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 PHILIPPIANS 3:12-14

"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 3:12-14

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, paul's great admission:

Several weeks ago I made a little list. I'm calling it a group of Texts, Bible Texts, that are to be studied "just because I want to!"

The Verses involved may not address a pressing national need. Or be "earth-shaking" in their implications. Or perhaps even be the "meat" of some future sermon!

But they have captivated this Preacher's interest! And I want to study them! You are invited to come along on this little journey.

The first "pericope" on the list is from the Book of Philippians, maybe Paul's sweetest Epistle ever! A "pericope" is a "slice" of precious Scripture, "lifted" from its chapter to be analyzed and treasured in detail!

Paul confided: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14

One of the most amazing things here is that Paul admits a lack of something in his Christian life!

Paul!

Yes, Paul the Apostle. The man most of us consider to be the best Christian who ever lived, not counting our Saviour Who was, and still is, sinless!

He says, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect ...." And Paul has been saved now for many years, maybe thirty or more!

Some level of maturity had not yet been reached!

Some goals remained untouched!

Some paths had not yet been walked!

What stark honesty here!

What lack of hypocrisy!

Strange though it may sound, what encouragement to someone like me!

Someone who also has not yet "attained" so much in the Christian life! Someone who is so far from "perfect!"

Paul, tell us again. "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect ...." Philippians 3:12

Don't misunderstand.

Paul has ALL he needs "in Christ Jesus." He's the one who also wrote: "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God." 2nd Corinthians 3:5

Paul loved to "brag" on the Lord! He even wrote things like this: "Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." 1st Corinthians 1:31, Jesus is our ALL, obviously!

The "lack" here, "not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect ...," is not on Christ's part, but Paul's!

Paul just used two great words of the New Testament.

"Attained" is "lambano," meaning "to take hold of" something. "To seize" it! Three times in the King James New Testament it's "to catch" it! Here's "lambano" showing some vigorous action: "And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty." From Mark 12:3, Jesus' Parable of the wicked tenants.

There are levels of Christian experience that Paul feels he has not yet "caught!" He has higher mountains to climb! Deeper valleys to explore! Greater lessons to learn!

The accompanying verb here in Paul's honest admission is translated "were perfect." It's spelled "teleioo" in its most simple form. It means "to have reached a goal." The lexicons usually will not give you that definition first, but it's there. Watch. "Teleioo" is derived from "telos," or "the end point, the termination, the aim, the purpose or the goal!"

Paul has his eyes on some things he has not yet reached! "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect ...." Philippians 3:12

How human he is!

How touchable, how approachable!

If someone is reading here today and you know you have a long way to go in the Christian life, may be even having failed recently, take heart!

On the other hand, if someone is following these lines and you're thinking about how very "mature" you are, how "accomplished" in the Christian walk, think again dear friend!

If the man who said, "For me to live is Christ," still has much ground to cover, so do we! Philippians 1:21

Certainly!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, "BUT I FOLLOW AFTER:"

It's just one clause in Philippians chapter three. But it reveals the determination and intensity with which the Apostle Paul lived the Christian life.

These enlightening words will be capitalized in our Text Verse. "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12

"But I follow after."

So few words, so much meaning.

In Greek "dioko de" means "but I pursue!" Or, "I chase!" Even "to strive for." One text says, "to run after." It has such an intense connotation that it has come to mean "to persecute" also! That violent an action!

In all its different forms this stem is used forty-four times in the New Testament.

Here's the first one: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:10, where "dioko" is underlined. In fact, every time the word is used by Jesus in Matthew's Gospel, six times, it means "persecuted" one way or another.

Here's how serious this word can become. "And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him." John 5:16

Here's "dioko" as "followed after." Paul, in Romans 9:31, wrote: "But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness." We know how fanatically the Israelites pursued the Law of Moses. Many still do!

Here's an unusual translation: "Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality." Romans 12:13, "dioko."

In the sense of eagerness: "Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another." Romans 14:19

"Follow after charity." 1st Corinthians 14:1, the very essence of the Christian life!

And in a Verse we shall soon study, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14, Wow!

1st Timothy 6:11 says: "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."

Similarly, "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." 2nd Timothy 2:22

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Hebrews 12:14

Here "dioko" is "ensue," still very strong! "Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it." 1st Peter 3:11

Therefore ... when Paul said that had certain goals in his Christian life, certain things for which he was still striving, still reaching, still longing ... he used one of the most powerful verbs available to express his intense craving ... "dioko."

Lord, give us this same kind of spiritual hunger!

"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12

Lord willing, tomorrow, we shall go further into the Verse.

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, "I AM APPREHENDED OF CHRIST JESUS:"

It's part of Paul's testimony.

In just three words, one in Greek!

"I am apprehended."

Need more information?

Paul gives it.

