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Summary: Message 10 from Philippians exploring Paul's passion to pursue Jesus above all.

"Passion to Pursue Jesus”

Paul’s letter to the Jesus followers living in a Greek city called Philippi contains the necessary ingredients of a life of “Maintaining the Joy of the Lord No Matter What”.

I. ADOPT THE RIGHT AXIS -- SUPERIOR PERSPECTIVE

The Exaltation of Christ in Everything

Passion to Praise Jesus

II. MAINTAIN THE RIGHT ATTITUDE -- SUPERIOR PATTERN OF LIVING

Humble Obedience modeled by Jesus

Passion to Please Jesus

III. PURSUE THE RIGHT AIM – SUPERIOR PURSUIT 3:1-21

Knowing Christ

Passion to Pursue Christ above all else

Today I will lead an exploration of Paul’s thinking and living regarding his pursuit of knowing Christ. Next week we will explore Paul’s invitation for us to embrace the same kind of pattern modeled by him.

A. Paul warned against false Christianity 3:1-2

B. Paul affirmed genuine Christianity 3:3

1. Who WORSHIP by the Spirit

2. Who glory in Christ Jesus

3. Who put NO confidence in the flesh.

C. Paul shared his own passionate pursuit of Jesus 3:7-14

Paul affirmed his current attitude toward fleshly accolades. He worshiped by the Spirit. He boasted in Christ Jesus alone. He put no confidence in the flesh.

1. Paul devalued EVERYTHING to gain something more valuable

Paul counted things personally beneficial to him as loss for the sake of Christ

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.

What things was he talking about? He was talking about all of the accolades available to anyone with his pedigree. Paul was talking about the new value system he acquired at his conversion. A couple of important words here placed in a position of emphasis. “gain” is just like it sounds; the idea of profit, benefit. The term “count”. “Count or consider” typically refers to the consideration (thought) one has in mind, determining how other thoughts (conclusions) follow from it. It primarily means 'to lead,' . . . especially to lead the mind through a reasoning process to a conclusion, and so 'to think, to estimate’. This implies "a more conscious, a surer judgment, resting on more careful weighing of the facts". Secondarily, ("the thought or idea that leads") is used of a human leader (official, someone in charge).]

After careful estimation of all the facts, Paul decided to devalue any earthly benefits in favor of anything that benefits Jesus (“for the sake of Christ”). Paul used a perfect tense verb indicating an action done in the past with continuing impact.

“I have counted and still count personally beneficial things to be loss.”

Paul doubled-down. He counted ALL THINGS to be loss compared to something of greater value.

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,

Paul employed the same term used previously for a settled thinking process. In this case he used a point-time action verb indicating a settled moment in time where he made a decision to devalue everything for a something of higher value. “superior” = have beyond, i.e. be superior, excel, surpass. What is it he considered more valuable than anything else in life? “knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”. The knowing here goes beyond a mere intellectual awareness to the knowledge derived from a personal first-had experience.

As an aside, he not only decided to count all things lost but let them know he had actually suffered the loss of all things for a deeper personal relationship with Jesus.

Paul actually tripled-down on his cognitive process. Not only did he devalue the things beneficial to him for Christ’s sake… Not only did he devalue ALL THINGS for the superior aim of knowing Christ… BUT He considered ALL THINGS to be as worthless refuse in order to be in vital connection with Jesus.

and count them (all things) but rubbish

The term translated “rubbish” is an interesting one. It is the marriage of two terms “dog” and “throw”. It bore refuse to scraps fit only to throw to the dogs or referenced dog feces. It identified what is good for nothing and needs to be discarded. Next to vital connection with Jesus, Paul considered everything else with no more value than doggy do.

Paul opted for what he considered truly important from an eternal perspective. Not only were other things not as important but had no value. This decision enabled him to realize six things triggered by a “so that”. He chose to do this (devalue everything) so that he may realize these eternal things.

? Gain Christ

so that I may gain Christ

Paul chose to lose everything else in order gain Christ. This is the same word earlier indicating “profit.” Sometimes we need to lose something less valuable in order to gain something of superior value.

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