The Power of the Prize

The Power of the Prize

  • 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do,forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus
  • Every one wants to be a winner- we uphold winners- we want to identify with winners
  • This last week with the Seahawks loss was devastating to many a person
  • Truthfully, I wasn’t. I was a little sad, but it was nothing in comparison to last year SB
  • I’m not sure I’m still over that. It still stings- I don’t even play on the team
  • Phil 3:12-14 READ
  • How to win the prize
prize Pastor Matt preaching
  • Context
  • First off- let me say this- you can be a Christian and play sports or watch sports
  • That being said- I’m glad the Seahawks lost last week. I personally think its ridiculous to alter a Church service because of a game of sport- Individuals can make their own decisions-
  • HERESY! I think its pandering to American culture in an attempt to be relevant
  • If you constantly adjust to be like the world, eventually you’ll just be like the world.
  • The history of sport is directly connected to the Greeks and greek culture
  • The Greeks held contests of sport in Ancient Greece during festivals to Greek Gods
  • They were common place in ancient Greece and people would travel from all over to be in contests where they could “best” another person and “gain prizes” or awards
  • The word “prize” in this verse is “a prize in the public games”
  • The Bible doesn’t ever say that a Christian shouldn’t do sport- it DOES say
  • 1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
  • We are a culture that worships sport players and sports in general and we must be CAREFUL
  • People spend an inordinate amount of time/money in being spectators and players in sport
  • We have created a society that if you’re able to be the best in your sport you can even earn a free college degree if you maintain a high degree of competitiveness
  • Athletics can assist a parent or a person in the development of character, but in and of itself is inadequate to produce Godliness- only the Holy Spirit can do that
  • Athletics without a Christian influence will produce haughty, self righteous, overly competitive, individuals who will “win” at any cost with no regard for others That is not Christian virtue
  • Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
  • Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
  • Its impossible to live these verses out if you hold athletic virtue above Christian Character
  • Teams can also become an idol- Largest gathering place in any town is the place where they hold sporting contests
  • We pay tax money to build stadiums for for-profit teams
  • We ridicule people who do not have good athletic performance
  • We cut people from teams who aren’t good enough
  • We get angry with people who don’t support our team
  • A Christian must prayerfully consider participation in sport and how to bring God glory through it. Its possible- but its not easy-
  • If we are to glorify God in ALL Things- it means ALL things and it comes into sports as well

That being said

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The prize is Heaven-

  • 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
  • Upward call- High calling- the ultimate inheritance of our lives is to fully know God intimately
  • Our faith isn’t a faith of rules or regulations. Its not an attempt at higher thinking
  • Its to know God intimately- to have relationship with Him
  • This has been the way since creation- Adam and God would spend time together
  • In Genesis 15 God told Abraham that he would be his shield, his REWARD
  • Genesis 15:1  “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
  • great shield great reward of Abraham- genesis 15 to know Christ fully- to know him in his fullness
  • The reward remains the same for us today- Prize- heaven upward call- knowing Jesus
  • Folks the prize for which we are endeavoring to attain is the prize of heaven
  • To Paul, there is no greater prize for one to earn in this life than the prize of heaven
  • John 14:2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you
  • Christ has gone to prepare a place for Paul and for YOU in Heaven
  • This is a prize you should want to earn!
  • So many people endeavor to attain a prize that will not endure- that is temporary
  • This is why many people have anxiety and worry and depression
  • Focusing on the things of this world as the satisfaction for living will never produce peace
  • The false prize mentality starts young, High School diploma, College degree, Spouse, Good career, Kids, Nice earthly home, Cars, recreational equipment, Money, investments, plans
  • All of those things are held up as prizes- something on this earth that we endeavor to “attain”
  • But they are TEMPORARY- and this is where the worry comes from- “what if I lose this, then what?”
  • The thought of loss of the esteem and stature of this world can be devastating, if that’s your prize
  • 1 Corinthians 9:25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
  • The prize of heaven is Imperishable! It can’t rust. It cant be taken away. It will endure!

How do we attain this prize? How do we gain heaven?

