Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


Press On
Pastor Scott Dungan
Philippians 3:12-16
Forgetting the Past; Pressing on to Our Future

In our society:
• We tend to live in the past
• We focus on things we have accomplished ("been there, done that")
• We seek for something new and different
• Jesus is part of our identity but not the totality of it

Paul’s message to us:
• We have not arrived; we are not done; press in and do more
• Live with passion, completely focused on Jesus

A look back at what Paul has said:
Paul’s warning
• Beware of evil workers, legalistic religious teachers
• Have no confidence in your own religious works before God

Paul’s testimony
• He was a zealous Jew, a trained rabbi, a persecutor of the Church, one blameless in keeping the Law
• He set aside all that he was to know (experience) Christ

Paul’s faith and works
• He was declared to be forgiven and right with God through faith, adopted as a son of God, being made holy like Jesus
• He was doing the works Jesus did and looking for the resurrection
• He faced hunger, poverty, beatings, shipwrecks and was stoned to death

Paul’s focus
• Forgetting his past, embracing the present, pursuing the final goal - to be with Jesus, to be like Jesus (to live is Christ, to die is gain)

A closer look at our text:
Verse 12
• Not that I have already obtained it (resurrection from the dead, v11)
• Or have become perfect (become morally & spiritually perfected by another) - not instantaneous at conversion, progressive
• But I press on (athletic term = stretch forward)
• May lay hold of (to seize, to grasp, to control)
- Picture of a football player attacking his opponent and stealing the football
• I was laid hold of by Christ - salvation, purification, ministry, resurrection

Verse 13
• Forgetting what lies behind (present verb)
- Strong word (completely forgetting)
- Forget - sin, failures, disappointments, Christian works
- Forget - previous successes, Christian progress
• Reaching forward to what lies ahead (present verb)
- Picture of a runner stretching out for the finish line

Verse 14
• I press on toward the goal
- Press on (bear down on); picture of a runner who has turned the last corner and has the goal in sight
• The prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus
- From heaven (complete his ministry) to heaven (resurrection)

Verse 15
• Let us therefore, as many as are perfect
- Perfect - mature grown men, as opposed to children
• Have this attitude (present verb)
- Let us (unity - like minded) forgetting past, pressing on
• If in anything you have a different attitude
- God will reveal it; God will correct misconduct

Verse 16
• However - word used to bring conclusion
• Let us keep living by the same standard
- Living by the same standard - continual conduct of life, to march in battle order, stick to the truths you have been taught

Conclusion:
What is Paul saying?
• He has not arrived at a place of complete maturity
• All that he has done, all that he has experienced is not enough
• His focus is on pressing in and doing more for Jesus
• His goal is to know Jesus and experience the resurrection at
His return

Jesus is known by
• Pursing Him aggressively
• Serving Him faithfully with all of one’s heart
• Becoming holy like Him in all we are
• Loving others sacrificially

Application:
• Forget your past completely
- Successes and failures, break their control over you
• Focus on who you are in Christ
- Forgiven, loved, empowered, saints of God
• Press on living out your Christian life
- In your relationship with God (devotionals & purity)
- In your relationship with others (fellowship)
- In your relationship with the lost (ministry)
• Keep your eyes on the goal (don’t be distracted)
- When He appears we will be like Him
- Everyone who has this hope purifies himself (1Jn 3)  


Return to Sermon Notes