We are continuing a sermon series through Philippians and this morning we're in Philippians chapter 3 and I'd like to start by reading the passage that were talking about this morning. This is from the living Bible. So it's a very contemporary sounding translation, but I like it for these these vs. This morning Paul says to the Philippians whatever happens to your friends be glad in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you this and it is good for you to hear it again and again Watch out for those wicked men dangerous dogs. I call them who say You must be circumsised to be saved for it isn't the cutting of our bodies that makes us children of God. It is worshipping him with our spirits. That is the only true circumcision. We Christians glory and what Christ Jesus has done for us and realize that we are helpless to save ourselves yet. If anyone ever had reason to hope that he could save himself it would be I if others could be saved by what they are. Certainly I could before I went to the Jewish initiation ceremony when I was 8 days old having been born into a pure-blooded Jewish Home that was a branch of the old original Benjamin family. So I was a real Jew if there ever was one. What's more I was a member of the Pharisees who demanded the strictest obedience to every Jewish law and custom and sincere. Yes so much so that I greatly persecuted the church and tried to obey every Jewish Rule and regulation right down to the very Last point but all these things that I once thought were very worthwhile now, I've thrown them all away so that I can put my trust and Hope In Christ Alone. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the Priceless game of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, I have put aside all else counting it worth less than nothing in order that I can have Christ and become one with him no longer counting on being saved by being good enough or I'll ban God's lost but by trusting Christ to save me for God's way of making us write with himself depends on Counting On Christ Alone. Now, I have given up everything else. I have found it to be the only way to really know Christ and experience the mighty power that brought him back to life again and to find out what it means to suffer and to die with him. So whatever it takes I will be the one who lives in the fresh newness of Life of those who are alive from the dead. I don't mean to say I Imperfect I haven't learned all I should even yet but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ save me four and wants me to be no dear brothers. I'm still not all that I should be but I'm bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us. Have you ever seen this sign as you've traveled in the south? It's near Chattanooga by raise your hand. If you've seen that sign matter fact, there are dozens if not hundreds and hundreds of them. And if you're on your way traveling anywhere near Chattanooga, you will begin to see those signs. And before you know it even though you're on your way to Disney World you find yourself saying well, there's Rock City and you pull off the side of the road and you're there buying Trinkets and little logs of pink pecans in them and all that kind of stuff before you know, it it happens to us very easily. We've got a destination in mind and we're gun ho but there's so many things that get our attention and that are attractive and pleasant that we often kind of exit that original destination plan and we end up at these Little Rock City stops, and if we're not careful, we find it so attractive that we forget we were going to begin with and we kind of settle down and one of those little stops and say well, this is good. This is good. I think that's part of what Paul is suggesting is a danger in the life of Christians. That we start out with great conviction about the grace of Christ saving us, but then we can slip into maybe a Works righteousness. You know why I go to church I teach Sunday school and before we eat before we know what that kind of becomes our identity instead of pursuing our identity in Christ. We pursue it in activities or doing the things that get us kind of mediate accolades Anna boys on the back and suddenly we fill a member. Once one of the guiltiest times I've ever felt in my life was as a new Christian starting to be a minister and me and my roommate miss church one Sunday morning. We were in Bible College and we overslept and we said I can't believe that we missed church and then it happened to more Sundays in a row. That's the most I've ever missed Church in my life. I miss three Sundays in a row and I remember how horribly guilty I felt. But I don't think Christ would have said yeah, dude, you're eating away at your salvation, you know you missed recent you're just two Sundays away from dropping the way down on the list of maybe not even getting in heaven, but that's the way even enter as a new Christian. I'd Associated my value in my daily as a Christian with these sorts of things that I did and Paul is talking that I'm flipping. Is there some who slipped in among you and said, you know what it's great to be a Christian everything but if you want to be like a super Christian you want to be like extra good you'll add the law to your faith in Christ. You will add circumcision to your faith in Christ. You will obey certain Jewish thing. You don't listen there's some things that make you just a little better and gods I slap you. Israelite. They were preaching this Old Testament stuff trying to refute the New