Summary: What did Paul mean when he said he counted his former life with all of its accomplishments as dung for the knowledge of Christ and the power of the resurrection?
The Power of the Resurrection
March 27, 2016, 10:00 a.m. (Philippians 3:7-11) Command Baptist Church
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead, (Phil. 3:7-11).
“There’s a feeling in the air that God is everywhere, and His resurrection power is moving in this hour that Jesus might be glorified.” This is the way we began our Easter worship service this morning. Let’s think about the thought of: “resurrection power.” What did Paul mean when he wrote to the Philippians, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection”? What does that have to do with any of us today? Is there something we need to take away from this message this morning that is wrapped up in the thought of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ?
There’s too much here for us to cover adequately. I want to share two thoughts with you and one main idea. The big idea is this:
BI – “The same veil tearing, ground shaking, stone moving, God honoring power that raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the grave is available to each of us for life and ministry.”
This passage of Scripture summarizes the attitude of Paul to the Philippian Christians concerning his feelings about the Lord Jesus Christ. Here, Paul wrote about two responses in his personal life since coming to saving knowledge of Christ. First:
1. He Counted His Losses – (vs. 7-8)
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (vs. 7-8)
These verses read like a broker of a financial institution. Paul used three terms that are associated with finances. The 1st term is “gain.” The 2nd term is “counted.” The 3rd term is “loss.” If you ever watch the stock market report on TV you hear these terms used. A gain is a “profit.” To count means to “calculate.” A loss is a “reduction” or “forfeiture.”
In the kingdom parable of (Mt. 25:14-30), Jesus told the story of three servants that were left in charge of their master’s business. He gave one servant five talents, one servant two talents and the last one talent. When he returned, he rewarded them according to how they traded the talents he left with them. The first gained five talents. He second gained two talents. The third gained no talents because he hid his talent in the earth. The master rewarded the two servants and rebuked the third. The first two servants had “gains” and the third servant had a “loss.”
In these verses, Paul says that the things that meant so much to him at one point in life no longer had any value to him since he began his walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. He names these things in (verses 4-6). What were they?
Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless, (vs. 4-6).
The things to which Paul referred are the things that men think are important. It was his ancestral heritage and religious history that motivated him before he met the Savior
First, he told about his ancestral pedigree. He was “circumcised the eighth day,” “the stock of Israel,” of the “tribe of Benjamin,” and a “Hebrew of the Hebrews.” Paul was proud of the fact that he was a true Jew. This was indisputable and meant the world to him. He was one of the elect. He was one of God’s chosen people. He had a corner on truth.
Second, he told of his religious history. It was as impressive as his ancestral heritage. “…as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless,” (Phil. 3:5b-6). Paul belonged to the strictest sect of Judaism. He was a Pharisee. He considered himself to be blameless as touching the righteousness of the Law or Moses. He followed the Law to the letter. If there was a way to keep the law; if there was a way to be “good enough,” if there was a way to work one’s way to heaven, Paul would have achieved it because he strictly obeyed the Old Testament Law of God. As far as man could see and was concerned, Paul had achieved perfect righteousness. However, as far as God was concerned he had not and could not, (Phil. 3:9,12).