Fruit

things above

Bible Talk: Persevering In Christ October 24, 2009

Greetings

Hello! HSC is under way! In one week I will be flying off to Hong Kong for a holiday while I giggle at all of the poor suckers like the rest of the state excluding myself who still have to study for the week ahead. And giggle even harder at the ones who have to study for the week after THAT.

But anyway, here is something to fill the gap in between my blogs because I am not exactly blogging any more until after HSC finishes. So my blog on ISCF at Ruse will be coming up after this one.

Yes, I said I would put up the talk I wrote in year 10 and also my talk from term 2 ISCF here so this is the year 10 talk (not done at school), with as little editing as possible. It’s not a very LONG LONG talk, so hopefully you can read it without dying in the middle. During stressful times (e.g. HSC), I think it is very easy to push God aside and let your studies take first priority. But I think that striving towards knowing Christ is something that should be constant. It shouldn’t be pushed aside for anything. If we stop doing this for exams, what is taking priority in your life? And what is more important than God? I’ve been challenged myself because a lot of the time I put other things in my life before God but I know this isn’t right. If I have this hope of salvation, then what am I doing in putting things of the world before God?

If you’re reading this and you’re in year 12, I hope you’re doing well and that exams aren’t weighing you down. Don’t stress too much! Just do your best, leave the rest to God and it will all be over soon! Then PARTYTIME! See you all on the other side of HSC!

And if you’re not in year 12, I hope you’re doing horribly. Kidding, of course. I also hope that you’re doing well and not stressing too much over whatever you might have going on in your life.

So yes. Until after HSC,

Peace, love and lol.

Simon

Persevering in Christ

Passage: Philippians 3:12-4:1

Introduction

How do we become more like Christ? Imagine you’re running a 100km  marathon. You’ve still got half of it left to go and you’ve already fallen over so many times on the run because you’re just not that fit (like Andrew Tsang. Sorry, just had to throw that bit in when I re-read this). You remember all the times you fell down and how painful it was and just thinking about it makes you want to pull out of the marathon. The rest of the 50 kilometres you have left… I mean, it’s spastic to even think about running it when you remember how tired you are… and how much it hurt before when you fell over! But should you really be spending all that time thinking about what happened before instead of focusing on the finish line? Let’s look at Philippians and see what it says about what we should do in trying to achieve Christ-likeness.

Passage Breakdown

In 3:12-13, Paul writes “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold on me. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” He starts off by saying that he isn’t perfect. Paul is writing this letter in prison, so even though he’s suffering in prison for Christ he’s not perfect! But something he does is forgetting what is behind and strains towards what is ahead. If you’re having school exams and you just flunked your maths exam, you don’t go home and worry about maths and start studying for it again, do you? NO! That test is already over, so you start studying for your next exam because there is NO point worrying about the test that is already over. In a similar way, we shouldn’t keep worrying and feeling GUILTY about how we’ve sinned against God, because he forgives us for whatever we’ve done. So instead, we are to strain on towards what is ahead. Verse 14 says “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” This prize that Paul is pressing on towards is knowing and GAINING Christ completely. In chapter 3:8-10 in the passage before this, Paul says that everything is a loss compared with the greatness of knowing Christ. He says he wants to know Christ above ALL other things!

In verses 15-16, Paul continues, “All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” He is writing this to the Christians at Philippi, and is telling them that they too, are not perfect. And if they THINK they are, God will correct them. We need to admit that we aren’t perfect. We are to live up to what we have already attained. This means that if we claim to be perfect, we are to show that we are perfect through our lives. If we AREN’T perfect (we’re not), we need to persevere to become more Christlike.

In verses 17-19, Paul writes “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.” Paul wants us to follow his example of persevering towards gaining Christ. He says not to follow those who are enemies of the cross of Christ. Following the cross of Christ is suffering and being a servant to others.. while enemies of the cross indulge in the things of the world. But verse 20 tells us that our citizenship is in heaven.. this means that we should have our mind on heaven, instead of following the ways of the world. Say you wanna lose a whole lot of weight. If your focus is on losing weight, you wouldn’t indulge and stuff yourself with KFC every day, would you? Like this, since we belong in heaven, we shouldn’t “stuff” ourselves with earthly things, and instead we are to focus on heaven.

In verses 20-21, Paul says that we as Christians belong in heaven.. and we wait for Jesus to return from there to raise us up with him and transform our bodies to be glorious like his.

Then in 4:1, Paul finishes by saying that we are to stand firm in the Lord. This means we are to forget what is behind, so we can focus and persevere towards the goal of knowing and gaining Christ completely.

Application

So how do we press on towards gaining Christ?

  • We first need to realise we are not perfect. Then we need to forget what is behind us (all the guilt from sins of the past) by asking God for his forgiveness.
  • We need to keep meeting up with each other… ENCOURAGE one another and spurring each other on. It’s so much easier to run the race with others helping you along through it.
  • In striving towards Christ-likeness reading the Bible is very important, as it is there for us to understand Christ.
  • PRAYER: nothing is possible without God. How can we press on towards knowing Christ if we don’t ask God Himself to help us?

So to run the race, we need to forget what is behind us, and persevere towards the prize: the greatest thing of all, knowing and gaining Christ Jesus our Lord.

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