WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday January 27, 2013
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GAINING THE PRIZE
(Pressing toward the goal)
Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians from a prison in
circa A.D. 60, as a response to his friends at Rome Philippi, who, had shown him much generosity and support while he was there. Paul is unaware at this time whether or not he’ll die in jail so he wanted to express his confidence in them, and then describe some of the problems he faced in Rome. He wanted them to understand that, if death came during his incarceration, he would rejoice in the presence of CHRIST JESUS, but, as long as he lives, he will continue to serve GOD the best he could with what he had.
Throughout this doctrinal letter we clearly see the theme of rejoicing in the LORD in our present state, here on earth. If we live, we can rejoice because the LORD loves us, and if we die, we can rejoice in the LORD’s OWN glorious presence forever, literally. And while we must still experience problems here on earth, (there is suffering in our obedience to GOD because it often goes against the world’s way of doing things), still, we have to remember that, ultimately, we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, and must always strive to cling to that thought. We must use that thought as fuel, and keep it constantly at the forefront of our minds, as we travel along our Christian Walk.
Although Paul was a spiritual giant in the eyes of the Christian saints, he wanted everyone one of them to know that he had not yet attained the goals that he felt he needed to attain in the work of CHRIST. He knew that he had, by no means, reached the final stage of his sanctification and was always willing to press on toward higher spiritual grounds. He reminds us that there should never be a stall in our Christian walk, or spiritual growth, for as long as we live.
In Philippians 3:12-21, Paul urges us to keep pressing toward the goal, and he tells us that our concern for Heaven will enable us to live a righteous life here on earth. We must pursue “CHRIST-likeness” with the enthusiasm and persistence of an Olympic long distance runner who covets the prize at the end of the race. We must forget about past failures and press on toward a more successful life in CHRIST JESUS in the future.
In verses 15-21, Paul tells us that we must have an overall walk that pleases GOD;
· First of all, he tells us in verses 15-16 that we must have a “walk of maturity”. One must have a desire to continue on in CHRIST-likeness, no matter what the world around you says you should do, and then, trust GOD to make things clear to those who disagree with HIM.
· Secondly, in verses 17-19, Paul says that we should have a “walk of watchfulness”. We should watch out for those false teachers, who are, by way of their deeds, an enemy of CHRIST. Often, with tears in his eyes, Paul had warned of those false teachers and spiritual leaders, who, try to lead people toward themselves, and, thereby, away from CHRIST.
· And finally, in verses 20-21, he reminds us that the Christian Hope is that we will one day have a “walk that is completed”. Our Christian Hope should motivate us to want to live a life on earth that conforms more fully to the word of GOD, using the examples set before us by CHRIST JESUS, as we eagerly wait for HIS return.
We must always fix our thoughts on what is true and honorable and right, always thinking about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. We should think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise, and keep putting into practice, all that we learn and hear from the word of GOD, and the examples of CHRIST. And with that attitude, and, constant prayer, which manifests the heart of a yielded life, we can be assured that the GOD of peace will be with us every step of the way.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website