- Sermon Notes
Committed No Matter the Cost
Illus. Cost vs. Benefit.
As we turn to Philippians chapter three this morning, we are going to look at Paul’s life in Christ, and the cost versus benefit analysis of his life in Christ versus the life he left behind. In these Scriptures, Paul will share some of the details surrounding his resume prior to choosing Jesus as the way for his life. He will share what he has counted as loss for the sake of Christ, but he will also reveal that he had assigned greater value to his life in Christ that anything he previously thought added value to his life.
Prior to verse 7, Paul had given a list of some of the things that were once gain to him, And all of those things, he now counted as loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ. Paul had given his life to Jesus about 30 years prior to writing this letter to the church at Philippi. His life changed while he was on his way to a town called Damascus. He was on his way to tear Christ followers from their homes, put them in chains and imprison them. At that time, Paul was described as a man was breathing out murderous threats against the followers of Christ. It was on that day that Jesus met him. It was on that day that Jesus that Jesus asked him why the pursuit of his life was Christian persecution? It was on that day he asked him, what are you doing what you are doing? It was on that day that Jesus called him, told him what he desired for him to do, and it was on that day that Paul decided to choose Christ. That choice would come with certain costs in his life, but Paul committed his life to Christ, despite the cost.
There were things he would count as loss and leave behind at the moment he decided to give his life to Christ. And there were difficulties he would endure through his continued commitment to his choice to follow Christ, but he remained committed no matter the cost.
Commitment to Christ in this life, comes with a cost. There is no way around it. While the costs in our lives may not look the same as what we see from Paul’s life, there costs in following Christ. This morning I want to encourage you through his writings to stay committed no matter the cost.
What Paul had in view, was the surpassing value of His redeemed life in Christ. This view is also important, and available to me and you! It is this view, the view of the value of knowing Jesus, that will help you to remain committed no matter the cost. This morning, we will look at three commitments Paul made that allowed him to remain committed to Christ, no matter the cost. The first has to do with his confidence.
- Continually Place Your Confidence in Christ
Philippians 3:1-6, Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble for me, and it is a safeguard for you. Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and take pride in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh. Although I myself could boast as having confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he is confident in the flesh, I have more reason: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.
- In looking through verses one to six, there is a word that is repeated three times. The word repeated is “confidence.”
- As he moves through the verses, we are made aware that many have a misplaced confidence, a confidence in self, in works, but Paul essentially says, “not for us, our confidence needs to remain in Jesus.”
- In the original language, the word used for “confidence” carries the definition of reliance or trust.
- In our English language, confidence is defined as that which you put your full trust in, a belief in powers of someone or something, to rely on a person or thing.
- Paul wrote, “we put no confidence in the flesh.” Yet, he knew that some did, so he is establishing a contrast between those who have confidence in the flesh, or in themselves and those who put their confidence in Christ.
- In verse 2, he wrote, “beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision,” or in NKJV, “beware of the mutilation!”
- There is another word he used three times, “beware!” To beware means to be aware of, look out for, he is giving a warning.
- Specifically, he is giving a warning surrounding false teachers. Specifically, he is referring to a group called the “Judaizers.”
- The word “Judaizer” comes from a Greek verb meaning “to live according to Jewish customs.” In the early church, those who taught a combination of God’s grace and human effort (keeping of Mosaic Law and Circumcision) as necessary for salvation were called Judaizers.
Acts 15:1-2, Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
- The Judaizers believed that Gentiles could, in fact be saved, but prior to salvation, there was an admission requirement…Circumcision. Upon salvation, they needed to continue keeping to the Law of Moses.
- Circumcision was a covenant given to Abraham in Genesis 17. All Jewish males were to be circumcised on the eighth day. It was a sign of obedience, and it signified, and separated the Jews as God’s covenant people.
- The idea that a Gentile, without Jewish background, without law-keeping, with circumcision, without pursuing anything associated with the old covenant, could just believe in Jesus and be forgiven of sins and guaranteed heaven, was too difficult for them to believe.
- The Jewish people had adhered to and believed the covenants of Abraham and Moses. They kept rigid rules and regulations. They tried their best to adhere to the laws of Moses, all 613 of them.
- Paul’s message was, “just believe in Jesus…”
Acts 13:38-39, Therefore let it be known to you, brothers, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.
- The Judaizers were trying to tell them a different story and Paul says beware, they are trying to get you to put confidence in the flesh.
Galatians 2:16, A person is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law; since by works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
- Paul calls the Judaizers the dogs, the evil workers, the mutilation.
- In other words, circumcision, which was once a sign of covenant relationship with God, meant nothing Spiritually, it was as meaningless as pagan mutilation.
Illus. 1 Kings 18.
- Paul warns the church and then reminds them that their confidence is to be in Christ, not in the flesh, not in works. And Paul was the perfect person to speak on the subject.
Philippians 3:4-6, Although I myself could boast as having confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he is confident in the flesh, I have more reason: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.
- As Paul describes his resume, we might look at in our day and think “oh cool,” good for you Paul!
- But to the Jews and to those reading his resume in that day, it was impressive. Even the Judaizers would have been impressed by it.
2 Corinthians 3:4, Such is the confidence we have toward God through Christ. Not that we are adequate in ourselves so as to consider anything as having come from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.
- There were many in Paul’s day who would have put great confidence in his resume. But Paul knew that his own righteousness was nothing, and he now had placed his confidence in Christ.
- Again, the word “confidence” means reliance, or trust.
Illus. Made it.
- Paul tells us in verse one to rejoice in the Lord, and then in verse 3 that we are those who boast in Jesus Christ, putting no confidence in the flesh.
