selves which is yours in christ, Jesus who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God, a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men and being found in human form. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name so that at the name of jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that jesus christ is Lord to the glory of God. The father. Hey amen, Amen. Welcome. So good to see you all. Welcome to those of you who are online and joining us there. My name is Ben lee Nandor Pastor here at Solar Church and so excited to continue our series in the book of Philippians. And so uh as you, as you sit there and as I give this introduction, turn to Philippians chapter three versus 12 through 21 that will be our passage today, Philippians 3, 12 through 21. And I’ve got a question for you, Do you as you think about your life, do you think as you sit there, and you think about who you are? And do you do you want to become a better person? Do you want to be a more christ like christian? You want to grow in maturity uh and not be an infant in the faith or a toddler in the faith, you know, that kind of thing, But a mature believer, I trust that just the fact that you’re here this morning or you’re attending online, that that is somewhat your desire, you wouldn’t be here right if you didn’t have a desire to learn and to know. So even if you’re just investigating what Christianity is about or you’re learning or at the very beginning stages of what does it mean to follow christ? Or if you’ve been here a long time and you’ve followed christ for a long time, I trust that you really do want to be a better person. You want to grow and become mature in christ and to live like christ. And the Apostle paul is talking about that in our passage this morning and he uses running and this this athletic competition. He uses that illustration in our passage today and throughout several other books to talk about an illustration for us and help us identify and to kind of see what this looks like. Life is a marathon. It’s a long race and it’s a race for running and we’re in it for the long haul. And it illustrates this connection spiritually of running, this race of life with christ this, this athletic contest. And he’s talking about pursuing maturity and growing throughout this race of life, pressing on keeping after it, pursuing it with all that you’ve got pressing on for the goal. That’s what he’s talking about today. And there is that kind of element in athletics were working out where you’re always trying to improve your, trying to get stronger, you’re trying to get a better pr personal record, you know, you’re trying to set a better time. You’re trying as a runner to go longer to go farther to get faster, you’re striving right, And and that’s the picture here that paul is using, and you’re always trying to get a little bit better at the game, and we see that in the olympics that’s going on right now, these athletes have committed their lives to getting a little bit better and a little bit better and a little bit better and striving for that, right. And in our passage today, paul talks about the balance and the tension that we see in life of, you know, working striving and putting forth this effort. And yet also trusting christ to transform us to knowing him and to let having been filled with him and having him transform us. And it’s like this athletic competition where we’re striving after christ were knowing him and he’s changing us and helping us to get better and better as we strive as we go forward. There is that tension and we see that in our passage today, but it really is like a marathon. And I like I like this quote from Alberto Salazar and he’s a three time new york city marathon champion. And he says this in the marathon, there’s two ways to win. There’s the easy way. If all you care about is winning, then what you do is you hang back, you kind of risk nothing. You put yourself in a position, then you go for it at the end and you try to kick and nip the leaders at the very end or you can push challenging the others, making an exciting race, risking it all. Maybe you lose, maybe you burn out. Maybe if you uh, you get worn out. But for me, I’d rather run a gutty race, gutsy race, pushing all the way and lose and run a conservative easy race. Only for when I like that perspective, That attitude. That’s kind of what paul is talking about here, uh, that we strive and we reach and we press on towards this goal. And what paul is talking about here today is not it’s not self help, it’s not trying to make yourself better, but it’s this pursuit of christ and the knowledge of God and what happens then as as we know God, as we know, christ as we pursue him, he fills us up with himself and then he brings transformation and transforms our character. And the more that we pursue him, the more that we go after him in this race of life, the more that he changes us, the more that he brings us more like himself. And then one day when we stand before him he will make us perfect and it will all we will be entirely changed and transformed. And and so it’s this uh this this goal that’s out there, that’s before us. So the passage last week talked about how paul’s all consuming desire was to achieve this perfectionist goal of becoming like christ. Okay, And so that kind of, that passage finishes and then it culminates to this passage today. So it’s a continuing theme and continuation. And so so it kind of sets us up for today, and he finishes