Joy Has A Name / 01. Joy Has A Name // 10 Christ The Goal - Tobi Ford-Western // Philippians 3:12-4:1

01. Joy Has A Name // 10 Christ The Goal - Tobi Ford-Western // Philippians 3:12-4:1

Recap

As a city we pride ourselves in our originality and ability to be ‘different’. We tend to value elevation and improvement over imitation of others who have gone before us. However, sometimes cultural progress can lead to moral regress.
In this passage, Paul equates copying and imitating others to christian maturity. This does not mean to be inauthentic or fake but to learn from those around us. He encourages the Philippians to be like him and emulate his behaviour. In saying this, he is not being arrogant or prideful. In fact, we have seen through history, pride tends to protect its success, preserving its uniqueness and legacy from others. Paul shows genuine humility here. He is using himself as an example to others.
Paul is not uncomfortable telling people to imitate him, even though he is not without sin and he knows it. He knows that seeing the example of other godly men and women can help us to understand what it means to follow Jesus - it does not require perfection! Therefore, we should not be uncomfortable with imitating others or with being imitated. It is not anything that has originated in ourselves, it is only Christ’s character at work in us that is worthy of imitation and so, we are not putting ourselves on a pedestal but lifting Him up.
Paul is not really talking here about following the example of well known global pastors or big names in christianity. He wants us to emulate normal people in our church, people that we can get alongside, spend time with and ask questions of. We should watch their godliness and giftings and take note of them. We should remain humble and teachable, receive critique and believe encouragement so that we can grow and become more Christ- like.
Specifically, Paul wants all christians to grow in our understanding and application of grace. We are often taught that grace means that our sins are forgiven and we don’t have to work for our salvation. But, Paul says ‘I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.’ He is showing us that perseverance does not mean working FOR our salvation, it means working OUT our salvation. There is power at work in you, propelling you forward to complete the tasks that God has set before you. Grace is not just our motivation but our means, it is not just forgiveness but power. It does not take away the difficulties of life but it gives us the strength to press on.
Finally, Paul wants us to see how much further Jesus went for us, not just imitating us but becoming one of us and entering into the human experience in order that He could take on the curse of sin in our place. He became like you and got what you deserve so that through faith in Him you can receive what He deserved.

Applications
Humble yourself and stop striving towards progress and achievements in order to lift yourself up, but instead honour and lift up the name of Jesus.
Find 3 people around you who you can imitate to become more Christ-like.
Imitate Paul’s application of grace in working out your salvation and pressing on.

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