Testament and saying that if you're Jewish or if you will do certain things you're standing with God Rises based on your ethnicity or based on your attendance or based on your obedience or your rules and sapaula just for fun says look. Circumcision has nothing to do with salvation. We worship Christ not our heritage or are obedience or the law. That's our Salvation. We worship Christ in the spirit, but just for funny kind of says but if you want to get into a bragging competition about saying I believe that I've got things in my life, that could make me in right standing with God then let's just do a bragging competition and then he lays it all out all of the trophies that he could brag on. I'm a Jew and I'm a 100% Jew born in the right family talk and raised lyrics obedience. He was the point of persecuting the church if anybody can Pat themselves on the back and say look, my life is a life well-lived in the eyes of God when he looks down upon the Earth. He looks at me and says, well you don't Robbie missed your three times at one time in college years ago, but he's not missed it once since that not even when he's on vacation. He finds a church to go to and he's not only there on Sunday mornings, but he's there on Wednesday night and he all he still careful we can think in terms of that being our duty. I can lay out my trophies. I'm an Israelite. I've been circumcised. I'm a Pharisee obedient. I could lay all these trophies out and say this is my identity. I'm in good standing with God but instead he says I consider all those trophies loss compared to knowing Christ and he keeps going deeper In this passage have no value. So don't don't think he's saying they have no value at all. He's saying that they're not what makes him valuable in God's eyes. Do you understand that distinction? Because Paul uses these things that he talks about his trophies in the book of Acts. For example, he'll go into a city and say hey, I'm a Jew and that'll give him certain standing in certain circles and allow him to preach the gospel what other cities will go in and say hey, I'm a Roman citizen and that'll get him a certain standing in some cities. He does something that will get him a beating when he says I'm a Jew or he says I'm a Roman citizen but he's doing whatever he can do to advance the gospel. So he's not saying that those things have no value at all because he uses them to help Advance the gospel what he saying is that they are not part of what makes him valuable in God's eyes. They are not his identity to say. Well I'm at church or or well, I know my buy I teach Sunday school or whatever it is that we could list, you know, the highest pedestal probably North America is missionary, right? I mean, we'll all kind of put ourselves off of it. We're going to go rock Robie. It's really mean anything and we know you well enough to know that being a pastor didn't need a whole lot for your credibility.
Regular people but missionaries, you know if I say, I'm missionary. I've served in deepest darkest Africa since I was 19 years old and never had a full meal until this day. I mean, we just say, oh my goodness. Well guess what Paul was a missionary. He traveled there were times when he took beatings there times when he didn't have a place to sleep. He could easily be on that highest pedestal that we put people and he says look I get it. We could think in those terms, but those are not the right term to thinking. as we continue to look They're valuable, but they're not what make us valuable. He says not only do I consider those things that we would normally think of as trophies in God standing but I think of all things as loss everything. Well now now he's gone to a whole new level. It's one thing for us to say Robbie. You've got your doctorate and we all know that scripture says you shouldn't be so full of yourself because of that that really that's the kind of thing pause talking about just cuz you have that educational degree. You don't need to think while I'm I'm in better standing with God when those who haven't studied as much as I have and I would say Amen your right. Those are the kind of things we meet Lee thinka but Paul goes a step further and says not only all those things, but I count everything. In the original language, there's no way around it. I count everything as a loss compared to knowing Christ.
things like our families
now there is a pedestal. That we say now wait a minute. You can't mess with that. You can't family comes first.
right How many churches I've been a lot of small churches in Appalachia in my lifetime. There are churches that are ruled by clans of families you get enough of a certain last name and they ain't nothing going to happen unless the Joneses or the Smiths or whatever last name you pick or on board for it because family Trump's Christ. The times in which we know exactly what would help Advance the gospel or help disciple or help grow the church and we will not do it. But Paul says everything even things that we think of that are sacred that can't be counted but that's family even takes a secondary role compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ and Jesus said that to his disciples didn't know that some of you will leave family. Some of you will leave all these things are chairs, but you will get back a hundred fold those things you left behind the Paul is saying everything else where in Philippians he says everything and he says my own life. I give my own life to advance the gospel. Is that significant to him?
