Ôû¼ A Spiritual Focus
In Philippians 3:10-16 we find a focus for oneÔÇÖs life ÔÇô a spiritual focus. Paul wrote in Philippians 3:13b-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 ÔÇ£this one thing I doÔÇØ. Not ÔÇ£a hundred things I startÔÇØ or ÔÇ£a dozen things I attemptÔÇØ ÔÇô but ÔÇ£one thing I do.ÔÇØ Paul says he is putting all his energy into this one thing ÔÇô ÔÇ£pressing toward the mark.ÔÇØ
I struggle with this concept ÔÇô 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:
ÔÇ£He who begins too much accomplishes little.”
Perhaps you, too, have trouble living the focused life. If so, a study of PaulÔÇÖs 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.
Ôû¼ Focused On a Person
- Philippians 3:10-11
ÔÇ£KnowingÔÇØ Christ involves more than just knowing about Him ÔÇô 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?┬á 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.┬áIt 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 ÔÇ£the fellowship of his suffering.ÔÇØ ÔÇ£FellowshipÔÇØ 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
PaulÔÇÖs desire to know Christ more fully had at least four facets:
- A personal experience: ÔÇ£that I may know HimÔÇØ
- A powerful experience: ÔÇ£the power of His resurrectionÔÇØ
- A painful experience: ÔÇ£the fellowship of His sufferingÔÇØ
- A practical experience: ÔÇ£being conformable unto His deathÔÇØ
The beginning of our quest to know Christ is seen in Romans 6 ÔÇô notice the emphasis on ChristÔÇÖs 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.
Ôû¼ Focused on a Prize
- Philippians 3:12-14
ÔÇ£Not as though I had already attainedÔÇªÔÇØ┬á ÔÇô Paul had not yet obtained the full knowledge of Christ ÔÇô which would come at the resurrection. Paul had not yet ÔÇ£Gained possession of.
ÔÇØThe word ÔÇ£apprehendedÔÇØ means ÔÇ£Laid hold ofÔÇØ as in; overtaking by surprise.
Paul seems to be saying that he wants to ÔÇ£grab a hold ofÔÇØ God, as God has laid hold of him.
- Acts 9:1-22 ÔÇô Story of PaulÔÇÖs 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 ÔÇô what about us?┬áThe 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?┬áHe forgot his past successes.
- Paul also forgot past failures.
- He admitted he was not ÔÇ£perfectÔÇØ and he had not ÔÇ£laid holdÔÇØ
- Paul did not spend his time regretting ÔÇô he repented and moved forward.
Many allow the past to destroy their present and future.┬áThe word ÔÇ£forgettingÔÇØ 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 ÔÇ£this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.ÔÇØ Here PaulÔÇÖs intensity is seen ÔÇô 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
Ôû¼ Focused On People
- Genuine Concern
In verses 4-14 we find Paul remaining focused on his life (ÔÇ£IÔÇØ- ÔÇ£meÔÇØ-ÔÇ£myÔÇØ-ÔÇ£myselfÔÇØ). But, in verse 15 he suddenly shifts to the plural ÔÇ£Let usÔÇØ ÔÇô PaulÔÇÖs focus in life was also on others.
- Gentle Correction
He says, ÔÇ£and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.ÔÇØ One trait of immaturity is an inadequate grasp of GodÔÇÖs word. This comes with an early knowledge of the word.┬áWe 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 ÔÇô GodÔÇÖs Word.┬á GodÔÇÖs will for us will be plain if we will obediently adhere to His written word.┬áNot all of us will have the same understanding of GodÔÇÖs 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.┬áWork together and study together to reach a better understanding of the Word together as a unified church.
Most importantlyÔÇªHave the same mindÔÇªPlan to reach the same goalÔÇªtogether!
Living the focused Life
We must remain focused on the spiritual task before us.┬áMany matters in life are important, but none are as important as following Jesus.┬áHow 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 ÔÇô 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!┬áLiving the Focused Life Written by: Tom Moore