Summary: All people should live as if nothing compares to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ.
Becoming a Joy-FULL Person
5. Straightening Your Priorities
May 29/30, 2004
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.