Principles To Help Make Spiritual Progress


  1. INTRODUCTION:
    1. SCRIPTURE READING: (Philippians 3:4-21. Note verses Philippians 3:13-14.)
    2. PAUL’S WRITINGS WERE INSPIRED BUT NOT HIS LIFE:
      1. The Holy Ghost would be with Paul as the other inspired men in writing the message of God.
        II Peter 1:20-21 = "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holly men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
      2. Paul’s personal life was his responsibility. None of the apostles were inspired to live a Christian life. Which Paul was very much aware of in our opening passage:
        1. He had to count all things a loss that he may have Christ ( Philippians 3:8).
        2. He had to be found having his own righteousness through faith in Christ ( Philippians 3:9).
        3. He had to know Christ, believe the resurrection of Christ, be partaker of the Lord’s suffering and death ( Philippians 3:10).
        4. COMMENT: Paul knew his life had to be a " living sacrifice" and in no way let it be "conformed to this world" that he might present his body, "holy and acceptable unto God" (Romans 12:1-2).

        5. He had to attain unto the resurrection of the dead ( Philippians 3:11). Paul knew as did the other New Testament writers that only those that "…endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." = Matthew 24:13.
        6. He had not apprehended (that is: once saved always saved), but had to "…Press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" ( Philippians 3:14).
      3. The heavenly goal was still before him and this required Spiritual progress.
        1. Spiritual progress is achieved only by following the principles of spiritual development.
        2. True progress is not achieved by accident.
          1. Physical growth is achieved by principles of development laid down by God.
          2. Knowledge is gained through the development of education principles.
          3. Spiritual growth is achieved only by the application of God given principles.
    3. WHAT THEN ARE THE PRINCIPLES OF SPIRITUAL PROGRESS?

    ( In verses Philippians 3:13-14 of our text, Paul helps us with this:)

  2. DISCUSSION:
    1. ONE MUST HAVE A DEFINITE PURPOSE IN MIND.
      1. Paul kept before him the goal he wanted to achieve or reach. Philippians 3:13 = "Brethren, I count not myself go have apprehended: but this one thing I do," Philippians 3:14 = " … I press toward the mark for the prize …". The ASV says: "l press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
        1. It is easy for an individual to waste away his energy and power either alone, or with others.
        2. Each of us has to have some aim in life and make a resolution and that to the best of his ability he will seek to realize it.
      2. Paul in his other writings expresses his aim with these words:

      II Corinthians 5:9 = "Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him."

      I Corinthians 9:26-27 = "I therefore so run; not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."

      II Timothy 4:6-8 = "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only , but unto all them also that love his appearing."

      REMEMBER: What the Lord said in Matthew 6:33 = "But seek ye first the kingdom of God; and his righteousness; …"

    2. ONE MUST BE INDEPENDENT OF THE PAST:
      1. Paul sought to (or endeavored to) forget his past fleshly inheritance and achievements (See.
        Philippians 3:3-8
        ).
      2. Paul did not forget his past in the sense of not being able to recall them to mind, for this he did. But not to recall them with the sense of looking to them as the reason for failure to do his full duty in the future.
      3. The forgetting the past as here indicated is that of displacing that memory of the past with a stronger concentration on that which is before. This gradually weakens the memory of the past till it gradually fades away to that which is before. This is truly spiritual progress.
    3. ONE MUST CONTINUE TO MAKE PROGRESS IN SPIRITUAL GROWTH.
      1. Paul said: "I press on toward the mark for the prize (ASV says: "goal unto the prize")
        = (Philippians 3:14).
      2. COMMENT: This is expressing calculated effort that is ceaseless.

        Philippians 2:13-14 = "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings:"

        Ephesians 2:10 = "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

        NOTE: If then it is God who works in us, then we must not relax our efforts of spiritual growth and progress.

      3. Christian perfection can only be reached by definite and strenuous effort.
        1. Paul wrote in II Timothy 3:16-17 = "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
        2. That which enables faith (Romans 10:17) and gives us purpose, must never be allowed to take the place of performance.

        NOTE: It is impossible to make a man good who will not endeavor to be good.

      4. There must be continued concentration on that which we have set as our goal.
  3. CONCLUSION:
    1. HAVE YOU BEGUN YOUR SPIRITUAL PROGRESS TO THE GOAL?
    2. HOW IS YOUR SPIRITUAL PROGRESS?
    3. IF YOUR GOAL IS RIGHT, AND YOU ARE PROGRESSING IN THE RIGHT WAY, THEN YOU HAVE NO FEAR OF THE FINAL OUTCOME OF REACHING IT.
      1. The one that endures to the end shall be saved (Matthew 24:13).
      2. The one faithful unto death will receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
      3. The only way to achieve the goal is through the strait gate (Matthew 7:13-14).
      4. The strait gate to the Father’s heavenly home is Christ (John 14:6).
    4. IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING THAT IS HINDERING, BLOCKING, YOUR SPIRITUAL PROGRESS REMOVE IT TODAY. (see Hebrews 12:1).

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