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Summary: Learn how to discern and secure the best deal for your life

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"How many people in this room would agree that you do what you do because you either want to avoid a loss or gain a benefit?" Let me repeat that question, "How many people in this room do what you do because you either want to avoid a loss or gain a benefit?"

Some of the very spiritual people are saying, "No, not me. My motivation is obedience to God. I do what I do because I obey God." But why do you obey God? You either do it out of fear, guilt, hope of reward or some other reason. In other words, you obey maybe to appease God, to appease your guilt, to gain a promised reward or even to achieve a sense of accomplishment in fulfilling your duty to God. You are still doing what you do to avoid a loss or gain a benefit.

Such motivation is not condemned in the Bible. In fact, we are encouraged many times by Jesus not only to avoid a loss but to gain the very best benefit. Jesus in Mark 8:36 asks, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" Jesus is challenging us to look out for what is most important, and work to gain that.

In Matthew 6:19-20, Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." Here again, Jesus is calling us not to settle for things that won’t last forever. He appeals to our desire for the best!

Someone tells the story about a thief who broke into a department store at night. Instead of stealing the items off the shelves, this thief decided to switch the price tags on every item. He took the price tags off of big screen TVs and put them on ceramic mugs. He replaced the price tags of leather jackets with those from the face towels, and so on. When morning came, mass confusion began within an hour of the store’s opening. People were paying 2 dollars for leather jackets and 2,000 dollars for ceramic mugs.

I received an email from Susan Chang back in August of this year, and I file most of her emails under a funny folder. I file her other emails to me under a fire folder. These are the emails that would get me fired if I shared them with you.

Let me share this one with you that is from my funny folder:

"Worried About Gas Prices? So, you think a gallon of gasoline is expensive, huh? Consider the following ...."

Diet Snapple 16oz for $1.29 = $10.32 per gallon

Gatorade 20oz for $1.59 = $ 10.17 per gallon

Pint of milk 16oz for $1.59 = $12.72 per gallon

STP Brake Fluid 12oz for $3.15 = $ 33.60 per gallon

Vick’s Nyquil 6oz for $8.35 = $ 178.13 per gallon

Pepto Bismol 4oz for $3.85 = $123.20 per gallon

Scope 1.5oz for $0.99 = $ 84.48 per gallon

And this is the REAL KICKER ... Evian water 9oz for $1.49 = $ 21.19 per gallon.....$21.19 FOR WATER!!

So next time you’re at the pump, be glad your car doesn’t run on Nyquil, Scope, or Pepto Bismol!!!!"

We really aren’t that aware of the value of things; our judgment is greatly influenced by marketing efforts.

We live in a world where the value tags have been switched and determined by supply and demand. The problem is the world and Satan hide the supply and we search for them in the wrong places, and the world and Satan increase the demand with marketing schemes that feed our selfishness. Only God has the correct price list on everything, including life and what matters.

So if we are to gain what is best, we would do well to check out God’s correct price list before we buy. This morning, Paul gives us a look into that price list, and he shows us three ways not to pay too much for too little. Let’s look together at Philippians 3:7-11.

The FIRST way not to settle for less than the best is not to allow the good to be a liability to the best. We read this in verses 7 and 8. Paul is saying that what he considered gains are actually liabilities when compared with the greatness of knowing Christ.

We can look back at verses 5 and 6. Paul had a right start in life, having the outward sign of circumcision (we talked about that last week). Paul’s heritage as a Hebrew Jew made him the purest of God’s chosen people. Paul’s participation as a Pharisee gave him the most respected religious position in his culture of his time. Paul’s zeal against the church gave him the reputation of defender of the Jewish faith. And Paul’s obedience to the law made him perfect in the eyes of the Jewish people and in his own eyes.

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