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The Nature of Paul’s Pursuit of Christ: Living in the “Now/ Not Yet” (Philippians 3:12-16)

The Subject/Complement and Exegetical Outline

Subject/Complement: The way Paul and other mature Christians (i.e., among the Philippians) should pursue the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus is by forgetting what lies behind and striving for those things ahead.

    A. Paul’s Pursuit of Christ (3:12-14)

      1. Is Based on Not Having Attained Perfection (3:12a, 13a)

      2. Is Based on Pursuing That for which Christ Had Laid Hold of Him (3:12b)

      3. Is Achieved through Forgetting and Striving (3:13b)

        a. Paul forgot the things behind him

        b. Paul strove for the things ahead

      4. Is a Pursuit of the Prize of the Upward Call of God in Christ Jesus (3:14)

    B. The Application to All Mature Christians (3:15-16)

      1. Let Them Think The Same Way about Pursuing Christ (315)

        a. The Mature Are To Think the Same as Paul (3:15a)

        b. If Their Thinking Differs, God Will Reveal This to Them (3:15b)

      2. Let Them Live Up to the Standard Already Achieved (3:16)

Homiletical Subject/Complement and the Teaching/Preaching Outline

Underlying Question (vv. 2-8): How were Paul and other mature Christians to pursue Christ?

Underlying Homiletical Question: How should we pursue Christ?

Homiletical Subject/Complement (Big Idea): Paul outlines several related aspects of pursuing Christ: (1) by realizing you have not arrived; (2) by understanding that that is the reason Christ has taken hold of you; (3) by forgetting things in the past and striving toward things ahead; (4) by understanding it as the prize of an upward call; (5) by living up to the standard already achieved.

    A. The Pursuit of Christ (3:12-14)

      1. Is Based on Not Having Attained Perfection (3:12a, 13a)

      2. Is Based on Pursuing That for which Christ Has Laid Hold of You (3:12b)

      3. Is Achieved through Forgetting and Striving (3:13b)

        a. Forget the things behind.

        b. Strive for the things ahead

      4. Is a Pursuit of the Prize of the Upward Call of God in Christ Jesus (3:14)

    B. Encourage All Mature Christians To Pursue Christ (3:15-16)

      1. Encourage Them To Think The Same Way about Pursuing Christ (315)

        a. The Mature Are To Think the Same as Paul (3:15a)

        b. If Their Thinking Differs, God Will Reveal This to Them (3:15b)

      2. Encourage Them To Live Up to The Standard Already Achieved (3:16)

Related Topics: Soteriology (Salvation), Teaching the Bible, Sanctification