ALL FOR THE ONE
In dealing with people I have come to learn that we live our lives with respect to our priorities. The priorities in that we set dictate to us how we live, what we do, who we see and interact with. For some people work is their priority. Everything they do seems to center around their job. For some it is family, everything that is done is some how related to their family. For some their priority is themselves. Not thinking of others but only in what effects them, seeking pleasure for themselves at times at the expense of others. For some money is the priority. Doing anything for more money. People will work hours and hours, neglecting their families, their friends and whatever else in the persuade of more money. Some have made God their number one priority, and rightfully so, as when God is number one in your life, everything else kind of falls into place.
So if you look at your life you, along with everyone else can what exactly your priorities are simply by the way in which you live.
Today I want to look at the apostle Paul and what some his priorities were, before and after meeting the Lord Jesus Christ. We can see these priorities by noting three things from our passage for today. What Paul had, What Paul lost, and What Paul gained. So please turn with me today to Philippians chapter 3, verses 4-9, that would be page 1018 in your pew Bibles.
"Though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;"
Last week we noted how the mark of true Christian was the they put no confidence in the flesh but their confidence was strictly in Jesus Christ. Paul continues with that theme in verse 4 were he is saying look, if anyone has a right to have confidence in the flesh it’s me. If anyone has a right to brag about their self-rightouseness it’s me. Paul then proceeds to list the things which he could brag in if salvation came by good works. He make a list of those things which he had.
He first states that he was "circumcised on the eighth day". Here make a reference to the command given in Gen. 17:12, which stated that all Hebrew males must be circumcised on the eight day after they born. This was the seal of the covenant that God had made with Abraham. What Paul is saying is that he was not a Jewish convert, but a Jew from the day he was born. Those who converted to Judaism would certainly not be circumcised the eight day. But Paul was. He was raised in Jewish home. He was a pure Jew.
He also states he is "of the stock of Israel". He Paul notes that he is of the race of God’s chosen people.
Deuteronomy 7:6 "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth."
Many of the Jews who lived in Palestine during Paul’s day were of mixed stock. Maybe a parent was to Jewish, or perhaps a grandparent was not Jewish. But not Paul. He was a direct descendant of Abraham. No gentile blood in his veins. He is stating here the his of the race of God’s chosen people. And not only of Israel but of the tribe of Benjamin. Looking at the tribe of Benjamin in we see that it produced the first king of Israel, who Paul was originally named after, Saul. It was also the foremost tribe in the army of Israel. So Paul was proud to be in this tribe.
And He goes on. Not only was he circumcised the eight day, not only is he of the stock of Israel and of the tribe of Benjamin, but he states he is "a Hebrew of the Hebrews". There was not mixing of the custom of the gentiles in Paul’s life. He lived by the ways of the Hebrew people, he stuck to their customs, he stuck to their language, he was strict Jew.