Philippians 3:12-14 Keep Moving Forward
Since you are still in school, future graduates, I have a little assignment for you. This assignment is only for the students. I want you to pull out a cell phone if you have one.Here is the number: XXX-XXXX.
Now send me your first name and the answer to this question as a text message:
What goal do you have for your life? In other words, what is a goal you have planned to do when you graduate from school?
[Answer a text message or two]
Everyone one of you are sitting here because you have achieved a goal – the goal of graduating from Southwest High School in Washburn, Missouri. But while everyone here has finished this important goal, God still has a more important goal for you in your life:
It is not to have the biggest house, the best job, or the most things. God’s purpose in your life is to become more like Jesus Christ.
To put it in other words: God wants you to keep moving forward as He changes you to be more like Jesus Christ. You see, maturity takes time. You can learn all kinds of things in school. But Jesus will teach you more. Paul states the goal in (3:10).
“My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,” (Philippians 3:10, HCSB)
In other words, Paul set as His goal to become like Jesus Christ. To know Him, to know His resurrection power, to join Him in His sufferings, and to follow Him to His death. Paul’s goal was to follow Jesus and be more like Him.
Paul refers to the goal again in (3:12), and admits that he is pursuing the goal in (3:14). He states that his goal is a “prize”, and that it is a “promise”, and that it is a “person” – Jesus Christ.
The problem with achieving this goal is that there are things which prevents me and you from moving forward. Sometimes, you and I have to forget some things in the past in order to keep moving forward to become more like Jesus Christ. If there are some things in your past which prevent you from moving forward, then you need to “forget” them.
See, you are going to leave here today and your life will never be the same. Some of you will get married. Some of you will have children. Some of you will look for jobs. Some of you will go further with academic education. I can understand that. I have a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and I am working on a doctorate degree right now. As my Dad frequently says, I never really left school. While pursuing higher education is a noble goal, it is not the ultimate goal for your life. Because life throws you curves that you don’t expect. There will be times when you will need to hold onto Jesus. Just as Paul had to hold on to Jesus for help along the journey, you will need to take hold of Jesus and receive help from Him. You really can’t live your life alone.
So I urge you to take the Bibles that are given to you and put them to good use. Read them, and let God’s Word guide you. Many of you have a church home. However, some of you do not. I would like to further urge you to get connected to your church family. God designed you to know Jesus Christ personally and intimately. You can’t get to know Jesus very well on Facebook. It takes a connection to His church. So if you aren’t a member, these pastors sitting behind me want you to know that God cares for you and that the churches they serve care for you as well. It is because these churches in the Southwest community care for you, that you are able to attend this special ceremony today. The church is Jesus Christ’s reminder to you that He wants to keep hold of you and guide you in your life. A good church is a home where you can explore God while you walk your life’s journey.
Finally, I would urge you to not give up. There are going to be times when life makes you wonder if God has given up on you. He hasn’t. He still loves you and looks forward to guiding you. Even when you have your doubts about following Jesus, keep moving forward by trusting Him. Sometimes, it may feel like Jesus has removed His hand. Please know from these verses today that in reality, He has not. God’s purpose for you is to become more like His Son Jesus by following Him. Jesus is leading the way and setting the goals for your life. Keep moving forward and Jesus will show you the way.