Pressing On

Sermon Notes of
Reverend Harvey Alford Matney
(1868 – 1951)
December 25, 1910 – Chappell Hill, Texas


How easy it is for us to be distracted by past sins or spend too much time dwelling on our former accomplishments. But God teaches us to move on to even greater success and put the past behind. God forgets our sin. Why shouldn’t we?

In this sermon, my grandfather encourages believers, like Paul did, to press on towards the very best that God has planned for your life. — Harrison Woodard

Philippians 3:13-14 KJV

Brethren, I count 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, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Pressing On

In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul lays down as the basis of action in his own life the proposition that the faith of a Christian embraces real relations with the living God. Relations that are different from anything possible in unbelief.

But sin in their own hearts, and many experiences of life seems to deny the pretension and claims of faith. Strong temptations whisper that this high fellowship with the living God not only does not exist, but it is not desirable.

So from the outset, and all along, faith, if it is not content to be a mere dream: if it will count for a reality, must contend for its life.

And I consider everything incomplete till I have finished my course and obtained the crown. This is my chief concern, my sole business in the world.

I cannot afford to spend my time pondering the gloomy past of my own unfaithfulness; nor keeping tab on what I do. I want to forget the things of the past, and reach for the things, which are to come.

I hear a call from above, the call of God to an upward march, and I haven’t time to waste with things already past: ill treatments, slights and unkindness. They are all too small.

It matters not what others think or say of me, I count not myself to have apprehended yet. I press toward the mark for the prize. Not the mark of Abraham, or Moses, or John, or Paul; but a higher calling, one in Christ Jesus. I saw the blaze of his glory on the Damascus Road, but I see yet more, and know yet more of him now. I shall follow him to the end.

Brother the secret of success in the Christian life is forgetting the past, looking toward a high mark, and pressing on, on and on. The past with its successes, failures, and opportunities fades into insignificance in the presence of this vision.

Look at the past: compliments for predecessors, and people; but these well-wrought labors are of the past, and will not do for the future. Let us join heart and hand in a forward movement. Who will?


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