6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Cross changes how we view everyone and everthing.


Phil. 3: 7-14 (p 819) August 11, 2013


Have you ever heard the phrase…”Resting on your laurels?”

It comes from when Greek Olympians would win an event…they were given Bay Laurel crowns to honor the God Apollo’s…those Olympians became celebrities for their accomplishments…No longer training , no longer racing, no longer winning…resting on their laurels…existing on the statues from past accomplishments and victories.

The Apostle Paul loved to use Olympia, physical, illustrations to prove a point...at the end of his life…as he closes his 2nd letter, to Timothy he says, “The time for my departure is near…I have fought the good fight, (he uses the Greek word “pugilist”, pugilism, boxing) I have finished the race…now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will award me on that day—“ (2 Tim 4: 6-8)

The word Paul uses for crown is “Stephanos” it’s used to describe the crown of thorns Jesus wore in Matt 27:29…It’s not the “diademed” crown of Gold..It’s a victors laurel wreath…it’s a temporary crown…Laurel Leaves and thorns.

In our text Paul sees temporary things…and he sees eternal things…He sees things that are garbage and things that are of intimate worth…At one time he could have rested on his earthly laurels…but not anymore.


The Jews put a great deal of importance on your family tree…and also the accomplishments of your life, especially in regards to the Mosaic law…The belief was…be a child of Abraham, obey the Law, be in the right family with the right people…and you’re in!!!

It’s how Paul introduces our test: “If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the 8th day (Just like the Abraham covenant demands), of the people of Israel (I’m a Jew), of the tribe of Benjamin (one of the most beloved sons of Jacob), A Hebrew of Hebrews, ( I’m a leader in the Jewish community, possibly one of the Sanhedrin) As to the Law a Pharisees (the top students) as for zeal persecuting the church ( I get fired up when something is opposing our religious system)…as for righteousness based on the Law, faultless…(He obeyed all the written commandments to “T” ) (Philippians 3:4-6)

The Apostle Paul uses a B.U.I.C.K. (Brought up in the church Kid)….His spiritual confidence came from the way he looked, the way he acted, and his family heritage…He would have made an amazing older brother in Jesus’ story about the prodigal son…remember him? Saying to the Father…”I’ve slaved for you all these years and never disobeyed your orders!” (Luke 15:29)

Here’s what happens to the Saul’s who put confidence in the flesh and to the older brothers who think they’ve earned the Father’s Love & Blessings….

The first martyr for His faith after the resurrection of Jesus was a “deaconos”, a servant named Stephen…He gives a history lesson to a crowd of older brothers and Buick….listen to what happens…

Acts 7: 51-8:3 (p 764)

They’re furious…they circle the truth…they pick up rocks…they kill the messenger…like they killed other messengers…Saul’s there…holding their coats and in full approval for these actions…In fact Saul uses them as a springboard to vent his hatred and rage. Acts 9 begins….”Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.” He goes to the Holy Place for superior’s to arrest anyone, male, female, young or old who follow Christ.

Do you think Saul believes he’s right? I really need an answer…do you think that Saul believes he’s being a good man? Yeah? Me too.

He’s stacking up those “Gains” in Phil. 3:7 like notches in a gunfighter’s pistol Saul is doing, acting, and persecuting righteous acts of the Law.”

I’m afraid many churches are producing Saul-like God followers…Self righteous, even angry when it comes to religious stuff….with a point of view that comes from the flesh…God loves good people…I’m a good people…God loves me…God hates bad people…you’re a bad people….God hates you….and so do I…

It might be the most cancerous belief system for the church of Jesus today.

You see with a mouth full of murderous threats and heart hardened by self righteousness Saul meets a risen Jesus “As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him…He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him. Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “who are you Saul asked, “I’m Jesus whom you are persecuting He replied”. (Acts 9: 3-5)

Saul knew the commandments…He had studied the law (under the best teachers)…He had the right pedigree…

But meeting Jesus changes everything…He would lose it all…for the immeasurable worth of Jesus. Everything else would be garbage in comparison…All his past accomplishments look like dirty diapers in comparison with Jesus gift of grace…in verse 10 you can feel the desire…

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