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Philippians 3:1-14

Take Hold of Christ

  • Andrew May
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • May 26, 2019

Paul wants the sum of his life and choices to be to take hold of Christ. We all make choices every single day that either move us towards taking hold of Christ or taking hold of the wind. What holds the most weight in your life?

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Take Hold of Christ

Philippians 3:1-14

Philippians 3:1-14- Context of Passage 

– Paul is writing to the church in Philippi.

– Philippi is the first church Paul had planted in eastern Europe (Acts 16)

– Paul faced resistance in Philippi because many there were strongly dedicated to Roman nationalism. Paul’s message of “Jesus is Lord” did not sit well with them.

– Paul is writing to them and thanking them for supporting him and staying faithful to the way of Jesus despite persecution they were facing.

– Paul is writing while he is in prison.

-Philippians 1:21- For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Philippians 3:1-14- Read thru 

What is it about winning that we love so much?

-beating other

-receiving a prize (medal, trophy, money)

-affirmation and validation

Story- Winning my first and last race in track! 

What is the pursuit of your life?

-achieve some sort of status or professional success

-raise a family and be known as a good husband/wife or father/mother

-to be validated and liked. To please those around you.

-to leave a lasting memory or impact on the world.

What would we surrender to succeed?

-Would you work overtime?  

-Would you give up time with your kids to put your best foot forward? 

-Would you push yourself to burn out in hope to bring home enough?  

Could it be that what you are building is something God never wanted?

Could it be that the reason you’re so exhausted is because you striving for something that is truly like chasing the wind?

Ecclesiastes 1:14 

I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Story Conclusion- I don’t even know where that varsity jacket is! 

I. Our confidence and security need to be in Christ alone!  

Paul tells us to rejoice but be ready for the haters (V 1-3)

-Everywhere Paul went he had haters who wanted to falsely accuse him 

-This group of Jewish “Christians” sought to restore the law into the church and said that everyone needed to be circumcised.  

-Paul has been teaching about spiritual transformation.  

-Paul is drawing the line here about the source of true discipleship.  

A. We need not live for the approval of man

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.Galatians 1:10

“If you live for people’s acceptance, you’ll die by their rejection.”– Lecrae

Paul gives us his resume (V 4-6)

-Paul was a first round draft pick Jew.

-Paul had a lot going for him before Jesus met with him on his way to Damascus.

Reread verse 7-9 

B. Paul puts no confidence in his own ability anymore. 

-His perspective has shifted from thinking he could be righteous on his own to knowing that his true righteousness and life is found only in Christ

-He considers his accolades and past and in light of Christ they appear to him as useful as “garbage,” “dung,” or the more famous term “poopie.”

-That is some seriously strong language to be referring to his life’s work pre encountering Jesus.

What kind of argument would you make for your personal righteousness before God? Can you imagine the conversation?

Paul thought he was chasing the dream but realized instead he was chasing the wind!

-We sacrifice so much in our lives towards temporary goals.

-We need to carry the same attitude of Paul in our faith.

-Confidence based on anything worldly is going to appear for what it is in sight of Jesus.

Isaiah 64:6 – All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 

Luke 12:16-21- “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” 

Matthew 16:25-27 – What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. 

Reread verse 10-12

II. Paul wants his life to hidden with Christ. 

Colossians 3:1-4– Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  

Paul wants the sum of his life and choices to be to take hold of Christ.

-We all make choices every single day that either move us towards taking hold of Christ or taking hold of the wind.

-Paul desired for his devotion to be set on Christ.

“If you lose sight of God’s incalculable glory, you will live like a king instead of trusting the King, and you will load kingly burdens on your shoulders. If you lose sight of God’s amazing grace, you will try to produce by human effort what will only ever come by means of divine grace. Paul David Tripp 

A. What holds the most weight in your life?

-Is it your faith in Christ or your faith in man?

-Is it your faith in Christ or your striving towards worldly accolades?

-Is it for the kingdom of God or is it for the kingdom of me?

Reread Verse 13-14 

B. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.

Story- Moving to Oregon and dropping rocks along the way.  

Let the past be the past.  

-I had to learn to drop the rocks.

-I had to learn to let go of the expectations and my striving to earn God’s love and focus my devotion and affection on Christ.

Matthew 11: 28-30- “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


“Our savior has declared that we are to be completely dependent upon him and what he accomplished for us, but in overconfidence we hastily run past his accomplishments and seek rest in our own” Elyse Fitzpatrick 

The challenge is two fold.

1.Stop living in the guilt and shame of your failures and take hold of Christ free gift of grace and love. His strength is made perfect in our weakness!

2 Corinthians 12:9-10But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

2.Put no confidence in your own efforts and surrender your expectations and accolades to God. Our striving is like chasing the wind and our stresses our temporary. Let the sum of our choices be to take hold of he who has taken hold of us!

Philippians 3:1-14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Goal of Life
3 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.
2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the [a]false circumcision; 3 for we are the true [b]circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, 4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.
7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss [c]in view of the surpassing value of [d]knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, [e]for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and [f]the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 [g]in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on [h]so that I may lay hold of that [i]for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.


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