Paul says not just his trophy wall. But everything is to be submitted to honor and cries by serving his purposes modern missionary Gmail at echoed the sentiment when he said he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose think about the wisdom. Look the things that I hold onto sometimes if I'm thoughtful and reflective about it. They are truly things that I cannot keep.
My desire to have a nice house in a nice neighborhood my desire to have a good retirement my desire to have degrees or Prestige or to be well thought of my desire to have children who succeed that I can take pride in. Yeah, those things are not we're not saying they're not valuable. They are valuable, but they don't Trump Christ in our life and they're not things that we can hold on to permanently what will happen to my house one day will happen to my retirement one day what will happen to my degrees one day and one of my degrees compared to the knowledge of God. I mean you too silly for any of us to say well, you know Got something going on here just stand before God and say thank you that I'm even in the room Lord that your grace covers me.
He even says that he considers all of those things as done and I did research this week atamology of that word. I was really hoping to find a justification for all the translations that refused to say what Paul says, but guess what what he says in that verse is that he considers those things what we put in toilets on a regular basis. That's the word he uses. That compared to the surpassing knowledge of knowing Christ all these other things that we think can give us the identity we want and hope for anyone ever live vicariously through their children, even whenever hope that their career will give them what they want for more than God himself all those things. He says are done compared to the passing knowledge of knowing Christ. It is the value of Christ it is it is the value of Christ in comparison. That's being highlighted. That's the point. He's making Christ. He's not Downing those things. He's saying compared to Christ compared to Christ all these other things that were tempted to put on a pedestal and say these will be the essence of my life. These are the things that I will protect and hold onto no matter what the cost. He says, they're done compared to the value is the difference between having an authentic cure for a terminal disease and having a counterfeit cure for terminal disease. Don't think about that analogy if I had something if I had a terminal disease and I had bottle a that I knew was a counterfeit cure for that disease and bottle be that I knew was an authentic cure for that disease. How would the the counterfeit compared to the authentic one? I just don't know. Why wouldn't I be garbage it be nothing compared to that beautiful wonderful ointment remind me all kinds of great things but compared to this one will cure your terminal disease and this one will not send you a safe with an that was garbage. I'm not going to hold on to it at the risk of dropping this one. I'm not going to treasure it at the risk of forgetting where this one is. I'm not going to hold on it. So tired of even forgot there was a real one. And that's what we can do. Sometimes if Paul is saying look. This is what life in Christ is in. This is what it's not look at what he says here. He's describing what life in price is and what it is not and he saying that life in Christ is righteousness imported to us from God. It is not my own righteousness. That's a man-made thing from the law but it is righteousness and party to us from God himself at the product of God and it includes it's a package deal. Paul says, it includes the suffering of Christ and also includes the resurrection of Christ identifying ourselves with Christ one author said means embracing everything about him including setting aside our rights and entitlements as described in Philippians 2 when they now That just messes with everything done it. But honestly, there is no place for us to say. Look up after you've been talking to my kid, and now he wants to be a missionary and we have a different vision for our kids and they're not going to move someplace in the world and be a missionary. They're going to stay here and go to college and get a good degree and earn some money and get a decent house and live the American middle class dream. Which Paul would say you gave all of that up when you accepted the authentic pure Pier Terminal disease of sin. You accepted Christ Jesus as your savior and your lord.
You placed everything at his feet and said I give it all to you because all of it needs to be redeemed War. My marriage needs to be redeemed. My parenting of my children need to be redeemed my career my gifts my talents my money all of it needs you Lord. It needs to be cleansed. It needs to be redeemed. And the only way that will happen is by giving it to you because no matter how many great things I could line up on my trophy wall there nothing. Because they will not equal righteousness. They are counterfeit and well you're offering is the real deal. Think about what Paul says here in this verse the righteousness. He's talking to has nothing to do with his Works pause works or Merit. But with God's Gift given on the basis of Faith this righteousness is what qualifies him to partake in the resurrection. Think about that sentence. The righteousness that Paul is talking about what it means to be in Christ is to receive from God. Authentic righteousness which qualifies us to participate in the resurrection. That's one of those things is Paul talking about the counterfeit looks like it's all these trophies that we think will get us to God, but it doesn't include giving up our entitlements. It doesn't include willingly suffering. It's an authentic. Therefore. It doesn't include. the resurrection but when we let go of our own attempts to be righteous and we accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ his provision for us. We're giving this gift of righteousness which invites us to partake in the resurrection at self. I think we should react to that something like this.
