Today we explore how Paul Scores a Spiritual Touchdown! We are profoundly grateful and blessed to have each one of you with us today. In this sacred gathering, we unite our hearts and spirits to worship, to learn, and to encourage one another. Every soul here is a vital part of this spiritual journey we are undertaking together. May the grace and peace of our Lord envelop each one of us, and may we be attuned to the divine whispers of wisdom and revelation.
Heavenly Father, we come before You with hearts full of gratitude and spirits eager to experience Your presence. We thank You for the gift of life, for the moments of joy and the lessons in our trials. As we gather today, we pray for Your Spirit to fill this place, illuminating our minds and hearts, that we may perceive You more clearly, love You more dearly, and follow You more nearly. Amen.
Introduction to Scripture
In Philippians 3:4-14, the Apostle Paul shares a profound revelation of his spiritual journey. He recounts his impeccable pedigree and stellar achievements. Yet Paul considers his Social Standing and Achievements, a waste of time, for the sake of Christ.
Paul’s encounter with Jesus transformed his values and priorities. He now desires to be found in Christ, to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and to share in His sufferings. Paul presses on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called him heavenward in Christ Jesus.
SCRIPTURE: Philippians 3:4-14
4 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.
The Value of Paul’s Pedigree:
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 Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
Paul’s New Focus:
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. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Paul’s Words of Wisdom to the younger gererations:
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Lord Jesus, inspired by the words of Apostle Paul in Philippians, we intercede for our brothers and sisters around the world. We pray for those who are yet to know the surpassing worth of knowing You. May the scales fall from their eyes, and may they encounter You in a profound way. We pray for those in trials and sufferings, that they may experience the power of Your resurrection and the fellowship of Your sufferings, being conformed to Your death and attaining resurrection from the dead. Amen.
In unison, we respond to Your word, O Lord. We count all things as loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord. We are determined to know You, Jesus, and the power of Your resurrection, and to share in Your sufferings. We forget what is behind and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which You have called us heavenward. Amen.
Sermon: Journey to Fulfillment: the Path of Righteousness
In Philippians 3:4-14, Apostle Paul, admits when considered to other “Religious Men” of his time, that he was often heald in high esteem, being credentials and capable of remarkable achievements.
A simple encounters became a turning point that changed the world. This transformative moment of profound enlightenment changed Paul forever.
Paul was a Leader in the Hebrew Church, He was a Pharisee, and often considered, “A Hebrew of Hebrews”. He was groomed from an early age to become the Best of the Best. He was a man who once placed immense value on his own social and religious standings. However, an encounter with the risen Christ changed the world as we know it.
In today’s world, we too, are often ensnared in the relentless pursuit of recognition, wealth, and accomplishments. We might think that we are so much more advanced then 0 jThe societal norms and historical contexts might have evolved, but the intrinsic human inclination to seek validation and worth in transient, worldly attainments remains unchanged.
Yet, just as Paul realized, we are reminded that these are but loss compared to the immeasurable value of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is in this divine relationship that we uncover our true identity, purpose, and the path to eternal life.
Beloved, as we reflect on this profound passage, let us be inspired to relinquish our grip on the fleeting glories of this world. May we, like Paul, count all things as loss for the sake of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord. In this divine pursuit, we embark on a journey of true fulfillment, spiritual maturity, and eternal joy. Amen.
Verses 4-6: Paul’s Confidence in the Flesh
Paul recounts his credentials and achievements according to Jewish law. He was 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; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
Paul lists his impressive religious credentials to show that if anyone could boast in their own efforts to achieve righteousness, it would be him. However, he is setting the stage to make a powerful point about the insufficiency of these achievements in attaining true righteousness.
It’s a reminder that no matter our achievements or status, they are not what define our worth or righteousness. It challenges the human tendency to find identity and worth in accomplishments and societal standards.
In the journey of discipleship, Christians are reminded that their identity is not rooted in their achievements, but in Christ. It underscores the importance of humility and the recognition that righteousness is not earned but is a gift from God.
For spiritual growth, this section encourages believers to look beyond their achievements and credentials. Spiritual maturity is not about what we have done, but about deepening our relationship with Christ and understanding our identity in Him.
