Summary: Entire sanctification means knowing where righteousness comes from. Any righteousness we have comes to us on the basis of faith in Christ Jesus. Thus, it is easy to give up any puny notion that our earthly qualifications gave us merit.
"The Holiness Lifestyle: Gain Christ Jesus"
Author: Dr. Neal Gray
Passage: Philippians 3:1-11, KJV
Purpose: Entire sanctification means knowing where righteousness comes from. Any righteousness we have comes to us on the basis of faith in Christ Jesus. Thus, it is easy to give up any puny notion that our earthly qualifications gave us merit.
In this series of sermons I have tried to show that our DOCTRINE OF HOLINESS, SPECIFICALLY ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION, IS EVIDENCED BY THE CHRISTIAN’S ATTITUDE. The letter to the Philippians demonstrates a wide variety of attitudes that clearly show entire sanctification in the believer’s life.
In today’s passage we hear about the attitude in the three stages of Paul’s life, namely...
* His past without Christ
* His present in Christ, and,
* His future with Christ.
If you are a child of God, saved by the blood of Jesus Christ by trusting in Him, then you have each of these phases, too.
The Bible passage for today’s sermon is Philippians 3:1-11.
THE PAST WITHOUT CHRIST
There has always been, in every society, THE NEED TO UNDERSTAND WHO WE ARE, and why we exist. The Bible states that God has "set the world in their heart," (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Therefore, every man and woman knows that there is more to life than just this temporary existence, even if they cannot understand just what that "something" is.
They Worship the Unknown god
The result is that MEN HAVE SET UP ALL SORTS OF SYSTEMS, idols, and icons to facilitate their worship.
In Paul’s second missionary journey, just a short time after founding the Philippian church, Paul witnessed to Greeks in the city of Athens. There he found that they worshipped many "gods." They even worshipped "the unknown god," (Acts 17:23), just in case they were offending that god.
==> How unfortunate.
Even Bona Fide Religion Was Tainted
Of course, the True and Living God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (later named to "Israel").
* He is the One who created all things
* He is the One to whom the OT sacrifices were meant, and,
* He is the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
==> Jesus came to proclaim that He was indeed the prophesied Messiah. But, unfortunately, even after so many convincing proofs, SOME OF THE JEWS WOULD NOT LISTEN.
These are the people that Paul warns the Philippians about when he says, "Beware of the...
* Evil workers, and,
* Beware of the concision," (3:2).
(Note: "concision" refers to those who set themselves apart, especially under false assumptions of superiority.)
Put No Confidence in Your Past
These men had pride in their heritage of the circumcision following Abraham, and in their sacrifices. But THEY HAD NO SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT TO RECOGNIZE THE MESSIAH when they saw Him.
They were, for spiritual purposes, totally blind to the truth; even though they thought themselves superior to others in spiritual matters.
Paul Could Have Had Confidence In His Past
If any Jew had reason to be proud of his past, it would have been the Apostle Paul (cf. 3:5-6), for he was...
* Born of the nation Israel: Paul was no proselyte, the blood of Jacob flowed in him.
* A descendant of the tribe of Benjamin: this tribe alone had been faithful to the Davidic throne at the time of the division of the kingdom; it had given the nation its first king, after whom Paul (Saul) had been named by his parents.
* A prominent Hebrew: no mixed parentage, but of pure Jewish ancestry from both parents.
* A Pharisee: Paul by his own choice belonged to the most orthodox of the Jewish parties, which contained the most zealous supporters and interpreters of OT law, and,
* Zealous to maintain the Law of the Old Testament: Paul had studied under Gamaliel, the most celebrated teacher of the OT.
THE PRESENT IN CHRIST
Certainly Paul had much to boast about. YET, WHEN THIS HIGHLY QUALIFIED MAN SAW CHRIST, ALL OF HIS EARTHLY QUALIFICATIONS DIMMED IN COMPARISON.
Proud of Rubbish?
I don’t know how it might have happened to you. For me, when I confronted the Savior who died for me and is now alive, all my qualifications seemed to be worthless, too.
Paul puts it stronger: He calls all of his qualifications "dung," (3:8). Now, that is strong language! He flushes his religion down the drain. He flushes away all the things he used to trust.
==> And now he trusts the Lord Jesus and Him only for his salvation.
That I May Gain Christ
The Apostle tells us that, even in imprisonment, he can "count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord," (3:8a).