that passage and he says, my goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings becoming like him in his death. That’s what he says, I’m giving my all for. And then today he learned he leans more into, okay, since that’s the goal, since we want to be like christ, how do we do it? What are some things that we can do to go after that? And so I’m going to pray and then we’re gonna read this passage and get into. There’s four things today that paul lays out for us to pursue holiness to grow in maturity. Okay, I pray with me, or we do come to you and ask you to speak us to us this morning, Rescue to open up our eyes to your word, we ask you to help us Lord to press on for you. Help us to know you help us to be changed and transformed by you. We do want to grow in maturity, We do want to grow in becoming like you jesus and so challenge us this morning. Show us some things we can do practical things and help us to put them into place in jesus name. Amen. Okay, read with me Philippians chapter three verse 12. Not that I’ve already reached the goal or I’m already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I’ve also been taken hold of by christ jesus brothers and sisters. I do not consider myself to have taken hold it, but one thing I do, forgetting what is behind reaching forward to what lies ahead, I pursue my goal. The prize promised by God’s heavenly call in christ jesus therefore that all of us who are mature think this way and if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you. In any case we should live up to whatever truth we’ve attained, joined in me imitating me brothers and sisters and pay careful attention to those who live according to the example you have in us for I have often told you and now say again in tears. Many live as enemies of the cross of christ. Their end is destruction there God is their stomach, their glory is in their shame, they’re focused on earthly things but our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly wait for the savior. From there, the Lord jesus christ he will transform our body of our humble condition into the likeness of his glorious body by the power that enables him to subject everything to himself. Okay, so you see there the tension between the work of christ and knowing christ and the effort were to exert here on this earth while we are not yet perfect and there’s that balance of resting and trusting in the sovereign work of God and yet at the same time exerting every effort he says here, I make every effort right? And so there’s this striving and to take serious this call to holiness, to maturity, to growing in christ. And he’s often, he’s addressing this thing that we often feel as believers, you know that hey, we’ve been, we may have been saved by christ and we know that one day will be perfect, but we’re still here on this earth and it’s like I’m not perfect and I don’t know about you, but I am definitely not perfect, none of us are perfect and we feel that right, we know that we can identify in that and he uh he gives his advice and how to pursue perfection, how to pursue being holy, how to pursue christ the commentary called finding christ and Philippines laid out an outline that that of this passage that gives us answers to this question. How do we grow in maturity uh from paul here and so the first thing in verse 12, how do we do this? How do we grow in maturity in christ? The first step is to humbly acknowledge that we have not arrived. Okay, that’s what paul does, He starts out right right away, so he lays out, okay, I’m not, I’m going with everything, I’ve got, I want to know christ the power of his resurrection and the fellowship, business sufferings gay, I want to know him and he’s and he’s beautifully eloquently describes that, but then he says, the first thing he says is not that I’ve already achieved the goal or I’m already perfect now in last week’s teaching, we saw that paul has this incredible uh pedigree and background and resume for Judaism. You know, there was 613 laws and he’s like regards the law, I’m perfect, I’m spotless, I’m blameless. He was affairs, the affairs he laid out all this thing. And so you can look at the life ball, you can see you can see what he was like and you’re like man that that guy has got it together. But what paul realized is that he wasn’t perfect and he acknowledges that here, he’s like I’m not there yet. In fact the gospel when when christ spoke to him, he realized, oh, what a wretched man I am. And in just living according to that law, that it’s just, he thought he was better than himself, but, but he was not there yet. So even though he’s like, hey, I consider everything else like animal dung compared to knowing christ and going after him, like he was sold out, he was all in right. He still points out specifically, I’m not perfect. I’m not there yet, which I don’t know about you. But that for me is encouraging, you’d be easy to be disheartened if you think, okay, well, you know, people around me are perfect. I’m not perfect, you know? But paul is saying no, I’m not perfect. I haven’t arrived yet, but I’m striving forward. Some christians teach, once you become a christian, you will be perfect and you won’t send any more and that’s a harmful teaching. Uh we will continue to struggle and and fight against the flesh and flight against sin. And christ will transform us and he will make us more and more like himself. But we won’t become perfect, won’t get rid of the flesh until one day we stand before him and then he