Philippians 3:7-11 That I May Know Him WC McCarter
We have been talking about unity in recent weeks, and there are several things that bring us together and put us all on the same level. One of those things that unites us—whether we are old/young, wealthy/poorer, black/white—we are all poor in spirit. All of our righteousness is like filthy rags before God. Listen to what Jesus says in Matt 16:25-26. You must be willing to give up all that you have gained in this life, by the effort of the flesh, in exchange for the salvation of your soul.
The passage for the sermon today tells us what it means to “treasure Christ.” Here, Paul is passionate, honest, and raw about his theology. In these few verses we find his philosophy of life and it is the essence of the Christian faith.
READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
Spiritual Bankruptcy (7-8) Gain/Loss Metaphor
It would be easy to say I count all the things I’ve gained as loss if you hadn’t gained anything. Paul “had plenty of moral and legal achievements.” He had not failed in Judaism. Yet, these things meant nothing to him compared to Christ. He renounces his blamelessness as to the righteousness of the Law. It was merely a fog, here one minute- thick, consuming, real, and then it was gone the next. It was a false hope, an ungrounded satisfaction because it was built on a weak set of fleshly achievements.
Now Paul broadens this thought from Jewish advantages to any conceivable thins that could be set up against the excellency of Christ, “I count all things but loss…” The knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord (Paul here says “my”) is far exceeding anything that opposes period! For Him to be your Lord means that you are already bowing and confessingàalready enjoying Him and the excitement of the prospects/challenges of growing in that knowledge/relationship. SEE Col 2:3
Those things actually meant less than nothing: rubbish/dung (KJV) – compared to Christ.
SEE Isaiah 64:6. “Gain Christ”= SEE 2 Cor 3:10; Matt 16:26; Matt 13:44-46
We must say that Paul hungered and thirsted for righteousness!
Spiritual Wealth (9-11) To Gain Christ
Being “found in Him” is to be united with Christ by faith—permanently bound to Him. It is eschatological. On that Day we want to be hidden in Him on whom the wrath of God has already been poured on and satisfied. SEE Col 3:3
Only in Christ do we have a righteousness that matters to God. We can stack up achievement upon achievement, good deed upon good deed . . . and never reach God. He is holy and just, perfect in all His ways. All of our work is useless, even condemning.
To “know Him” is an important Biblical theme. It is to know him personally and intimately, not simply head knowledge. SEE Jeremiah 31:34 of the New Covenant.
Conclusion and Christian Application
Jesus told two brief parables in Matt 13:44-46 that highlight what we have discussed today. Listen to what He says. We do not have anything as valuable as Christ’s righteousness. Let me urge you to give up all that you have in exchange for the eternal that Christ offers.
Notice how Paul talks about treasuring Christ. We need to help each other trust Him like this more and more. He counts all things as lost. . . .
1) for Christ
2) for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord
3) that I may gain Christ
4) be found in Him
5) that I may know Him
6) if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead
(All these things forever!!!)