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Apprehended by Christ

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A Sermon on Philippians 3:12-17

Straining Toward the Goal

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. (ESV)

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What sets the Christian apart from everyone else? According to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in this sermon on Philippians 3:12-17, it is the Christian's knowledge and pursuit of Christ that separates him from all others. For Christianity is not about external actions, nor is it about passionless religiosity, but Christianity is about Christ Jesus. It was the Apostle Paul who came to know Christ when Jesus appeared to him and transformed him. This was an immediate interaction with the risen Christ who called Paul to a life of service and suffering as a Christian. Jesus calls all believers to forsake their pride and arrogance, and to trust in Him. This sermon asks us: do you have a knowledge of Christ that transforms you? Are you trusting in Jesus, or yourself? For the world in its fallen state trusts in itself to solve all the world’s problems, but the Christian is totally different. The Christian flees all vain worldly wisdom and trusts in God. Only Christianity shows men how they ought to live, only Christianity can provide true answers to life’s deepest questions. This is because only Christianity offers the true hope of the Gospel and salvation from all sin and evil. 


Additional Scripture Translations

Philippians 3:12-17, New American Standard Bible

12Not that I have already grasped it all or have already become perfect, but I press on if I may also take hold of that for which I was even taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Therefore, all who are mature, let’s have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that to you as well; 16however, let’s keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.

17Brothers and sisters, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.

Philippians 3:12-17, King James Version

12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, 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, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.


About Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.