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Today we are continuing in our series from Philippians and we are
looking at chapter three. The title of my message is “The priceless
value of knowing Christ”. So far, we have seen…
So already we have seen a lot. We have also got a big glimpse of
Paul’s heart and his love for the church at Philippi. Today we will see
three more main points.
Bible Reading –
1 Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the
Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to
safeguard your faith.
2 Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those
mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.
3 For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly
circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no
confidence in human effort,
4 though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could.
Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I
have even more!
5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded
citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin–a real Hebrew if
there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the
strictest obedience to the Jewish law.
6 I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for
righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.
7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them
worthless because of what Christ has done.
8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite
value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded
everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ
9 and become one with Him. I no longer count on my own righteousness
through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in
Christ. For God’s way of making us right with Himself depends on faith.
10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised
Him from the dead. I want to suffer with Him, sharing in His death,
11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or
that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that
perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.
13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus
on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies
14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly
prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you
disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.
16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.
17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and
learn from those who follow our example.
18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in
my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies
of the cross of Christ.
19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they
brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on
20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.
And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior.
21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious
bodies like His own, using the same power with which He will bring
everything under His control.
Today I want to share three main points.
1. The priceless value of knowing Christ
My first point today is the “Priceless value of knowing Christ”. It
is found in verses 3:1-11.
In the first part of chapter three Paul shares the idea that knowing
Christ is everything. This is something he held dear and he taught to
others. In verse 1 he says, “I never get tired of telling you these
things, and I do it to safeguard your faith”.
Why would he say he wants to safeguard their faith? In verses 2-4
Paul then talks about people wanting to get them to live under the old
ways. Things like circumcision and following the Law in their own
strength to make them right with God.
It seems in our reading of the New Testament that often when Paul
went and planted churches, people would follow his path and try to
pervert the truth. Often this meant turning people back to old Jewish
customs and ways of living. Some Jewish converts could not just let go
of the past. Some deep down wanted to work for their salvation. Some
wanted to hold on to power.
Paul knew and understood this way of living. In verses 4-6 he lists
his long list of achievements as a Jew and a Pharisee. Paul described
himself as a Hebrew of Hebrews. This means both his mother and father
all the way back was Jewish. There were no other nations mixed in his
heritage. He also says he lived out the Law without fault, he persecuted
the early church with a passion and he was a member of the tribe of
Benjamin. The Tribe of Benjamin was the only tribe that stayed faithful
to God when the Northern and Southern Kingdoms were divided. This tribe
also gave the nation its first king, whom Paul/Saul was named after. So,
in his own eyes he really thought he was serving God as good anyone
could possibly do.
The Pharisees were a strict religious sect that numbered about 6000
in total at the time of Christ. They were lay people who were
middle class merchants that devoted themselves to the observance of the
Law of Moses (first five books of Old Testament as we know it) and they
also paid special attention to laws that were interpreted by the Rabbi’s
to protect and apply the law to everyday life. There were laws 613 in
In many ways the Pharisees saw themselves as religious purists who
were enthusiastically committed to preserving and obeying the law and
they were keen to encourage others to do so. To ensure they kept
ritually pure the Pharisees had a number of strict rules in regard to
washing, eating, tithing, the Sabbath, divorce, oaths and clothing.
Why did the Pharisees think keeping the law was so important? For the
Pharisee their religion was not just a profession it was more of a way
of life. The strived hard to follow the law and keep ritually pure to be
“right” with God. The Pharisees wanted Israel to be a holy nation and a
kingdom of priests. They also believe that once Israel had remained pure
for a time then the Messiah would come.
So back to Paul. In light of what a Pharisees is and
Paul’s list of “achievements”, if anyone had the right to be proud of
his efforts it would be Paul. But as we see in verses 7-8 he had a
change of heart and life…
“I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them
worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is
worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus
my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all
as garbage, so that I could gain Christ”.
Paul realised that knowing Christ and being known by Christ was all
that was needed to find salvation. As he says in verse 9, “I become
righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with
himself depends on faith”.
All the things that Paul thought very priceless and valuable, became
like garbage to him. His family line of being a Hebrew of Hebrews –
garbage. His belonging to the Tribe of Benjamin – garbage. His standing
as a Pharisee – garbage. He discarded them all.
For us as Christians today there is a priceless value in knowing
Christ too. We can’t save ourselves. We can’t work for our salvation. It
is all accomplished in what Jesus did for us on the cross. He made a
way, where there was no other way.
Not only is our salvation priceless, but our lives now are priceless
too. We live this life now knowing that we are valuable to God and we
are a key part of His continued mission in this world. We have a job to
do. We have a part to play. We serve God with our gifts, we love and
encourage one another, we reach people with the love and saving message
of Christ. We make disciples.
So today let us hold firmly to Christ and put all our faith and hope
in Him. He alone makes us righteous and right with the Father. Christ is
all we need and there is priceless value in knowing Him.
2. Pressing towards the goal
Me second point comes from verses 12-21 and is “Pressing toward the
In verses 12-14 Paul says, “I don’t mean to say that I have already
achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I
press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first
possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but
I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to
what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the
heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us”.
As I was reflecting on this I read the notes in the Life Application
Study Bible for verses 12-14. It is interesting and explains this
“3:12-14 Paul said that his goal was to know Christ, to be like
Christ, and to be all Christ had in mind for him. This goal took all of
Paul’s energies. This is a helpful example for us. We should not let
anything take our eyes off our goal—knowing Christ. With the
single-mindedness of an athlete in training, we must lay aside
everything harmful and forsake anything that may distract us from being
effective Christians. What is holding you back?”
I think the first line says it all – to know Christ, to be like
Christ, and to be all Christ had in mind for him”.
This idea is much deeper than coming to Christ for our salvation and
knowing we will go to heaven when we die. It is all about knowing
Christ, growing to be like Christ and being disciplined like an athlete
to be all you can be for Christ.
In the same way, Paul tells us to be disciplined like an athlete. We
need to put time and energy into our relationship with God and our
growth in our faith. Spending time alone with God in prayer, reading our
Bibles and fellowship are things that Pastors, Elders and guest speakers
talk about often. This is because they work. They help us to press on
towards the goal of knowing Christ and becoming like Him.
3. We ARE citizens of heaven
This is the second time in this short book Paul has talked about
being citizens of heaven. In
Philippians 1:27 he said…
“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting
yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then,
whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know
that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting
together for the faith, which is the Good News”.
In verse 20 of today’s text her says, “But we are citizens of heaven,
where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to
return as our Saviour.”
In chapter one verse 27 he calls us to live a life worthy of being a
citizen of heaven. In this verse he reiterates that we are citizens of
Again, as I was researching I found the notes in the NLT LASB had
some good thoughts. It said this on verse 20…
“Citizens of a Roman colony were expected to promote the interests of
Rome and maintain the dignity of the city. In the same way, citizens of
heaven ought to promote heaven’s interests on earth and lead lives
worthy of heavenly citizenship. Too many Christians have failed to
transfer their citizenship to heaven. They still seek earthly pleasures
and treasures instead of heavenly ones. Paul told the Philippians to
remember that they are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ
lives. Have you transferred your citizenship? How are you promoting
Not only should we live lives worthy of our new citizenship, but we
need to remember we ARE citizens of heaven. As I have said before, our
passports are not stamped with just an entry visa, our passports are
brand new heavenly ones issued from the throne room of God.
So, in summary today I just want to summarize Paul’s heart from
By Dave Quinn
Founder of PASSIONAustralia.org
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