- Sermon Notes
Make Your Life Count
January 30, 2022
Intro – Two weeks ago our topic was, Joy no matter what.
The passage today is so rich, so potent. The theme in Philippians 3; what it means to be a Christ follower. It summarizes much of what we have been learning.
I want my life to count – I want your lives to count – to step back from all the noise – we don’t want to waste our lives. We want them to count for our families, our children, our grandchildren, for you – our church, our country. Think about that in the faithfulness of Christ and don’t waste your life in and with Christ.
The truth is that God wants to raise up men and women in the church whose lives count for His glory in history.
The word, “count” is mentioned several times in our text from Paul. Paul is evaluating his life and giving us a picture of what it truly means to follow Christ.
I. Treasure Christ Above All
What does it mean to be a Christ Follower?
Someone who is on the fringes of knowing Jesus or who isn’t as committed to their faith as you, will hear this text and think, now that’s a description of a radical Christian.
Paul’s passion for being a Christ follower is not radical. You will only think that if you listen to the “dogs” he mentions in v2; those who attack and lie about the church, those who are false teachers, those who, in our day, associate the church with something far from the teachings on love that Jesus is.
Do you want your life to count for Jesus?
Don’t waste your life. God wants to raise up men and women in this church whose lives count.
v1, Paul says “finally” but he just got started in Philippians
v2, Paul says watch out for those “dogs.”
I want to share characteristics of men and women whose lives counted.
Those who treasure Christ above everything this world has to offer.
Paul is addressing a problem in the church. Judaizers – those Jews claiming to be Christians but are not. So they go to the gentiles intent on confusing them.
They point to and emphasize Jewish things and as a result they were hindering the advancement of the gospel in the world. v2 says they are “mutilators” of the flesh.
v4-6, Paul makes clear his credentials, a challenge to others of sorts. He basically says any other man anywhere who thinks he has what I have before God, step it up and show me. This is like Greek trash talk. He lists seven things, some he is born with, but others achieved or worked for.
Then in v7, he calls it one big “loss” for the sake of Christ. In other words Christ alone is more worthy than any of these other good things.
These are all good treasures that Paul calls treasures of a wasted life if that’s all we have in the end and don’t know Christ.
A. Treasures of a wasted life
1st – Paul’s family heritage includes –
Of the tribe of Benjamin, from the Old Testament – extremely significant tribe – they stayed faithful to David – gave the nation of Israel their first King? Who? – Saul – Paul was named after that King.
Hebrew of Hebrews
2nd – Social status
Book of judges – Tribe of Benjamin was prestigious and that was Paul’s background in Jewish social life.
3rd – Biblical knowledge
A Pharisee – be careful at this point – many of us have a negative impression of Pharisees in the New Testament as hypocrites which is true, but in this day these Pharisees were highly respected, they loved the word, meditated day and night like the Old Testament tells them to do and their lives reflect the law. Paul knew the word, he loved the word.
4th – Religious Activity
Paul says “Zeal”, a persecutor of the church – he was zealous about persecuting the church – Acts chapter 7, Saul went throughout the area persecuting Christians.
5th – Moral lifestyle
Faultless following the correct lifestyle, following the rules. I am blameless.
These seven specific areas of Paul’s life he notes as if he is challenging them to show how they compare.
What do all 7 have in common – all of them are “good” things?
All good things were keeping Paul from Jesus – Paul is telling us it is possible to love your family…to have a good reputation…to have biblical knowledge and even teach the word…to be active in church…to be a good and moral person.
You could have all those things, only to realize in the end and understand why Paul says it wasn’t bad things keeping him from Jesus, it was good things…
B. Measure life for the sake of Christ
What counts then? Compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior? Nothing else counts if these good things in your life are not used in the furtherance of the gospel you are a follower of.
But Paul says life is one big loss – compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the difference.
v7-8: everything is a loss for the sake of Christ. His testimony is repeated through v11.
Let’s take a step back here and look at what it means to be a Christ follower according to Philippians 3. We discover that Jesus is a treasure chest of holy joy – everything else in life ultimately becomes LOSS, ”rubbish” Paul says.
