Philippians 3:12-21(HCSB) 12 Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore, all who are mature should think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you. 16 In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained. 17 Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 18 For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, 20 but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 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.
It is also quite possible that the Judaizers, the Jewish teachers who were plaguing the Philippian church, were telling the Philippians that spiritual perfection was available if they would be circumcised and keep the law. It is also true that there were heretics floating around at that time who believed you could reach a certain level of knowledge in which you attained perfection. So, to answer the Gnostics who thought they had reached that level, to answer the Judaizers who thought they had reached that level through circumcision and law-keeping, and to answer anybody else who might assume that because he had the knowledge, the righteousness, the power, the fellowship, and the glory of Christ he was therefore perfect, he quickly in verse 12 launches into a passage which is a total disclaimer of any spiritual perfection. That’s his intent in this passage. He wants us to know that he is not perfect. He has not reached moral perfection. He has not reached spiritual perfection, even though he is a new creation; even though he has a new heart and a new disposition which desires strongly holy things; even though he has union with Jesus Christ and a new mind – the mind of Christ – even though he has new standing before God and is accepted by God and entitled to heaven and has the righteousness of Christ covering him; even though he has the indwelling Holy Spirit, who is the power of God; even though he has promised future glory and indwelling glory in that Spirit, he has not arrived – he is not perfect. He is still temptable. He is still the possessor of his unredeemed flesh. He is still a sinner. The very heart of the gospel is in Martin Luther’s latin phrase, “Simul Justus et Peccator.” This means that a Christian is at the same time both righteous and a sinner. Human beings are justified by grace alone, but at the same time they will always remain sinners, even after salvation and baptism. The doctrine of “simul justus” is not an excuse for lawlessness, or a license for continued sinful conduct; rather, properly understood, it comforts the person who truly wishes to be free from sin and is aware of the inner struggle within him. Romans 7:15-25(ESV) For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Thus, any thought of perfection must be set aside in favor of pursuing the perfection that every believer must recognize he doesn’t have. That’s the point. He had already been placed in Christ, already accepted by God, already gifted with all of these tremendous things, and yet he was not perfect. He had not arrived.
Peter understood it when Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:18(HCSB)18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. He was saying the same thing Paul is saying here. There’s a growing process. When you’re saved, yes, you receive the knowledge of Christ; yes, you receive the righteousness of Christ, positionally, imputed to your account; yes, you receive the power of Christ in your life; yes, you receive the fellowship of Christ in communion with Him; yes, you receive the glory of Christ but not in perfection. And so there must be growth. There must be the pursuit of the goal. There must be the running of the race. That’s his point. The pressing toward the mark.
But why do all this if we are already guaranteed Heaven? First of all, it glorifies God. And that’s what a Christian is supposed to do with his life is bring glory to God. Secondly, it verifies regeneration. It makes demonstrable the fact that you are truly changed because you’re in the progress of making it visible that your life is being changed. Thirdly, it adorns the truth. It lets you literally wear the truth of God so others can see it. Fourthly, it grants you assurance. When there is spiritual progress in your life there is the sense that you belong to God, because you can see His work and your calling and election become sure. Not only that, it preserves you from the sorrows and the tragedies of spiritual weakness, which are not enjoyable to any believer any time.
The apostle Paul is trying to show the readers in Philippi that because he is a Christian does not mean he has attained perfection. But beyond that, I believe he is trying to teach all of us and all generations that perfection in this life is a goal, not an achievement. It is something you pursue but never reach.
Jesus tells a parable of a fig tree that bears no fruit in Luke 13:6:9(ESV)6 And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 9 Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
Fig trees were planted in vineyards and taken care of by gardeners who worked for the owners of the vineyard.
The fig trees represents us/ the church, the owner represents God and the gardener is Jesus interceding for us. God is basically saying all these trees (Church goers) are bearing fruit but this one is not, so cut it down and remove it, then Jesus intercedes and says 1 more year let me dig around it and put manure, then if it still does not bear fruit then remove it.
Healthy Fig trees that are fruit producing are pruned very little. The thinning stimulates new growth and it increases fruit size. Fig trees that do not produce fruit are thinned out meaning the diseased, weak and dead limbs during the dormant season, the following season if it doesn’t produce fruit they are chopped down and burned.
In the parable Jesus is pleading the case with the creator God to have mercy on the people who look like the other Christians but bear no fruit. He is saying let me prune them and put manure on them and if that doesn’t work then cut em down and burn them. Pruning is a good thing alot of times we think we are going through stuff, we think the whole world is against us God is far from us, our cat has an attitude but it is a pruning to produce fruit and it could possibly the last pruning. The manure we sometimes endure is healthy for us to produce fruit later on. Manure is used a fertilizer. We need discernment to recognize what is going on. People, jobs, things, places etc are pruned from our lives and we think it is so horrible but in all actuality it’s a pruning. Those things were the diseased, dead and weak limbs keeping us from bearing fruit.
