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I PRESS

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.      The apostle Paul was a man of great determination.

1.       I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also (Rom. 1:14).

2.       …I labored more abundantly than they all (I Cor. 15:10).

3.       …I am set for the defense of the gospel (Phil. 1:17).

4.       For I am now ready to be offered… (II Tim. 4:6).

 

B.      In Philippians 3:14, we read of another statement indicating Paul’s deep determination.

 

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

1.       The word “press” defined.

a.       Strong (1377):  to pursue (literally or figuratively)

b.       Thayer:  to seek after eagerly, to run after…figuratively of one who runs swiftly to reach the goal

2.       Example:  Runners in the Olympic Games stretch forward just as hard as possible to cross the finish line first.

 

C.      Tonight, we want to take the words, “I press,” and use them to encourage all of us who are running the Christian race.

 

I.                   PRESS ON

 

A.      Most of us have

1.       Succeeded in school

2.       Matured into adults

3.       Have put on Christ in baptism

 

B.      Our first exhortation, therefore, is to PRESS ON!

 

C.      There are many components to this exhortation.

1.       A positive mindset (Phil. 4:13)

 

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

 

2.       A commitment to the future.

3.       No looking back to failure, mistakes, bad people, difficult situations, lusts and sins of the past (Luke 9:62).

 

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

 

4.       Energy and effort in all you do.

a.       Colossians 3:23

 

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.

 

b.       The Rule of 10% - Give 10% more than others do and you will excel beyond almost all others.

 

II.                PRESS AGAINST

 

A.      As you run forward in life, there will be things that will come against you:  up hills, strong head winds, and those going the opposite way.

B.      When things are against you, you must PRESS AGAINST them (Eph. 6:11).

 

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

 

C.      There are several things that you will need to fight against.

1.       The world which seeks to mold you into its vile and corrupt mold (Rom. 12:2).

 

And be not conformed to this world…

 

2.       All forms of temptation (James 4:7; I Peter 5:9)

 

Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

3.       Peer pressure

a.       Passages of Scripture that deal with peer pressure

1)      Exodues 23:2

 

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil…

 

2)      Proverbs 13:20

 

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise:  but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

 

3)      I Corinthians 15:33

 

Be not deceived:  evil communications corrupt good manners.

 

b.       In a publication entitled, “A Teacher’s Guide to Peer Pressure,” the following things were the targets of peer pressure:  behavior, language, clothing, attitudes, preferences (music, etc.), values, morals or beliefs, and an overall change producing a completely different person than what is normal.

4.       Crazy ideas

a.       Quit the things you start:  school, careers, marriage

b.       Go against God

c.        Trying to do thing your own way

d.       Divorce for any cause

e.        Homosexuality and homosexual marriage is okay

f.         Nothing wrong with having an abortion

 

III.             PRESS UPWARD

 

A.      The direction of one’s push is very important.

1.       Down is easy.

2.       Our world is calling you to go down.

 

B.      In all areas of life, we can choose to be

1.       Subpar:  below average

2.       Mediocre:  ordinary or moderate quality, neither good or bad

3.       Excellent:  superior, possessing outstanding quality or merit, remarkably good

 

C.      When it comes to our spiritual life, we definitely must PRESS UPWARD.

1.       Philippians 3:14

 

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

 

 

 

2.       Colossians 3:1-2

 

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

 

3.       II Corinthians 4:18

 

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

 

4.       NOTE:  This will not be easy in a world that seeks to push us downward.

a.       We know less Bible

b.       We want shorter lessons and Bible classes

c.        We want more entertainment

d.       Feelings have replaced rationality

e.        It is about me, my, and I, rather than being about God.

 

IV.              PRESS TOGETHER

 

A.      What it is possible, we find others of like mind and we PRESS TOGETHER.

 

B.      Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

 

Two are better than one; because they have good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow:  but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.  Again, if two lie together, then they have heat:  but how can one be warm alone?  And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

 

C.      When you press together, be careful who you are pressing with.

1.       Rehoboam pressed together with the younger, inexperienced men and divided a nation.

2.       Judas pressed together with the priest and scribes and crucified the Son of God.

 

V.                 PRESS ALONE

 

A.      There will be times in our lives that we will be required to PRESS ALONE.

1.       Jesus (Mark 14:50)

 

And they forsook him, and fled.

 

2.       Paul (II Tim. 4:16)

 

At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me…

 

B.      Thoughts about being alone.

1.       Many have pressed alone in the past.

a.       Elijah on Mount Carmel (I Kings 18)

b.       Micaiah, the prophet of God (I Kings 22)

2.       Being alone does not mean one is wrong.

3.       Better to be alone and right than to be with others and be wrong.

4.       Even when we are alone, we are not alone (Heb. 13:5).

5.       Alone with the Lord constitutes an unstoppable force (See I Sam. 14:6).

6.       Being alone means one truly stands out.

a.       Mount Everest – mountain 29,035 feet high

b.       Burj Khalifa – building 2,717 feet high

c.        Blue whale – mammal 98 feet long, 200 tons

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.      To press requires effort, labor, and toil.

 

B.      Those who press the hardest are the ones who win (Example:  100-meter Butterfly, 1988 Olympics).

Favorite Matt Biondi of the U.S. led from the start. Ten meters from the finish, he was still in first place by 2 feet. But as he neared the touch pad he was caught between strokes and elected to kick in the last few feet instead of taking an extra stroke. However, he was farther away than he thought, and his miscalculation allowed 20-year-old Anthony Nesty of Suriname (shown celebrating his win) to slip by and win by less than an inch. After the race Biondi mused, “One one-hundredth of a second—what if I had grown my fingernails longer?” He successfully channeled his disappointment and went on to win five gold medals.

C.      Press on!  Press!  Just keep pressing on!  There is a prize that awaits you.