Summary: Rediscover focus, power and passion in your Christian walk
In the movie City Slickers Billy Crystal and a group of his executive city friends decide it was time to take an adventure vacation. An adventure vacation is not just laying on the beach it’s doing some activity with a guide that takes you out to the edge. The character played by Billy crystal has problems at work and problems in his marriage - he has having a mid-life crisis. The adventure, if saw the movie, was a cattle drive out in the wild west. The guide for this adventurous cattle drive is Curly played by Jack palance. Near the end of the movie, having gone the edge and to near death Curly said the Billy: It’s the one thing. Billy said what’s the one thing? Curly said that’s for your to discover for yourself.
In this morning’s scripture in Philippians Paul had a simular experence at the edge. And at the edge the found out the one thing that was everything. He shares with us four parts or four dimensions of this experience the first is
The one thing that is everything is to know Christ - the one thing that is everything is personal.
10 I want to know Christ
4 If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised 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; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. 7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,
Paul said in vs 4-6 let me give you my resume: I am pureblooded Jew - a pedigree - a Jew if there ever was one. I am from the tribe a Benjamin - that’s the family from which came the first king of Israel - Saul! I followed all Jewish protocol i.e. all ceremonial law including the rite circumcision on the 8th day. Not only am I a pureblooded Jew, not only was I from the tribe of Benjamin what’s more I belonged to the group that demanded the very strictest obedience to Jewish law and customs - the Pharisees. How far did I take this obedience? I myself kept ever letter of the law and demanded the same of others which is why I persecuted the church, he says- with zeal .
Paul said that he had the pedigree, he followed all Jewish protocol, he had the position, he had the power and he performed and he performed perfectly and persecuted those who didn’t or wouldn’t - that included the church.
There are seven bullets on his resume in vv4,5,6 but they all boil down to two things his pedigree and his performance - the groups he belonged to the deeds he performed. Yet he says it was all rubbish compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus - this is personal.
Speaking of rubbish, in the 1920’s a meeting was held in Chicago of the of world’s nine richest financiers. Among those present was
¨ the president of the largest steel company
¨ the president of the largest utility company
¨ the president of the largest gas company
¨ the greatest wheat speculator
¨ the president of the new York stock exchange
¨ a member of the president’s cabinet
¨ the greatest bear on wall street
¨ head of the world’s greatest monopoly
¨ president of the bank of international settlements
These men had it all - at least they had all the money! However, within the next 25 years. Let me tell you what happened to these men:
¨ the president of the largest steel company went bankrupt and was living on borrowed money a the time of his death
¨ the president of the largest utility company died a fugitive from justice and died penniless in a foreign land
¨ the president of the largest gas company went insane
¨ the greatest wheat speculator died broke
¨ the president of the new York stock exchange spent most of next 25 years in sing sing prison
¨ The member of the president’s cabinet was pardoned from prison so he could die at home
¨ the greatest bear on wall street committed suicide
¨ head of the world’s greatest monopoly committed suicide
¨ president of the bank of international settlements committed suicide
These men, like Paul found out about rubbish. They found out like Paul that many things can fill up your life yet they are not fulfilling. The one thing that is fulfilling, Paul says is the surpassing greatness is Knowing. Whatever this knowing is it must be good; it must be real good - Paul experienced it and he gave up everything for it.