"I am apprehended of Christ Jesus."

The whole Verse reads: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also ... I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12

That day on the Damascus Road, described so often in the New Testament, Acts 9 and Acts 22 and Acts 26 and Galatians 1, Paul was saved!

Saved by the Grace of God!

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief," he later wrote. 1st Timothy 1:15

But today Paul describes his salvation experience, his conversion, in dramatic fashion!

He was "apprehended" of Christ Jesus!

This is a strong verb!

One teacher says it means something like this: "to lay hold of something so as to make it one's very own!"

Another, "to take to one's self."

"To seize."

"To catch."

I like this one too, "to gain control of someone through pursuit!"

Think of it!

The day Paul was born-again, the Lord "apprehended" him!

"Overtook" him!

"Captured" him!

The old-timers would have said, "arrested" him!

Many times the old Preachers, when giving their testimonies, would rejoice over Jesus "sending the High Sheriff of Heaven" their way, "arresting" them by the power of God and "washing them in the Blood of the Lamb!" I believe they meant the Holy Spirit to be that Sheriff!

Too many people today go to church who have never been "apprehended!"

They have absolutely no idea what it would have been like to be "arrested" unto salvation!

By the way, if He ever does "apprehend" you, you'll never forget it!

The verb in Greek is "katalambano."

Paul frames it as a passive voice verb, too! "Katelephthen" to be exact. Paul had nothing to do with this apprehension!

It was done to him.

A man or woman cannot arrest himself or herself!

The verb is also an aorist, indication action now completed. Paul's "apprehension" is not an on-going thing! It's done! Finished! It does not take thirty years to get saved! And once a person is saved ... he is saved!

He's a "captive" of the Lord Jesus Christ!

When the "katalambano" word family is followed through the New Testament, using the King James Version, one locates fifteen occurrences.

Here are three of them, to help us get an idea of this powerful verb, its meaning and intensity.

In Mark 9:18 it's used of an evil spirit "taking" a boy, absolutely overpowering him too! Wow!

In John 12:35 the darkness is said "to come upon" a man, which it does every night! It can't be stopped!

And in 1st Corinthians 9:24 "katalambano" is used to describe a runner's desire to win the prize, to earn it really. "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." He plans to fight for that thing! And "take" it!

So did Jesus "overtake" Paul on the Damascus road!

The Lord "surrounded" His man! He "blanketed" Paul with saving Grace, amazing Grace!

He made Paul a goal and "obtained" him as a trophy of love and mercy!

I was thinking during the night, still resting in bed, of another Preacher who was so "taken" by the Lord!

Amos the Prophet!

But this time he's describing his "call to preach." Read it carefully. "Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: and the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel." Amos 7:14-15

You dear Men of God will immediately know what Amos meant! God "took" him! Now in Hebrew, "laqach" means "to fetch, to seize, to acquire or to lay hold of" something or someone!

Wow!

The Lord is at it again!

Personally, my call to  preach is every bit as real and dramatic and captivating as my salvation experience!

And it ought to be!

The same "Apprehender" was on the scene both times!

If you've been apprehended of Christ, thank Him today!

Thank Him indeed!

And if you have absolutely no idea of what Paul meant today, "I am apprehended of Christ Jesus," maybe you had better give yourself a spiritual check-up!

"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" 2nd Corinthians 13:5

Have you been saved?

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, "THAT I MAY APPREHEND:"

Paul the great Christian, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, has been "apprehended" by his Lord!

Such an awesome experience has changed the Man of God!

He himself has now become an "apprehender," or at least wants to be.

Listen to him: "That I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended." Philippians 3:12-13

Paul just humbly told us a couple of days ago, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect." There is linkage between these two verbs, "attained" and "apprehended." The first is "lambano," the second, "katalambano!" And the latter is much stronger than the former one.

But what is it that Paul wants "to seize, to attain, to overtake, to lay hold of, to find?" These are all valid definitions for "katalambano."

Simply stated, he wants to achieve the purposes for which Jesus "apprehended" him, a little Benjamite zealot!

Using that verb, "katalambano," I sought the Apostle's answer or answers to our question.

1. Strange as it may seem, "katalambano" is translated "perceived" or "found" several times in the New Testament. For example, see Acts 10:34 here. "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons." In this context it means "to get a grasp on certain facts, certain bits of knowledge." So, there are some things Paul yet wants to learn! To learn so deeply that they change his life! 

Spiritual knowledge!

"And this I (Paul) pray, that your love (the saved Philippians' love) may abound yet more and more in knowledge ...!" Philippians 1:9

In knowledge!

There are some things God wants us to know! He saved us partly for that reason!

Listen to Jesus in John 17:3. "That they (the saints) might know thee (God the Father) the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Jesus in this Verse defines such knowledge: "This is life eternal."

