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BIBLE STUDY # 245: The Epistle to the Philippians p.12

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  • rslabib1@juno.com
    Dear fathers, sisters and brothers Today, St. Mark s Orthodox Fellowship (SMOF) is posting below BIBLE STUDY # 245, The Epistle to the Philippians part 12.
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 19, 2012
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      Dear fathers, sisters and brothers

      Today, St. Mark's Orthodox Fellowship (SMOF) is posting below BIBLE STUDY # 245, "The Epistle to the Philippians part 12." BIBLE STUDY # 244 was posted on the 27th. of Oct. 2012 (message #67365). Its subject was "The Epistle to the Philippians part 11".
      We hope that these "Notes" help many members in their personal, family, and Sunday School Bible studies, and that they would be useful means available to every member for serving God, by making copies and offering them to other people to help them to study the Holy Bible. To be useful, reading the Epistle itself from the Bible should accompany reading this introductory study.

      To read this "Bible Study" in ARABIC see the announcements posted below the end of the study.
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      The Epistle of St. Paul to the Pilippians

      (Part 12)

      E-Interpretation of the Epistle (contd.)

      Chapter 3 (contd.)

      4. Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead (Phil. 3:12-16)

       

      Upon contemplation of the goal, a novice believer might feel overwhelmed, and subsequently discouraged, by the daunting path ahead: looking up to St. Paul as a role model, it might seem impossible to apply what he says.  Appreciating this scenario, St. Paul presents himself as simply another fighter, continuing to seek the path of the Lord, leaning on His arm, and calling on everyone to persevere in their march in the Savior's company, maintaining their focus on the kingdom which the Lord promised to those who love Him.

      St. Paul says, "Not that I have already attained [thereby ending the matter], or am already perfected [we will never achieve perfection here]"; God's call remains: "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Mat. 5:48) The incentive is thus to persevere without stopping, ".....that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." (Col. 1:28)  The purpose is to become like Him, but not to become Him, "....but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me." (Phil. 3:12)

      Once again, "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended [the goal, or the end of the road]; but one thing I do, [which I ask each one of you to do] forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead." (Phil. 3:13)  Looking back is a hindrance, and our Lord said clearly: "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)  He also reminded us of Lot's wife (Genesis 19:26, Luke 17:32) and what befell her when she looked back.  It is pointless to look to the past since if it were bad, then it would have been washed in the blood and forgiven and, if it were good, then we should proceed beyond it to that which is better: "... grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ....." (2 Peter 3:18)

      What is the goal towards which we are aiming?

      Surely we are aiming to win the prize which is "... the upward [heavenly] call of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:14)  This has to be our ultimate target and the focus of our thoughts, we, the spiritually mature who have tasted salvation and who are seeking perfection (“mature” in verse 15, vs. the fallen, who have not found faith yet).  Furthermore, God's grace will correct our path, if our thoughts were diverted to some other cause.  Therefore, as long as we maintain awareness of God's purpose in our lives, and of the kingdom to which He has called us, "...let us.....have this mind; and..... walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind." (Phil. 3:16)  Our deeds and direction should therefore be fully consistent with this long-term goal; our struggle against all temptations of the flesh will be in the Holy Spirit, supported by the grace of God, crucifying "the flesh with all its passions and desires." (Gal. 5:24)  A true believer's life resembles that of a soldier at war: until his last hour he is ever watchful, he never yields to complacency and restfulness, and his spiritual armor is always in a state of readiness for use against the enemy.  As for the lazy, the careless, and the complacent, the doors are always closed to them, however good their intentions might be.

       

      (To be contd.)

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      Saint Mark's Orthodox Fellowship urges you to study the Bible and encourage others to do the same. Please feel free to make any copies from these notes and distribute them to your relatives and friends. The Fellowship welcomes any questions, comments or additional references, whether for publication in these "Short Notes" or in private correspondence.

      Write to us: PO Box 6192, Columbia, MD 21045

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      Please notice:
      As previously noted, these studies are only guidelines to help everyone who wants to start a systematic reading of the Holy Bible. A hard copy version of this "Short Notes on the Bible", or "Spiritual Book" is distributed by ordinary mail by "Saint Mark's Orthodox Fellowship" (SMOF).
      To read these studies in ARABIC LANGUAGE, please register (for free) in Yahoo group: SMOFellowship, (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SMOFellowship/) then check the Arabic files on that site.
      If you have access to the WWW, you can see the html version of all previous "Short Notes on the Bible" and "Orthodox Spirituality" (In English, updated 11/9/2012), and you can print them, if you visit: <http://www.SMOFonLine.org> OR <http://home.comcast.net/~SMOF/>
      P.S. New SMOF website (the first in the line above) allows comments and questions (Blogs) to be added especially for Bible studies and Bible characters. In the meantime some of the contents of the old website are still in the process of uploading.
      The updated old website can be reached at: http://home.comcast.net/~SMOF/
      You may also like to check the following ITEMS on this web site: (The most recent postings in RED)

      A- ILLUSTRATIONS:
      1- ILLUSTRATED COLOR MAP of EXODUS,
      2- MAPS FOR THE LIFE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ON EARTH.
      Also, you can read each event in the LIFE OF OUR LORD from ALL GOSPELS at the same time (different colors).
      3- MAPS ON THE BOOK OF ACTS
      B- Select Links to web sites of particular interest such as Orthodoxy, Oriental and Eastern, Bible study resources ... (updated 3/7/05)
       
      C- Also a new issue of the Newsletter for Christian Unity (# 54) has been posted last month (Check "Publications" on the old website). It is in English and its topic is Comment of a priest on the Coptic Pope Election News”. Click on this link to read it:
       
      D- Also the program, photo album, and recordings of the lectures of the NINTH ORTHODOX UNITY CONFERENCE on CHURCH & AUTHORITY (Scripture, Law, Bishops, Council: HOW DOES THE CHURCH VOICE AUTHORITY) held Oct. 6th, 2012 in Toronto, Trinity College of the University of Toronto, Canada, are now available on SMOF websites (given above), under the category SMOF Canada. 


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