The Power of Christ meant for Paul a confidence. For the believer the resurrection is a certain fact. It gives us confidence. This confidence in Christ is for all Christians. Not just a few, but all are meant to have this abundant power.
Confidence in Christ Philippians 3:7-11
Just imagine something with me today. Let’s say that a few years ago that you went out and for a nickel a share bought fifty thousand shares of stock in a company that no one really thought would do any good. Some company they called the cellular phone company. And all of a sudden that stock that you thought would probably amount to nothing was now selling for sixty dollars a share. All of a sudden you are wealthy, you are a multi-millionaire.
Let’s imagine something else. You have worked hard toward your goal and are about to finish your accomplishment. You are about to be awarded a PhD degree from Harvard University. The research that you did gave you recognition internationally.
If you can’t picture yourself in any of those scenarios, then maybe you can picture yourself in this, you get a call from the Olympic committee and they need you to go and participate in the Olympics. It turns out that in the Olympics you win several gold medals. All of a sudden your face is on cereal boxes across the country.
What do these things have in common, this wealth, the prestige and the fame? What is the common denominator that ties these things together? In this passage of scripture Paul would take all these things and say that they have one thing in common. Compared to knowing Christ each of these things is valueless. All their worth, in comparison to knowing Christ, is to take them and throw them out onto the garbage heap.
We say we have a landfill crises. Our landfills are becoming full. But we have a different kind of crises than we think. Actually it is that the wrong things are being thrown into the landfill. Instead of old bottles and coffee grinds we need to be taking all the things that are valuable, but keep us from Christ and throw them away. Paul says the only thing that really counts is knowing Christ. Anything else that might keep us from knowing Christ needs to get thrown out.
Look at what Paul says in Philippians 3:7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
Now in verse 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
For Paul, all the things that he had been talking about in these chapters, all the prestige he had from studying under the greatest of scholars, all the fame that came from his being zealous. All the important heritage he had. All those were of no use except to be thrown out. He considered none of this to his profit. Paul emphasis was that the former things in his life are now a loss. Paul had all the things that others sought after. However he summed them all up and said they were all valueless. To Paul all that he had before knowing Christ was wasted self righteousness. In some ways I can identify with the Apostle Paul.
I can look back on my life and see my life formed into two distinct categories. First of all there was twenty years that I went on with life not knowing Christ. Then came the years of knowing Christ. If I had a thousand lifetimes of living without Christ, none of it could equal even a few years of knowing Jesus Christ.
Paul had a dramatic experience on the Damascus road. He had an encounter with Jesus Christ and it changed everything for him. It changed his whole outlook. Now he looked back on his life and all the things he thought were to his credit. All the things he thought were his accomplishments. He looks back and says now they have no value.
Is there something in your life that is keeping you from Jesus Christ? There is tragedy that scripture portrays in the rich young ruler. He wanted to come to Christ and be a follower. But he would not let go of his riches. He was not prepared to give everything to follow Jesus. Oh, if he only knew all the gain. If he only knew the abundance he would have in his life if he just let go and counted the former things as loss. What he would know in his own lifetime. That is why sometimes tragedy can accomplish a very important work in our lives.
I shared with some of you that our mission pastor was not in the pulpit last Sunday. He was in Houston because his sister in law was in critical condition. She was near death. Through this tragedy our mission pastor shared the gospel and his sister in law and she and her husband committed their life to Jesus Christ. It took tragedy to let go of everything and come to realize that the only thing that can really count is value in this life is a relationship with Jesus Christ.
That is why when someone loses a job or has a serious health problem, if that causes them to have an encounter with Jesus Christ it actually becomes to their profit. We face in this country a recession. There are problems and people are losing their jobs and that is tragic. But as a church we should look for opportunities. We need to find those people who are experiencing loss in their lives. Who now have nothing to hang on to from what was formerly important to them. We need to tell them Jesus Christ is your answer. Jesus Christ in your hope. We need to tell them to put their confidence in Christ.
When you look back on in your life, what do you consider your greatest assets, your home, your car, your health? If these things keep you from Jesus Christ they have become a liability. Only when you know Jesus Christ do you truly know the abundance that God has planned for your life. That is why Paul when he came face to face with Christ put all those things behind him and counted the former things as valueless.
The more you Have achieved, the more you are a self made person the more difficult submission to Christ will be for you. Paul’s decision, give up all personal advantages for the sake of Christ. Nothing else is important. Nothing else is worth you putting your time and energies into except for Jesus Christ and his cause. A missionary paraphrased scripture when he said; he is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
If we did what Paul said and threw out on the garbage heap all the things that you count as important. In today’s terms we may take all our accomplishments and give them words like trash, dirty muck, garbage. They are all Yuk because they keep me from a proper relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul’s cry from this passage of scripture is to renounce your pride and renounce everything that you are proud of and seek Christ alone.
