We are in a strange season – 2020 has been a very different year to what we thought it might be! We are learning so much in this season – what do you need to forget to press on towards what Christ wants? Some of you might need some help with that. Reach out – we’d love to help.
Follow faithful leaders v15-17
For the apostle Paul a mark of maturity is being able to shake off past mess and press on. Mature people, he says, think like that.
They forget the past, press on to the future. They are Phil 1:21 people – to live is Christ, rather than selfish Phil 2:21 people. Paul then says join me, follow me, keep watching people who are going for it.
The apostle Paul writes “follow me” 6x in the New Testament. Follow me, follow my example as I follow Christ. If you want to learn woodwork, follow a woodworker. If you want to get faster running, follow a faster runner. If you want to pray better, follow someone who prays well If you want to evangelist better, follow an evangelist If you want to prophecy more, hang around with prophetic people If you want more compassion, hang around with those who serve the poor.
Who are you following? And who is following you? To have followers you don’t have to be an expert – you only need to be a few minutes ahead!
Know your enemies v18-19
The Apostle Paul wants his readers to be successful in life. And that means knowing who your enemies are, who is going to harm you pressing on to what God wants. They can be in and outside the church. If someone is harming you becoming a Phil 1:21 kind of person. Tell them and break away from that friendship if they won’t stop. Paul shows us 4 things that enemies of Christ will exhibit at least one of. i) end is destruction – they are heading a messy direction. Hell basically! ii) their god is their belly – that means they are all about self-gratification, they lack self-control in all sorts of ways including what they eat and drink. iii) they glory in their shame – that means they boast about their sin. iv) they are only thinking about earthly things – they are Phil 2:21 people not Phil 1:21 to live is Christ. Don’t imitate fools. Follow faithful leaders and have people follow you as we spur one another on to the goal.
All these three things – know your direction, follow faithful leaders and know your enemies are helped by the last one.
Remember your citizenship v20-21
If you are following Christ, your true citizenship is in heaven. I’ve got a UK passport, but my real passport is heaven. My identity is in Christ much more than whether I am black or white; married or single; what my sexuality is or my class or cultural background. We are not defined by those things. We are defined as Christ followers by the fact our citizenship is in heaven and that means that one day we will get full citizenship rights – a new glorified body on a new heaven on earth. So for now I will live primarily identified as a Christ follower.
Follow Jesus – you want joy in your life, you want to have an abundant life? Firstly you need Jesus. The reason we need Jesus is because we have cut ourselves from God through our sinfulness – that’s the stuff we do say and think that is wrong. There’s no amount of good stuff we can do that will outweigh the bad and make us right before God. So Jesus came to bridge that gap. He came and lived a perfect life and then offered himself to die in our place on the cross. His death takes the punishment for us that our sins deserve. So if we start to follow Him – we get that exchange – our mess for his righteousness. Start to follow Jesus right now with a simple prayer
Praying those words and believing them means that you have become a Christian. The slate is wiped clean – it’s that simple – you can now forget the past and press on to the future!
Have you done that? Are you forgetting the past and straining forwards, pressing on in God?
Who are you following to grow in your faith? Who is following you?
Are you growing in your identity as a citizen of heaven?
Andy Moyle (from a March Sermon)