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Title: Facing the Future Confidently Date: 16th

July 2005
Text: Philippians 3:12-14
Subject: Facing the Future
Theme: Principles for Facing the Future
Proposition: We can face the future confidently
Transitional Sentence: We can face the future confidently by
applying 3 principles in this text.

3 Principles for Facing the Future

I. Know That You Have a Life Purpose In Christ
II. Evaluate Your Present State Honestly
III. Do Not Be Hindered by Your Past

Approach Sentence:
The Greek philosopher Herodotus said that “there is nothing
permanent in this world except change”. How true it is.

Outline Section:
In all our lives, we go through changes. The world around us go
through changes. I visited Vietnam in 1995 when it was first
opening up and traveled the entire length of the country, a distance
of more than 2,000 km. At that time, the highest building in Hanoi
was just a couple of storeys high. I believe if I would to visit Vietnam
today in 2005 (10 years later), it would be vastly different.

The same is said about China. In 25 years since Deng XiaoPing

open doors and modernization policies, it has leap-frogged from back-
water country to the world’s second largest economy. I do not
have the figures, but literally thousands of skyscrapers are going up in
many Chinese cities every year. It is growing and changing so fast
that the central government has to impose some form of fiscal policy
to prevent the economy from over-heating.

Closer to home, there have been a lot of development and changes in

the last week. Some of you might know what I am talking about  the
NKF saga. Two days of cross-examination in the courts led to the
resignation of its CEO and its entire board. Life will never be the same
again for NKF.

Many of you seated here are young people who have a future ahead
of you. You have years ahead of you. You are at the prime of your
life. You have youth before you, many more years to walk this life
journey. You know, at your age, you seems to have the world at
your doorstep, the windows of the opportunities is wide open before

Just a few weeks ago, I was talking with Rachael Lim and she has
just passed her 20 years of existence a few days ago. And she say

GRACE AOG Young Adult Service page

Title: Facing the Future Confidently Date: 16th
July 2005
something to spike me in a joking manner: “cing cun jiu shi ben
qian”, knowing that I have long passed my youth.

Well, it is true, but I also know that she will not always be young, she
will also transit out of this phrase in life. You see, all of us are in this
station in life, but we will pass by student life and transit to working
life, perhaps with the prospect of a 40 years long of working life.

The picture that I had painted for you in my introduction is that life
can be uncertain and ever changing, so how can we face the future?
In time to come, when we transit to working life or to further our
education, how can we make each year count for God instead of
wandering 40 years in the desert like the Israelites.

Demands of life much higher now. (more competitive). Eg. school

work (no use of pen in Republic Poly), JC life, NUS life, work life. Eg.
Cindy working. Is there hope for the future?

Today, I want to talk on the topics of change and transition. The title
of my message is: Facing the Future Confidently.

Let’s turn our Bible to Philippians 3:12-14. Read.


I believe we can face the future confidently (not fearfully or
unknowingly, but expectantly and purposefully)

Transitional Sentence:
We can face the future confidently by applying 3 principles from this

I. Know That You Have a Life Purpose In Christ (v 12, 14)
II. Evaluate Your Present State Honestly (v12a, 13a)
III. Do Not Be Hindered by Your Past (v 13b)

I. Know That You Have a Life Purpose In Christ (v 12, 14)

- most important

A. Exposition
V12 – Not that I have obtained all this? I press on to take hold of that
for which Christ Jesus has taken hold of me.
What is the this and that Paul was talking about?
Further in V 14, he said he press on toward the goal to win the prize.
What is this goal that Paul is talking about?

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Title: Facing the Future Confidently Date: 16th
July 2005
To find out the answer, we have to read verse 10 and 11. He said that
“I want to know Christ…….”

May I suggest that for Paul, his life purpose in Christ is to know Him
and make him known.

B. Amplification
We see that in Eph 1:17-19 where he said “ I keep asking that the
God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the
Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order
that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of
his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great
power for us who believe.

Likewise, when he was brought to trail before King Agrippa in Acts

26:19, Paul says: 19 ‘‘So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to
the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those
in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that
they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by
their deeds. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts
and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had God’s help to this very day, and
so I stand here and testify to small and great alike.”

We see here that Paul know specifically what is his life purpose in
Christ and that is to know him and make him known.
(encompass whole life)

Compartmentalization of our life? Spiritual vs secular, church vs


C. Explanation
Likewise, if we want to be able to face the future confidently, we need
to know that we have a life purpose in Christ as well. I believe many
of you here many for seeking for God’s will for your life. What is my
life’s purpose, you may ask.
Actually, it is not too difficult.

