by Dr Gregory Magruder | June 28, 2020
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Gainesville, FL 06/28/20
INTRODUCTION: Paul wrote “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (3:8). Paul’s goal was
to “know him and the power of his resurrection” (3:10). But Paul made it very clear that he had not yet achieved his goal: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (3:12). True spirituality does not rest on regulations, rituals, and creeds like the formalists practice and teach. True spirituality is an on-going walk with Christ that continues to strive to be like Jesus. Paul likens the Christian life to a runner in a race aiming for the finish line and the prize that awaits her. How are we to run that race?
FORGET THE PAST.
*Athletes have intense concentration. They cannot be swayed from the task. They cannot think back to past failures or victories. They must focus on the race or event at hand. “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” (3:13).
*Runners must strip off everything that will hinder them from running the race. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
*The Christian life should always make progress There is no room to rest on our laurels or sit out the race. Christians are in an onward and upward race to the end. We must make every effort and exertion to strain and stretch beyond where we are spiritually. “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” (3:13).
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE GOAL.
*All Christians are in the race. We are at different stages of maturity. We are to maintain what we know, and we are to press on to gain more in our relationship with Christ. Our goal is to finish the race. A prize and reward await us. “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained” (3:14-16).
*Our prize is Jesus Christ and eternal life. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus and keep on going until we cross the finish line. “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).