Summary: This is the third in a series of sermons looking at developing a deeper walk with Christ. It addresses the issue of the rubbish that fills our lives. Trading our rubbish for the surpassing value of knowing Christ.
Pt 3 - Taking Out The Trash
I want to ask you again this week - How many of you want to move to a deeper relationship with Christ in your life? Over the next couple of weeks I want to tell you what this deeper life is going to cost you. Jesus never sold His disciples on a false bill of goods. He told them exactly what they were getting into if they wanted to follow Him. Jesus says to His would be followers: “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29“Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish….” If you want a deeper relationship with Christ you need to know it’s going to cost you something. So let’s talk a little about what it’s going to cost you.
The first thing it’s going to cost you is your rubbish! The word rubbish that Paul uses here is the Greek word Skubalon and it means refuse or rubbish, it’s literally means the excrement of animals. Now how many of you are willing to give up your rubbish, your skubalon, for a deeper relationship with Christ? Don’t be too hasty here.
• Recognize the skubalon in your life. It’s easy to talk about rubbish but much more difficult to identify it. Paul identifies his skubalon as all the greatest accomplishments of his life. Who he was, what he was, and how he was before he knew Christ. He identified all the trappings of success - money, fame, fortune, control, power, and position as rubbish. You see I think that we too often claim trash as treasure. I want you to understand that anything that isn’t eternal is skubalon, its rubbish. (Matthew 6:19-20) Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying that we all need to go and join a monastery if we want to go deeper with Christ. What I am saying is that we need to recognize what is treasure and what is not. When we look at our lives they often seem so out of control. Time demands are endless. Have you ever felt like butter spread over just a little too much bread? The reason is that we have too much skubalon in our lives. AW Tozer says “The truth is that life has a center and a perimeter. At the center of the soul you will find God. The further you get out from the center of you heart, and from the presence of God, and from the sanctuary of your soul, the faster you go, but the less power you have.”
• Replace the skubalon with something of surpassing value. It’s not enough to know what is rubbish and what is not - there must be a replacement. Jesus speaking in a parable says “the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” It’s interesting in our lives that we give up what is most important for what will never last. When our schedules get too hectic or our lives too demanding - what do we cut out first? Not the sports, not the recreation, not the TV, it’s our worship time, our service for Christ, and our quiet time that suffers. Too often in our lives we are selling the pearl of great value for the skubalon of the world instead of the other way around. If you want a deeper relationship with Christ you need to determine what is really important and you need to begin to live like its important. Lip service won’t do. Paul says that he has suffered the loss of all things for Christ - but man was it worth it.
• Realize the gain. The hardest thing is to give up something for nothing. When I first started to lose weight it was the hardest thing. I was walking miles and cutting back on what I ate but nothing seemed to be happening. Man is that discouraging. Then I saw the first few pounds come off - and I saw my sacrifice paying off. It’s like that with the world. Giving up the stuff everybody else is doing at first seems really hard. Rearranging life seems to be too much to handle - then you begin to see what the deeper walk with Christ is like. You begin to find the deep currents of His will sweeping you steadily along instead of the wind and the waves. You begin to know His peace and His sustaining power in your life. You begin to see the effect your life can have on others and the eternal consequences of your life. Then you see how little you left behind and how great your reward really is. Paul said I count it all skubalon compared with the surpassing value of knowing Christ.