INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:
Background to Philippians…
The Apostle Paul wrote the epistle (personal letter) (1:1) to the Philippian church, probably during his imprisonment in Rome. The letter was written from a heart of love and concern for the Philippians. Due to Paul’s imprisonment, he could not personally visit with the church so he sent this letter with Timothy to encourage them and bring back news of their condition to Paul. (2:19).
Some of the main divisions of the book include:
1. Introduction to the book: 1:1-2
2. Paul’s thankfulness for the Philippians: 1:3-11
3. News of Paul’s imprisonment and dedication: 1:12-26
4. Following Christ’s example is our duty: 1:27-2:18
5. Paul’s representatives and the need to treat them kindly: 2:19-30
6. Paul’s example of living a joyous life: 3:1-11
7. The Christian’s heavenly calling: 3:12-21
8. The need for Godly living: 4:1-9
9. The love offerings of the Philippians: 4:10-20
10. Closing to the book of Philippians: 4:21-23
Php 3:12-14 – “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul, in previous verses (vs 9-11), explained his burning desire to experience communion with the Lord and possess a certainty of his future resurrection, glorification, and eternity with Christ. Paul now reminds us that he has not entered into his perfect, eternal existence yet, but lives a daily earthly life as a part of fallen mankind.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect:
Paul had not yet received the blessing of perfection. He was yet to receive eternal physical life, glorification of his body in the eternal presence of Christ. He is still present on this fallen earth, struggling with his sinful flesh and awaiting physical death…
but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Paul gives us the reason why although he was not yet eternally perfect, he strove to “apprehend” perfection while on the earth.
Christ took hold of Paul on the Damascus road. It was then that the Lord saved him, and called him to live a holy life of service to Him. It was then that he was “apprehended of Christ Jesus”. It was at this point that Paul knew the purpose of His life and the calling that he had been given.
It was at this point that he began to strive to take hold of the perfection that he knew awaited him in eternity.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:
Paul understood that he has not entered an eternal perfection, nor has he become perfect on earth. He knew that he still had not reached his goal.
but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Although Paul had not reached perfection as of yet, he would single-mindedly continue his pursuit…
1. forgetting those things which are behind, – Paul put behind him his past failures. He would try to forget his life as a lost person and his failures in his service to Christ.
2. and reaching forth unto those things which are before, – He would place his failures behind him and reach ahead to reach his goal of faithful service to Christ by living a holy life for His glory. He would not let his past failures stop his forward progress for Christ. He would not give up on reaching his goal of perfection while yet on this earth.
3. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. – Paul pushed himself forward to fulfill the calling of God that he had received Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Do we find our past failures hinder our present service to Christ? Folks, this should not be so. Paul has set us a perfect example of overcoming past failures to excel in Christ’s service. He did this by learning to place his failures behind him, out of sight, and keep his eyes fixed on the goal of faithful service that he had been given…
Heb 12:1-2 – “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
May we all learn to do the same as we seek to remain faithful to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
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