Philippians 3:12-21 Pressing On In Jesus

by | Mar 29, 2023 | New Testament, Philippians

I. How To Press On V. 12 

A. Understand What “Pressing On” Means 

1. Figuratively- One who runs a race swiftly to reach the goal; to seek after eagerly.
2. Spiritually- To press forward in the Christian faith, to seek to grow spiritually.
3. The opposite of “Pressing On”

a. To be spiritually indifferent, uninterested, lazy.
b. To suppose that spiritual growth isn’t important; that being forgiven is enough.
c. To forget that you were saved for God’s purposes, not your own.

B. “Pressing On” Means Not Living In The Past V. 13b 

1. but one thing I do- An amazing thing for one like Paul to say.  “One thing…”
2. Forgetting the mistakes of yesterday, except in what we might learn

a. The runner doesn’t look back to see where he tripped, or else he might slow down.
b. The runner doesn’t look back at who he has passed, or else he might fall down.

3. Not depending upon the victories of yesterday to carry you through today.
4. Not settling for yesterday’s spiritual growth, but pressing on today.

C. Honest Assessment Of The Present Vs. 12a, 13a 

1. V. 12a paraphrase- “Not that I have laid hold of spiritual maturity & have become spiritually complete, needing no further progress…”
2. V. 13a- Apprehended: taking hold of an opponent & taking him to the ground.
Paraphrase- “I don’t have a perfect grasp on spiritual maturity & completeness…”.
3. That is impressive when you consider all that Paul endured for Jesus. (2 Corinthians 11:16-33) 
4. The Bible never teaches us of spiritual perfectionism.  Beware of that.
5. Sadly, some Christians give the impression that they never struggle.
6. To press on spiritually, one must realize that they are not spiritually full grown
7. A young child is a complete person, but not yet a completely mature person.

D. Intentionally “Press On” To The Future Vs. 12b-14, 20-21 

1. Vs. 12b-14- What was Paul seeking to accomplish & lay hold of make his own?

a. Romans 6:4 “…even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
b. Romans 8:29   “…to be conformed to the image of His Son…”
c. Acts 9:15  “…he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.”
d. Acts 9:16  “…how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
e. Philippians 3:11– Resurrection from the dead, glory in Heaven

2. Vs. 20, 21-Paul looked forward to spiritual blessings in this life and in the next.

a. Heavenly citizenship- Paul’s true home was Heaven.
b. Why make extreme effort to advance in and obtain that which perishes?
c. Paul believed that he would be resurrected from the dead.
d. That means this life would end, but the next life would never end.
e. Why do we pay so much attention to the tent when we will soon live in a mansion?
f. Time spent for earthly things is rewarded here, and only for a short time.
g. Time spent for heavenly things is rewarded for eternity.

 E. Decide If You Think “Pressing On” Is Important V. 15 

1. Paul is confident that since some of them didn’t agree, that God would show them.

a. If- literally: since.  Some of them did think they were spiritually perfected
b. Some of them thought that they didn’t need to grow spiritually.
c. Lack of unity was a problem w/them.  That wrong thinking contributed.
d. If you think you are as spiritually mature as one could be, any lack of unity that exists is obvious the other person’s fault.

2. V. 15- How does God reveal we are wrong?  By letting us discover we are wrong.
3. Example- “Press on”, like a runner.  What does a race reveal about a runner?

a. It reveals whether or not they were prepared physically and mentally.
b. “Success”- Is defined as when preparation meets opportunity.
c. “Race Day” reveals either great preparation of lack of preparation.
d. Athletes who believe themselves “perfected” don’t train.

4. How does one know if they are spiritually ready for marriage/kids?  The race.
5. How does one know if they are ready for a ministry opportunity?  The race.
6. Job advancement, family leadership, being a good friend, or dealing with death?
7. We need to be growing spiritually. Time & life will not stand still to wait for us.
8. Negative example-Samson, King Saul.  They didn’t press on.  They failed. Wasted lives.
9. How sad when we are unprepared for life.  The “race” reveals it.  God shows us.
10. What a sad/tragic way to learn that you should have been “pressing on”.
11. Humiliating for the one who thought he was sp. mature to find out he’s not.
12. Not so bad for the one who knows he still needs to grow.
13. How joyful when pressing on prepares us for life, & for God’s plans/purposes.
14. V. 16- Walk according to what you know.  Don’t go backwards.

II. Role Models-Pressing On, Or Partying Down?

A. Positive Role Models V. 17

1. Pressing on includes having godly examples, godly role models
2. Paul was able to say of himself: “follow my example”.

a. Either Paul was extremely spiritually arrogant, or…
b. By God’s Spirit, he could humbly proclaim himself a good example.
c. 1 Corinthians 11:1   Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

3. Paul was a worthy example and role model; he was one who pressed on in Christ.

B. Negative Role Models Vs. 18, 19

1. These people were mere professors of religion, pretenders of faith.
2. They were actually enemies of the cross, for they refused to carry their own cross
3. Their God wasn’t Jesus.  Their god was sensual/physical gratification.
4. They didn’t glorify Jesus.  They glorified their sin and bragged about it.
5. Their minds were not set on pressing on in Christ, but pressing on in sin
6. They were unregenerate.  They were lost in their sins. Their end was destruction.