Noé’s Prize for Running the Race
Philippians 3: 13-14
(A Sermonic reflection on the life of a believer)
13 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.
Today we are fortunate to celebrate the life of a good man. Noé Hernandez will forever be remembered in our hearts and minds, as God’s servant in this community.
We all have great memories of his smile, laugh, generosity, service and contribution to the work of the Kingdom, here at FPU.
When I personally think of Noé, I am filled with gratitude for the relationship we shared in Christ. Noé was a brother that could be counted on to share the good news of Jesus on this campus.
I’m grateful for his ministry in College hour, in life groups, in one on one student mentoring, prayer events and staff interactions with those he came into contact with.
However I am more grateful for the ministry he has caused this moment.
It’s because of Noé, that we are opening the word of God today.
His memory calls us to look at scripture and examine our own lives. Noé, like the Apostle Paul was on a journey. That Journey cause him to live a certain way, walk a certain way, talk a certain way and be remembered in a certain way.
Like Paul Noé’s life had two things; it had purpose and it had passion.
According to the text; Paul understood what was important in life. This brought him purpose.
“13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended;
Notice that Paul in a breath of Humility, could say, I haven’t arrived yet as a servant of God…
In other words, I’m not all that I should be, or all that I want to be. I have not arrived in any way, but that’s okay.
After all he had accomplished as an Apostle he was still humble enough to say I haven’t made it yet…
This reminds me of Noe! He was a humble man…filled with life’s wisdom, steeped in knowledge about many things, but humble enough to walk with men, and share what he was learning along the road of life.
Paul goes on to say…
but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.”
1. Paul didn’t dwell on the past.
2. Paul kept reaching for what was to come.
In forgetting what was behind,…
1. Paul was forgetting pedigree
2. Paul was forgetting birth right
3. Paul was forgetting academic ability
4. Paul was forgetting heritage
5. Paul was forgetting cultural benefits
6. Paul was forgetting religious norms
7. Paul was forgetting past sins
8. Paul was forgetting past failures
9. Paul was forgetting past mess up’s
10. Paul was forgetting ministry mistakes
In forgetting what was behind, he selected to reach forward to what was ahead of him.
The picture he uses is that of a runner in a race straining forward, leaning with every ounce of his strength to that which is ahead while he is running.
Before Paul was the blessed privilege of getting more of Christ.
Before Paul was the blessed privilege of more responsibility in the Kingdom.
Before Paul was the blessed privilege of the Christian life and the progressive pursuit of Christ likeness:
• Serving the poor
• Loving the widows
• Serving the elderly
• Preaching the word
• Worship of God
• Life in community
• Character development
• Freeing the captives
• Clothing the naked
• Healing the sick
Paul in this next verse sees himself as a runner pressing toward the goal. He was fixed on finishing and receiving the reward for running well. This is a picture of Noé’s purpose in the Christian life!He had a purpose for the manner in which He was living!
• He had a purpose for serving at FPU
• He had a purpose for studying theology
• He had a purpose for caring for His dad
• He had a purpose for providing for his sons
• He had a purpose for loving his queen
• He had a purpose for sharing his faith
• He had a purpose for doing what he did
• He was living unto God while he had the chance
[Noé and Paul were similar in Christian purpose]
Noé found meaning and ministry in the following things;
Being a worship leader, entrepreneur, painter, chef, literary teacher, a leather worker, story teller, artist, mime, Gardner, mechanic, handyman, Carpenter, Librarian, Scholar and an Ordained Minister…
Here in this next verse we find the secret of his passion in life.
14. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
• Here Paul says that he was pressing (press; to pursue in a hostile manner)
• Paul was living in pursuit of Christ
• Paul was aimed at reaching the mark
I press toward the mark is a reference to the white line that marked the ground in the stadium from the starting place to the goal, on which all runners were obliged to keep their eye upon as they ran. Some scholars believed that the word mark means a watchman. (Only used here in the New Testament.)
Who is Jesus himself to who we must continually look at as we run [Heb. 12:2]
1. Paul wanted to run well
2. Paul wanted to finish right
3. Paul wanted the watchman to take notice of his efforts to do things the right way, according to the standards that were required of him. “So he pursued in a hostile manner the mark” With everything in him he went after Jesus!
The race that Paul was in was a difficult race…
1. It was a race that must be endured through storm, trial, and suffering.
2. It was a race that could not be ran without ups and downs.
3. It was a race that could not be ran without hardship and turmoil.
4. It was a race that could not be ran without pain and problems.
5. It was a life lived out with purpose and passion.
According to this verse, Paul was pressing toward the mark that he might receive the prize.
The prize was the reward which God from above calls us by Christ Jesus, to receive. According to scripture the believer who serves faithfully will be awarded a crown at the end of our life…
I believe that this is”The prize”… the “crown of righteousness”…This will be offered to those who have received the high calling of God in Christ.
Once gain, according to scholars, a crown was bestowed in an earthly race when the goal was reached. Oh beloved friends and family…Noe understood this biblical truth…
• The High Calling is that which is heavenly…
• The high calling is that which is pointed to a crown of life…
• The high calling is from the Savior Himself…
• Jesus is the caller, summoning the cal-lee to obtain what he or she is undeserving of obtaining…
• Jesus is the caller who also is the watchman, who also is the giver of the crown, who also is the righteous-Judge of those who finish well.
• Jesus is also the prize Himself who all are running to see.
I believe that Noé’s pursuit was to see Jesus…
I believe that Noé’s calling was to pursue Jesus…
I believe that Noé’s Passion was to worship Jesus…
I believe that Noé’s purpose in life was to become like Him who had called him to follow….
According to this passage, there were three things the apostle desired to do;
1. Paul desires to look upon the one who was crucified one Friday night at the Hill called Calvary
2. Paul desires to see the one who died for the sins of the world.
3. Paul desires to know Him who was raised from the dead on the first day of the week (early Sunday morning)
And now Noe gets to see him because his desire is every believer’s desire…
Noe gets to be in His presence, because every believer wants to be in Christ presence… Noe gets to worship His savior up close and personal, because every believer wants to worship Christ up close and personal…Noe gets what he finally longed for to be in the presence of the Lord.
Noe was a good and faithful servant, he has left us a legacy to follow…to live a life of purpose and to live a life of passion and to live a life that is in pursuit of Christ.
Rest in Him, Man of God…Job well done!