"I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 3 vs 14
Due to the new lockdown, there will be no public services in the Church building, but we will be live streaming our Sunday Services at 10:30 and 6:00. The Tuesday evening Bible Study at 7:30 will continue as an online service via the website.
24 November 2020 Bible Study - The Sheep Gate (Steve Jakeman)
22 November 2020 Morning Service - Luke 2 vs 41-52 (Daniel Jarvis)
22 November 2020 Evening Service - Luke 4 vs 1-15 (Daniel Jarvis)
17 November 2020 Bible Study - Obadiah
Sunday School ministry for children
Please note the above online services contain hymn singing recorded during services held before the coronavirus restrictions. Previous sermons are available here. May the Lord bless His Word to our souls.
Last week we looked at the exhortation to ‘remember’. This week we think about another precept, ‘forgetting’. Opposite commands, yet, as we shall see, not contradictory. The command to forget is taken from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter 3 verse 13, where he says, ‘Forgetting those things which are behind…’.
Forgetting at one level is not difficult – increasingly so for many of us as we get older. When I was young, we used to sing a hymn at chapel which contained the lines, ‘My memory’s bad but O what’s sad, does folly still retain!’ Although true, this is not what Paul is talking about. He’s not commending our fallen memories. Neither is he, as some say, referring in this text to the guilt of our past sins – indeed there were times when he specifically recalled them. The solution to exactly what the Apostle is ‘forgetting’ lies in the context.
In the previous two verses, Paul is effectively saying that he is in a race – a race with the goal of perfection and finally entering into full salvation in heaven. By God’s grace he had already achieved much in growth in grace and service to the Lord. ‘But’, says Paul in verse 12, ‘I am not already perfect but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me His own’. But how is he to press on and succeed in this great race? He must forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead. Paul, before his conversion, had relied upon religious ceremonies and his works to be righteous before God, now it is Christ’s righteousness he is totally dependent upon. It’s looking unto Jesus!
It might be helpful if we think about running a race. Even if we were in front, if we kept looking behind and started focusing on how far we have already come, then we would lose concentration on the race still to be finished and begin to flag. That’s what Paul is saying here, as well as to forget his past religious works. He mustn’t stand still and just be satisfied with what has already been achieved but must press on to greater holiness and service. We must be thankful for God’s grace in the past, yes, but not as an excuse to rest on our laurels and think ‘job done!’
So it means forgetting the past in a way which makes sure our past doesn’t stifle growth in the present. There is a danger of that happening with any of us. We may subconsciously think ‘we have arrived’ because of how far we may have already come in service or in growth. ‘No’, says Paul, if you think like that you will stagnate. We must prepare for the battle ahead. May the Lord help us so to do.
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This Church continues in prayer each day unto God, trusting in Him!
Pastor Christopher Buss