will change us and we’ll talk about that a little bit and it’s such a good thing to look forward to. That won’t happen until we stand before God and he completes that work in us. He began a good work. He will continue that work and then he will bring it to completion at the day of christ jesus. But throughout our life he will transform us more and more into his likeness into his image. But the first thing we need to acknowledge as you know what, we’re not there, I’m not there yet, paul and his previous life thought he was blameless. But the gospel and the cross revealed to him just how much he needed grace and forgiveness and he humbly reaffirms that here I’m with you, you and I are in the same boat, We’re not there yet. We mess up. And so the first step to going into humbly going down that path is to humble yourself before christ and for each other and say, you know what I’m not there yet. Sometimes we can think that were better than others and we can look at ourselves, I’m not as bad as them. What do you think? Oh, you know, you can put this pressure on yourself. I should be farther along than I am right. I can sometimes do that where I think, oh man, I’ve been a christian, I’m a pastor, I shouldn’t still be wrestling with these things, right? I should be farther along than that. And it’s pride. You can be condescending if you get that attitude that you’re better than others or your you know your your there you arrived. That’s it. I’ve got it, you know. Yeah. But if you humbly acknowledge you own your sin and own that your your issues and your and your baggage and that you’re not there yet. That’s the first step and then growing and maturity and being changed by him. It’s humbling yourself before christ and before each other and that’s what paul does. He starts out right away. You could you could easily look at that passage and go, oh my goodness, I can never be that I can’t have that same attitude. I can never not have that all consuming burning like paul had or or that commitment to the law that he had. He’s like, I’m not there yet either. So the first step of pursuing holiness, growing maturity is to humbly acknowledge you haven’t arrived. Don’t pretend that you have. Okay. The second thing that we’ve seen this passage on pursuing maturity is too passionately pursue a greater knowledge of christ. This is so key, he says. But one thing I do in this passage, he says, but one thing I do, forgetting what is behind reaching forward to what lies ahead. I pursue my goal, the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in christ Jesus verse 15. Therefore, let all of us who are mature think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal that to you. Also, in any case, we should live up to whatever truth we’ve attained this one thing I do. His sole focus, his all consuming efforts like the athletics there, I pursue that goal of giving it all. This man, he is hustling after the school, right, he’s not being lazy, is not just kind of laying around, he’s not just kind of you know holding back, he’s like but this one thing I do, I am striving forward to know christ to go after him and he says here not because he wants the credit, he says I tried to take hold it because christ has taken hold of me. That’s that’s why he’s got he’s giving it all, that’s why he’s striving for it is because christ has taken hold and he realizes how much he needed, christ, how much christ has forgiven him, how much he wants christ to transform him and to continue to transform him. And so he is striving and pressing on to know christ and so he says, but there’s one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. So let’s look at that, forgetting what is behind. Sometimes we can look at the past when you look behind us, when we’re charging ahead, don’t look, don’t look back, don’t look behind, fix your eyes on jesus. Uh when I was in college, I was living in the dorms and I was walking to class one day on one side of the street and my buddy was coming back from class, so he was walking on the other side of the street, back towards the dorm. So we were crossing each other right? And so as I look over, I see him, I’m like, hey, you know what? I wave over at him and uh we’re passing each other and so he’s like, oh hey Ben, and he’s like, and he starts kind of acting goofy because there’s this group of girls that’s kind of in front of him. So, you know, he’s the kind of guy where he kind of wants to, you know, show boat, show off, you know, like that kind of guy. And uh and so he’s like, you know, hamming it up and like doing all this stuff, but he’s, and as we pass each other, he’s looking behind himself and looking at me because I’m across the street and so he’s, you know, saying stuff and his weight, but he’s charging forward and he charges for right smack into a parking meter bam. And so I’m watching this and I’m like, hey, David, I’m like, oh, you know, like, and then bam he hits it, you know what he’s like? And then right in front of this group of girls and so he immediately, you know, pretends like nothing happened and like he’s not hurting like you know, and he’s just you know, you can just tell he’s a hurting unit but then he like, you know, walks off and but he was he was charging forward but looking behind and it got him into trouble. Don’t look behind, but look ahead to christ and to the gold, don’t look back at the past for some of your failures, those are gone and forgiven. Don’t look at the past and the glory days. Sometimes we can think, oh