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Philippians 3:4-11 | Give It Up

Sunday, June 07, 2020 • John Cole • Salvation
What might you need to give up to know Christ and grow in Him? Follow Paul's example of giving up anything that prevents the gain of knowing Christ and His righteousness, fellowship, and resurrection.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Jim and Elisabeth Elliot were missionaries to the Auca Indians in Ecuador. Jim was martyred alongside four other missionaries during Operation Auca on January 8, 1956.

After her husband's death, Elisabeth went to go live among the tribe that killed her husband with her three-year-old daughter, Valarie and share the truth of the gospel with them.

Elisabeth Elliot has written several books that have inspired thousands of people in their walk with God. She recently passed away in 2015.

Jim and Elisabeth Elliot's story continues to impact countless Christians all over the globe to this day and have sparked a passion in people to go to the unreached.

Learn more: https://bethanygu.edu/blog/stories/jim-and-elisabeth-elliot/

 

They both began their missionary endeavors, having counted the cost.

 

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

— Jim Elliot

 

"To be a follower of the Crucified Christ means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss."

— Elisabeth Elliot

 

Being willing to endure loss for Christ is actually a common thing for Christians.

 

Actually, the gain of knowing Christ demands the loss of anything in opposition to Christ. You don't have to be a missionary to give up things for Christ.

 

CONTEXT

 

As we saw last week in the first three verses, Paul is teaching the Philippian believers to rejoice in refusing legalistic teaching of the Judaizers and in being true worshipers of God through Christ.

 

Verse three ends with "and have no confidence in the flesh" (those things outside of Christ). This imperative transitions the letter into an elaboration on that topic.

 

As we will see, Paul goes on in our text to tally up all his previous "confidences in the flesh" (outside of Christ) that he gave up to know Christ. He further expounds on the gains of knowing Christ which far surpass his losses.

 

We need to follow Paul's example of giving up anything that prevents the gain of knowing Christ and His righteousness, fellowship, and resurrection. What might you need to give up to know God and grow in Christ?

 

Let's consider those words as we read our text.

 

PHILIPPIANS 3:4-11

 

Philippians 3:4–11

4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

 

PROPOSITION

 

Knowing Christ is the greatest gain that is worthy of the toughest loss.

 

Furthermore, knowing Christ demands loss. It calls for a repentant turning away in faith from sin, self, and false religion and to Christ.

 

We gain the eternal joy of knowing Christ as we respond to Christ with a willingness to lose things in this life.

 

What did Paul lose? What must we lose?

 

Let's look further to see.

 

MUCH CONFIDENCE

 

Paul begins by saying he had a lot in which to be confident.

 

He touts his pedigree as the false-teaching, legalistic Judaizers attempted to discredit him as a false apostle. They claimed to be more authoritative than Paul as Jews.

 

Paul lays out a case that this is certainly not true.

 

Philippians 3:4–6

4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

 

Vs. 4

Though others might have reason to trust in their self-righteousness, Paul says: "I more!"

 

Vs. 5

Born and circumcised a Jew according to the law, not converted as a proselyte. Traces back to Abraham as we saw last week.

 

A Benjamite, from the line of Jacob and Rachael—Jacob's favored sons. It was the only tribe that united with Judah and continued faithful to the house of King David. King Saul also came from Benjamin. Its territory included the city of Jerusalem.

 

As a Hebrew of Hebrews, this may have meant Paul was ethnically fully Jew, or it may have had to do with his household observing Jewish customs and speaking Aramaic while growing up. They likely refused to adopt the Greco-Roman lifestyle while growing up.

 

Of the strictest sect of the Jews, a Pharisee. Since his early adolescence, Paul learned under rabbi Gamaliel, who was grandson of prestigious rabbi Hillel and a leader among the Pharisees. The Pharisees had a rich and heritage, even extending back to the Hasidim Jewish party who helped lead the Maccabean revolt and developed the oral Torah. Paul was something.

 

Paul had been a zealous persecutor of "blasphemy" in the land, which they believed would prevent the return of their Messiah. How ironic that they persecuted the church in zeal to get their Messiah. Paul was on the forefront of this. He was present at the stoning of the first recorded martyr, Steven. He received letters from the Sanhedrin, permitting him to persecute Christians beyond Palestine.

 

Paul had strictly followed the Mosaic Law and their extra written and oral laws. Paul studied, memorized, and obeyed the Law as though that is where his righteousness was found.

 

Paul was a "bad dude" when it came to his qualifications as a Jew and teacher of the law. The troubling Judaizers did not compare to Paul's credentials.

 

Paul had been on his way to a respected, powerful position within the Pharisees. He had zealously worked on this for years.

 

But then Paul became a follower of Christ. He joined the supposed blasphemers who opposed everything he had stood for. What did that mean for Paul?

 

It meant loss. Loss of respect, friends, lifestyle, home, income—his whole way of life.

 

Paul learned his pedigree and personal achievements meant nothing in God's economy. As a matter of fact, it was a liability to his reliance upon Christ.