This week, I am attending a class on the authority of the Scriptures. In

it we talk about how God is the ultimate authority for all belief and
practices and He has never leave himself a witness. First, there is
general revelation given to all men. That is, when you look at the
birds of the air, the trees outside, the stars and the sky, you realized
that there must be a creator.

Then, there is a specific revelation of who God is and what he

demand of man in both belief and actions, and this specific revelation
is the Bible. So, if you want to know what God will is, it is very simple:

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Title: Facing the Future Confidently Date: 16th
July 2005
“wrap your will around this book and you will discover what
God’s will is for your life.”

That’s is why we need to study the Scriptures and ask what is God’s
demand for my life. That’s is why we need to pray and ask for the
Holy Spirit to illuminate its teachings to us so that the words we read
are not just words from a book, but it has the very power to change
and transform our lives.

You may argue, if I wrap myself around this book, isn’t that just doing
the general will of God that is required of every Christian? I want to
know the specific will of God for my life. Let me challenge you, do the
general will of God first and you will discover your specific
will. Amen.

D. Application
As I mentioned, we have just gone through the 40 days of Growth
campaign and the reading of “The Purpose-Driven Life”. How many of
you here will say that truly I have grown as a result of this campaign
and the reading of this book. I hope that it has.

I hope something good has happened in your life as a result. I

hope that you have sharpened your focus as to what God would want
you to do in your life. I hope that you will be instilled with greater
passion to follow hard after Christ, that your faith is no longer mental
assent to the finished work of Jesus Christ, but that you will be griped
in your heart to be a true follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, a
generation of people that will stop at nothing to see the plan and
purposes of God fulfill in your life and those around you.

I hope that it has helped you to answer the question: “what is God’s
intent for my life?” I hope that in these 40 days, you will begin to
understand that you are created for 5 purposes, and that is worship,
fellowship, discipleship, service and mission.

In the last chapter, Rick Warren suggests writing a life purpose

statement. He told why this will be helpful and give us life’s five
greatest questions to help us in writing our life purpose statement:
1) What will be the center of my life? Worship
2) What will be the character of my life? Discipleship
3) What will be the contribution of my life? Service
4) What will be the communication of my life? Mission
5) What will be the community of my life? Fellowship.

5 Cs.

II. Evaluate Your Present State Honestly (v12a, 13a)

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Title: Facing the Future Confidently Date: 16th
July 2005
A. Exposition
V12a – not already obtained all this, not already been made perfect
V13a – do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.

Warren Wiersbe says that: “This is the statement of a great

Christian who never permitted himself to be satisfied with his spiritual
attainments. Obviously, Paul was satisfied with Jesus Christ (Phil.
3:10), but he was not satisfied with his Christian life. A sanctified
dissatisfaction is the first essential to progress in the Christian race.”

B. Illustration
A story is told of a salesman, Harry who came out of the manager’s
office with a look on his face dismal enough to wilt the roses on the
secretary’s desk.

“You didn’t get fired?” she asked.

“No, it’s not that bad. But he sure did lay into me about my sales
record. I can’t figure it out; for the past month I’ve been bringing in
plenty of orders. I thought he’d compliment me, but instead he told
me to get with it.”

Later in the day, the secretary talked to her boss about Harry. The
boss laughed. “Harry is one of our best salesmen and I’d hate to lose
him. But he has a tendency to rest on his laurels and be satisfied
with his performance. If I didn’t get him mad at me once a month,
he’d never produce!”

Many Christians are self-satisfied because they compare their

“running” with that of other Christians, usually those who are
not making much progress. Had Paul compared himself with others,
he would have been tempted to be proud and perhaps to let up a bit.
After all, there were not too many believers in Paul’s day who had
experienced all that he had!
But Paul did not compare himself with others; he compared
himself with himself and with Jesus Christ!

The mature Christian honestly evaluates himself and strives to do


C. Explanation
Self-evaluation can be a dangerous thing, because we can err in two
directions: (1) making ourselves better than we are, or (2) making
ourselves worse than we really are. Paul had no illusions about
himself; he still had to keep “pressing forward” in order to “lay hold of
that for which Christ laid hold” of him.

Illustration: Girl at the back of hall in youth service… colouring book,

it was terrible colouring… red colour pencil and began marking her
GRACE AOG Young Adult Service page
Title: Facing the Future Confidently Date: 16th
July 2005
colouring book. Guess what she did for each page of the colouring
book. She give herself a big tick and a big star on each page. If I were
to mark the book, I would not be so generous….
This tells us a lot about human nature. We always think that we are
not so bad after all. We are always more lenient with ourselves than
with others. We need to be tough with ourselves. We are easily
satisfied with our achievements and think we are ok. But a divine
dissatisfaction is essential for spiritual progress.