2. Here's another thing Paul is striving to "apprehend." He expresses it, God's approval, Heaven's reward for faithfulness, as a "prize" in 1st Corinthians 9:24. "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." That last verb, "obtain," is "katalambano." Paul wants "to lay hold of" these "crowns," as he calls them later. Crowns of glory, rejoicing and righteousness, among others.

Once these, a total of five crowns I think, are listed and considered Biblically, we get a much better idea of what motivates Paul! He desperately wants to live a life "approved of God!" He must "achieve" ("katalambano") this for Jesus' sake!

3. Thirdly, Paul wants to "comprehend," again "katalambano," the Love of God! We join him in Ephesians three, one of the greatest chapters in the whole Bible. "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ... that ye may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." Wow!

To "perceive" the Love of God!

In all its dimensions!

What a challenge!

4. No doubt other things were added to Paul's "things to apprehend" list as he grew in grace! "That I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended." Philippians 3:12-13, room to progress!

A Christian with this kind of attitude will always be advancing in the cause of Christ!

He or she will never become "lukewarm."

Such a lifestyle will cause one to be "always abounding in the work of the Lord," as 1st Corinthians 15:58 instructs us!

Thank you, Paul!

Christian friends, maybe we should ask the Lord to help us become more "katalambano" minded! More focused on things God wants us "to apprehend!"

Are we growing in Christ?

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, "THIS ONE THING I DO:"

I just preached about it last night!

In a Revival Meeting!

That is, being a "one thing" kind of Christian!

David, "the man after God's Own Heart," testified in Psalm 27:4, "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple."

This is David's "one thing." Hunger for God! Life-long worship! The New Testament would have said, "Abiding in Christ."

Now today we have come to Paul's great "one thing" statement!

Here it is, Philippians 3:13-14. "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Best I can tell, this is the only "one thing" statement Paul ever wrote too.

Paul's exact expression, "this one thing I do," is all written in Greek with one word, a short word at that! It is simply "en," here a form of the numeral "heis," not thirdly or secondly but first of all!

"Heis" means, according to the lexicons: "the only thing, that certain thing, the single thing." Now, that's concentration! "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

I searched the Scriptures, looking for other "one thing" statements. And I am amazed at how many of them deal with one's relationship with the Lord!

The "one thing" of Solomon's, revealed in Ecclesiastes 3:19, ought to drive a man to God! Listen: "For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity." That "one thing" is quite obvious, death! Men die. Animals die. In this fact they both are alike! Moreover, the wages of sin is death! But the gift of God is eternal life ... through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Here is Jesus' major "one thing" statement, again focusing on fellowship with God! "And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42 presents Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus, reverently absorbing every word He speaks!

Here's the blind man's "one thing," the man Jesus healed in John chapter nine, the man born blind. "He answered and said, Whether He (Jesus) be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." Some were criticizing Jesus, questioning His identity, but this poor old ex-sinner was sure about our Lord! He's just taught us the "one thing" about which we'd better be sure too, our salvation! I'm born again! And Jesus is the One Who did it!

And while we're on the subject, let's not omit Peter's "one thing" statement either. He's talking about the Second Coming of our Lord! "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." 2nd Peter 3:8 then leads to: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night ...." Yet this, Christ's Return, is still fellowship with Jesus! For us Believers! Eternally so! "And so shall we ever be with the Lord!"

This "one thing" emphasis of the Bible certainly centers around knowing Almighty God!

How about you?

Where is HE in your list of priorities?

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, "FORGETTING THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEHIND:"

It's part of Paul's testimony. His way of life. "Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before." Philippians 3:13

The verb "forgetting" is "epilanthanomai," obviously built upon the "lanthano" stem which means "to hide, to be ignorant of, to be unaware." It carries the idea of "not caring for" something, not overly so. Neglecting it! Allowing it to remain in oblivion!

The adverb "behind" is "opiso," that which is "back" of you, that which "follows" you, that which is "after" you.

Now, as you know, some things God does NOT want us to forget! We are not to forget the Lord's Death on Calvary, for example! "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." 1st Corinthians 11:26

Or, "Remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm." Deuteronomy 5:15

But Paul is forgetting all that extra "baggage" that would hinder his Christian walk! Walk, nothing! His Christian race! A marathon, too!

Here's what Paul is forgetting. "Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ." Philippians 3:4-7, marginalized in the Face of Christ Jesus are things like circumcision, natural lineage, racial identity, political leanings, even his pre-salvation religion!

"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him." Philippians 3:8

Often things God has long since forgiven and forgotten, "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more," mankind will not himself forget! She torments herself over past sins that are even now "under the Blood of Jesus!" How very unnecessary!  Jeremiah 31:34 here is quoted twice in Hebrews, as well.

