Summary: Through Christ, the Right Way is Revealed--the way to peace, joy, and eternal life.
2. When Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery returned with their report—they opened wide the opportunities of the in the American Frontier. The westward expansion encouraged many people to direct their dreams and passions toward a new land.
3. There was a young man by the name of Jedediah Smith who joined a fur-trading expedition that left St. Louis on the Missouri River in 1814. He quickly demonstrated his dependability and courage on the frontier—facing demoralized compatriots, hostile Indians, and ferocious grizzly bears. Jedidiah was a leader—his ingenuity and wisdom would rescue his friends from impossible situations and his keen insight would lead to the discovery of the South Pass—a critical component for future population expansion into the Oregon Territories.
4. But, there is one thing that even the secular textbooks and historians agree—the greatness of Jedidiah Smith rested with his unashamed relationship with God. His friends would testify in their writings of his commitment to Christ—wholeheartedly rejecting the seedier side of Frontier life.
5. Like Jedidiah Smith leaving his life in the East, and exchanging it for the uncharted territory of the frontier, the Apostle Paul left his life of Judaism and Religious ritual for a new life—a life centered on and intimately connected to Jesus Christ.
6. Like Jedidiah Smith, Paul too was a leader—and Apostle—called of God to reach the Gentile nations. But, what made Paul a great leader of the church was that he was a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
7. This morning, as we continue to journey through Philippians 3, we are going to discover critical truth of learning to follow Christ—following His leadership and placing our lives under His authority. There will be no satisfaction, no joy, no peace, unless the Follower of Christ actually follows Christ.
8. This morning we are going to zero in on Philippians 3:7-11. We are going to uncover four key “action” principles—actions we need to do—that are absolutely necessary for the Christian to successfully navigate this life.
9. Here are the four action principles: Reject, Embrace, Understand, and Desire.
First, what do we need to reject?
1. Reject the Old Life
a. Paul looks at his life before he met Christ.
b. His pedigree was impeccable—the envy of any good Jew
i. Circumcised on the eighth day
ii. Of the people of Israel
iii. Of the tribe of Benjamin
iv. A Hebrew of Hebrews
v. A Pharisee
vi. A persecutor of the Church
vii. A zealous practitioner of the Law
c. Text: But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
d. This is an amazing, almost unbelievable turnaround of events, attitude, loyalty, and priority.
e. In the ledger of Paul’s life, he places what he considered at one time to be assets in the loss column.
f. No longer viewing these things as assets, or bragging rights, or badges of honor—Paul devalues his pedigree and he gives the reason why: for the sake of Christ.
g. Obviously he has in mind that day—a day in which he was traveling to Damascus to arrest, persecute, and execute Christians. That day on the Damascus road when he was stopped dead in his tracks—and was confronted by the glorified Savior, Jesus Christ. Called by his old name, he hears these words: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
h. It was from the moment he received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior that he turned away from his old life. From the moment of repentance his whole value system radically changed. What had been important and essential to him was worthless. And, what he once rejected and held in contempt, he now embraced for the sake of Christ.
i. That decision he made on the Damascus road years before continued to affect his life to the present. And that should with us as well.
j. That conscious and personal decision we made by receiving God’s grace through faith, should have a dramatic effect concerning our values, priorities, and loyalties. For the sake of Christ we view sin and selfishness with contempt—it’s a loss because Jesus is our Lord and Savior.
k. To hold on to the past, to hold on to those things and attitudes that are contrary to God and His Word brings destruction. But to let go and let God lead us brings victory, genuine peace, and authentic joy.
l. We must reject the old life—the life we once lived apart from Christ.
m. First action principle: We must follow the Leading of Christ by Rejecting the Old Life.
n. Secondly, we need to embrace—embrace what?