Philippians 3. Forum Discussion

Endurance

Today is the 3rd day of our 4-day study on the book of Philippians. In Chapter 1, we studied about how we can glorify God during times of adversity. In Chapter 2, we studied the humility of Jesus and how we can be more like Him. You can access these lessons in our archives section along with studies on all 260 chapter of the New Testament.

Today in Chapter 3, we are going to look at the importance of endurance in our Christian walks.

Our focus scripture today is Philippians 3:13-14:

“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.” 

In 2019, the average lifespan worldwide was 72.6 years. When we compare that to the eternity that all of us will face in either heaven or hell, it is like the blink of an eye.

That is why Paul says in Philippians 3:3, that he puts, “No confidence in the flesh.” Later in verse 7, Paul talks about his willingness to give up anything of the flesh for the sake of 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 compare 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 the people of Philippi (and us) to put their faith in Jesus and not the things of this world. In Philippians 3:20-21, Paul writes, “For our 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.”

Paul’s writing is beautiful in both form and content. His inspired words bring up an important 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. Our sins can cause us to ignore the blessings of the Spirit and follow the deeds of the flesh. Paul lists the deeds of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-26. They are:

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

To avoid falling into a life of sin, we must do like Paul did 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 in Philippi to have their priorities right as well. He wanted them to put God first and to follow Jesus.

Everything changed for Paul when he became a disciple of Christ and it can for us too! Given Paul’s background, Paul might have been the last person one would expect to become an apostle and to contribute all the amazing writings that he did.

Jesus sees through our past and knows what we are capable of. We are created in God’s own image and have freewill to decide how we wish to serve Jesus from this day forward.

It is an amazing gift that Jesus gives us. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Not only does He forgive us, He forgets all about our sins - as it says in Hebrews 8:12, “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

All of us have things that we know we should turn away from. At times, we may not feel that we have the strength to do that. Fortunately for us, God’s love, mercy, and grace are sufficient for us in all things (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Sometimes we may think that our sins are too bad, or too numerous to ever be forgiven. We should not put limits like that on God’s power. We need to study God’s word and see for ourselves that is not the case. As Paul says beginning in verse 13, “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.”

Chapter 3 concludes with a request from Paul to follow his example and a warning against living for the flesh:

“For our 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.

There will be hardships and struggles along the way, but in the end following Jesus will be worth it. As it says in Romans 8:18, “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.

Heaven is something that we all want to experience. To make that happen, we need to put our faith in Jesus and press on towards the goal.

Thank you for joining us today. Please join us again tomorrow as we conclude our study on the book of Philippians. May God’s blessings be upon you until then. Amen

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John
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