 

Paul gave it up.

 

MUCH LOSS

 

Philippians 3:7–8

7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

 

Paul sums up all his previous advantages, including those described in verses 4-6, as loss.

 

As a heavenly accountant, Paul lays out things in his life in what could be three columns: earthly gains, loss, and true gain.

 

He had many earthly advantages, but upon his conversion to Christ, Paul found them all to be nothing but waste—dung. They held no eternal value. They only got in the way.

 

Paul suffered, or forfeited as to receive a fine, the loss of all those things. You know it wasn't easy for Paul. It sounds simple during preaching to give up earthly advantages to know Christ, but when faced with the conflict of doing it, no longer does it seem easy.

 

It is not that every earthly advantage is wrong or even a hinderance to knowing Christ. The problem is when one's trust is in these things. Paul trusted in his ethnic heritage, training, belonging, and achievements for his righteousness before God.

 

This naturally got in the way of him trusting Christ.

 

Do you have anything keeping you from trusting in Christ for salvation and leadership in your life?

 

Far too many today let expectations of their ethnicity, expertise of their learning, accomplishments of their work, and dogma of their social groups keep them from listening to what God says!

 

More and more, culture is in opposition to Christ. You don't have to be a strict Pharisee to find yourself in Paul's predicament. We are surrounded today with social pressures that demand we blindly accept illogical, unbiblical, earthly dogmas only substantiated by feelings. Its in our schools, media, and politics. Its everywhere.

 

It may become harder and harder for someone to gain Christ with this overwhelming pressure to "lose" Him.

 

But it can be done! God is still convicting hearts. The Gospel is still being preached. The Holy Spirit still transforms lost sinners into saved saints.

 

If you are listening today and struggling with this very thing, give it up! Count all those social pressures as loss, and turn to Christ. Jesus is far more gain than anything you can lose.

 

MORE GAIN

 

Philippians 3:8–11

8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

 

Vs. 8—Count but loss

". . . count all things but loss . . . suffered the loss of all things . . . count them but dung . . ."

 

Surprisingly, we find this strong descriptive word usage—dung. Paul considered these things of now value, similar to that which the body rejects as little value and passes on. These things might be fit for the "dogs" of verse two, but not for the Christian!

 

This creates a great contrast between the value of Christ in comparison to everything else that opposes Him.

 

Still, Paul suffered great loss. Why can he rejoice and consider it gain?

 

Why?

 

Vs. 8—Knowing Christ

". . . for the excellency (or superior value) of the knowledge of Christ (or knowing Christ) Jesus my Lord:"

 

". . . that I may win (or gain) Christ,"

 

Vs. 9—Justification in Christ

"And be found in him . . . the righteousness which is of God by faith . . ."

 

Romans 10:1–4

1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

 

Vs. 10—Sanctification in Christ

"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of is sufferings . . ."

 

In Christ, we find victorious power over sin and death in our daily lives. You can overcome that gripping sin in your life!

 

Power and sufferings go together. The power of Jesus' resurrection was seen in suffering. The power of Jesus working through the persecuted church happens in suffering. The power of Jesus to transform believers often happens in suffering. God's people come together in power and unity especially when going through suffering.

 

For the saved, suffering brings us closer to God, not further away. We suffer in relationship with God and God's people.

 

So, Paul has addressed his past. We just saw where he covered his present pursuit. Verse 11 transitions to a future hope in Christ.

 

Vs. 11—Glorification like Christ

". . . by any means. . . attain unto the resurrection of the dead."

 

Whether through suffering or not, we will attain the resurrection of the dead through Christ.

 

GIVE IT UP

 

Jesus said it this way while correcting Peter when he was being earthly minded and misunderstanding Jesus' ministry of the cross.

 

Matthew 16:24–26

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

 

If you are trying to figure out Christianity or if you just new to Bible teaching, please respond to God's working in your heart. Give up things you have in your heart and life that you know are in opposition to the truth of Christ's love and provision on the cross. Like Paul, count them as loss and trust Christ today.

 

This will likely effect your friendships, social standings, current religious identity, and entire outlook on the world.

 

It may effect your vocation, hobbies, and pursuits.

 

None of your life will be untouched if you choose Christ.

 

Jesus loves you, and the gain found in His forgiveness, righteousness, and truth far surpasses anything life can offer you.

 

Listen to Paul's testimony. Give up unbelief or pursuits of self-righteousness and turn in faith to Jesus.

 

If you know you are saved in Christ, He comes to you not just as an addition to your life but as a replacement of many things in your life.

 

What might you have in your life that you need to count as loss for Christ?

 

Is there anything you are hanging on to that you know is in opposition to Jesus?

 

Is it a sinful lifestyle?

 

Is it how you treat others?

 

Is it an idol?

 

Is it a dogma or ideology?

 

Is it a tradition?

 

Is it a social expectation?

 

Is it a vocation or pursuit?

 

Whatever it is, it is time to give it up.

 

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