Hebrews 13:17(ESV)17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
We are spirit , soul and body. When we are Justified our spirit is instantly saved, but our soul(mind,will and emotions) are in a constant state of being saved(sanctified). Then our body will be saved when we die(Glorified).
The one of the main jobs of the pastor is to help you along with the middle part. Sanctification, people especially in America do not like being told what to do, they lash out, call names, try to justify their sins, do everything they can except to obey the Word and repent. Dont believe me? want to check my messages?
Spiritual living, the Christian life, is a process of pursuing Christlikeness. The Christian life is a process of pursuing Christlikeness, that in simple terms is the direction of the whole matter of sanctification. We must become more and more like Jesus Christ. Simply stated, that is the Christian life to be more like Jesus and less like our old selves. Obedience to Jesus Christ is the Highest Form Of Worship Love is a choice. You have to choose to Love Jesus Christ enough to Obey Him. John 14:15(ESV)“If you love me, obey my commandments.
Being Obedient to the Word of God means putting your faith hope and love for Jesus Christ in action. Jesus Christ Himself is the living Word of God and He is God.Obedience has always been the Highest form of Worship. That is why it was the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the garden that brought sin and death into the world. Christians have to practice what Jesus Christ preached. Reading The Bible, Prayer and Giving are the three basic elements that we as Christians should be doing on a daily and weekly basis.
Matthew 7:21-24(HCSB)21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock.
You remember when Jesus came and called His disciples, He said, “Follow Me.” And that particular command has not been replaced or improved upon. The whole matter of the Christian life and Christianity is this matter of following Christ to become more and more like Him. The apostle John said that if you belong to Christ, if you abide in Christ, then you ought to walk as Christ walked. The apostle Paul, writing to the Galatians, said, “I have pain until Christ is fully formed in you.” And writing to the Corinthians he said a couple of times, “Be followers of me, as I am of Christ.”
John 14: 23-24(HCSB)23 Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me.
But most significant, perhaps to us, is the word of God the Father. Romans 8:5-11(HCSB)5 For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you. Christ called us to be like Him. God’s purpose in the beginning, that we be made like Jesus Christ. Now, the goal then of every Christian’s life is to be like Christ. That is the goal. That is the thing which we pursue. That is the purpose of our time here, and that is the pursuit of our sanctification. It then becomes the life-long objective of every Christian to become more and more and more like Jesus Christ. That is as basic as it can be stated.
The most important thing to say is that it is a life of confidence in God. And the foundation of our confidence is this promise: The furnace of affliction in the family of God is always for refinement, never for destruction. Which simply means that life in the refiner’s fire is a life of trust in the unchanging, purifying love of God.
1 Peter 4:12(NLT)12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
God is more concerned with your character than He is with your comfort.
God is more concerned with your holiness than He is with your happiness.
God is more concerned with you as a person than He is with your possessions.
God doesn’t care about your reputation; He cares about your Character.
For Godly character to be in us HE has to work our fleshly character out of us. God doesn’t change our personality, He changes our character.
Character is what you are behind closed doors, when no one is watching, when your all alone, when you don’t have to wear the “mask” in front of people.
Godly character is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification. Sanctification, or in its verbal form, sanctify, literally means “to set apart” for special use or purpose, that is, to make holy or sacred. Therefore, sanctification refers to the state or process of being set apart, i.e. made holy.
Character in the believer is a consistent manifestation of Jesus in his/her life. It is the purity of heart that God gives becoming purity in action. God sometimes uses trials to strengthen character:
Romans 5:3-5(NLT) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
To have Godly character we must kill the flesh and feed the spirit.
Galatians 5:17(NLT) The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
The closest thing to a biblical definition of the flesh is Romans 8:7-8,(ESV)“The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
So the flesh is the old “me” who used to rebel against God. In the flesh I was hostile and insubordinate. I hated the thought of admitting I was dead with sin. I defied the idea that my greatest need was God to make me alive. In the flesh I trusted my wisdom not God’s. So nothing I did in the flesh could please God, because “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). And the flesh does nothing from faith.
So “the flesh” is the old self-reliant, faithless me. This is what died when God saved me. God clamped the arteries on my old unbelieving heart of stone. And when it died He took it out and gave me a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26).
‘What’s the difference between this new heart that lives and the old one that died? Galatians 2:20(ESV)20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. The old heart that died trusted in itself; the new heart banks on Christ every day.
How do dead people do battle with sin? They do battle with sin by trusting the Son of God. They are dead to Satan’s lie, which goes like this: ‘You will be happier if you trust your own ideas about how to be happy instead of trusting the counsel and the promises of Christ.” Christians have died to that deceit. So the way they fight Satan is by trusting that the paths and promises of Christ are better than Satan’s.