC
>“At the end of each race, officials had their heralds proclaim the winner and call him up to receive his prize (in the Olympic games, a palm branch). In Paul’s metaphor, the prize is the full revelation of Christ at the resurrection (3:10–11).” – Craig Keener
5) Be wise (15-16)
– Pursuing Christ and His purposes in this life are what we need to be pursuing – don’t regress, make progress – don’t get out of shape or give up, or decide to run your own race. Paul exhorts the Philippians to pursue Christ like he is in his own life, Paul has the mind of Christ in this issue and desires for these Philippian believers to experience the same Christ-likeness
– “This attitude” – the one described in 3:7-14
– What view of things? The one he had expressed regarding persistently pressing on toward the goal. One mark of spiritual maturity is a desire to go on with Christ.
– For a Christian to have too high an opinion of himself is really a dangerous thing, and the sin of pride > “He who thinks that he has attained everything, hath nothing” [Chrysostom]. – J; F; B
> “The expectation of a new revelation is not to make you less careful in walking according to whatever degree of knowledge of divine things and perfection you have already attained. God makes further revelations to those who walk up to the revelations they already have” – J; F; B
– It is very obvious that the greatest need for Christians is to live according to the standard of the truth that they have already comprehended, many live far below this standard.
> “Although not looking back to one’s past (3:13) and not yet complete (3:11–12), they were to maintain what they had already achieved.” – Craig Keener
– We must passionately pursue Jesus Christ and His purposes for us in this life. The 5 Important Things to remember and apply so that you can passionately pursue Jesus Christ and His purposes are: (1) Be humble; (2) Be determined; (3) Be future-minded; (4) Be focused; (5) Be wise.
– This kind of living really calls for sacrifice and determination. It calls for a real desire to know God and live for Him. Can it be done? The Word of God says, not only can it be done, it must be done for the glory of God! It is time to live a life of Passionate Pursuit!
– Come back tonight as the 7th message in the series “Waking the Sleeping Giant” explores A Call to Heavenly Thinking, in Philippians 3:17-21.