Philippians 3:12-16; Selected Scriptures
D.Z. Cofield, Th.M., D. Min.
January 15, 2023

Responsive Reading: Romans 8:31-39 (ESV)

Leader: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against

Congregation: He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will
he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Leader: Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Congregation: Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that,
who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Leader: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or
persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

Congregation: As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we
are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

Leader: No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Congregation: For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor
things present nor things to come, nor powers,

Everyone: nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to
separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Intro: Every individual on this earth needs to overcome obstacles at some point
in their life. Whether it’s applying for another job after losing the first one or even
just getting off the ground after falling down, everyone has to learn how to
overcome the difficulties that life throws at them even those who are famous!

Here are some famous people who overcame adversity.

1. Albert Einstein
He didn’t speak at all for the first three years of his life. Even though he received good
grades throughout primary and elementary school, many of his teachers assumed he
was lazy and wouldn’t make anything of himself. They claimed his head was always in
the clouds, always asking questions that people couldn’t understand or answer.
Eventually he would come up with concepts and theories that changed how we see the
world. His name – Albert Einstein.

2. Vincent Van Gogh
Though he was a passionate painter who produced over 900 paintings, he only sold
one painting during his lifetime. While he may not have physically overcome his
challenges, his persistence and dedication to his work despite receiving no monetary
compensation or external praise is something to be commended. Today is he is
considered one of the great artists of all time. His name – Vincent Van Gogh

3. Jim Carrey
He was fifteen when he dropped out of school to support his family. His father was an
unemployed musician and as the family went from “lower middle class to poor,” soon
after, he and his family had to start living in a van. Despite these challenges, he
continued to dream. He went from having his dad drive him to comedy clubs in Toronto
to starring in mega-blockbusters and being known as one of the best comedic actors of
this era. His name – Jim Carrey.

4. Thomas Edison
He failed somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 times before his invention became a
reality. Can you imagine failing at something 10,000 times? Instead of quitting,
however, he tried and tried again until he achieved success. His response to his
repeated failures? “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Despite repeated failures in the past, he continued to press and try again and again.
His invention – the electric light bulb. His name – Thomas Edison.

5. Stephen King
His first novel was rejected by thirty different publishers. He was so upset that he threw
the novel in the trash, until his wife, Tabitha, later fished it out and encouraged him to
finish it. His books have now sold over 350 million copies, and the first novel that was
rejected by 30 different publishers became a classic novel with many film and TV
adaptations to its name. The first novel was named Carrie. The author – Stephen

6. Steven Spielberg
He was rejected from The USC School of Cinematic Arts, not once, but twice.
One of the most prolific filmmakers of all time, couldn’t get admitted into the film school
of his choice. In the end, he would get the last laugh, when USC awarded him an
honorary degree in 1994. Two years later, he became a trustee of the university.
The films he made included “Shindler’s List,” “Jaws,” “E.T.” and “Jurassic Park”.
The filmmaker – Steven Spielberg.

7. Walt Disney
He was fired from his first job at the Kansas City Star after his newspaper editor
told him that he didn’t have enough imagination or creativity. A few years later, he
drove Disney’s animation studio, Laugh-O-Gram, into bankruptcy. Only when he moved
to produce cartoons did his career ultimately take off. His name – Walt Disney

8. Oprah Winfrey
She gave birth at age 14 and lost her child after being repeatedly molested by her
cousin, uncle and a family friend. She eventually ran away from home, but didn’t
allow her tragic to stop her from becoming the force she is today. She excelled as an
honors student in high school, and won an oratory contest which secured her a full
scholarship to college. She is now an entrepreneur, a personality who has the
admiration of millions and is one of the most successful and richest people in the world
today, with a worth estimated to be valued at more than $3 billion dollars. Her name is
Oprah Winfrey.

How To Get PAST Your PAST, Pt. 1

1. You need to realize you are still a WORK in PROGRESS, even after you
accepted Jesus as your Savior (v. 12, 13a)

Philippians 3:12-13 (ESV) – 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.
13 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,

2. You must CHOOSE to let go of ANYTHING in your PAST that will keep you
from doing your best in the PRESENT (13b)

Philippians 3:13 (ESV) – 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,

How To Get PAST Your PAST, Pt. 2

1. You must CHOOSE to SHIFT your FOCUS from what’s behind you to what’s
in front of you (13c)

Philippians 3:13 (ESV) – 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,

Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV) – Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but
one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those
things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
in Christ Jesus.

Straining/Reaching –

1 Peter 1:13-15 (ESV) – Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded,
set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of
Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your
former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your

2. You must be intentional in your EFFORT to do all you can to GROW and
fulfill God’s PURPOSE for your LIFE (14)

Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV) – 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,
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.


Romans 8:29 (MSG) – God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He
decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines
as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see
the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.

Ephesians 4:13-15 (NLT2) – This will continue until we all come to such unity in our
faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to
the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like
children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will
not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like
Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

1 John 2:4-6 (NLT2) – If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s
commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5 But those who obey
God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living
in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

3. You must stay FOCUSED and keep THINKING and DOING what will keep
you growing in spiritual maturity (15-16)

Philippians 3:15-16 (ESV) – Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in
anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to
what we have attained.

Philippians 3:15-16 (NLT2) – Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If
you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold
on to the progress we have already made.

Philippians 3:15-16 (MSG) – So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want
everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less
than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! 16 Now that
we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.

Romans 8:6 (NLT) – So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But
letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

Galatians 5:16 (NLT) – So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be
doing what your sinful nature craves.

1 John 2:6 (NLT) – Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

L.I.F.E. Group Questions

1. Can you identify a time when people have focused on something minor instead
of focusing on what was major? Explain
2. Do you find it easier to remember the negative or positive things from your past?
3. How much of a challenge is it to shift from focusing on what’s behind you to
what’s in front of you? Explain
4. Why is it important to realize that, even as a Christian, you are still a work in
5. Is your spiritual growth the result of accidental chances or intentional choices?
6. What do you need to do specifically to help fulfill God’s purpose for your life?
7. How do you stay focused on God’s purpose for your life?
8. What’s the relationship between how you think and how you act?
9. How do you shift your focus from what you’ve done in the past to what’s in front
of you in your present?
10. What do you need to do to maintain the spiritual progress you’ve already made in
your life and to continue making spiritual progress in your life?