Summary: Part of a series in Philippians, we’re exhorted to pursue Christ, no matter what.
Illus. I was raised in low income family; learned to make sacrifices; learned value of dollar.
•At 13, I needed a new bicycle; $110. I worked all winter and spring.
•I sacrificed a lot, but I never complained; it was worth it; 14th birthday, bought it.
•Some things are simply worth sacrificing for.
I believe that Paul had the same idea in mind when he wrote Philippians, esp. 3:4-11.
•He was familiar with living in the low income bracket (Phil. 4:12).
•He was currently in prison because of his faith.
We’re going to discover a remarkable truth today.
Paul willingly sacrificed everything in order to get one thing.
What was it that was worth everything in the world to him? Let’s find out after we pray.
Last week, we remembered that the Gospel is all about Christ and not ourselves.
•The Judaizers boasted in their works, their heritage.
•If anyone had a reason to boast, it was Paul. Let’s look at what he had.
I. PAUL’S EARTHLY GAIN vv. 4-6
(start w/ v. 3) 3FOR IT IS WE WHO ARE THE CIRCUMCISION, WE WHO WORSHIP BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, WHO GLORY IN CHRIST JESUS, AND WHO PUT NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH—4THOUGH I MYSELF HAVE REASONS FOR SUCH CONFIDENCE (in the flesh, cf. v. 3). IF ANYONE ELSE THINKS HE HAS REASONS TO PUT CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH, I HAVE MORE: Paul then lists 7 reasons why he could boast.
5CIRCUMCISED ON THE EIGHTH DAY, OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL, OF THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN, A HEBREW OF HEBREWS; IN REGARD TO THE LAW, A PHARISEE; 6AS FOR ZEAL, PERSECUTING THE CHURCH; AS FOR LEGALISTIC RIGHTEOUSNESS, FAULTLESS.
Not only was he born a Jew, he was an outstanding Jew (Hebrew of the Hebrews).
Not only was he an outstanding Jew, he was a Pharisee (the epitome of religion).
•The Pharisees worked hard to protect the Jewish Law from Gentile influence.
Not only was he a Pharisee, he was a zealous, legalistic Pharisee.
•He had been trained by the best.
Acts 22:3-4 “I AM A JEW, BORN IN TARSUS OF CILICIA, BUT BROUGHT UP IN THIS CITY (Jerusalem).
It’s possible that Paul was among the Pharisees who condemned Jesus.
UNDER GAMALIEL (the foremost teacher in Jerusalem) I WAS THOROUGHLY TRAINED IN THE LAW OF OUR FATHERS AND WAS JUST AS ZEALOUS FOR GOD AS ANY OF YOU ARE TODAY. 4I PERSECUTED THE FOLLOWERS OF THIS WAY TO THEIR DEATH, ARRESTING BOTH MEN AND WOMEN AND THROWING THEM INTO PRISON… He was the Pharisees’ bouncer/enforcer.
Paul was the epitome of a Jewish Pharisee and was well on his way to the top.
•He had everything going for him.
He started out with incredible potential and yet ended up penniless and in prison.
Many of his peers would say his was a “riches to rags” story.
How could he go from one extreme to the next? Let’s look at his loss.
II. PAUL’S EARTHLY LOSS vv. 7-8
7"BUT WHATEVER WAS TO MY PROFIT I NOW CONSIDER LOSS FOR THE SAKE OF CHRIST. 8WHAT IS MORE, I CONSIDER EVERYTHING A LOSS COMPARED TO THE SURPASSING GREATNESS OF KNOWING CHRIST JESUS MY LORD, FOR WHOSE SAKE I HAVE LOST ALL THINGS. I CONSIDER THEM RUBBISH,
Paul considered his prestige/power/popularity a total loss, but not in the way we would think. He wasn’t upset about it. He rejoiced over it.
Everything he had worked for, for his profit, he considered rubbish/dung heap.
What some people would call a total loss, Paul calls a total gain.
He willingly gave up everything in order to get one thing.
Paul discovered a priceless gem: Knowing Christ is worth the price.
•His earthly loss was nothing compared to his heavenly gain.
The most important thing in Paul’s life was knowing Christ. It must be ours as well!
Let’s look at what Paul gained.
III. PAUL’S HEAVENLY GAIN vv. 8-11
Illus. “Let’s make a deal.” Contestants were given money or a prize and then asked;
Do you want to trade what you have for what’s behind door #2?
Illus. “Deal or no deal.” People have the opportunity to take the money or go for more.
Paul made a great deal. He traded all his earthly prestige and possessions for Christ.
In vv. 8ff, he lists three things that make it a great deal; that make Christ worth the price.
A. He wants to pursue Christ. I CONSIDER THEM RUBBISH, THAT I MAY GAIN CHRIST
GAIN means to pursue Christ for the purpose of making Him your own.
Illus. The world is obsessed with the pursuit of happiness.
•Paul was obsessed with the pursuit of Christ
Illus. Athletes often will sacrifice greatly to win the race.
Why is gaining/pursuing Christ such a great deal?
•Consider the prize - Christ! (fellowship, support, strength, etc.)