Verses 7-9: Loss for the Sake of Christ
Paul considers everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord, for whose sake he has lost all things. He considers them garbage, that he may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of his own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ.
Paul’s perspective shifts dramatically. All his previous achievements and credentials are considered loss compared to the immense value of knowing Christ. Righteousness, he realizes, is not attained through the law but through faith in Christ.
This is a powerful shift in perspective, where the value is placed on relational knowledge of Christ over achievements. It’s a call to evaluate what we hold valuable and to consider the incomparable worth of knowing Christ.
Disciples are called to a similar shift in perspective. The journey is not about accumulating religious achievements but about knowing Christ intimately. It’s a call to a relationship that transforms every aspect of life and redefines what is truly valuable.
Spiritual growth involves this continual process of valuing Christ above all else. It’s a journey of deepening this relationship, of being transformed by it, and of finding our true identity and righteousness in Christ alone.
Verses 10-11: Knowing Christ Deeply
Paul’s desire is to know Christ, the power of his resurrection, and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul expresses a deep, all-encompassing desire to know Christ. This knowledge is not just intellectual but experiential, involving participation in both the power of Christ’s resurrection and his sufferings.
This is a holistic approach to faith, embracing both the glory and the suffering. It’s a reminder that true knowledge of Christ involves the entirety of our being and experiences.
Discipleship is about this holistic engagement with Christ. It’s not just about the victories but also the sufferings, not just the mountaintops but also the valleys. It’s in this comprehensive engagement that disciples are truly formed and transformed.
Spiritual growth is marked by this deepening desire to know Christ in all facets of life. It’s a journey of transformation that embraces both the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings.
Verses 12-14: Pressing on Toward the Goal
Paul has not yet taken hold of it, but he presses on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of him. He forgets what is behind and strains toward what is ahead, pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called him heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Paul acknowledges that he hasn’t “arrived” but is in a continual process of pressing on toward the goal. It’s a journey of perseverance, focus, and determination, always moving forward toward the heavenly calling in Christ.
It’s an encouragement and challenge to keep moving forward, to not be held back by the past but to be propelled forward by the heavenly vision and calling. It speaks to the dynamic, ongoing nature of the Christian journey.
For disciples, it’s a call to perseverance and progress. The journey is ongoing, and disciples are to be marked by this relentless pursuit of the heavenly calling, always moving forward, always pressing on.
Spiritual growth is not a destination but a journey. It’s marked by this continual pressing on, this ongoing pursuit of the deeper life in Christ. It’s about progress and perseverance, always moving forward in the journey of becoming like Christ.
Conclusion on Philippians 3:4-14
Philippians 3:4-14 is a profound passage that encapsulates the essence of the Christian journey from reliance on self to a deep, intimate knowledge of Christ. It underscores the insufficiency of human achievements and credentials in attaining righteousness and highlights the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. This knowledge is not superficial but is profound, encompassing both the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.
This passage is a powerful reminder that the Christian journey is not static but dynamic. It’s not about arriving but about pressing on. Every believer is on a journey of transformation, a journey from self-reliance to Christ-reliance, from superficial knowledge to deep, experiential knowledge of Christ in every aspect of life. It’s a journey marked by the continual re-evaluation of what is truly valuable, a journey of laying aside the old and pressing on toward the new, toward the heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.
A Prayer of Commitment and Aspiration
Lord Jesus, we are profoundly moved by the words of Apostle Paul, a man of notable achievements yet found them to be of no comparison to the excellence of knowing You. We too, Lord, desire to be found in You, not having a righteousness of our own, but that which is through faith in You.
Lord, we commit to:
Valuing You Above All
Knowing You Deeply
Pressing On in the face of adversity and social judgement
Lord, we are not held captive by our past, but are propelled into a future anchored in Your promises. Every step forward is a step into the abundant life You have procured for us. We are not defined by what we have done, but by what You, Jesus, have done for us. We are not righteous by our works, but we are made righteous by Your sacrifice.
So, we press on, not in our strength, but in Yours. Not for our glory, but for Yours. Not by our righteousness, but by Yours.
In the midst of our journey, when the road is steep and the valley deep, remind us of the prize of the upward call in You. May our lives be a living testament of the transformation and hope found in You. We are Yours, Lord, now and forever.
In the matchless name of Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.