it was so good back then, right, we can focus on all of the great things that happened in the past. Now reach forward, strive ahead, fix your eyes on christ and on the future. Charge ahead and look forward, not charging ahead and looking backwards, there’s so much more in front of us. If you look back and if you focus solely on the past, you’ll run smack dab into a parking meter. Now, sometimes there are appropriate times where you need to stop and you do need to look back into the past with christ and with his help and that’s perfectly appropriate and you need to slow down and stop and focus on that. But those are time periods that you do that we need to swing our gaze to christ and charge ahead with focusing on him not what is behind either the glory days or the difficult things in the past. The baggage and the and the troubles. So forget what is behind is the first part of that verse. But the second part reaching forward to what lies ahead is is very, very important. So not only are you avoiding getting trapped by looking in the past, you’re actively reaching your actively striving, you’re actively going forward and being engaged in the mission that has given us to be Ministers of the Gospel, to be ambassadors of the good news, to be messengers and to be making disciples to be reaching forward, to be pursuing him and knowing him and looking at him and then having him transform us. That’s what happens when we strive forward and reach forward to him. I love C. J. Mahoney said this on this passage, asked this question and I asked this to you, what one change could you make in order to pursue the one thing that matters most? What is one change? Think about that right now? What is one change you could make today this week in order to pursue the one thing christ which matters the most. Maybe it’s reading the bible and praying every day. Maybe it’s setting up a regular time with someone in your community group to confess sin And encourage one another. Maybe it’s getting help working through an area of your life that you feel stuck on. Maybe it’s getting a spiritual retreat or an extended time with God, whatever. Maybe you fill in the blank what is one thing one change you can make right now today, tomorrow to pursue the one thing that matters the most. Think about that, right it down, do it. We need to forget what is behind. We need to reach forward and passionately pursue knowing christ because he’s the one who changes us. He’s the one who transforms us. He’s the one who brings us to maturity. There’s there, you know, this tension between our striving and knowing him and having him transform us. It’s found there in our striving to know christ and to pursue him and to be changed for him by him. So the second aspect of pursuing holiness be growing in maturity is passionately pursuing, knowing, Christ 3rd thing we see is in verse 17 follow christ centered examples, join and imitating me, my brothers and sisters and pay careful attention to those who live according to the example you have in us for I’ve often told you now say again with tears many lives enemies that across the christ, their end is destruction there God is their stomach, their glory, is their shame that are focused on earthly things to follow. Christ centered examples paul in this book, he’s listed a number of different examples throughout the book. He started out with he titus are timothy and up Aphrodite this timothy nope Aphrodite’s he’s like he lifted them up as great examples to follow and now he challenges us to follow him as an example as well. And so he he says, hey look around you, look at those who are really going after christ, look at those who are being transformed by christ. If you see that good example follow them do the things that they’re doing if you respect them. Mhm. And so he’s giving us those examples. Again, he’s saying, you know, I’m not I’m not a ride, he isn’t perfect like it. Like he’s just like everyone else to follow me, I’m not there yet but follow me as I charge hard after christ and then he gives us some warnings to not to not follow pretenders to not follow those who are consumed with the things of this world. There are many people around us as we live. You know, we have good examples of bad examples and some are worth imitating and others are not so be careful who you’re imitating. How can you tell? Well paul gives us some clues here in this passage, he says, he says if someone’s passionately pursuing christ, being trained and transformed to them, follow them, but if somebody else is pursuing the things of the world, there, God is their stomach don’t follow them, they love they love food, they love the flesh, they love money, they’re living for the things of this world, they should not be followed. And the thing is about people, you know, some people they just are so fun to be around or they’re they’re so charismatic, they just you love to listen to what you know they’re saying and they just they tell stories great stories, you know, and that kind of thing. But that doesn’t that doesn’t matter what matters is what are they pursuing? Look at what they’re pursuing, look at the things that they’re going after, they going after money or wealth or comfort or food, those kinds of things do not follow them. They may be boring or whatever, but if they’re going after christ follow them in those examples, it’s not about charisma, it’s not about personality, it’s about those who are christ centered, those are the people that we should follow. And that’s the