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The Royal - Book Six: Letters (Week 3)
Miles McPherson - November 21, 2010

Message Recap

Recently a female racehorse, Zenyatta, had been amazing the world by coming from last to first in several consecutive races. In her last big race, she came from dead last once again, but disappointed many by narrowly missing the victory. Although people were disappointed, Zenyatta is a horse. She only wants affection, a warm shelter, and food to eat. She runs because she is told to run hard, and she probably doesn’t even realize she has lost.

Pastor Miles likened this story to Philippians 3. Paul encourages the church to be obedient to God alone, running the race because He asks us to, and not worried about who will win. We “press on” in the race to try to attain the personhood He has designed for us.

Genre: Epistles – Read like a letter.

Read the entire epistle 2-3 times all the way through and answer the following questions:

  1. Who wrote the epistle?
    Answer: Paul (Philippians 1:1)
  2. To whom was it written?
    Answer: Saints in Philippi (Philippians 1:1)
  3. Why was it written, or what issue or conflict caused the letter to be written?
    Answer: Thank the saints and encourage unity. (Philippians 1:3-27)
  4. What does the author say about the issue?
    Answer: Press on to the upward call of Christ! (Philippians 3:12-14)
  5. Read: Philippians 3

    Discovery: Press on in pursuit of God’s supernatural version of ourselves.

    Reflect: How badly do you want Jesus’ righteousness, power, and fellowship?

    that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death… Philippians 3:9-10

    Isaiah 64:6 says our own righteousness is like filthy rags. We need God’s righteousness, being instead like a diamond, which has no light of its own but reflects the light around it. Press on to be the best supernatural, humble, prayerful version of you, reflecting the light of God.

    Respond: Forget what is behind and reach for what is ahead.

    A. Forget those things that are behind. Philippians 3:7-8

    Beware of negative friends. We all have people in our lives who wear us out, criticize us, and influence us to do sinful things. Who are those people in your life?

    Trash your worldly idols. We are trying to follow Christ, but we have balls and chains tying us down. What things do you pursue simply for your own pride or to build up your own identity? These could be fashion, career, financial wealth, status symbols, etc. It may seem like you can’t live without these things, but you can. Cut yourself loose and let them go!

    But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him… Philippians 3:7-8

    B. Reach up to the call of Christ. Philippians 3:12-14

    Pick one of the following to pursue wholeheartedly right now:

    • Memorize the Bible. We remember song lyrics, movie lines . . . but what about Scripture? Scripture is alive and powerful and can actually change lives.
    • Lead a consistent prayer life. Is your only prayer at food time? Spend some deep meaningful time with the Lord, sharing your thoughts and questions with Him and listening to His responses.
    • Be obedient. Are you pressing on to listen to God’s voice in your life or are you pressing on to be as disobedient as possible, ignoring every bit of advice you are hearing from Him? Practice listening and acting accordingly.
    • Confess sin. Take responsibility for your wrongdoing. Reach out to rectify situations where you mess up. Admit your fault and say you are sorry.
    • Serve humbly. Esteem others better than yourself and pay attention to the needs of others.
    • Give generously. All the wealth and blessing we have is God’s. Recognize that you are simply as steward and be willing to part with what He has given you as a measure of gratitude.
    • Surrender completely. Turn your back on the world and focus on the Lord’s purpose for you in each day. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20
  6. How does this epistle relate to and challenge us today?
    You are in a race. Are you pressing? Are you doing everything you can to become the person that God wants you to be?

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