- I love how chapter 3 begins, rejoice in the Lord, to repeat this again is no trouble for me and it is a safeguard for you.
- To rejoice in is to be glad in, to have joy in, be cheerful in.
- Paul does not just say to “rejoice,” but to “rejoice in the Lord.” Then in verse three we are those who “take pride in” or “boast” in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:31, Just as it is written: “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
- Assign Surpassing Value to Knowing Him
Philippians 3:7-8, But whatever things were gain to me, these things I have counted as loss because of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them mere rubbish, so that I may gain Christ.
- In verses 7 and 8, as I noted earlier, we see the word “count” three times. In using this word, he is pointing us to an accounting metaphor, or an accounting term.
- Count is also translated “consider,” or “regard.” Two more words Paul used, “gain and loss.” Gain and loss represent the profit and loss column.
- Paul reviews the balance sheet, there were many items that used to represent “gain” to him. The things that used to represent getting ahead, the things that he used to boast in. The things that he used to value highly, whatever things “were gain,” these things he now counts as loss.
- All the things he once believed qualified him for righteousness and salvation, don’t count, his life is now all about Christ.
- It’s the list, I had the heritage, I had the backstory, I had the pedigree and the passion, I had it all, I thought it was all that I needed, but I needed none of it.
- For Paul, he thought it was those things that made him right with God. It was also what made him feel like things were right in his life. They were the way his life was ordered.
- There can be things we believe make us more righteous as well. There are also things we order our live around. Things that represent “gain” to us in our lives. It is important that Christ is there, that He has surpassing value.
- Paul looks to the past, and then to the present, the things that were once gain, are loss.
- Notice verse 7, “I have counted…”
- That is past tense, he is looking back to his choice to follow Christ, 30 years earlier, I have counted these things loss.
- And he is still counting those things loss!
- More than that, I count all these things loss…he continues, I count them mere rubbish.
- When Paul says “mere rubbish” it is a very strong Greek word. Perhaps you have a King James Bible which reads, “I count them but dung.” That is a close translation. It is a word that describes trash, or the excrement of animals. Something worthless and detestable.
- The stuff that once meant everything to him, he knows is nothing to him, because he now knows it is all about Christ.
John Dyer Quote, A man may go to heaven without health, without riches, without honors, without learning, without friends; but he can never go there without Christ.
- Paul specifically said, it is all loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ, I count it all rubbish so that I may gain Christ.
- Paul moved many things to the loss column and put Jesus Christ in the gain column.
- Paul had assigned value to many things, but now it was all about Jesus, His surpassing value.
- Paul had once put no value in Jesus, but then he met Him, and placed surpassing value on the life he was given through Him.
Illus. Assigning Value.
- Paul assigns surpassing value to knowing Christ, to being found in him.
- “Knowing” here speaks of a personal and experiential knowledge.
John 10:14, I am the good shepherd, and I know My own, and My own know Me.
John 17:1-3, Jesus spoke these things; and raising His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, so that the Son may glorify You, just as You gave Him authority over all mankind, so that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
1 John 5:20, And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
- It is from these Scriptures about “knowing Him” that we understand the importance of a personal relationship with Him.
- Paul speaks of the surpassing value of “knowing Christ Jesus.”
Illus. Knowing what it means to know.
- Knowing Him means a personal relationship, a personal experience, involvement, and familiarity with Him.
- And notice, he didn’t just say the surpassing value of knowing the Lord, he said, knowing my Lord…It was personal.
Matthew 7:22-23, Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
- This helps paint the picture, because those Jesus refers to here were doing a great deal of what looked to be ministry, but all of their dealings were in the “loss category.” They will say, look at all we did, and He will say, I never knew you.
- What has surpassing value, what has surpassing worth to you? Surpassing means superior, overarching, what is worth everything to you? What have you assigned that type of value to?
Illus. Trading it in.
Matthew 5:3, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 13:45-46, “Again, 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.
Illus. Too Costly.
III. Be Found in Him
Philippians 3:8(b)-11, So that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; if somehow I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
- Paul speaks of what he once thought made him, as loss so that he may gain Christ, and may be found “in Him.”
- “In Him” is Paul’s new identity.
- Previously, you would have found him persecuting Christians, entrenched in works he believed were going to save Him, but now you can find him, “in Him.”
- The terms “in Him” or “in Christ” are found 180 times in the Bible and Paul uses these phrases 143 times in his writings.
- Paul notes in Philippians 3 that in gaining Christ, and being found in Him, he has the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, and it is not a righteousness of his own.
- Righteousness is another word that is seen quite frequently in the Bible. It is a very important word to Paul, an important word historically, and important presently.
- Biblically, righteousness is God’s own perfection in every attribute, attitude, behavior, and word.
- The word here describes a state that is approved by God, the condition that make us acceptable to God, it is a right standing before God, or to be right with God.
- Paul had spent much of his life trying and doing all he could to be righteous or make himself right with God through his works.
- But now he knows, as he wrote in verse 9, I count all that loss, so that I may gain Christ, not having a righteousness of my own, but the righteousness which comes from God.
- When I am in Christ, righteousness is credited to my life. It is not a righteousness I produce; it is a righteousness that is provided.
- Throughout Romans chapter 4, we read about the reality that for those who believe in Him who justifies the ungodly, that person’s faith is credited to them as righteousness.
Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
2 Corinthians 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Ephesians 1:7, In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our wrongdoings, according to the riches of His grace.
2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
DonateLike this sermon?
If you enjoyed the sermon and would like to financially support our teaching ministry, we thank you in advance for partnering with us in sending forth the word.