SanLo Community, an update for the week of May 13, 2018…
Thank you Pastor Scott for the message from Philippians 3:12-14, “The Ultimate Goal.” What is attaining the Ultimate goal? A recent survey asked, “What is your biggest life goal?” 29% spend time with family; 28% to be happy; 24% to be debt free, owning a home, career advancement. But Paul here in Philippians says that the ultimate goal has nothing to do with any of these. His goal has a more eternal prize. He says the ultimate goal is to know Jesus in all His fullness. Not just know who Jesus is but knowing Him personally, intimately. Churches all across the country are filled with believers who have relationships with Jesus yet may not strive to know Him in all His fullness. Maybe they think they are “good enough” or that they’ve reached a point where they don’t need to grow anymore. But that cannot be farther from the truth. The ultimate goal in life is knowing Jesus and all He is. The wisest man ever, Solomon, said all things are meaningless. The only thing that matters is God. How do we attain the ultimate goal?
1) We need to realize we have not attained it yet. (v.12) The word, “obtained,” means to attain, to take hold of, to grasp. But even more than that, it means to enter into a close relationship, to make one’s own, to comprehend. Paul is admitting that even he hasn’t taken hold of the fullness of Christ. “…am already perfect,” meaning to finish, to complete, reached the goal, to be perfect. Paul knows he is still a work in progress. God is still shaping, molding and guiding him to be the man God wants Him to be. We are all a work in progress. No one is perfect. No one can say they have a complete and perfect relationship with Jesus. It’s a constant state of growing and learning and getting closer to Jesus. Paul knows he is not done getting to know Christ. Even as he wrote this in prison, he was being shaped and pruned in ways that needed to happen for him to draw closer to Jesus. God does the same for you wherever you are. You can draw close to Him. Are things going well? Don’t forget to thank God for He is the One blessing you. Are you in a tough period in your life? Things not going well? Now is when you can rely on His strength and ask Him to help you. Are things just okay? Don’t forget God during this time either. Now is a great time to get closer to Jesus.
2) You press on. So how do you attain the ultimate goal? You recognize you haven’t attained it yet. Press on means to “follow after,” to move rapidly and decisively toward an objective, to run towards, to chase. When you have a goal and you chase after it, you don’t let other things get in your way. The Olympic athlete who sets his sight on a gold medal will not waste his time partying in college or wasting hours playing video games or eating junk food. He or she is training and filling their body and mind with things that will help them. Paul had this same kind of passion and energy when he was persecuting the church. In fact, that same word for press on is also translated as “persecuted.” “Because Christ Jesus has made me His own” – Paul had an encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road and now desires to know more and more about Jesus. (v.13b) – straining forward – to exert oneself to the utmost, stretch out, strain toward something. Like in a race, going all out to win. No slacking off. No laziness. No half-hearted effort. Not fighting for his salvation. That’s already a done deal. But he wants to know Jesus and live for Him with every ounce of his being. Goes on to say in verse 14 – Pressing on (same word) toward a “Goal” – something to look toward. “upward” – something higher than what is now. “call” – vocation, job, what we are called and created to do. It is an invitation to experience special privilege and responsibility, a call, an invitation. God created us to do more than just exist. He made us to make a difference in this world, to know Jesus and to bring people to Him. So if you want to attain the ultimate goal, you need to press on!
3) But you also need to forget the past. This doesn’t mean we can just wipe our memories clean, but we can choose not to look behind. Paul says, “The One thing I do.” This is important. What you focus on can and will have a huge impact on your life. Too many people focus on their regrets, their losses, their failures and this can have a bad effect on one’s future. We need to keep our eyes on what is good and not look back. We don’t want to run our race backwards. Roger Bannister was the first man in the world to run a mile in under four minutes in May 1954. The next month, Australian John Landy broke that record by 1.4 seconds. In August 1954 the two fastest mile runners in the world met for an historic race at the British Empire Games in Vancouver, Canada, the race being dubbed “The Miracle Mile“, the “Race of the Century” and the “Dream Race.” As Bannister and Landy turned for the last lap, Landy was ahead and looked certain to win, but as he neared the finish line he lost focus and allowed his mind to wonder about Bannister’s position. Unable to stand the strain, he finally looked back over his shoulder, and as he did so his stride faltered and Bannister passed him to break the tape.
Attaining the ultimate goal of knowing Jesus Christ deeper and better is something we can all try to do. The reward is not a trophy or a medal or a cash prize. But it’s far more satisfying.