What do you value the most?
When we look at this text, we discover that Paul is stepping back and evaluating his life. Paul is stepping back and giving us a picture of what it truly means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I want us to look at Paul’s re-evaluation here in Philippians chapter 3.
If we want our lives to count for God’s glory, we have to value Jesus Christ over everything and everyone in this world.
Paul begins this text by addressing a problem in the church that had arisen because a group of people called Judaizers. Basically, these were people … Jewish Christians, … who would told the Gentile believers about all the things they needed to do in order to become Christians.
They would say things like, if you are going to become a Christian, and you are not a Jew, then you need to become circumcised.
They would pull out their list of things the Gentiles needed to do in order to become Christian.
What they were doing, was hindering the advancement of the gospel throughout the Gentile world because of all these rules and regulations, that hid the real meaning of the gospel. Becoming a Christian is by grace through faith, which is what Paul is talking about here.
Paul used some pretty unsympathetic words to describe them. He says, “Watch out for those dogs.” In other words, “those so call Christians, who mutilate their flesh.” This is not a kind thing to call someone. But this is what Paul does here. This is how he describes the Judaizers.
By the time we get to verse four, Paul is talking a little trash here. Paul says,
If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
You’ve got to catch this.
Paul is saying, “If any man, if anybody else, anywhere, thinks he has anything that can match what I’ve got, when it comes to having righteousness based on the law, I challenge you to step up.” Paul is really calling them out.
Paul said he was circumcised the eighth day. He was of the stock of Israel. He was from the tribe of Benjamin. He was an Hebrew of the Hebrews. When it came to concerning the law, a Pharisee. Concerning zeal, persecuting the church. Concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Paul was so serious about what he believed that he willingly, persecuted the church. Paul systematically organized a program to oppress and harass the people of God. Paul went so far as to kill believers because of what he believed.
Then the turning point came in verse seven, Paul says, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.”
Paul is saying, whatever benefits or advantages he received because of his commitment to the righteous requirements of the law he willingly gives up for Jesus Christ
All the things that were given to Paul at birth mounted up to nothing!
All the things Paul accomplished before being born again mounted up to nothing.
Paul’s family heritage mounted up to nothing!
Being circumcised on the eight day mounted up to nothing!
Being from the nation of Israel mounted up to nothing!
Being from the tribe of Benjamin mounted up to nothing!
The tribe of Benjamin was an extremely significant tribe in the people of Israel. It was the tribe of Benjamin that stayed faithful to David, when other tribes were turning away from the Davidic throne.
It was the tribe of Benjamin, that gave the nation of Israel its first king. The first king of Israel’s name was, Saul. It is very possible that Paul, whose name was Saul, was named after the first king of Israel that came from his tribe. So, his family heritage was strong.
I just believe if we count up some things in our lives they will mount up to nothing! They are nothing but a big fat zero.
So much of our lives have been wasted on things that don’t mount up to a hill of beans. Some of us are still trying to hold onto to people, places and things that don’t mean nothing.
I want us to take a closer look at what we value the most:
Our family heritage, our social status, our biblical knowledge, our religious activity, and our moral lifestyles.
I want to ask you a question now. What do you see that all five of these things have in common?
If you will notice, every one of these things are good things. Do you see that?
Family heritage. Is that a bad thing to have? Love for your family, respect for your family, pride in your family is a good thing.
Social status could obviously be corrupted, but in and of itself, it’s not a bad thing to have; it’s a good thing.
Biblical knowledge. Is that a bad thing to have? That’s a very good thing to have.
Religious activity, zeal in regard to what you believe. That is not a bad thing to have.
A moral lifestyle. Wait a minute Bobby, are you saying it is a bad thing to have a moral lifestyle?” Absolutely not!
All of these things are good things and they are what we need to see in order to realize, ladies and gentlemen, it was not bad things that were keeping Paul from Jesus Christ. It was good things that were keeping Paul from Jesus.
This is a biggie! Do you catch the gravity of what Paul is saying here? He’s telling us that it is possible to love our family, have a good reputation in society and in the community where you live. You can know the Word. On top of that, to be active, in church, and our lives will still mean nothing for the kingdom.
It is possible to have all of these things and come to the end of your life and it will be “Wasted!” I believe this is what Paul he is saying here. Everything we are trying so hard to hold onto can cause our whole lives to be no good for the kingdom of God.
The only valuable thing in this life that really counts is Jesus Christ.
Over and over in this text, Paul says that Jesus Christ is far more valuable than all of the good things in this world, piled on top of each other. They are pale in comparison to His valuableness. The only valuable thing in this life that counts is Jesus Christ!
I just believe, if we want to be revived, we need to step back at this point and realize what Paul, what Scripture, is teaching us here about what it means to be a true follower of Jesus Christ.
To be a follower of Jesus Christ according to our text means that we discover that Jesus Christ is more valuable than everything and everyone in our lives.
Everything, everyone, the most cherished family relationships, our reputation, even the good things that religion says we need to do, our morality,
all of it is “worthless without Jesus Christ.” “It is rubbish without Jesus Christ. Paul said he considered them to be rubbish, worthless, trash, garbage without Jesus Christ.
The question I want to ask every single person in this room, regardless of your age, regardless of whether you are a member at any church, whether this is your first time in church: Forget all the garbage; forget all the things that don’t matter.
The question is, “Do you know Jesus Christ?” Don’t let any other thoughts come into your mind.
Do you know Jesus Christ?
Do you know Him for yourself?
Is He more valuable to you than everything and everyone around you?
This is what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ followers.
Do you know Jesus Christ?
Somewhere along the way we have forgotten. The Adversary has numbed us and lulled us to sleep with the pleasures of this world, the good things that are around us in this world.
He has camouflaged this question, and we have forgotten, ladies and gentlemen, that in Jesus Christ, we have something worth losing everything and everyone for.
I pray that God, help us to rediscover this truth. We have found something worth losing everything for.
The Bible says, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
This man didn’t go resentfully and sold all he had. “Oh no, he found this treasure, so he willing gave up all that he had.” He willing sold everything, so he could buy that field.”
The Bible says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
“We have found someone worth losing everything for.” This is a core truth of what it means to follow Jesus Christ. To find someone that is so infinitely great, surpassingly greater than anything this world has to offer.
What do you value most?