Don’t miss the gravity of what Paul is saying. Radically different than the Christianity being celebrated all over the country today. Thousands of people think their life is going to count simply because they went to church. Many more cannot fathom the fact that without Jesus Christ as your personal savior it is all wasted in the end, when eternity is at stake.
John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.
And then there’s moral lives, those with a high degree of morality who believe that is enough to achieve eternal life. That is in conflict with God’s word. It is not enough.
II. Kingdom of Hidden Treasures
I want to stand before the Lord someday and give an account and be sure He knows me!
Matthew 7:21-27, 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 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.’
Don’t have the wrong treasures. God help us get ahold of this truth. Everyone here needs to ask yourself the question, do I know Christ? All these other things that may exist in your life apart from Christ is not enough.
Are you a Christ follower? Do you know Him? If not, we invite you to join others in the prayer room after the service and let us pray with you.
The adversary’s strategy is to lull us to sleep with the candy of this world, with enough comforts and affirmations from others to make us feel pretty good about ourselves.
A. Losing it all for Christ
v8 – Paul says, “I consider everything a loss.” Now that’s a radical statement.
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure
Matthew 13:44, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells everything that he has, and buys that field.
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value
Matthew 13:45, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls,
Like a merchant looking for fine pearls – he went away and sold what he had to acquire those pearls.
Write in your margin, “Christ follower,” if it speaks to you today – you have found something worth losing everything for.
All the good things we’ve talked about – isn’t this the cry of the scriptures to take up our cross and follow Him.
Matthew 16:24-26, Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what good will it do a person if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul? Or what will a person give in exchange for his soul?
Family heritage, respected socially, demonstrates the highest of morals; all very good things. But without being a Christ follower, all treasures lost.
When you look at Job, you see a guy who lost it all, including his children. Everything was gone, all taken, a read you can’t take lightly. All he had left was his nagging wife.
Job 2:9-10, Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold firm your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You are speaking as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we actually accept good from God but not accept adversity?” Despite all this, Job did not sin with his lips.
Job 19:25, Yet as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last, He will take His stand on the earth.
B. The scriptures are filled with God’s treasures
Moses – He could have had all the treasures of Egypt. Hebrews 11 says he forsook all the treasures, he counted it wiser to suffer disgrace for the sake of Christ. He knew God’s promises. This suffering was infinitely better than all of the treasures of Egypt combined.
Hannah – She especially has meaning to us as we pray for those in some of your families and ours, who so desire to have a child. God gives life and takes life, the cry of men and women throughout biblical history.
You might be thinking, ok pastor – Paul, Moses, Job – I am just not in this place spiritually; I’m not on that spiritual pedestal.
How about I show you someone in scripture you might not even recognize.
Philippians 2:25, But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need,
Epaphroditus – a “no namer” in scripture.
Who is he? He almost died for the work of Christ.
Why would he do that? Because he knew the surpassing greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ. He realized it wasn’t really a gamble at all because in the end it was worth it all.
You will never lose by choosing Christ
Philippians 1:21, For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
When it comes to choosing between something and Christ, we always choose Christ. You will never lose your joy. Is their pain – yes. Remember, Jesus Himself wept.
What is our perspective about Christ and our treasures? Paul says it’s all Christ or it’s rubbish.
How do we accomplish the great commission if we aren’t willing to follow Him as the treasure of lasting value. Much bigger than a Sunday morning routine.
Don’t come to the end and realize much was wasted, that your life didn’t count for Christ. Remember that Christianity, which costs nothing, produces the same in title alone. Better to lose our life than to waste it. Make your life count.
1 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.
2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the [a]false circumcision; 3 for we are the true [b]circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and take pride in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh, 4 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: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.
7 But whatever things were gain to me, these things I have counted as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss [c]in view of the surpassing value of [d]knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, [e]for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them mere rubbish, so that I may gain Christ, 9 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, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and [f]the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 if somehow I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already [g]grasped it all or have already become perfect, but I press on if I may also take hold of that [h]for which I was even taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.