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‎Gospel Goals (Part 1): Knowing Christ

Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:52
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‎True spiritual confidence & righteousness is only found in Christ

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GOSPEL GOALS (PART 1): KNOWING CHRIST; Philippians 3:1-11; MHAFB, 3 Nov 19 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Series: Philippians / Topics: Goal; Gospel; Justification; Sanctification; Glorification; Confidence; Pursue; Repent Before Service: Pray with leaders! Opening Verse: Psalm 26:1–3 (139:23-24) Songs for Worship: You Are Good, Worthy is the Lamb, Knowing You (All I Once Held Dear) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------SLIDE-Transition to Sermon, Ps. 119:105 Introduction 1. Attention: a. Have you ever purchased something that failed you in the end? i. You hoped that it would be good & trustworthy, but it wasn’t. ii. Maybe it was a lack of your own personal wisdom (my speaker purchase), research, or letting excitement for an opportunity get the better of you b. Any examples? Cars, secondhand purchase (Craig’s list), denied credit card, etc. 2. Big Picture: a. Today Paul takes a dramatic shift in the focus of this letter i. While all of Philippians has been united by how the Gospel should impact our lives & our communities, ii. Now Paul begins to highlight specifically the goals of the Gospel 1. SLIDE-Title: Gospel Goals (Part 1): Knowing Christ iii. As the title implies, this will be a 2-part sermon 1. Today we’ll look into the supreme value of knowing Christ, a. In contrast to other things that we may want to trust for spiritual confidence or righteousness 2. Next week we’ll dig more into how we are to pursue Christ b. As we look into 3:1-11 this morning, it is my hope that you will see how i. SLIDE-Thesis: True spiritual confidence & righteousness is only found in Christ ii. And thus if we truly know & love the Gospel we have as an ultimate goal to know this Christ. 3. Passage: a. Context: So, with that said, please join me in Philippians 3 as we see Paul begin to work this out. i. Note that as a consistent theme throughout this book, 1. He uses a brief command to be joyful as a transition & then he dives right in ii. His approach is to highlight what people wrongly trust in for their spiritual confidence & righteousness 1. And then he goes into how knowing Christ has supremacy over all else, providing perfect spiritual confidence & righteousness b. Verses-6 Slides: Join me now as we read Philippians 3:1-11 Philippians 3:1–11 CSB 1 In addition, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. To write to you again about this is no trouble for me and is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for the dogs, watch out for the evil workers, watch out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, the ones who worship by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus, and do not put confidence in the flesh—4 although I have reasons for confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; regarding the law, a Pharisee; 6 regarding zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness that is in the law, blameless. 7 But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, 11 assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead. 4. Transition: “Everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ” (v7) a. Let’s start this morning by considering those things which Paul considered a loss… Main Point 1: Trusting in Trash (vv1-6) 1. Explain: I entitled this main point “Trusting Trash,” but had some Alternative titles such as, “Highly Regarded Rubbish” or “Delighting in Dung" a. As you may well known, during the days of Jesus there were certain groups that prided themselves for their heritage & accomplishments i. If there was a way to get into heaven by your own accomplishments—they had secured it! ii. Who needs Jesus when you’ve got such a stellar resumé, right? iii. And interestingly, Paul once was one of these very people! 1. And yet he saw a better way, a true way, & chose it—more on that to come. b. This same type of theology was alive & well after Jesus’ ascension; many of Paul’s letters address it! i. And it still thrives today ii. MP1a: This would be any that attempt to gain spiritual confidence & righteousness through their heritage or works (accomplishments) 1. You could add ‘zeal,’ or ‘passion,’ into this, too (v6, c.f. Rom 10:2–4) 2. Note that Paul says “Everything that was a gain to me” (v7), heritage, works, passions, intellectual prowess, etc. iii. MP1b: In vv3-4 Paul summarizes this as “putting confidence in the flesh” c. And there was once a time that Paul did this—he even provides his abridged resumé for us here: i. His heritage: “circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews” ii. His accomplishments: "regarding the law, a Pharisee; regarding zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness that is in the law, blameless.” (vv5b-6) 1. Interestingly, those things which these false teachers think are good are actual ‘evil works!’ (v2) 2. A truth that Paul himself came to understand—all his good works were but filthy rags (see Isa. 64:6, Eph 2:8-9, Titus 3:4-5) iii. And so in v7-8a he shares, “But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung...” — 1. MP1c: Did you catch that? What does he consider all of these things, in comparison to knowing Jesus? A loss & dung a. As he mentions these, he does so in increasing intensity to drive home his point-b. He has given a thorough evaluation of this life & come to understand there is no value in it. 2. Illustrate: a. At our opening we considered things we once trusted in that we found to be a loss-i. How much more damaging is it to us when we’re trusting in something for spiritual gain that is actually a loss! ii. What great wastes of time, energy, money, emotion, & focus we invest in such things! b. Did you know that there is an entire book in the Old Testament that reflects on this idea? i. It considers the meaning of life—of all things that are done ‘under the sun’ ii. What book? Ecclesiastes! c. Most likely written by King Solomon—What conclusion did he come to about everything that is done “under the sun” — or to apply Paul’s word choice—all that is done ‘of the flesh’? i. MP1d: It is meaningless (vanity, a mere fleeting as breath (word occurs 36 times in the book) (Ecc. 1:23) ii. It has no lasting substance or value iii. After indulging in wisdom, wealth, power, romance, work, & recreation— 1. By the Holy Spirit he came to understand that there is no eternal worth in any of these things iv. He considered them a loss, even as dung compared to He who is “over the sun,” so to speak (Ecc. 12) 1. But even in this book there was yet a mystery in what from “over the sun” could be of great value 2. A mystery that was revealed in Christ 3. Expand: a. And as we begin to close up this main point, I invite you to consider some of Jesus’ teachings about this matter— Matthew 6:19–21 CSB 19 “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. b. MP1e: In His own teachings Jesus highlights that those things done or accomplished ‘under the sun,’ those things which are ‘of the flesh,’ they have no eternal lasting value. i. When we treasure such trash it leaves us with nothing in the end (compare this to what Jesus offers: John 14:6; Acts 4:12) 4. Transition: And so let us move to our next main point a. For as we see that ‘trusting in trash,’ or ‘having high regard for rubbish,’ or ‘delighting in dung’ isn’t the best of decisions... i. We’ll be tempted to keep on doing this until we can truly see... Main Point 2: The Surpassing Value of Knowing Christ (vv7-11) 1. Explain: a. While Paul just finished sharing why he has the best of human reasons to attempt spiritual confidence & righteousness through his heritage or works, i. v7 reflects a change of thought where he begins to share *why* a change happened ii. At first shares that his dramatic life-change happened simply “because of Christ” 1. He then quickly moves on to refine this idea sharing that his life was changed due to… b. MP2: Knowing Christ: (vv8, 10-11; c.f. Jer 9:23-24; John 17:3; Eph 4:13; 2 Pet 1:2-3) i. If you’ve heard my sermons much while you’ve been here, I hope that you’ve seen how they focus on the Christ that makes us CHRISTians. 1. Which is because, when we enter into relationship with Jesus, simply who He is & what He does will revolutionize our lives 2. While all of our sin-ridden human attempts at spiritual confidence & righteousness are worthless— a. Jesus has perfectly established spiritual confidence & righteousness for us (Rom 1:16-17, 3:2122) b. And He offers this as a gift (Eph 2:8-9) which can be received through knowing Christ (lit. “Knowledge of Christ”). ii. Rather than simply being a head-knowledge about a past character in history, 1. MP2: Such knowledge of Christ is personal, experiential, & close. 2. You come to know Jesus as you know your best friend. 3. Knowledge is a relationship term of intimacy that implies a mutual trust iii. If you truly know Jesus in this way, you will both “gain Christ and be found in Him” (vv8b-9a) 1. You gain the relationship & benefits that come along with being in a faith-based relationship with Jesus 2. Furthermore, when God looks at us, we are found in Christ as one of His people, a. Forgiven & experiencing the fullness of His love b. Covered in His righteousness when judgment day comes—but I’m jumping ahead a bit here… iv. Transition: Paul then goes on to explain the effects of truly knowing Christ in this way— 1. One way to understand these affects to to consider traditional topical arrangements for classical systematic theology-2. When you look at the ways God saved us, there are three ‘parts’ to it— a. A past work, a present work, & then the final work b. We were “Justified,” we are “sanctified,” & we will be “glorified” c. So, let’s look at that first concept—when we know Jesus, it results in our… c. MP2: Justification: i. This references the completed work of Christ when it is first applied to our lives— 1. MP2: We were made righteous ii. As v9 shares, we are “found in him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith.” (Also see 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21) iii. When God judges us, (see Matthew 16:27; 25:31-46; Acts 17:30-31; Romans 2:5; 2 Cor. 5:10; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:4–6, 11–15) 1. We are not found alone or in Satan’s camp, instead we are found in Christ 2. We are not covered by our own supposed righteousness, instead through faith we are covered by Jesus’ righteousness iv. Illustration: 1. Consider if I had an old robe, it was never washed, has frequently been trampled in the mud, & even has some dung smushed into it… a. This represents our sins, that which even taints our attempted good works 2. In contrast to that, God has a new perfectly white robe, its like it even shines forth light from it! a. This represents the righteousness of Jesus, who lived a sinless life 3. When we were justified, a. Jesus took our filthy garment & bore it to the cross where it was finally dealt with; And… b. Jesus gave us His perfectly white, shining robe 4. Now, when God looks at us, He sees the righteousness of Jesus shining forth! v. But as we all know, we aren’t totally righteous on the inside! 