January 5, 2020 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction and Background (Philp 3:13,14)
A. The apostle Paul was sitting in prison in Rome
B. And instead of moaning, he was busy dictating a letter to some of the most precious people in his life – the Christians in Philippi (MAP)
C. And he is trying to encourage THEM
1. Isn’t THAT the work of the ministry? Encouraging OTHERS, when YOU are chin-deep in troubles?
2. That’s the Christian life – living for others!
D. How did he encourage struggling Christians to keep going?
1. Well, Paul knew how hard it was to just stay faithful, and be consistent, and to keep doing what you are supposed to do
2. The truth is, He – the Apostle Paul, found it hard as well – all of us find it hard
3. But he had learned some things about HOW to keep doing what we are supposed to do (Philp 4:11) Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
4. It wasn’t too complicated – anyone can do it
E. Just do one main thing
1. Not twenty things – just one thing!
2. Strive to do just one thing every day…
3. And what was the main thing?
a. Press towards a HIGH mark
1) A small laser dot on a target
2) Sometimes a distant focal point, that can only be seen by a telescope
3) It is the ribbon tape that spans across the race track that every runner has in view to cross first
b. Most people won’t see the target that we Christians see
c. But it is something that every Christian, every preacher of the Gospel, every soul-winner, every teacher, every Mom and Dad HAS to learn to see, and KEEP in sight
d. 1Cor 9:24,25 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
F. Paul explains there are several smaller things that needed to be done so that we can do the one main BIG thing
1. They were not the main thing
2. WHAT is the main thing? To press towards the mark!
3. Those smaller things would actually enable him to accomplish the one main thing
4. Look at them
a. Forget some things behind you
b. And reach forth for some better things ahead of you
5. All so that you and I can do that one main thing…
6. Cross the finish line!
G. So this morning, we will first conquer Our Memories of our Past - And become good forgetters, if we are going to be good winners!
A. Not everything needs to be forgotten
1. Like Your salvation
a. Do you remember getting saved? It OUGHT to be kept fresh
b. Opened up and reviewed regularly, like a treasure, or a priceless gift
c. And even if YOU do forget, like in dementia, JESUS can’t forget it!
d. At least you ought to know that you know that you repented of sin, and believe the Gospel now!
2. Like your Family – or else you are worse than an infidel
3. Like the blessings of God – being constantly thankful is a great strength. (Psa 9:17) The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
4. Your victories – milestones, memorials – NEVER forget those – no matter how few
a. God gave you your wife, your children – THEY ARE ALL MIRACLES FROM GOD
b. When he called you to serve Him – and you surrendered to it! THAT WAS A GREAT VICTORY
c. When you experienced the fulness of the Holy Spirit, and were free from some sin
d. When you led someone to faith in Christ – each one is a great victory!
e. The fact you are still HERE even though no one believed you would stay!
f. TREASURE all those memories – all those victories!
5. The words of God
a. More valuable than necessary food (Job 23:12) Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
b. Psa 119:16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
c. Psa 119:61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.
d. Psa 119:93 I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.
6. Never forget where you are headed! Not to a hole in the ground!
a. I’m still excited about where I am going
b. Heaven still thrills me
c. The future is good!
d. A good dose of heaven will make any trial or tribulation bearable for another day!
7. Fellow labourers – don’t forget them! People who work so hard serving the Lord
a. God doesn’t forget… Heb 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
b. We do too much alone
c. Don’t forget to pray for them – for each other
d. Don’t forget to labour with them – they need YOUR strength along side them
e. Don’t forget to financially support them – BE GIVERS YOURSELVES!
8. There are SO MANY things/people that should NEVER be forgotten! (Psa 103:2) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
9. But there evidently ARE some things to definitely forget or else God would not be asking us to “forget”
10. And we are going to look at those things this morning
B. What DOES Need to be Forgotten is often Hard to Forget
1. We are so good at forgetting all the WRONG things
a. Like ages of our kids, their birthdays, whether we paid the road tax or not
b. We forget so many of the answers on a school test
c. What our wives asked us to get at the shop on the way home
d. The blessings and goodness of God (Jer 2:32) Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.
