Philippians 3 Lesson

Endurance!

In today’s lesson, we will look at the importance of endurance for Christians. There is nothing in the Bible that says the life of a Christian is going to be easy on earth, in fact, quite the opposite!

Our focus scripture today says:

  • “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14. 

Currently, the average lifespan worldwide is just seventy-two years. When we compare that to eternity in heaven or hell, it is like the blink of an eye!

Paul says, in Philippians 3:3, that he puts no confidence in the flesh. Later in verse seven, he talks about his willingness to give things up to follow Jesus.

  • “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” – Philippians 3:7. 

Paul continues to contrast the eternal blessings that one obtains through faith in Jesus with the fleeting things of this world.

  • “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ. – Philippians 3:8.

Paul is encouraging people to put their faith in Jesus and not the things of this world.

A few verses later he writes:

  • Forour citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” – Philippians 3:20-21.

In other words, we belong to God, not this world. Therefore, our hope is in Jesus and not the things of this world.

As you read Philippians, take a moment to appreciate the beauty and substance of the writing.   After reading Paul's  inspired words, ask yourself the following question:

  • "Why would anybody disobey God and forfeit eternity in heaven to follow the things of this world?"

The answer to that question is sin! Satan is a powerful adversary. He will tempt us with things that he knows are pleasing to us. He will disguise his tactics to try and trick us into abandoning our faith and chasing earthly pleasures. Paul lists some of the sins that Satan will try to tempt us with in his letter to the Galatians:

DEEDS OF THE FLESH – GALATIANS 5:19-26

  • Immorality,
  • Impurity,
  • Sensuality,
  • Idolatry,
  • Sorcery,
  • Enmities,
  • Strife,
  • Jealousy,
  • Outbursts of anger,
  • Disputes,
  • Dissensions,
  • Factions,
  • Envying,
  • Drunkenness,
  • Carousing,
  • And things like these.

Satan is relentless in his efforts to wreak havoc in our lives. As we follow Jesus, there will be temptations that come our way. We must continue to fight the good fight and to resist these tactics. The good news for us is that if we submit ourselves to God and resist the Devil, he will flee from us (James 4:7). We must be like Paul and continue to “fight the good fight!”

The Hebrew writer in Hebrews 12:1-2 put it this way:

  • “Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.”

Paul had his priorities right, and he wanted the people that he loved to have their priorities right too. He wanted them to put God first and to follow Jesus.

Everything changed for Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). It was then that he became a disciple of Christ. Given Paul’s background, he might have been the last person one would expect to become a follower of Jesus. His story is a powerful testimony to the power of God. Despite any shortcomings that we may have, God can see through our warts and put us on a path that leads to salvation.   If we end up going to hell, it will be because we abandoned Him, not the other way around.  

Jesus said:

  • “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9.

The Hebrew writer tells us that not only does He forgive us, He forgets that those sins ever happened!

  • “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” – Hebrews 8:12.

All of us sin (1 John 1:8), but not all of us are sinners. The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans:

  • For I do not understand what I am doing; for I am not practicing what I want to do, but I do the very thing I hate. However, if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, that the Law is good. But now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I do the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me.” – Romans 7:15-20.

Fortunately for us, God’s love, mercy, and grace are stronger than any plans that Satan has to try and destroy us. If we follow Jesus and work to obey His commandments, we will be fine.

Sometimes we may think that our sins are too bad, or too numerous to ever be forgiven. We should not put limits on God’s power like that! As we study God’s word, we will see for ourselves that is never the case (except for blasphemy of the Holy Spirit described in Acts 5).

CONCLUSION

Paul wrote to the Philippians:

  • “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14.

There will be hardships and struggles along the way, but in the end following Jesus will be worth it! The key is to never give up, to never lose hope!

We will conclude today’s lesson with the following scripture:

  • “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18.

Comments

Dan Wheeler

Never give up! Keep pressing toward the goal!!

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Ritz

Amen

Reply
Dan Wheeler

Never give up! Keep pressing toward the goal!!

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John
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