Expository Preaching
J. Michael Shannon and Robert C. Shannon
(c)opyright J. Michael Shannon, 1982
"Pressing On"
Philippians 3:12-21

A.  Life is a challenge.
B.  It is so challenging that it requires a great deal of discipline and determination.
Proposition:  It takes effort to maintain a right relationship with Christ.

  I.  MOVING AHEAD, vs. 12-14

A.  Keep your mind on your goal.
B.  Keep your mind off the past.
C.  Keep your mind off the difficulties.
D.  Keep your mind off yourself.
 II.  STAYING AHEAD, vs. 15-17
A.  Don't grow weary.
B.  Don't give up.
C. Don't be complacent.
III.  LOOKING AHEAD, vs. 18-21
A. There are only two choices.
B. One choice is to live as an "enemy of Christ"
1. Their desire
2. Their destiny
C. The better choice is to live as a "citizen of Heaven"
1. Their hope
2. Their help
Conclusion:  The rewards are great for those who are willing to pay the price.

    Augustus boasted of Rome that he found it a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.  Perhaps we cannot look at the world and find that we leave it much different than we found it.  But surely we can look at life and say that we had some influence, taken some opportunity, made some improvements.

    In a single day, Guthrie, Oklahoma, became a city of 10,000.  That was the time when Indian territories were first opened to settlement.  Can you imagine a city growing so large so fast?  Think of the problems.  We sometimes expect too much too soon.  When that fails, we become defeated, complacent, or indifferent, and we stop expecting any improvement.  Somewhere there is a balance between expecting too much too soon and having no expectations at all.

    A minister said he received an announcement of a new magazine that would make him more efficient in his work.  They sent him four identical letters in the same mail!  They wanted to help him be efficient but had overlooked a gross inefficiency of their own.  We want to help others, and we want to develop ourselves.

    Islanders on Andros Island in the Bahamas believe in a spirit called Chickcharnee.  Some say they have seen him in the forested interiors of the island.  They say that if you see him, you must not laugh.  If you do, he will turn your head around backward.  That has already happened to some people.  All they can see is the past.  They are either weeping over past failures or glorying over past achievements, but it is all in the past.  They have their heads turned around backward.

    On the Hawaiian island of Maui is a church with a most unusual story.  A storm struck the island and deposited enough coral to build a stone church.  When it was finished, another storm came up and washed the leftover coral back to sea.  They call it the miracle church!  We can expect no such convenient miracles to take the place of our own effort and service.
        God sends no churches from the skies;
        Out of men's hearts they must arise.

    Along the Danube River, on top of a prominent hill, is the famous Weissenkirk, with 365 steps leading up to it from the valley below.  So there may be many steps to reaching our spiritual goals, whether they are personal goals or collective goals for our congregation.  We must not get discouraged.  We must take one step at a time.

     They once bragged that all roads led to Rome.  It was not true, of course, It is never true that all roads lead to the same destination.  In life, we must choose our roads carefully and inquire as to their destination.  When we come to a crossroads, we must assume that those two roads certainly do not lead to the same place.  We must look for the signposts and make our choices wisely.

Live With Insight (3:2-11)
Table of Contents
Live With Power (4:1-13)

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