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We Press on

  • 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
  • Pauls encouragement is that attainment is available to all who press on-
  • Dee-o-ko- literally-  to pursue after- Paul says I pursue after that which I haven’t received yet knowing that my pursuit will ensure my inheritance
  • Even though I haven’t got it yet- I press on
  • Even though I’m not perfect- I press on
  • Jesus came to give me this prize- this gift and I am going to pursue it with everything I have
  • Endurance is a huge part of the Christian life, and honestly, that’s why some fall away
  • They lean too much on their own strength instead of the Lord’s strength to get through something
  • There is real strength and power for people who are in Christ- it really does come
  • Colossians 1:11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
  • The Word declares and promises GLORIOUS POWER for PATIENCE and LONGSUFFERING
  • And it doesn’t come when you’re PERFECT it comes when you PRESS ON
  • Many a person expects that Victory is reserved for the talented or the gifted
  • Victory is a promise to the WILLING! Willing to PRESS ON in the midst of trials and pain!
  • Sick? Press on! Hurt? Press on! Lost that Job? Press on! Worried? Press on!
  • Sin? Be forgiven and PRESS ON. Move past the “I must be perfect to be in Christ” and PRESS ON
  • 1 cor 9:24Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
  • I know what effort looks like and so do you
  • BB in Army- on the ar 600-9. Push ups during the day- extra runs after work
  • In Such a way to OBTAIN IT- half heartedness doesn’t pay the bills!
  • You must PURSUE it! You have to make it your focus
  • Hebrews 10: 35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise
  • Don’t cast away your confidence friend. PRESS ON!
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It takes humbleness

  • Not that I Have already attained
  • I do not count myself to have apprehended
  • Do you notice Pauls words here?
  • It’s the reality of a man who understands that in Christ- you never arrive
  • Grace that isn’t always increasing isn’t grace- because Grace is always increasing
  • Its no some sort of cosmic stick and carrot game, it’s the knowledge of the reality of our ability to be able to attain in our strength and power
  • It forces us to be constantly at the foot of the throne of God depending on HIM
  • That’s God’s Goal- to be “our shield” not that we would our own strength
  • But that takes humbles and dependence on God and not ourselves
  • James 4:6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.
  • He opposes the proud! You can’t be proud and expect to press on and get the prize
  • How do you stay humble?
  • 1 Verbalize it- That’s what Paul did- Constantly speak God’s praises when opportunity comes
  • Say “by the grace of God” “through Christ I was able” “God did it” “Lord provided”
  • Some would say this is ingenious, but it reminds YOU and GOD who did what
  • 2. Pray before during and after
  • When you pray like this, it creates a dependence on God in all things
  • A reality of your inability in and of yourself to do it- “I need your help on this”
  • 3. Give God the glory
  • When you give God the glory for accomplishments, increases and graces its good
  • That’s what we’re here for anyway- To give God the Glory
  • Notice the post game interviews after football- Some QBs (I) Great ones (the Team)
  • If you’re being helped by God- give HIM the Glory
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The One thing for Victory

  • Forgetting that which is behind
  • Paul’s push to press to gain Christ and Heaven is stated clearly- “one thing” for victory
  • I wish it was that easy in all parts of our life- the “one thing” that we could do for victory
  • Usually its not that easy- it takes many things- But Paul says here “one thing”
  • but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind
  • Now what is he forgetting? He is forgetting all the things for which he suffered loss to Gain Christ
  • He realizes that spending even a moment reflecting on the things he has lost for Christ would not be of any spiritual advantage to him- He must forget those things- not remember them
  • Now here’s what I’d say-
  • Sin has been forgotten, we must forget it as well
  • Many people I know that have been debilitated by regret- How you deal with loss affects how you work today- focusing and lamenting about past sins will cripple you
  • Its not the small stuff- Crimes committed, sexual sin, abortions, thievery, hurting people etc
  • But here’s the big thing- its having a “past mentality” that adores the past so much you don’t press on towards the future
  • “Let today be the day that you love each other the least”
  • As a church- we don’t want to look to our past as the best times of our church- FUTURE
  • And your relationship with Jesus shouldn’t always be a looking past with fondness
  • Jesus has done GREAT things in my life- but he will do GREATER Things in my life
  • You can’t hold on to the past and expect that you’ll be ready to embrace the future
  • God is in the business of GROWTH and IMPROVEMENT- he’s in the business of pruning and growing YOU and his CHURCH
  • You can’t live with a PAST mentality and move FORWARD
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