A Spiritual Focus
In Philippians 3:10-16 we find a focus for one life a spiritual focus. Paul wrote in Philippians 3:13 b-14:
"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 said "this one thing I do." Not a hundred things I start or a dozen things I attempt, but, one thing I do. Paul says he is putting all his energy into this one thing, pressing toward the mark.
I struggle with this concept I get involved, at times, in too many projects and end up doing less than my best with many of them.
I recently read this German proverb:
"He who begins too much accomplishes little."
Perhaps you, too, have trouble living the focused life. If so, a study of Paul's focused life will help us both. That is where I would like to focus this morning.
A Study of Paul's Focused Life
Living the focused life is a life focused on three things.
Focused On a Person
- Philippians 3:10-11
Knowing Christ involves more than just knowing about Him includes developing a relationship with Him
Paul already enjoyed a special relationship with Christ, but he stilled longed for a deeper and richer knowledge
How do we know Christ in this life? Paul wanted to know everything about Jesus. Every day we need to wake up and feel the power of the resurrection and understand what that means to our lives. It could change the way we look at each day we are able to live for Him.
- Romans 4:24 & 25
- 1 Corinthians 15:12-23
- Ephesians 1:19
- Galatians 2:20
- Philippians 4:13
In addition, Paul wanted to know the fellowship of his suffering. Fellowship, is sharing or joint participation
Paul felt no one could know Christ fully unless he shared in His suffering.
- Galatians 6:17
- 2 Corinthians 4:10-11
- Matthew 10:38
- Matthew 16:24
- 2 Timothy 2:11
- James 1:2-4
- 1 Peter 2:21-24
- Galatians 2:20
- Romans 8:29
- 2 Corinthians 4:10-12
Paul's desire to know Christ more fully had at least four facets:
- A personal experience: that I may know Him.
- A powerful experience: the power of His resurrection.
- A painful experience: the fellowship of His suffering.
- A practical experience: being conformable unto His death.
The beginning of our quest to know Christ is seen in Romans 6, notice the emphasis on Christ's suffering and resurrection and our need to conform to His death.
Paul looked forward to Knowing Christ in the next life
- Philippians 3:11
- John 5:28-29
Paul looked forward to the time when he could know Christ fully.
Focused on a Prize
- Philippians 3:12-14
"Not as though I had already attained," Paul had not yet obtained the full knowledge of Christ which would come at the resurrection. Paul had not yet, "gained possession of."
- The word apprehended means, laid hold of, as in; overtaking by surprise.
Paul seems to be saying that he wants to, grab a hold of, God, as God has laid hold of him.
- Acts 9:1-22 Story of Paul's conversion
Paul knew that he was not all he could be or should be as a Christian
If Paul claimed he had room to grow, what about us? The Bible challenge is for us to grow.
- Ephesians 4:15
- 2 Peter 3:18
- 2 Peter 1:3-11
Regarding the Past: Forgiveness Needed
How did Paul cope with not being all that he could be? First of all, be careful what we think of our lives:
- 1 John 1:8
- Matthew 5:48
What did Paul forget? He forgot his past successes.
- Paul also forgot past failures.
- He admitted he was not perfect and he had not yet laid hold of.
- Paul did not spend his time regretting, rather, he repented and moved forward.
Many allow the past to destroy their present and future. The word forgetting is in the present tense and so we must realize that this is an ongoing process not something that only happens once.
- Hebrews 8:12
Regarding the Future: Progress Needed
When we dwell on the past we many times become distracted and discouraged
Paul said, "this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before." Here Paul's intensity is seen, he had a great desire to reach his spiritual goal.
What was Paul reaching for? Paul was reaching for the prize
- Colossians 3:1
- Matthew 28:19-20
- 1 Corinthians 9:24
- 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Focused On People
- Genuine Concern
In verses 4-14 we find Paul remaining focused on his life ("me," "my," "myself"). But, in verse 15 he suddenly shifts to the plural, "let us," Paul's focus in life was also on others.
- Gentle Correction
He says, "and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you." One trait of immaturity is an inadequate grasp of God's word. This comes with an early knowledge of the word. We should all come to the level that we are focused more on the Word and being like Christ ourselves. This will allow others to see our example and press on to the same goal that we have.
- A General Command
To be spiritually united we must have a common authority God's Word. God's will for us will be plain if we will obediently adhere to His written word. Not all of us will have the same understanding of God's Word. A new babe in Christ will not have the same knowledge or level of understanding as a senior Christian who has worked and studied for many, many years.
There will be ideas we can agree upon. Stay focused on that for the unity of the church. Work together and study together to reach a better understanding of the Word together as a unified church.
Most importantly, have the same mind. Plan to reach the same goal, together!
Living the focused Life
We must remain focused on the spiritual task before us. Many matters in life are important, but none are as important as following Jesus. How do we do this?
- Hear the Word (Mark 16: 15-16)
- Believe the Word (Mark 16: 15-16)
- Repent (Luke 13: 3, 5)
- Confess (Matt 10:32,33)
- Be Baptized (John 3:5)
- Remain Faithful (Rev 2:10)
With Speaker Michael Brown, Deacon, Oak Grove Church of Christ Adapted Sermon from Stay Focused! Living the Focused Life Written by: Tom Moore