Faith Bible Church of Lake Charles
How to Turn Loss Into Gain
- Bible Trivia
- How to Turn Loss Into GainIn the 1730’ s in England, a young man named George Whitefield desperately wanted to be right before God. As a student at Oxford, he was part of the Holy Club, along with John and Charles Wesley. The members of that club rose early every day for lengthy devotions. They disciplined themselves so as not to waste a minute of the day.They wrote a diary every night in which they examined and condemned themselves for any fault during that day. They fasted each Wednesday and Friday and set aside Saturday as a sabbath to prepare for the Lord’s Day on Sunday. They took communion each Sunday.They tried to persuade others to attend church and to stay away from evil. They visited the prisons and gave money to help the inmates and to provide for the education of their children. Whitefield nearly ruined his health by going out in cold weather and lying prostrate before God for hours, crying out for deliverance from sin and Satan. For seven weeks he was sick in bed, confessing his sins and spending hours praying and reading his Greek New Testament.Yet, by his own admission, he was not saved, because he was trusting in all these things to save him. Finally, “in a sense of utter desperation, in rejection of all self-trust, he cast his soul on the mercy of God through Jesus Christ, and a ray of faith, granted him from above, assured him he would not be cast out” The burden of his sins was lifted, he was filled with joy, and he went on to become the great evangelist used of God in the First Great Awakening.Thankfully, we don’t have to go through this to be right with God.And that’s what Paul is saying in our text this morning.Trusting in Christ and our good works for salvation is not trusting in Christ at all. We have to give everything up as far as our good works, our religion, our morality in order to receive Christ as our Savior.To be right with God, we have to lose in order to gain. Let’s take a look.4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.So what is Paul saying? He’s saying the very best of who and what we are is actually worthless. Whatever we can point to that might remotely make us acceptable to God is offensive to God. So what’s first?You Have to Lose4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.First, Paul mentions:Ritual - circumcised 8th day -Rank - he was from the tribe of Benjamin. He was a blood-born citizen of the covenant nation of Israel, specifically of the tribe of Benjamin, in whose territory was the holy city Jerusalem. This was the tribe that provided the first king (which Paul was named after apparently) and later remained with the tribe of Judah in the southern kingdom when the northern tribes broke away. However, Paul concludes that this didn’t help him gain salvation.Race - Hebrew of the Hebrews - Lineage and LanguageReligion - Paul had become a Pharisee, the strictest sect of Judaism. They sought to obey the Law in the most scrupulous manner possible, down to tithing even their table spices (Matt. 23: 23). Also, as a Pharisee, Paul was zealous to persecute the Christians, whom he viewed as rejecting the Mosaic Law.Righteousness - As to the righteousness which is in the Law, that is, outward obedience, you couldn’t have found any violation with Paul.Seems like a bragging list. But it’s exactly the opposite. Paul’s making a point. None of these things made him acceptable to God.Paul gladly threw all his accolades in the trash to be a Christian. In coming to Christ for salvation, Paul suffered the loss of everything. He was disinherited by his relatives. Disowned by his friends. Persecuted by his countrymen. He had been beaten and flogged, even left for dead.One day, Paul would be killed by Nero. He gave up everything to know Christ. And he didn’t feel as if he gave much up!Would we feel that we had lost much by taking out the trash? No! And Paul felt that way about what He had given up. Christ meant so much to Him it was nothing to give those things up.Now, Paul turns to what he gained in being saved.Trade the Trash For the Greatest TreasureNow isn’t that an awesome trade?Think about it. If you went to the road to take out the trash and someone stopped and offered you (you fill in the blank - new lawnmower, new car, new house, complete healing, whatever) would you do it? If it was totally legitimate, would you do it. You’d be crazy not to.But some are just like that when it comes to their good works.7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.So what did Paul gain by trading the trash for the greatest treasure?He gained the ability to know Christ (8-10) What does “knowing Christ” mean? It means much more than just knowing “about” Christ. It means “to have a personal relationship with Christ.” You and I know about many people who we have studied in history but we did not have a relationship with those people. To have a relationship with Christ requires that we spend time with Him. We let Him speak to us through His Word and we speak to Him in prayer. We fellowship with Him and we develop a friendship with Him.He gained Christ’s righteousness by faith (9) - Righteousness was Paul’s goal when he was a Pharisee. He could never get there. But by throwing out the trash of his good works, he was able to receive it by faith.He gained experiencing Christ’s power ( 10-11) - What Paul is talking about here is the power to change. Christ went to work in Paul’s life transforming him into a whole new person. When we take time to know Christ, the same power that rose Christ from the dead works in us to set us free from sin.Conclusion:No wonder Paul had so much joy! He saw what he had gained in Christ as far more than what he had lost. In comparison to Christ, all his human achievements were garbage or waste. His life no longer was about himself and what he had done. It was about what Christ had done and wanted to do for others. Paul now looked at life from a heavenly perspective not an earthly one.People who live for things, for money, for fame, and for themselves are never really happy. But when you live for Christ and He is your ultimate treasure, you know He can never be taken from you and His value will never decline.This Christmas, let your joy be found in Christ. If you have never been saved, call on him now for your salvation. Tell him you are throwing all your good works and religion and human achievement in the trash and you are taking Him as your Savior. Repent of your sin and ask Him to save your soul.If you are already a Christian, do not forget that your joy is not in things of this world. It is in Jesus. It is knowing Him and having a personal relationship with Him. It is in fellowship with Jesus through prayer and Bible intake. It is in having His righteousness and not your own. It is in experiencing his power at work in you to change you and make you like Christ.
- Bible Trivia
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