I mean let the reality of that sentence hit you when we trust in Christ and not in our own efforts or works or complements or Prestige or Heritage or pedigree or anything like that when we trust in Christ or given righteousness from God it is not a righteousness of our own doing so it's not in perfect. It's not a righteousness of our own making store doesn't come and go based on our own behavior. It's not a man-made righteousness is not something we can never lose its not this righteousness of Satan can find a loophole in inside. Haha. Well more than I thought that but I found this Right, it's not this rice is it says ya robbi you've been decent but you forget about that one time you deliberately and intentionally did the wrong thing that you knew it was wrong thing in your heart. You said the wrong thing you braced send if I ever do that. You wash your hands on that one. Guess what? I know you have.
for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and by trusting what Christ has done for us if we're given this gift of righteousness and it's not a righteousness of our own based on Church attendance based on successful discipleship. I follow Christ. It's based on his finished completed work on the cross. And that's why Papa gives us chapter by saying one thing you got to remember over and over and over. I'm going to what's going on rejoice in the Lord. Rejoice and who Christ is celebrate what he has done because he has provided these other things that were tempted to pile up as trophies.
So what do you do? What do you do? If you came to Christ at some point in your life, and you said I love you Jesus and I'm going to follow you and I'm going to do what you want me to do. I'm going to be who you want me to be. I will go don't we sing that song? I will go where you want me to go.
What do you do if you started out that way, but at some point you said hey, Rock City. That's a nice degree. That will make me look good on my Pierce think I spent a lot of time and energy on that who that's a nice house in a good neighborhood. My brother will be like food. You got a nice house and a good neighborhood. Let's have some kids live vicariously through them. Do everything for them and put them? Is rock city is pretty nice. Where we going?
Cameron where we going
guess what is settle here? That's very nice big cable package. I mean really I can I can eat up a lot of hours in a day. What happens when we realize we've done that? Two things Lord's Grace covers Us at every point at every point. You can wake up on your deathbed and have great clarity about how short you fallen. and Your Love Of Christ
welcome. So don't miss hear me. I'm not talking about salvation. Okay, God's grace covers us even if we sleep at the Rock City exit. Four Season in our life and Paul, even if it's the same thing the knee after the grandiose talk about everything else being considered lost. He catches his breath and he says now wait a minute. Let me see a couple things before I close out here now that I've achieved this Now that I'm perfect. Now that I've succeeded every point. Cuz I haven't but here's what I do. So here's what we do. He says this one thing I do I press on if you gotten off the exit Rock City and suddenly realize that we've been here six days.
The shake it off and you take pause advice and you get back on the road and you pressed on you press on because God's grace covers those moments. Amen. You don't press on cuz I'm not going to make up for it. I did bad. I slipped away to Jesus wouldn't know one of my life for 6 days or six years. I'm in trouble his grace. His mercies are new every morning. He expect more failure from us than we Expect from ourselves. He knows that we are dust the song that says in Psalm 103 and he removes our sins from us as far as the East is from the west and so it is Grace Grace and that's what we press on to. We press on toward Christ and that Grace that knowledge of knowing him. That's the beauty that draws us. We're not trying to earn our way anywhere. We're celebrating. We're moving toward the love that we have seen revealed in Christ Jesus and when we slip off the road and we make mud pies at CS Lewis says with a cruise on the ocean awaits us we snap out of it when we head toward the cruise knowing our ticket is good and God waits for us and Longs for us to know the joy of being who he designed us to be So not that we've achieved it not that were perfect. Not that we haven't failed and slipped off again and again and again. But we get up and we press on and then Paul continues cuz I do two things. It's so funny. It's a good printer for you. Think about it says here's the one thing I do. There's two of them is my 1 Point sermon has six parts. What's the greatest commandment?
