Updated: Apr 27, 2020
The High Calling of God
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any think ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Lets puts some context into this message: Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ had a background as a man called Saul that some of us can relate to:
He thought he was right when he was persecuting people (for believing in Christ Jesus); but Christ showed him otherwise that as he persecuted God’s people he was persecuting Him
He thought that he was righteous in his actions (against the followers of Christ) but he soon found out that it was Christ’s righteousness he needed to seek out
He was lost in Pharisaical practices types and shadows but thank God that on the road to Damascus he found Jesus the author and finisher of His faith. He enthusiastically and zealously turned his life around towards Christ and became a successful leader in the cause of Christ
There are so many examples in the bible whereby God's people took the charge or commands of God and faithfully executed them and we see how the hand of God was magnificent in and around their lives. We see how men of faith used the tools of faith and added obedience and works which resulted in “Freedom” from slavery “Prosperity” from poverty and “Great Success” from failure.
In these last days when we as a people should be making Disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are generally in decline, our efforts can be classed as luke warm, our general rate of growth can be best classed as poor. If we were a business our investors would pull out all their money and re-invest on the on the Muslim religion who are now one of the fastest growing religious groups in the world.
Revelations 3:14-22 reminds us that we need to move with urgency from being lukewarm towards God, being nominal low effort Christians to being Hot for God. When I mean hot for God I mean Zealous. When I say Zealous it is to be enthusiastic in repentance, consecration and devotion to Christ. The fruits of being Zealous for Christ is explored throughout the bible.
Christ, showed through the journey of the Israelites through Moses all the way to the crossing of Jordan through Joshua into the Promised land what the fruits of being obedient and faithful produces. Even within the history of disobedience amongst Gods people there was always a remnant, a special people who stayed the course once their hearts were devoted to God. We see examples in David and initially through Solomon. We see Daniel and his faithfulness produces fruit and prosperity through to Nehemiah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem right up to the “Voice in the Wilderness” namely John the Baptist and finally through to the conversion of Saul into Paul. Tearing down strongholds after strong holds. Being successful in all areas of faith and life. Exactly as God ordered living according to Gods will.
But for too long now God’s people are living up to their Laodicean condition; this is not something for us to live up to. It is something we should tear down. The bible stated fact about the church of the end times but we are to rise above the condition of lukewarm in every aspect of our lives, and embrace the solution that results in us being overcomers who receive eternal life on a throne as co-heirs next to Christ.
So let us look back at what Paul was saying to the Philippians and see what he describes as being the High Calling of God. I pray that the Holy Spirit will plant a seed in our heart that matures so that we can live the fruitful lives God has called us to lead in these last days. For we have a message, a 3 point message, found in Revelations 14 that needs to be taught, preached, lived, practiced by people who intend on being sealed for the Kingdom of God.
Lets walk through this passage line by line but before we do that there is some context to the previous verses that will be useful to understand.. Paul has come out and clearly stated that he was a Jew of Jews. Meaning, he was a top politician / scholar in the ways of the Pharisee. However, he found Christ and then considered all his past conquests, positions, honours as dung, as rubbish of no consequence as he did not know Christ. But now knowing Christ he seeks to be fully grown up in harmony with Him. He makes it clear that he has not attained perfection in Christ, he desires to be mature and fulfil the purpose that Christ laid upon him at his conversion.
EGW States that Paul ..“He trembled for the result of his ministry. He felt that even his own salvation might be imperiled if he should fail of fulfilling his duty and the church should fail of co - operating with him in the work of saving souls. He knew that preaching alone would not suffice to educate the believers to hold forth the word of life. He knew that line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, they must be taught to advance in the work of Christ. AA 206.1 AA 206.1
As we begin at v13 it reads:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before
This is recognition that we all fall short and must recognise that no one is above the other for all have sinned. We must emulate such humility as we see in Paul and realise that when we are trying to reach people for God we must not come across like we have already arrived, eternally saved and we never sinned. We can and should call out a ”thus saith the Lord” but concede to that fact that we are not the Lord, however we are being sanctified daily and desire to grow up through the Spirit of God and be mature in Christ.
I like how Paul affirms that in order to take hold of our calling we must not depend upon the successes of yesterday to carry us through today or tomorrow. Yesterday is over, it may have been great but its over. We are to remember God’s faithfulness that what he done in the past can be done in the future. Our efforts in Christ for the Gospel, or our victories over sin yesterday, cannot sustain us for today much less for tomorrow. For the battle over our lives rages on, Satan comes “Like a roaring lion” with a new attack on our lives, trials come with new approaches and challenges. This is why we are compelled to pray without ceasing there is not a time when we will not need the power of God in our lives Eph 6:18
We must reach forward, looking for a new thing, when you consider what Paul means, it brings to mind advancing onto new territory, asking God for a fresh blessing for that day, asking God for a fresh outpouring of His Spirit. Looking forward, is to ask God how and what he wants you to do in all aspects of your trials.
When I say advancing onto new territory I mean continuing to breakdown spiritual strongholds in your life, interceding for others in their life, by believing and doing what is right according to the word of God. I mean not being comfortable with your Christian experience but seeking God out to show you how to be victorious in this life. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
When Paul says reaching forward to the things which are before, He refers to the opportunities of the abundant life that Christ presents us with that is in Him He refers to reaching forward with arms stretched out and foot lunged forward towards that goal, that crossing line, just as you would see the men and women racing their hearts out