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Pressing Forward. Sermon Summary Notes 27th Oct.

If religious pride, and spiritual carelessness are two pitfalls of the Christian life, how can we avoid them? The apostle Paul's answer is 'think like the mature, and live like a citizens of another city.

You can download summary notes for this coming Sunday's sermon in English here and in French here.

Or you read them below:

Pressing Forward

Philippians 3:12-21

The Philippians face a number of difficulties. Firstly they face external opposition, and this is revealing cracks in their unity. But they are also facing difficulties from religious people who are teaching that Jesus alone is not enough for salvation, they also need to obey the Old Testament Law.

Paul says that obeying the Law is no longer necessary. However, he realizes that they may misunderstand him to mean that either he has already achieved spiritual perfection, or that how we live doesn’t matter.

Think Like the Mature

Paul wants the Philippians to think like a mature Christian, to imitate him. Is that proud? No, because of the three ways that characterize how a mature Christian thinks:

- The mature Christian knows they have not arrived.

- The mature Christian forgets the past: they refuse to be imprisoned either by a good or bad past.

- The mature Christian presses on for the prize, even through hardships and hindrances. The prize is Christ.

The Wrong Kind of Example

There are also other examples we can follow, but these may be ‘cross-lite’ versions of ‘Christianity.’ These can seem very attractive in comparison to a race of endurance.

Paul says that such people have made their belly their god. They think that what satisfies their appetites, for sex, drink, relationships, food, can satisfy their souls. They think that they will find happiness in these things, but Paul says they end up controlling and destroying us. And so Paul ends by pointing to a better way of seeing the world.

Citizens of Another City

The citizens of Philippi, as Roman citizens, were used to living as citizens of a far off city (Rome). Paul says that rather than setting our minds on earthly things, as the wrong kind of examples do, we should see the city to which we really belong, and live as citizens of that city now.

Rather than live for our bodily desires, we can live in the knowledge that Christ is transforming our bodies, that one day we will become all he has created us to be. There will be a day when we have arrived.

So, think like the mature, avoid following the wrong kind of example, and live now as a citizen of another city.