Temple Baptist Church
A. Last week, we looked at where our confidence should be anchored. It should not be anchored in our possessions, people, princes, or personal attainment. In our verses for tonight, we find Paul’s possibility of boasting in his credentials. You and I are so blessed that, if not careful, our confidence in these things will lead to pride and pride is still sin.
B. Paul sets forth his past position in life and makes a comparison to what he now has to what he had lost. “for whom I have suffered the loss of all things” What did salvation cost Paul?
1. He was certainly born into the right family – “Circumcised the eighth day” His family was faithful to Judaism in the rite of circumcism. Nothing is said about his family so I wonder if they got saved or remained in Judaism. If the later is true, then they probably “had no more son.” Matthew 10:34-36 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (35) For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (36) And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
2. He was certainly born into the right nationality – Israel, God’s covenant people. “of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews” Though he was a Roman citizen and free born, his family were national Jews, not Jewish proselytes. The Jews rejected Paul and would never listen to him again. He because a social and spiritual outcast to his own people. They rejected his Lord and rejected him when he turned to the Lord.
3. He was certainly a religious man. “as touching the law, a Pharisee … Concerning zeal, persecuting the church” After his salvation, he immediately went back into the synagogues and preached Christ. The religion that he rejected also rejected him. The worst enemy of true salvation today is the religion of so called “Christianity.” People who live for Christ in truth are rejected of those who do not!
4. He was certainly a “righteous” man. “touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” He was not sinless, as no man is, but he was outwardly blameless before his peers. He did not change his pure ways of living after his salvation but he did change his motivation for it. The world rejects people who live righteously for the Lord.
C. Paul lost everything when he came to Christ! Someone once asked, “What does it cost you to be saved?” The answer is two-fold:
1. Salvation cost you nothing in itself because it is free. Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Jesus Christ paid it all! It is by grace through faith, plus nothing—minus nothing—and mixed with nothing. “In my hand no price I bring, simply to they cross I cling, O Lamb of God, I come!”
2. Salvation will cost you the world! Paul said, “For whom I have suffered the loss of all things.” Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
At the moment of conversion, you will be eternally different and can never be the same again. A salvation that does not change is not a true conversion. The word converted comes from two root words meaning “direction” and “reverse.” When you get saved, you reverse your direction. Today’s “salvation” allows for no change in life but accepts the sinner in his sin. We are not saved to sin; we are saved from our sins!
D. An interesting analogy is found in verse 8 that needs to be explored at this point. Paul lost everything that he had ever gained in a moment’s time on the Damascus Road. The moment he responded to the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ with “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” all of his past birth and accomplishments were gone. How would you and I have responded? Paul likened these great accomplishments to dung! I have heard preachers substitute the word “refuse” in its place but Paul said, “Dung!” All of his credentials and all of the accolades of this world meant nothing to him in comparison to what he gained in Christ.
E. Here is the reason why: Paul counted his salvation the greatest prize that could ever have been won. 1 Corinthians 1:26 says, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” Every time a sinner is saved it is miracle but Paul was wise, mighty, and noble! And, yet, the Lord came to him anyway and Paul made a right choice. Lord!
F. Let’s look at what Paul gained in comparison to what he lost and you will see why the only analogy that he could give was dung.
1. He gained Christ! Verse 8. When people think of salvation, they normally think of heaven and hell. Almost everyone wants to go to heaven and nobody in their right mind wants to go to hell. We read the signs that say, “Heaven or hell: the choice is yours.” I think it wonderful that Paul did not desire heaven over Christ. I find it amazing because:
a. With Christ came great Loss
b. With Christ came Persecution
c. With Christ often came Loneliness
d. With Christ came a martyr’s Death
Heaven was secondary to Paul as he desired Jesus Christ more than life! That is why our Lord said in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Paul later said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain … For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better!”
Having Christ made the things of this world dung in Paul’s eyes.
2. He gained the perfect righteousness of Christ! Verse 9. “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
a. No more struggling to “be right with God”
b. No more worries concerning failure
c. The righteousness of God imputed to him by faith allowing him to one day be presented “faultless” before the throne of God with exceeding joy!
Having the righteousness of Christ made the things of this world dung in Paul’s eyes.
3. He gained an intimate relationship with Christ! Verse 10.
a. To know Christ personally.
b. To know Christ’s resurrection power in salvation.
c. To know the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.
d. To know the reality of Christ’s death.
A personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ made the things of this world dung in Paul’s eyes.
4. He gained and eternity in heaven with Christ! Verse 11.
a. Resurrection from the dead.
b. Resurrection unto eternal life.
c. Resurrection that takes one to heaven.
Life is so short and eternity so long. Heaven for an eternal home made the things of this world dung in Paul’s eyes.