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SIP6: Pressing on Towards the Goal #sermon #dumcMY

Pastor Chris Kam, 05/05/2012

Pastor Chris is impressed with Paul being a person of one mind – one thing (v13) , one goal (v14), one prize (v14), one desire (v10).

1Co 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Different people have different runways. Those in the 20s live as thought they live forever. Those in the 30s begin to accept responsibilities for their lives. Those in the 40s possibly think they are in the peak or in the worst of their lives. There could be some who climbed the corporate ladder and found out the ladder is on the wrong wall. The Americans coined the mid-life crisis. Those in the 50s may sing My Way.

And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I’ll say it clear,
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.

I’ve lived a life that’s full.
I’ve traveled each and ev’ry highway;
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Whatever stages of life we are in, we should be like Paul who is very focused.

Php 3:12-21 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (13) Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, (14) I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (15) All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. (16) Only let us live up to what we have already attained. (17) Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. (18) For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. (19) Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. (20) But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, (21) who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Php 4:1 Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!

Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Paul use a lot of sports metaphors.

Pastor Chris asked us to remember three words, PAS, PKR and DAP. No, just kidding.

1. PAST

PAST = forgetting what is behind.

Salvation and acceptance by God by His grace (unmerited favour.)

We are children of the Creator. Sometimes we don’t live with that understanding. We may not have left the past behind.

As children of God, all our sins are forgiven. Paul equated our own works as rubbish, dung and filthy rags (sanitary napkins!) Everyone of us are on equal footing. We are on even playing field. We don’t have to go to our parents to beg them to let us be their children. There is no law to divorce children from the parents.

We are all children of God. There is nothing we can do do earn this.

Christ + something = nothing.

Christ + nothing = everything.

God loves us because we are children of God.

Only by grace can we enter
Only by grace can we stand
Not by our human endeavor
But by the blood of the lamb

Let’s not have any doubt about our identity as children of God.

To leave the one life behind, we need to seek forgiveness of someone. Often, we are ashamed of our past life because they hang on to the past. There is nothing to be shameful about. Jesus has died for our sins.

The most free Christians are those with nothing to hide, nothing to prove and nothing to fear. We need to come to this position in Christ that we are free.

2. PRESENT

Present – straining towards

Paul was very clear of his direction.

a. Right attitude to the Christian life

  • Never think you have  arrived. Always have the idea that we are on the way.

Rom 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

  • Always have a desire to be a learner. (That’s me!) We don’t always know everything. We need to learn.

God is introducing new things into our midst. If we rest on our laurels and past achievements, we may miss them.

b. Right discipline to grow.

The Christian life requires efforts. If we don’t put in efforts, we backslide.

Pastor Chris described wordliness as the biggest obstacle for a Christian.

Col 3:5-10 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (6) Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. (7) You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. (8) But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (9) Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices (10) and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

What needs healing and what needs growth? Healing (external intervention) is needed for relationship, sickness. Growth is required for immaturity. How do we know God’s Word? We read it. In the area we lack experience, we need to learn.

McDonald’s have been sued by parents of obese children and because of Happy Meals. Not taking responsibility is a sign of immaturity.

We cannot and should not pray for debts to be gone but rather a change in our finance management (growth).

c. Right people for growth

Php 3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.

Php 3:17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.

Paul told us if we follow the the right people, we grow the right way. If we follow the wrong people, the wrong things are put into our lives. That’s why discipleship is so important.

If books can change our lives, those with many books will have their lives changed.

Pastor Chris read The Pursuit of Holiness but he learns more about holiness when he observes people who live a holy life.

3. FUTURE

FUTURE – What is ahead

Our goal in life is to bring as many as possible the people from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light.

What’s our problem? We are too earthly. When we leave the earth, we cannot bring anything along with us. What can we bring with us? In some sense, the lives of people.

New heavens and new earth – Isa 66:17-25; Rev 21

Isa 65:17-25 Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. (18) But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. (19) I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. (20) Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. (21) They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. (22) No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. (23) They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. (24) Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. (25) The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.

Rev 21 can be summed up into 2 words – Jesus wins. We don’t give up hope because Jesus wins. Jude is quite depressing. Thankfully, we have Revelation, which is very powerful. Two words emphasized time and again in Revelation are endure and overcome.

We must be clear of our purpose on earth, our purpose in Christ. Be heavenly minded.

Pastor Chris showed of Choi Sung Bong’s performance in Korea’s Got Talent.

Choi, despite living a difficult life, did not give up. (Background provide by my dear wife, who is a Korean series aficionando.)

Ok, I have tears welling up when I watch it. I admit.

Pastor Chris told us that was 2011. Choi came up #2.

Pastor Chris told us Sung Bong did not need to go back to where he was. It also reminds us the many people who are hurting like Sung Bong. As we forget what is behind and know that we are children of God, and as we are straining forward, let us live with a purpose.

  1. Paul states in 3:12 that he has not already obtained it or been made perfect. He is in a process. What do you make of this? Perhaps, Christian growth is about decreasing sin (the intensity, duration and frequency) and not eradicating it. Would you agree with this? Why?
  2. In view of the question above, what does “forgetting what is behind” mean to you in the light of the sermon? Are there areas of your life that you find hard to “forget” and are there obstacles to what God wants to do through you? What can you do about them,. in view of the definition of healing or growth from the sermons?
  3. The goal that Paul has in mind is the future transformation (Phil 3:21). How can the transformation of our “lowly bodies” to glorious ones encourage Christians and affect their world views and the way they live their lives? (Read Phil 3:20 – 4:1 together before you answer this question.)
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