D) Application
In order for us to be able to face the future confidently, we need
to evaluate our present state honestly.

I think some of the questions to ask ourselves would be “Am I

satisfied with my life now? Am I growing spiritually? Is there anything
that I can do better for Him? Have I been really seeking our God
wholeheartedly and letting Him rule and reign in my life? Can I draw
closer to Him? Am I a better person this year compared to last year?
Do people see me and say that I have been a blessing to them? Am I
getting to know Christ more and his intent for my life? Am I being
transformed by the Word of God daily? Is my service to Him
equivalent to the gifts and abilities that He has given me? Do I know
of some needs that I can meet yet did not meet?

I think these are some of the questions that we need to honestly ask
ourselves about our present state.

I am thankful to God that as I get to know many of you in the last few
months, most if not all of you have a heart to serve God. Not only
that, many of you are presently involved in some form of ministries or

Yes, for those who are already doing good in the Lord, may I
challenge you not to rest on your laurels and be satisfied. In your
service to God and man, have some of the things you been doing
solely by your own strength? Why not rely on God’s strength and see
God’s results.

And for those who are not doing too good, why it is time to put in
the pain. NO PAIN NO GAIN. It is time for us to be humble before the
Lord, admit our weaknesses and learn.

YA ministry  honest evaluation  gap between where we hope to be

and where we presently are  changes in cell organization and
services will hopefully help us to fulfill our destiny and purposes in

III. Do Not Be Hindered by Your Past (v 13b)

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Title: Facing the Future Confidently Date: 16th
July 2005

A.) Exposition
V13b – forgetting what is behind
What is this forgetting what is behind?

Not amnesia (lost memory)

Not white-washing (eg. Sino-Japanese row on the historical

But it is not letting the past hold us back. Not letting the past
hindered us from the goal to win the prize for which God has called
us heavenward in Christ Jesus. He was a killer of Christian.

For Paul, what does it mean to him when he said to forget the past.
We must understand that Paul has a lot that was behind him. Paul had
a very bad past. He persecuted the church. He used his authority
to kill Christians. Killer of Christians

I can imagine Paul was grinning ear to ear when they stoned Stephen.
He must have been here so satisfied to see Stephen killed, that I can
imagine him doing this action. Or do you know that Paul was that kind
of man, who will come to you and ask, hey, you Christian ah? I also
want to believe…. Yeah, tell me more leh. Ok, Sunday I go to church
with you. Give me your handphone number. I call you tomorrow. Then
secretly…. He hee hee hee.

By his own admission he said, "I am chief of sinners."

He could have walked around all his life with this tremendous burden
of guilt crippling him & he would never have become the great
apostle we know & love today.

But Paul said, "…forgetting what is behind…" In other words, "Do not
retrieve our past from our memory, it will hinder us to go ahead".

B.) Illustration

Michael Jordan
In a Nike advertisement some years ago, a voice came over the
television saying, "I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.
I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take
the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over
again in my life. And that is why I succeed." Those words were spoken
by Michael Jordan, by most standards the greatest basketball player
ever to play the game. (Sermoncentral.com)

Abraham Lincoln
Failed in business age 22
Ran for Legislature 23
Again failed in business 24
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Title: Facing the Future Confidently Date: 16th
July 2005
Elected for legislature 25
Sweetheart died 26
Had a nervous breakdown 27
Defeated for Speaker 29
Defeated for Elector 31
Defeated for Congress 34
Elected for Congress 37
Defeated for Congress 39
Defeated for Senate 46
Defeated for Vice-President 47
Defeated for Senate 49
Elected President of the USA 51

This is the record of Abraham Lincoln, one of the GREATEST


C.) Application
For many of us, we have not live that long yet. But perhaps, there has
been some failures in your life before. Guess what? It is the finality of
all things. Let not things of the past hinder us from what God would
want to do in our life in the future.

Gatorade advertisement: person running with a parachute behind,

person swimming like in mud. That is how it is when we are tied down
by the past.

So let not our past hinder us.

So, to recap, like Paul, we need

I. Know That You Have a Life Purpose In Christ
II. Evaluate Your Present State Honestly
III. Do Not Be Hindered by Your Past

Objective Sentence
Therefore, as we apply the principles in this text, we can face the
future confidently.

Direct Appeal:

1) Those who have issues in the past.

2) Those who are not confident about the future.
3) Those who are seeking God’s will for your life

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