Summary: Straightening Your Priorities Central theme: All people should live as if nothing compares to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ.

Becoming a Joy-FULL Person

5. Straightening Your Priorities

Philippians 3:1-14

May 29/30, 2004

Don Jaques

SUBJECT: Straightening Your Priorities

Central theme: All people should live as if nothing compares to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ.


This last week some big events happened in our culture. A new “American Idol” was revealed. The country music awards were given out. Plans for the new government in Iraq were revealed.

On the smaller scene, some got new jobs. Some lost jobs. Some have prepared to leave on deployment or to move away. Others are awaiting someone back from a long deployment.

Some people have had successful, joyfilled weeks. Other have had weeks complete with suffering, emotional pain, relational problems.

Whatever type of week you’ve had – whatever joys or sorrows, triumphs or tragedies, there is one thing I want you to know. There is ONE truth I want you to take home with you today, to chew on all week, and to use to bring JOY into your life.

It is this: Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ.

No matter who you are or where you come from – the true source of JOY – the way you’ll become a JOY-FULL person – is by straightening the priorities in your life to reflect the truth that Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ.

…Not our spiritual heritage or accomplishments. (v. 1-6)

1Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.

2Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.

Who are these dogs? – Judaizers.

What was important to them? The external. Obedience to laws and traditions – specifically circumcision.

3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—4though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.

To those who look at the outside – Paul says look at me! I had it all! (circumcised, a Jew, tribe of Benjamin, Pharisee, zealous, flawless obedience

But circumcision – an external sign – is not the most important thing. It’s the heart.

Galatians 5:2,4 (NLT) If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ cannot help you. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.

Make it personal – if you have Bible knowledge and gone to church and done all the things right but don’t really know Jesus – you’re just like one of these Judaizers who focused on the externals of religion rather than the heart matter.

NO – our spiritual heritage or accomplishments do not compare with the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ.

…Not anything else that is to your profit. (v. 7-11)

7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.

(here he’s talking about his spiritual heritage and religious accomplishments) but he doesn’t stop there…

8What 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 9and 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 and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.


7The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash--along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. 8Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant--dog dung.

(that’s literally what the greek word used means!)

I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ 9and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ--God’s righteousness.

10 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. 11 If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

You want to get in on the resurrection from the dead? Here’s the secret – all the stuff that seems so important in this life. Your money, your stuff, even your health – must be put in its proper priority underneath the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ.

Paul had had it all – and he said that once he discovered a true relationship with Jesus Christ – all those things that once seemed so important were no more useful or important to him than a pile of dung.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Glad Paul included these verses – gives us all hope!

v. 13-14 – reminds me of the manna – it wouldn’t stay good overnight. You needed it everyday. IN your spiritual journey you’ve got to press forward. I’ve heard it said you’re either growing or you’re falling back. There is no such thing as spiritual “hovering”.

Keep pressing on. Use the “whack a mole” method! When your priorities get out of whack – whack ‘em back into submission. Press on!

Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord.


In February 2001, John Oros spoke to an audience at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary about his experience as a church leader in Romania during the Communist era:

During communism, many of us preached…and people came at the end of a service, and they said, "I have decided to become a Christian."

We told them, "It is good that you want to become a Christian, but we would like to tell you that there is a price to be paid. Why don’t you reconsider what you want to do, because many things can happen to you. You can lose, and you can lose big."

A high percentage of these people chose to take part in a three-month catechism class. At the end of this period, many participants declared their desire to be baptized. Typically, I would respond, "It is really nice that you want to become a Christian, but when you give your testimony…there will be informers here who will jot down your name. Tomorrow the problems will start. Count the cost. Christianity is not easy. It’s not cheap. You can be demoted. You can lose your job. You can lose your friends. You can lose your neighbors. You can lose your kids who are climbing the social ladder. You can lose even your life."

Let me tell you my joy—when we looked into their eyes, and their eyes were in tears, and they told us, "If I lose everything but my personal relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ, it is still worth it."

Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ.

Matt. 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.


Trash can at front. Take a piece of paper and write on it something that tends to take over the place of first priority in your life. Something (or things) that you tend to think are BETTER than knowing Christ Jesus. If you’re ready to say – I want to know Christ – really know him – I’m going to invite you to do something as the song is played – crumple up that paper and throw it in the trash can.

SONG: Nothing Compares by “Third Day”

I’ve heard all the stories

I’ve seen all the signs

Witnessed all the glories

Tasted all that’s fine

Nothing Compares to the greatness of knowing you Lord. Oh no,

Nothing compares to the greatness of Knowing you Lord, oh no...

I see all the people

Wasting all their time

Building up their riches

For a life that’s fine

But Nothing Compares to the greatness of knowing you Lord. Oh no,

Nothing compares to the greatness of Knowing you Lord, oh no...

And i find myself just living for today

Cuz i don’t know what tomorrow’s gonna bring

So no matter if i rise or fall, i’ll never be alone

Oh no...

Nothing Compares to the greatness of knowing you Lord. Oh no,

Nothing compares to the greatness of Knowing you Lord, oh no...