2. There is something wrong with our memories
a. So many hurts are burned into them, so that they are hard to forget
b. So many reoccurring bad dreams
c. *** Christians can’t seem to move on ***
4. Because our flesh, our nature, loves to keep painful, dark memories, and resists making new, better memories
5. It is part of the effect of sin in us
6. And it keeps most Christians trapped in their past!
C. For the Christian, Forgetting is something we are commanded to do – on purpose
1. No matter how hard any of us may find it
2. No matter what it might cost us in power over those that hurt us
3. We HAVE to forget some things
D. Let me try and explain what it means to forget
E. To actually forget something means that we…
1. Walk on. Abandon them!
a. People constantly review and explore all the past pains, and sometimes even all the successes of their past like treasure
1) And they end up staying IN the past
2) Never able to go forward!
b. Let memories fall out of our thinking – don’t go back pick them up
c. Like losing keys out of pocket – they just fall out sometimes – let memories fall out!
1) Some smart guys have a wire attached to their keys
2) Great for keys - bad for memories
d. Like money falling out of a wallet – you wouldn’t let it go – but you have to let memories go – just walk on and let someone else have the memory
e. People used to talk about “losing our marbles…”
f. Well, there are many things we just HAVE to lose!
g. Especially the memories of all the past hurts, failures, defeats, sorrows of your life
2. Starve them of Attention.
a. Neglect your Memories.
b. That means do NOT feed it, fuel it, or keep it alive
c. Starving every memory of your attention – like a cat you want to go away!
d. All the stuff that has happened to you in the past is not that important
e. Not as important as what lies ahead for you dear Christian!
3. Let them die, even!
a. Let memories be Lonely
b. Leave a memory of sorrow and failure behind you, Abandoned
c. Don’t keep going back there and coddling it, and giving it attention!
d. Let it die – it will die – IF you will let it die!
e. You will still have the memory, but it will not have teeth, or energy, or a grip on your life NOW
4. Forgetting means, there is NOTHING holding our thoughts to that memory
a. Like an anchor, or a rope to the shore – no boat can go anywhere until the rope is cast off
b. We are to cut them lose, when they are holding us back from a new course
c. Saul in 1Samuel 9:20 was worried about his father’s asses. Consumed with finding them – they were their livelihood. But one day he was told to think no more about them…
1) And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on thee, and on all thy father's house?
2) Why forget them? Because young Saul had a new calling, a new purpose as king of all Israel!!!
5. Memories are supposed to be only in the past! Not allowed to be in the present!
6. So, to do the one thing this year, Lose some memories
A. Seven Things Paul Had to Forget – maybe you can relate to some of these…
1. Paul did NOT forget all his past – his past was part of his life
a. He rehearsed his past (the good and bad) often as part of his testimony
1) Philippians 3 reviews his past as a blasphemer, as lost, religious, as ungodly
2) So he didn’t ignore and try and forget his past
b. But there were many things he never remembered, on purpose
c. And it kept him light hearted, sane, joyous, able to be filled with something better!
2. So, he on purpose Forget His LOSSES (Philp 3:4-8)
a. He was good at forgetting what he had LOST to follow his Saviour
1) What he had to let go of to do Christ’s will
2) And they were hard for him to let go of!
3) They are the reason why MOST people NEVER do God’s will – they would have nothing to show off and be praised for
4) Mar 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
5) Mar 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
b. Paul lost the valuable things of his past
1) His Nationality – Hebrew of Hebrews
a) It’s like telling an American to STOP being an American!
b) Especially like trying to tell a Texan to leave Texas behind!
2) His Theology – a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee
3) His Energy / Zeal – an extremist!
4) His Morality – blameless
c. But he had to abandon it all
d. To let Christ live through him – ponder THAT for a month!
e. And, Whatever GOOD was in your past, and even in your present, LOSE IT!
1) A Career opportunity
2) Your family even
3. His LUMPS (Hurts by others)
a. He forgot about all the lumps (hurts) he had received from other people
1) He has rejected by the Christians in Damascus – sent him to Jerusalem
2) He was rejected by the Christians in Jerusalem – it took Barnabas to convince them
3) He was rejected by many pastors in Philippi who blamed Paul for all the troubles they were experiencing with the government
b. How did he handle all those “lumps”?
c. He was quick to forget what people did to him
d. And he was just glad they were staying faithful to Christ anyway!
e. THAT is so important!
