Summary: We go through many experiences in life - victories & defeats, troubles & trials, problems & heartaches. But every time we turn a corner there is Christ, & we get to know Him better as we rub shoulders with Him & experience His power in our life.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH
In writing to the Christians at Philippi the apostle Paul makes some amazing statements. Listen as I read what he wrote in Philippians 3:7-11.
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What 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, that I may gain Christ & be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God & is by faith.
“I want to know Christ & the power of His resurrection & the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, & so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
ILL. When you find yourself forgetting things it can prove to be embarrassing. Several times people have come up to me & said, "Do you remember me?" I look at their faces & I know I’ve met them before, but at that moment, at least, I just don’t remember their names.
There have been times, too, when I was preaching along & forgot what I was going to say next. At times like that you sometimes grope for words until your memory comes back & you remember what you intended to say.
ILL. The story is told about a young preacher who went to hear an old & well-known preacher, thinking that maybe he could pick up a few pointers on preaching. As he listened, the old preacher, in his sermon, made this amazing statement. He said, "Some of the most meaningful moments of my life were spent in the arms of another man’s wife."
Now instantly the old preacher had the attention of the entire congregation. Everybody was on the edge of their seat, & the young preacher thought, "Boy, that is really an attention-getter if I have ever heard one."
The old preacher repeated it just to make sure everybody got it. He said, "Some of the most meaningful moments of my life were spent in the arms of another man’s wife." Then he went on to explain that the woman he was talking about was his father’s wife, in other words, his mother.
The young preacher thought, "That was really great! I’m going to use that in one of my sermons soon." So a few weeks later he was preaching along & he made the statement, "Some of the most meaningful moments of my life were spent in the arms of another man’s wife."
And it worked for him, too. I mean everybody listened & he wasn’t used to having that kind of attention from his audience. So, basking in their undivided attention, he decided to say it again with a little more flare.
Gesturing & emphasizing the words, he repeated, "Some of the most meaningful moments of my life were spent in the arms of another man’s wife." And then his mind went blank. He stumbled around in his words for a few moments, & then said, "For the life of me I can’t remember whose wife she was."
A. When I read these words in Philippians 3, I get the feeling that the apostle Paul has paused in the midst of his writing. He leans back in his chair & begins to remember how & why he became a Christian, & what has happened to him since that day.
Once he was looked upon as a man of great influence among the Jews, a member of the ruling aristocracy with wealth & fame. Soldiers & servants followed him wherever he went.
But Paul had given all of that up to follow a man known as a carpenter, an itinerate preacher who didn’t own anything except the clothes that He wore.
And when asked why, Paul says, "I looked at all I once had & decided it was rubbish." Paul had come to realize that if you have all the things of the world, but you don’t have Christ, you are poor indeed.
But if you have Christ, you are rich indeed. He had come to realize that Jesus is the pearl of great price, the treasure hidden in a field. He is worth selling everything you have in order to have Him.
B. It seems that is a message the church needs to hear today.
There aren’t any Rolex wrist watches in this passage of Scripture. No custom made Lincoln town cars are here. No million-dollar mansions are found in this passage of Scripture, only humility.
ILL. A few years ago the religious community was being rocked by one scandal after another. Headlines featured sexual exposes. But in my opinion the problem was not lust. The problem is that there is a large segment of Christianity that has ignored the Biblical structure of the church.