22 Jan (evening):
Glorifying Him 3. He is More
Key Text: Philippians 3:1-11
Has it ever struck you that we live in a world where the large majority of us have made an entire page dedicated to us; filled with what we do for the sole reason of people liking that! We live in a world where narcissism isn't weird it's the norm.
Hopefully tonight we will address the reality that we were not made for our own glory but rather for the glory of another. And in fact the more we indulge in seeking our own glory the more our life is filled with emptiness and sorrow.
For the last two weeks we have looked at the sole reason you are alive; you are here to glorify God and enjoy him forever as 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says so clearly;
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
We have seen that in order to achieve this purpose and find significance in this life and the life to come we must allow the light of God’s truth to illuminate Christ to us so that above all things Christ is beautiful to us. Last week we looked at the fact that if we get this then our life is a life of risking for the gospels sake; we do not long for comfort and ease rather we live for His and His glory.
Which leads me to this week. We were made for Him; therefore we need to live and understand that He is more!
Our text for tonight is Philippians 3:1-11
No Confidence in the Flesh
3 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul speaks to us and challenges us from his own experiences with Christ to be more focused on Jesus than us. He makes the point clear that everything is lost to him, not in some morbid asceticism (or self denial), but from a position of strength.
I don’t think Paul was a “oh woe is me” kind of character, constantly saying the world is nothing to me; what is the point of all of it. No! He was saying this world doesn’t hold me because Christ does!
Which leads me to my first point…
1.For the sake of Christ
I love this passage in the way that it disarms us; Paul tells the Philippian church of his accolades; his spiritual heritage, his zeal for the things of God, his brilliance in following these things and his commitment in following it.
It is a record that any of us would be proud of. It is what most of us (especial within the church) strive for. Imagine being able to say; I am a Christian of Christian; generations of my family have been committed. Not only that but I have passion for the church, never missing a service, keeping every rule and following every ordinance. No one can fault me in my commitment!
Effectively this is what Paul was saying to the church; and yet he says all this is nothing.
If fact he makes the argument quite strong in the original language; he says all these things count against me now.
How could commitment and passion for God and the things of God count against him?
They count against Him in the knowledge of Christ!
For the sake of Christ everything that was originally counted for me now actually counts against me. That is how overwhelmingly more Christ is!
Church, Christ is more! More wonderful that the things we can own, achieve, be given or win. He is more precious that the love of others, than the acceptance of others, than the approval of others.
I Colossians 1:16 it says:
16 For by[a] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
Nothing in the world can compare to Him because everything in this world has its origin in Him! Therefore, everything; whether we can gain it; or be given it or seek it; owes its very existence to Him and therefore; I would argue finds its significance only in Him!
Paul states quite strongly that in fact compared to Christ; everything else is “skubalon” (the Greek word for dung). There is stronger language we can use but we are in Church.
You were made to glorify God and you can only do that if your everything is Christ. This is very contrary to what has been told to you; “find yourself”, “learn to love yourself”, “do what makes YOU happy”.
How much of your life and your pursuits are done to make a place for yourself in this world a seeking of personal enjoyment and personal achievement?
Now these things are not bad; they are just not the point of your existence. You were not made to make a name for yourself; you were not made to make money; you were not even made to make someone else happy (and likewise no one was made to make you happy ( so don’t burden them with that)).
You were made for Him and so everything else in life is rubbish without Him.
And so the single pursuit of your life; the single goal should be my next point:
2.I am found in Him
If the purpose of your life is to glorify God it must be asked what stops me from doing that? If I am made (literally designed) to glorify God why do so few people live this reality out?
The answer is sin. Gen 3. Although created for the sole purpose of giving God glory through our being; we were also given choice; and in that choice we chose to live outside of that reality; to live outside of that design and therefore we have welcomed into our world and our realities many things that destroy us and break us apart.
So how do we get back to the reality of our design? Christ is the only way!
That is why Paul says in verse 9 after saying that all of life and everything I can achieve is dung; my only hope my only reason for being is that I might be found in Him!
How can we be found in Him? Well Paul tells us in verse 9;
…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
We lay our self-love down we lay our attempts of righteousness aside and we by faith allow Jesus to become our everything; for Him to be more!
And I guess that is the reality of life; you want to find your purpose? You want to discover what life is all about? Well, let go your trying, let go of you desire to be accepted and good, let go of your sin and that which you have done which makes you bad and know Christ!
Trust Christ to be your righteousness; have faith that He was able to please God and that if you believe in Him He will present you faultless before the throne of God.
Paul continue in verse 10;
10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
You can see Paul is getting passionate here and saying, in spite of my achievement; all I want now is to know Christ; every part no matter the cost!
I want the power of the resurrection; also, I want the suffering even if it means death!
Paul’s sole desire in life was to have Christ be his everything and that is why Paul’s life had deep and real meaning; Paul was living for the one thing that he was made for; Christ! No matter the cost!
Preaching this message to this generation, I should say, is difficult! There is such a danger of this message being absolutely irrelevant to you because we have spent generations convincing ourselves that this simply cannot be!
Our mantra is; live for you and I’ll live for me! Believe; but as long as it doesn’t affect me, do whatever you want, so that I can do whatever I want!
I’ll forge my own path; stuff the consequences! This is life is about what you can make it!
And we have bought it; on some level each of us think this is true; because we live as if it is true. The problem, church, is that it is not; it never has; and can never be true.
This world in all its glory; is too wonderful; too vast; too incredible to be just for you; it was made for Him; and so were you; all of creation is declaring that to us if we would simply open our ears and listen.
But we refuse to listen because the cost is too great; the demand is too high; we have to lay ourselves down, and become second! He must be more!
Church, what is your life about? What does this week hold for you? What is your meaning and purpose; you were made for Him; your week is to be lived for Him; your purpose is to be found in Him!
That is what life is about! HE IS MORE! He is greater than you have given Him credit for, He is more wonderful than you could ever imagine; He deserves more of you than you can physically give! He is the reason of your being; but – and I hope you get this – He is also where you will find your peace, your longings, your desires and your joy!
You were made for His glory; don’t waste your life seeking your own; let Him be who He is in your life; let him be more!