1. We need God’s consistent refining power which leads us to our next sub-point—when we know Jesus, it results in our… d. MP2: Sanctification: i. This references what we are becoming more & more through the journey of faith— 1. MP2: We are becoming more like Jesus ii. Consider what v10 shares about our journey of perpetual spiritual growth until our death, 1. “My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death” iii. As vv12ff share, this is a goal that we are continually striving for iv. We are more & more living in "the power of His resurrection " 1. A power that set us free from our slavery to sin, a. So that in our lives, while sin remains—it does not reign 2. A power that enables us to truly be more and more like Jesus 3. A power that enables us to come before the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16) 4. Furthermore, as we become more like Jesus… v. We are more & more living in "the fellowship of His sufferings" 1. In the simplest sense, this references the selflessness that we are called to a. As Galatians 2:20 shares, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (also see Romans 6:4–11; Colossians 2:9–13) 2. However it goes far deeper into the great forms of suffering that many Christians have experienced throughout history 3. Even Paul talks about being “poured out like a drink offering” (Philippians 2:17; 2 Timothy 4:6) 4. As Christians we begin to take part in the ministry that Jesus played as our Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53) 5. And thus we are more & more “being conformed to His death” vi. As a final sub-point here—when we know Jesus, we also see that it results in our… e. MP2: Glorification: i. This references the final consequence of knowing Jesus— 1. MP2: We will be resurrected ii. As Paul shares in v11, “assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.” 1. While He is uncertain of the specifics—exactly how God will do this— a. Paul has confidence that he will be resurrected (see Acts 24:14-15) 2. And this resurrection will be into a body like that which Jesus has now, totally free from sin & all of its affects (see Job 19:25-27; Daniel 12:1–3; Matthew 25:46; John 5:28-29, 11:25-26; Romans 6:5; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 35-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18) iii. While justification, the first element of our salvation, caused a spiritual resurrection (2 Corinthians 5:17)— 1. That is not where it ends! iv. Through sanctification we become more like Jesus day after day v. And then in our glorification our salvation meets it’s culmination in an actual physical resurrection 1. Where body, mind, & spirit are totally healed from the presence & effects of sin! 2. Hallelujah, come quickly Jesus! f. May we each catch a fuller glimpse of the beauty & majesty of Christ so that we reject those things of the flesh that so tempt us to trust in them. 2. Transition: Now, let’s close this off… Conclusion-1: Conclusion 1. Reiterate: True spiritual confidence & righteousness is only found in Christ a. While there is much respected rubbish in our world— i. We’ve come to understand that no heritage or accomplishment of our own can give us what we spiritually need b. We have seen the supreme value of knowing Jesus— i. A personal, experiential, close relationship-knowledge that results in our total salvation— ii. We were justified, are being sanctified, & will be glorified 2. Apply: So, how should we respond to all of this? a. Con-: Identify the Trash! What do you wrongly trust in for spiritual confidence Or righteousness? (see Psalm 139:23–24) i. Heritage/culture: Parents were Christians, I identify as a Christian, etc… ii. What you’ve accomplished: 1. Gained wealth or power 2. Your family or friends 3. Your intellect or wit, even having “right belief” (intellectual, not trust-based) 4. Good acts that you’ve done, a. Or at least not hurting anyone purposefully 5. Maybe the legacy you’ve built up, what you plan to leave behind 6. Possibly simply being spiritual or completing certain religious acts (going to church, saying a certain prayer, baptism, etc.) a. Even what your passions are in b. Con-: Repent! Turn away from these sins & ask for God’s help (see Acts 3:19, 17:30-31) i. Remember even what Jesus said to the church of Laodicea Revelation 3:17–19 CSB 17 For you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’ and you don’t realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I advise you to buy from me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be zealous and repent. i. Let us not trust in the wrong things for true wealth & need-fulfillment. c. Con-: Pursue Jesus! (see Deuteronomy 4:29; 2 Chronicles 15:4; Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13; Amos 5:4; Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9) i. Earnestly seek to gain that personal & close knowledge of Him ii. It starts by first coming to Him in faith & repenting from your sins iii. And then you continually & earnestly seek after him day-by-day, 1. Growing in your knowledge in & trust of Him, 2. More & more living in the power of His resurrection & the fellowship of His sufferings iv. And this can sometimes be a hard & confusing process v. Remember that many are here to help you on this journey— 1. Just be careful who you choose—as Paul warned in v2 to watch out for some reach out to me! 2. Although he offered himself as an example to imitate in v17 (as he imitates Christ, c.f. 1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1) vi. And so I also invite you to consider who God put in your life as an example and encourager toward this end. 1. I am very happy to help you along this journey, feel free to reach out to me at any time! 3. Appeal: Remember, salvation wasn’t about ‘hell insurance’ for Paul, a. Rather, he wanted a satisfying, intimate relationship with Christ— b. What do you want? I pray that it is the same! c. May you each come to see the surpassing value of knowing Christ d. And then live within the true spiritual confidence & righteousness that is only found in Christ 4. Conclude: Pray with me... a. “...Remind us that all of our human credentials are only rubbish—all that matters is our relationship with you through the Lord Jesus Christ." Lord’s Supper
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