There is Only One Way pt 3

Jul 28, 2022 // By:Dave // No Comment

last week we talked about 

3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;

3:11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

  1. know Him
  • γνῶναι = (root is ginosko) discern, understand with mastery
  • in aorist active infinitive (knowing presently, ongoing)
  • “This is Paul’s major passion, to get more knowledge of Christ by experience” from Robertson’s Word Pictures
  • i.e. experience of a cyclic behavior “understand, then do”
  1. power of His resurrection
  • δύναμιν τῆς ἀναστάσεως αὐτοῦ (dunamis tais anastaseoos autou) 
  • strength of the rising up of Him
  • in the sense of assurance to believers in immortality
  1. fellowship of His sufferings
  • κοινωνίαν τῶν παθημάτων αὐτοῦ (koinonian ton pathamaton) = sharing (participation, communion) in His affliction
  • Partnership in (objective genitive) his sufferings, an honour prized by Paul 
  • Col. 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh bI 1do my share on behalf of cHis body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking 2in Christ’s afflictions.
  • Phil 1:21 to live is Christ, to die is gain

notice that most of what Paul mentions is present day living ?

from the message:

Phil. 3:10 ¶ I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself.

Phil. 3:11 If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

Paul happily trades all his accomplishments for knowing Christ

  • personally (a deep intimate relationship)
  • experiencing the confidence that comes from the resurrection
  • partnering in the suffering

he then goes on to write

3:12 ¶ Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

3:13 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,

3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul has used words like this before (sports metaphors)
pressing on

laying hold

reaching forward

pressing towards a goal

Gal. 5:7 ¶ You were arunning well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?

1Cor. 9:25 Everyone who acompetes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable bwreath, but we an imperishable.

1 Cor. 9:26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.

Eph. 6:12 For we wrestle not against 1bflesh and blood, but cagainst the rulers, against the powers, against the dworld forces of this edarkness, against the fspiritual forces of wickedness in gthe heavenly places.

2Tim. 2:5 Also if anyone acompetes as an athlete, he 1does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.

Heb. 6:1 ¶ Therefore aleaving bthe 1elementary teaching about the 2Christ, let us press on to 3cmaturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from ddead works and of faith toward God,

Jude 3 ¶ aBeloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our bcommon salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you ccontend earnestly for dthe faith which was once for all ehanded down to fthe 1saints.

Paul also says he has not arrived at the goal, the finish line

(there is frankly no other runner he can compare himself to)

“we dont arrive this side of eternity”

some think they have, trust me, they have not

he does not measure himself by comparing himself to those around him (slower or faster)

he is focused on the finish line and nothing else

one thing (this is my focal point)

prioritization is his point

(object lesson of time management using different size rocks in big container)

appropriate “no” means appropriate “yes”

Greek olympics would likely have been in Pauls mind

Here are some interesting facts about olympic athletes

  1. He was to be Greek, a citizen of the Empire.
  2. He had to understand the language of the Empire.
  3. He had to arrive to the Elysian Fields one month before the Games began.
  4. During this time, he would be inspected by the Hellanodikai.
  5. A proven athlete was not allowed to withdraw from competition.
  6. There was to be no bribery or self-promoting techniques.


understanding the language, 

understand the terrain of the competition, 

do what is necessary for preparation,

submit to qualification requires,(set apart – holy)

withdrawal was not an option,

no cheating allowed

in verse 13 he mentions forgetting what lays behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead


cant live from past glory

(meaning you cant run while looking backward)

present opportunities are what matter (and choosing the correct course for best future victories

running fast is not the goal

running in the right direction is (there is only one finish line that counts)

Discipline yourself by considering your purpose. Keep focused on the goal and run at it even though it is painful and uncomfortable. It will be worth it when you arrive at the desired prize.

back to 

3:13 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,

3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.


Forgetting speaks of the athlete’s passion. This phrase is at times removed from its context. At times, people may be reminded to “forget those things which are behind” as though Paul is dealing with past failures. However, contextually it is clear that he is dealing with past accomplishments. He is saying that past victories do not guarantee victory in today’s race.

Reaching is that of stretching, straining, towards a single present point of focus against all of his instincts. This is what he has trained for; this is his moment. Discomfort and pain are not strong enough factors to cost him a crown. The runner will reach with all that is in him.

Pressing  is that of hastening, pursuing, for a purpose. Paul’s phrase forms an idiom, “literally ‘to pursue to a goal, to press toward a goal’ to strive energetically for some purpose—‘to strive toward a goal, to press on with the purpose of.’ “…the mark for the prize…”

forgetting = mental focus

reaching = action of focus

pressing = refusing to be content with past progress towards the point of focus

            This phrase speaks of the athlete’s prize or pursuit. The mark, the scope of the target, for which this athlete is focused upon is the high calling. This high calling is literally the upward calling. In both the Greek, and later the Roman, games, the judge (and at certain seasons, the Emperor), would call the victorious athlete up to the Judge’s Seat and there in front of the crowd, the athlete would receive the victor’s laurels. The Judge had issued an “upward calling” for the participant. In like manner, the Christian is listening for his Judge, the Lord Jesus Christ, to sound out an upward, high calling to these victorious participants to receive the crown.

To hear the Judge say, “Well done; you have finished your course; you have won,” – this is the longing for the Christian who strives to play within the rules; who desires to not be disqualified and castaway; who believes that any discomfort and pain in this life pales in comparison with the chance to win the victor’s crown from Christ.

3:15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;

3:16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.

3:17 ¶ Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.

3:18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ,

3:19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.

3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

3:21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

4:1 ¶ Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.


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