Episode 58 – You Have To Claim Your Prize

Episode 58 we talk about heaven. It sounds crazy to say heaven is open to everyone, but it is. All anyone has to do—anyone—is claim it. When you look at it this way, hell will be filled with people who just didn’t want to go through the trouble of claiming their prize. Go figure. I want heaven to be my home. Just like Paul did. So much so, he shared this passage of scripture that should help us all claim our prize.

Also, the conversation goes further in our “A Little More Matters” bonus episodes for our Patreon family, for more info on becoming part go to www.patreon.com/realchurchmatters!

Also, the conversation goes further in our “A Little More Matters” bonus episodes for our Patreon family, for more info on becoming part go to www.patreon.com/realchurchmatters!

You have to Claim Your Prize

Philippians 3:12-15 

12 Not 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. 13 Brethren, I count (consider) 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 (in front of), 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 thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

Words to know:

  • Attained – obtained or received
  • Apprehend – to make one’s own—to posses

What hasn’t Paul “already attained”?

Paul hasn’t already attainted the “resurrection of the dead” found in the scripture of verse 12:

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. —Philippians 3:10-11

What does Paul mean by saying he wasn’t “already perfect”?

Paul was saying, not only had he not reached the perfection of resurrection, but he wasn’t even perfected in this life.

There’s a but…

Paul’s response to not yet obtaining perfection in this life or the next wasn’t to sit around—it was to act. Paul followed after perfection—in this life and in the next. He even shared this sentiment again:

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receive the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. — 1 Corinthians 9:24

We should run, or better yet, live this life chasing after heaven. While everyone is living life in one way or the other, 1 Corinthians 9:24 shows us you must live it or run in a way that gains you the prize of heaven.

Paul is chasing to get the reason He’s been gotten.

Paul wants to possess the prize of heaven for himself because heaven is the very reason that Paul himself has been possessed:

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. — John 3:16

See Jesus went and got Paul, just like Jesus came and got us:

5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutes: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. — Acts 9:5-6

The prize of everlasting life is the reason God gave His son in the first place. It is also the reason Jesus has been seeking us out since the days He walked upon the earth to now. Paul was changed on the road to Damascus, but he wasn’t made perfect because the change wasn’t complete…yet:

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.1 Corinthians 15:51-52

We aren’t perfect yet because we haven’t completed the change. It’s called perfection because it completes the purpose of God. Heaven is the completion of salvation—it is the promise perfected — it is the fullness of change. We have been apprehended by Christ. but we haven’t apprehended Him. We will obtain Him—known Him fully when we know Him, not just in the fellowship of suffering but in the power of resurrection.

How did Paul choose to chase after heaven?

Paul decided there is one thing to do: forget what was behind him and reach forth to what was before him. We have to forget everything about the way we approached living to focus on the way that has been set before us. The same way Paul forgot everything he knew about serving God:

4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. — Philippians 3:4-7

We may have forgotten the way of living according to the world, but we should ask ourselves our we living for the sake of Christ. See Paul was considered a devout and blameless Pharisee. But when Christ came, got him and showed him he was hurting—not helping—the cause of Christ, Paul forgot his holy ways for the new holy way that honored Christ. Church, and the things we’ve learned along the way in it, haven’t always advanced the cause of Christ. Our lives haven’t always been for Christ sake. Since Christ came and got us, we should in return be focused on getting him. That wasn’t the focus of the Pharisee’s and it’s not the focus of many so-called Christians today.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, — Hebrews 12:1

The sin and weights in all of us may be different, but they all prevent us from run in a way that gets the prize. They prevent us from reaching forth, forgetting is one thing but reaching forth to what’s ahead is the other part. Paul immediately asked Jesus “what would he have him to do”. We often want Christ to save us from our past, but never asked him to give us a future. We reserve the future for our dreams, our aspirations and our plans. But to run this race right, your eyes have to be on the prize.

Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. — Daniel 9:10

They are right in front of us—the Word of God is accessible to us and through God’s grace and love, placed right in front of our eyes in many ways. But if you forget what you know and reach for it, you’ll never receive the prize. You will not complete the change that has begun. Paul said this is how you “press towards the high calling.” So much so Paul explained to them that those who have this mindset are as good as perfect. And shared that if you didn’t have this mindset, God would reveal it to you.

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