But Paul not only "forgets," he also "remembers!" As in our Verse: "Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before." Philippians 3:13

The verb "reaching forth" translates "epekteinomai," based upon the "teino" stem, picturesquely meaning "to stretch!" Paul here leans forward and extends himself, trying to lay hold of his goal!

He always kept noble things, godly things, honorable things, before himself! Like the proposed trip to Spain to preach the Word of God! "Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey." Romans 15:24

Or the trek down to Jerusalem to help the hungry and suffering saints, stricken by a famine! "To make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem." Acts 11:29-30 adds: "Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul."

Or the sheer determination to stay faithful all his remaining life, faithful to Jesus! "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 24:20

Or the glorious prospect of pleasing Jesus, enjoying His approval for all eternity! "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Then, "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." 2nd Timothy 2:15 and 2nd Timothy 2:4

Or another of Paul's "targets," keeping a clear conscience before God and fellow Believers! "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men." Acts 24:16

Wow!

Christian friend, what is it that you are striving to forget?

What is it that you are reaching to achieve, in Christ Jesus, these dark days?

The answers to those question are really like a spiritual barometer, or maybe a thermometer, maybe even a thermostat! All of which one way or another reveal the status, actually or potentially, of our Christian lives!

One more time, tell us Paul! "Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before." Philippians 3:13

Amen!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, "THE MARK FOR THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING:"

It's one of Paul's many classic statements. Filled not only with Truth, but beauty too! "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14

Our Text for this week, a three-verse Paragraph from Philippians chapter three, begins and ends with the same Greek verb. Let me illustrate. First in English, then in Greek where it's more apparent.

"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14

Both the underlined verbs employ the Greek word "dioko."

"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after ("dioko"), if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press ("dioko") toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

This literary device is called "inclusio." It means: "a literary form in which the same word or phrase stands at the beginning and the end of a unit of literature." I've also heard this feature called "bookends" or "brackets" or "envelopes." It almost always is an Author's way, here the Holy Spirit, of hinting to us the major thrust of a Passage!

Since "dioko" means "to chase, to pursue, to strive for, to seek after, to follow diligently, to run after," even at times being so intense as to mean "to persecute," we have just been told (twice) Paul's thrust, his dynamic, his impetus, his motivation, his determination, his push in the Christian life!

He is one driven man!

In our Verse today, Verse 14, Paul is "pressing," again using "dioko," toward something!

It's his goal for the Christian life!

What is it?

"I press toward the mark for the prize," he says.

This "prize" is "brabeion." The Greek word for an "umpire" at the games is "brabeus," here indicating linkage. Thus, a "brabeion" is the "award" the judge gives at the end of an athletic contest, handing it to the winner!

Paul is in a race! Hebrews 12:1

At times he pictures it also as a boxing match, the Christian life! 1st Corinthians 9:26

Or a wrestling bout! Ephesians 6:12

In each case a "prize" is given to the one who excels! To the victor!

Paul means to be such a person!

And the good thing about the Christian life is that anyone who faithfully runs the race, doing his or her very best, with the Holy Spirit empowering us of course, will be given such a "prize!" We are not competing against each other, but against the devil!

Paul is willing to strongly contend for that award, for that prize, for that crown! He wants to do his very best for Jesus! The intensity of Paul's Christian life was absolutely stunning!

The noun "mark" is "skopos," which is "a goal, an end line, the finishing point," that kind of thing. It's verbal background includes "skeptomai," meaning "to peer" into something! See there our word "skeptic." Paul can't take his eyes off this thing, this "mark!"

Still, we need more information.

And Paul gives it.

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

These "rewards" are associated with a "high calling" of some kind. "Ano klesis" means "an invitation from above!" Paul might be referring to the day he was saved, that "heavenly calling or vision." Also he could have the Rapture in mind. If ever an "upward calling" existed, that's it!

Paul wants to live for Jesus, 100% so, until he is called Home, called to Glory, either at death or at the Second Coming of Jesus!

"Of God" means our Heavenly Father "owns" this "high calling!' It's His possession.

But it only comes to those who are saved, who are "in Christ Jesus," our Lord. New creatures! Blood-washed saints! 

This three-verse Slice of Scripture Paul has written, Philippians 3:12-14, contains as many dynamic words, as many terms expressing determination and diligence, both on God's part and ours, as any in the whole Bible!

Let's memorize it!

"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

We've studied the words, now let's allow the Holy Spirit to give us the sense and thrust and import of the whole context.

Go over this Passage again and again and again, meditating on it and pondering it and digesting it! As you do, it will become a part of you spiritually. And each time through it, you will "see" and "hear" more truth!

It's filled with countless little nuggets of beauty and wisdom!

It has to be! God wrote it!

No wonder Paul, perhaps even the day he died, could say: "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2nd Timothy 4:6-8

Make that your goal too!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

            Thank the Lord that Paul was willing to "open his heart" so freely!

 

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