third thing paul describes here to grow in maturity. Follow christ in our examples and then the last one we want to talk about this morning that paul lays out here is is live in light of your true citizenship. Go to verse 20, our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly wait for a savior. From there, the Lord jesus christ, he will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of his glorious body by the power that enables him to subject everything to himself. So, paul here is talking about the mindset that is necessary to grow into maturity in christ So he addresses some different things that we can do. He, you know, he says um we’re not there yet passionately pursue christ, follow godly examples, and then he talks about a mindset that we need to adopt. That mindset is one of we’re not here, this earth, we really are citizens of Heaven. It’s a future mindset, an eternal perspective that he’s talking about. Our home is not here, this isn’t all of life, this is just a temporary spot before eternity begins, and that’s where our home is. For true believers are, home is in heaven, our home is with God, it’s not here. And so as citizens of Heaven, we should be longing for Heaven, we should be looking forward to it, we should be setting our hope on that, that this is not our home here. And life is rough here, and life can be tough here, but that’s not what we’re living for. We’re living for what’s in the future. And there are good things here too. And there’s there’s good things about money and and food and all of that. But that’s not what we’re living for. We can enjoy those things, we can have those things, but that’s not what we’re living for because we’re living for our true home. Our mindset is that of heavenly citizens. I’ve got a picture here, I want to show you This is from April of 1933. There’s people standing around a bonfire here. Anybody know what they’re burning. They are burning money, script money as well, it’s called. And you know, this is during the Great Depression, there was these run on banks and uh it was a real problem. Banks didn’t didn’t have money because they ran out, he ran out of cash. And so after the bank would close, they would issue this thing, these things called script money, but they were they were worthless. They really were. So this is a group of people. They got a trash can full of script money, several trash cans full and they’re burning it. And uh and they knew it wasn’t worth anything. So they just burned it. And our possessions here on this earth, our money here on this earth, it can only stay here. It’s it’s only good here. It’s not worthless. It’s not like this money because there are much good that you can do. There’s worthwhile things, you can bring glory to God by being a good steward of the resources that he’s given us. It’s a good thing. It’s not a bad thing, But it’s not what we’re living for. I love food, right? I love food but it’s not what I’m living for. We’re living for the things that are to come. We’re citizens of heaven. And I love hebrews 11 talking about moses, he gave us an example. It says that he exchanged the riches and pleasures of Egypt in faith because the eternal reward is better than the fleeting pleasures of sin and wealth here on this earth. I love that he gave that up. He’s like, you know what? It’s fleeting, it’s temporary. It’s worth it for me to give that up because he wasn’t living for the those things here on this earth. I love this quote from C. S. Lewis says if you read history, you’ll find that the christians who did the most for the present world, we’re just those who thought the most of the next. It’s since christians have largely ceased to think of the other world, that they’ve become so ineffective in this world. It’s a very convicting quote, so good our perspective, what we think about and how that mindset we have, whether what we’re living for us here on this earth, we’re living for what is to come. It makes a huge, huge difference in how we act. If we want to grow in maturity in christ, we want to grow, paul is saying here, we are not citizens here of this earth. We need to have a mindset an eternal perspective and to live for that eternity and not for the things this were earth. So in closing here, you want to grow in maturity, you want to grow in holiness. You wanna grow in becoming like christ from this passage here first and foremost, humbly acknowledge you know what, I’m not their God, I need your help to passionately pursue a greater knowledge of christ know, christ seek after him to be transformed by him. 3rd follow Christ centered examples as far as what it looks like in your day to day, to grow in christ and live in light of your true citizenship. Had that mindset last question as we close just again, what is one thing you could change today to pursue the thing that matters the most? Let’s put that in place today, let’s start today or start tomorrow, carry it on. Let’s pray thank you Lord jesus for giving us a road map. Thank you for giving us help and uh not leaving us blinds, thank you that you want to change and transform us. You began that work in us, you will bring it to completion. You will be working in our life throughout our life, making us more and more like you, jesus. If we pursue you and if we fix our eyes on you, Lord, I pray that we would more and more. We so long for and look forward to the day when we stand before you and it’s all made perfect. Were made perfect in jesus name. Amen man. Thanks Ben. My name is john.