I once knew a principal of a high school. One of his geography teachers was a Christian. The principal himself was a Christian. This principal could not understand what got into this geography teacher. He made a teaching tool for his students that was wonderful. It was the talk of the whole school. But the principal was confused because after the semester was over instead putting that geography display into storage so he could use it again he destroyed it. It was beautiful and he could have saved it and reused it for years. The principal could not understand why he destroyed it.
The geography teacher said, “Because of the pride that the project created in my life I just had to destroy it.” That is what Paul is talking about. Being ready to get rid of anything that cause pride and keeps you from your relationship with Jesus. To be willing to throw those things out. Paul talks about true righteousness in verse 9.
True righteousness does not come through our own self efforts but comes though faith. Look at verse 9.
That I may gain Christ 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 and is by faith.
Paul experienced true righteousness when he encountered Jesus Christ. When he put his faith in Jesus, then Paul knew righteousness. All that he did before, all that he tried to follow the law were of no credit. Only when he put his faith in Jesus Christ did he know righteousness. Now he knew righteousness. There is only one righteous, Jesus. Our righteousness comes only through Christ. It is grace. It is a free gift and it comes when we put our faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul makes the comparison here. He talks about legalistic righteousness and trying to become righteous by following the law and he talks about faith in Jesus Christ. The one, righteousness by the law is worthless. Righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ has ultimate worth! Because it is the only real righteousness. Paul is not so much making a comparison as he is saying there is no comparison.
Trying to compare your own efforts toward righteousness to faith in Christ is no real comparison at all. Paul says there are two kinds of people in this world, first there those in Adam who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Then there are those who are in Christ. Who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The crucial question is; have you put your faith in Christ? Do you know this kind of righteousness that is through Christ?
So many people are walking around with a false idea. If you were to ask them if they are a Christian they stop and hesitate and say, I believe I am a Christian. If you would ask them why they would say, well I have been a pretty good person. I have tried to do what’s right, mind you I am not perfect but I have done my best.
The scripture tells us that our own good works will never measure up to God’s standards. It is only faith through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only one who has walked this earth with this righteousness. He is the only one who said, I am the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but through me.
Our own works will never enable us to reach God. It is only when we humble ourselves, put our accomplishments aside and put our faith in Jesus Christ do we experience a true righteousness. All of us need to examine our lives and ask are we in Christ? Have I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Have I put my confidence in Christ? Am I experiencing the relationship with God he intends for me?
Christians should never be satisfied with salvation in Christ. But there is also a process in becoming more like Jesus Christ. If Paul could not attain his righteousness from the law then who of us could have enough good works to make us righteous before God? If anyone followed the law it was the Apostle Paul. Paul realized that all his striving to be good was worthless. It is only through Jesus Christ that true righteousness comes.
Paul talks about righteousness through faith and he goes on to talk about something else that we have in the Christian life. That is a power. We have a power in Jesus Christ Paul says in verses 10-11.
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul wanted the very power that was involved in raising Jesus Christ from the dead. Paul says that power is available to Christians. We can live by this power in our daily life. His desire was to know Christ completely. Not just as his savior but as his daily power.
Righteousness comes because Christ died on the cross, but there is the power of the resurrection available to believers. The very power that raised Jesus from the cross is available. Do you know this power in your life? Are you experiencing personally the power that raised Jesus from the cross? This is a power for victory. It is a power for victory over sin. It is also a power to have a bold confidence in our faith.
When George Truett was preaching to a group of college students and talking to the seniors. This entire group had become a believer in Christ except one student. This one student was a skeptic and a doubter. Through the series of meetings he listened about Christ, but he did not respond.
Finally he came to George Truett and he said I just want to know one thing, is Jesus Christ real to you. He said do you know with your whole heart and all your being that Jesus Christ is real and helps you? What would you say if someone came up to you and asked you this? Is Jesus Christ real to you? Do you know with your whole heart and whole being that Jesus Christ is real?
What would you say? How would you respond? George Truett said, son I do not know many things, but this one thing I do know, I know with all my heart that Jesus is real. When everyone else has failed me Jesus Christ is real and helps me. That is confidence in Christ. That is the power of the resurrection working in the life of a believer.
That young man put his faith in Jesus Christ. The power of the resurrection works through the believer and touches lives of those who we come in contact with. We need to make Jesus the power in our lives. The power to have victory in the areas where we struggle.
This confidence in Christ is for all Christians. Not just a few, but all are meant to have this abundant power. The power of Christ gave the apostle Paul a boldness. Such boldness that he could write these very words. Jesus came because he wanted us to have a full and meaningful life. He offered us the power that worked to raise him from the cross.
The Power of Christ meant for Paul a confidence. For the believer the resurrection is a certain fact. It gives us confidence. We have the confidence in Christ that when this life comes to an end we ourselves will be raised to live forever with God in heaven. Experiencing the power of Christ is our confidence in Christ.