The Paul says this one thing I do hear the here are the two parts of the one thing I do I press on but I forget the past and I strained forward I think about the context of what we just talked about. It's easy to think what he means by forgetting the past is he forgets his sins and his failures, but that's not what I'm talking about. Is it? He talked about forgetting his accomplishments.
Have we ever? Held on to accomplish within the past that we sacrifice our future. And we ever so wish for the good old days and my long form and we put them on a pedestal that we won't put her eyes on the future. We were so wish that things were like they used to be. I remember when I was younger and I can get some hair color and that'll I can make myself feel a little younger. I remember when Society was this way. Our church was this way, we're not careful. We will focus on the past. Sometimes it's our sins that we focus on that were called to forget about leave behind as Christ forgives those sins. So that's definitely part of the Gospel. You've got a pass that you struggle with the love of God in the grace of Christ covers that and it is behind you. Absolutely, but sometimes we don't realize that Paul is also suggesting that he has to forget those things that he be tempted to pack stuff on the back for and Focus On Christ. That's what he does. Prices on and strange Ford someone about the worship team to come forward. Let me ask you a couple of questions as we close. What do you need to forget?
At your homework this week. Is there something that you need to forget and put behind you? Maybe it's sends or struggles that you think still Mark you as somehow a second-class Christian or not quite saved or not quite covered by the blood of Christ. And if it is I'm telling you this morning with the authority of the Gospel. Let it go put it behind you the love of Christ. If you accepted Jesus Christ as your lord and savior his blood covers all of your sand. There are no exceptions. Your past is redeemed your forgiving your cleansed if it was 18 years ago, or if it was yesterday. The blood of Christ covers it and you can forget it. Or maybe what you need to forget is accomplishments and quit wishing that you could return to some other decade and look at the time and the future and the people and the place and the opportunity that's right in front of you. And do all that move toward Christ. That's the second question to ask yourself this week. What do I need to forget and actually write that down and work at doing that this week and secondly, what do you need to strain too hard?
Did God call you to something at some point in your life? And you got off the exit at Rock City. Housing prices were good, and you could earn a good living in the career was attractive. I think God called you to be a missionary years ago, and you know that you said
I'm going to do that.
Maybe called you to be in the ministry. And you said are you kidding me? How dorky pastors are I am too cool for that.
And he called you to adopt children. And you said it's going to wear us out.
And he called you to give money away. And you said you kidding me. He called you to give lots of it away. And you said both of my family will have a special meeting and say you can't do can't give that kind of money waste money is for family not forgot. You give it to us?
God's grace covers all those missteps
But if you're aware of that you stand in an opportunity to make a new decision right now.
You can be a missionary with the lady that comes to Mexico who's 83 years old comes to Mexico and build homes.
At any point you can make that new decision. Become a missionary become a pastor give lots of money away get involved call a family member that you have not forgiven for a decade.
An act on what God is straining calling you to move toward and that is Christ Jesus.
Think about the joy of knowing his forgiveness. Think about the face of the kid from The Christmas Story. That when we accept Christ loved when we accept him as our Lord and savior, we are destined to participate in the resurrection.
Death is not the end of our lives. This life is not all there is. And that guarantee and that truth frees us up to have open hands. With our very lives our time or energy listen, shut up after this. I'm sorry too long. The safest place we can be is on a path of obeying God. You may say look I'm able to hold on to my children better than God. Can I can take care of him? But I'm going to keep them closed snow. the safest place you can be is to Put it in God's hands and we'll get this degree and work this career. I'm going to look the safest place you can be in all of life is to let go of all of that. And Listen for God's voice and respond to it.
I believe that with all my heart. I believe his grace covers Us at every point. Cuz we sing this morning ask those two questions. What do I need to forget? And what do I need to press for press press toward like God answer those for you. During our time of Invitational be folks in the front and the back as we sing Our Song if you have a decision to make I'll be in the back for a decision or prayer will be folks and prayer in both places. If you have a spiritual need we want to pray for you about that. If you have a physical need if there's a way we can help you or assist you come to one of our prayer people and share that with us so that we know how we can serve you because Christ calls us to do that and we love Christ. So give us the opportunity to honor and serve his purposes by serving you please stand as we sing.