RACING TOWARD PERFECTION THE GOAL OF ALL CHRISTIANS

CTRC YOUTH with Pastor Marc: The Christian Race Toward Perfection

Saturday, November 20, 2021

 Philippians 3:13-15

13 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,

14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

15 ¶ Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. (NKJV)

INTRODUCTION

   The Apostle Paul is remarkable in his usage of metaphoric language to communicate the truth of the Gospel.

Among others he uses the followings:

  • The Christian as a military: Put on the full armor of God.)
  • The Christian as an architecture; (You are the temple of God.)
  • The Christian as a sacrificial lamb: (Present yourself as a living sacrifice acceptable unto God.)
  • In this instance The Christian is compared as an athlete: ( Run toward the goal to win the prize of the upward call.)

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS A RACE

  • What   better way to compare the Christian life than that of an athlete on a race track.
  • It is noteworthy to say that Paul is not suggesting  salvation by work  in using this metaphor. For he wrote to the Ephesians stating: for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not of works, that no man should glory. Eph 2:8-9  (ASV). 

The notion of Christian perfection is a three dimensional process. 

  • It involves past, present, and future implications.
  • It starts with justification: once the repented sinner places his faith on the finish work of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary and acknowledges Him as Savior and Lord over his life, he is thereby declared legally justified and by default declared perfect in the sight of God.
  • Beyond that initial stage, the newly born Christian undergoes a transitional stage whereby, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit he is expected to mature to the likeness of Christ.

The process involves real hardship, endurance, and discipline.

  • Paul displays it as a strict race, where the participants can be disqualified if they do not play according to the rules of the game.
  • Paul affirmed the Philippians that he was persuaded that He (the Holy Spirit) who began this good  work in them will be faithful to complete it for the day of Jesus Christ.
  • No Christian has the luxury of being spared this maturing process in his or her life.
  • Although ‘faith in Christ’ is the determining factor in one’s salvation, progressive perfection is the indicating factor of the experience of salvation.

                              Illustration of the butterfly

Not every crippling insect can or will become a butterfly even if it undergoes some of the same stages of a butterfly.

The one that is designated to become butterfly has been wired from birth. Its inclination and actions are that of a butterfly; It naturally goes to the processes of growth, endures alienation, and nearly starvation not in order to become a butterfly, but because it is a butterfly. In due time what it was created for become manifested.

  • Christians must naturally mature to become more and more like Christ.
  • He has to leave behind a bunch of things.
    • As children mature, there are some toys they no longer play with.
    • There are actions that they no longer do. (diaper, Nipps, toilet training, car seat, cartoon watching, etc.
    • There are behaviors that are no longer appropriate. (crying for food, hide in the fridge, calling everything mine.
    • There are some childhood beliefs that go away with age. (belief in Santa Claus, Harry Potter, tooth berry, etc.
  • The next stages are
EducationFirst job
Drivers licenseCollege education
First loveCareer
FaithGetting married
Raising childrenGrandparenthood
RetirementDeath
  • As we mature in our faith in Christ, we keep leaving things behind so that we can deal with the expectations of the day.
  • The more mature we get in Christ, the more we need to focus on the things of God, because of the many distractions that the enemy will lay on our path.
  • Our main aim in life as Christ ought to be to fulfilled the destiny that God had placed upon our lives.

Phil 3: 13-15

  • 13 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,
  • 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
  • 15 ¶ Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. (NKJV)

 Progressive  perfection  toward Christ.

       a.  Forgetting   what lies behind. (3:13a)

       b.  Reaching    forward to what  lies ahead. (3:13b)

       c.  Pressing  toward  the goal.  (3:13c)

Complete   perfection like Christ.

       a.  I do not regard myself  as having laid hold of it yet.

       b.  we shall be like Christ

1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (NKJV)

CONCLUSION

Phil 3:15 ¶ Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.

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