1) He never forgot how bad and wicked he was, and what he had done to others
2) But he constantly worked hard to forget what people did against him
f. Do you have memories of hurts by other Christians, pastors, churches???
g. “Forget About It”
4. His LONELINESS
a. I believe in teamwork amongst Missionaries – not starting churches alone!
b. Paul always had men around him, helping him, and HE helping them
c. But Paul was very aware of how few there were he could count on
d. I never really find Paul complaining about it
e. He just kept going, even when only ONE stayed with him, “only Luke it with me”
f. Loneliness can stop you dead
1) Alone in prison… Act 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
2) Alone on a sinking ship… Act 27:23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
3) Alone to face serious persecution by Alexander the Coppersmith… 2Ti 4:16,17 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
g. “Forget About It”
5. His LIMITATIONS
a. I like watching when someone who has a handicap still goes ahead and races, wrestles, climbs, does the hard things
b. The world tells people they are defined by their limitations
c. Christ tells us to leave our limits behind and do the will of God anyways!
1) God told an 80 year old bitter man to face Pharaoh down and his army and free Israel from Egypt’s grip - Moses
2) God told a timid, self-centred, ill tempered man named to be king of Israel - Saul
3) God moved a young 18 year old to grab five stones and race to a giant and bring him down with a sling shot – DAVID (just a child)
4) God told a barren old man and woman to have a bunch of children as the sand of the sea – Abraham
d. We ALL have limitations – lack of education, refinement, health, mental, emotional
e. We make TOO much of our limitations
f. What we need is to make much of Christ and HIS abilities through our child-like obedience to his will!
6. His FAILURES – his let-downs
a. I like this part
b. I mess up way too much in life and ministry
c. And the devil would LOVE to remind me of every one of my failures – constantly
d. But I believe Paul failed – maybe even a lot
1) You wouldn’t believe it
2) But he lost his cool when he was struck on the face in Act 23:2,3 And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?
3) He and Barnabas had a falling out over John Mark, and split up – that was bad
4) He gave in to James and shaved his head and tried to be Jewish again a bit too much just so that he could give his nation the Gospel, but failed, and was nearly killed in the tumult, and from that day forward, we in chains
e. But you never find him crushed by any of them
f. And in every one of those “failure” Paul kept going, and kept serving, and kept preaching, and kept training men, and kept writing Books
g. THANK GOD FAILURE IS NOT TERMINAL for the Christian
h. As a matter of fact, I really don’t believe any Christian fails, unless they quit God’s will!
i. So, when it comes to you long list of failures and failings, “Forget About It”
7. His DOUBTS
a. 2Cor 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
b. Perplexed means confused, uncertain, worried – it was a way of life
c. He left those doubts constantly behind, and kept trusting, kept believing
d. Look at 2Cor 4:7 But we have this treasure [CHRIST IN US] in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
e. And you and I need to leave those behind us too
8. HIMSELF – THAT is humility!
a. Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
b. Humility is not thinking less of yourself
c. It is when you don’t think of yourself at all
d. I think Paul was a hunched over, slightly disfigured, stammering, rude, long winded preacher that the vast number of believers of his day did not like
e. He was not viewed as a great and successful Christian
f. And it never bothered him
g. Because he had something to say!
1) He had someone to win
2) He had another church to start
h. So he constantly forgot about himself
1) Never worried about getting married
2) Never worried about retirement
3) Never worried about being an important “man of God” like some men I have met
i. No. he forgot all about that!
j. Because FORGETTING about yourself is vital to spiritual growth!
B. Those are the same for everyone one of us… IF we are going to be free to press forward!
C. New Week, I will show you HOW to forget the things you SHOULD forget
A. Would you like to be able to NOT quit like so many others are these days?
B. Actually stay the course, overcome, endure
C. It begins with forgetting some things
D. Is it actually possible for a person to forget:
1. Everything you have lost
2. All the Lumps you have endured
3. All the Loneliness
4. All the constant limitations
5. All the Failures
6. All the doubts, second guessing
7. And finally, forget YOURSELF?
E. Only if you are a Bible believing Christian. Otherwise, it is impossible
F. How to be saved… so that GOD can forget somethings about your past! Heb 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.