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The Gospel Changes What We Value

After 35 years of marriage, a husband and wife came for counseling.  When asked what the problem was, the wife went into a passionate, painful tirade listing every problem they had ever had in the years they had been married.

On and on and on it went: neglect, lack of intimacy, emptiness, loneliness, feeling unloved and unlovable, an entire laundry list of unmet needs she had endured.

Finally, after allowing this for a sufficient length of time, the therapist got up, walked around the desk and after asking the wife to stand, embraced and kissed her passionately as her husband watched with a raised eyebrow. The woman shut up and quietly sat down as though in a daze.

The therapist turned to the husband and said, 'this is what your wife needs at least 3 times a week. Can you do this?'

'Well, I can drop her off here on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on Fridays, I fish.'

That husband had no sense of value for the relationship with his wife!


That joke is absurd because we expect that man to have a sense of indignation.


If he truly valued his wife we’d expect to see an appropriate sense of jealousy!


There is such a thing as appropriate jealousy, isn’t there?


Oprah Winfrey has shared that she walked away from Christianity because she heard a minister preach on the passage that says that God is a jealous God.


Perhaps she misunderstood that there is a BIG difference between the paranoid jealousy of an unstable, overprotective, suffocating person, and the all knowing God who loves us more than we love ourselves.


When God is jealous toward us it is because He values us, knows what’s best for us and deeply desires for us to experience His best for us, and He hates seeing us experience the built in consequences of our sins.  


Many people have a picture of God looking down from Heaven hoping to catch people sinning so he can judge them.


The truth is that each thing the Bible calls sin has built in consequences that will be experienced if the sin happens.


It is not the Designer’s fault when we mis-use the gifts He has given us.


Example: Hitting a Baseball with a badminton racket!


It’s not the Maker of the Badminton racket’s fault when we misuse the racket.


There are built in consequences for misusing it. So it is with sin! 


God values us so much that he has given His Word to show us the way to love Him and others; to point out the consequences that will come because of sin; and to show that He loves us so much that when we have gotten ourselves into a real mess because of sin He still isn’t done with us, but sent Jesus to save us from the consequences of our sin and restore our relationship with God.


But we have to let Him do it!


As a gentleman Jesus says, “if you don’t want the life and love I can bring you, I won’t force it on you.”


Scary thought: His judgment is letting those who refuse Him experience the built in consequences of their sin.


John 3:16 shows how much God values us, today’s passage will show how much we are to value Jesus! 


Read Philippians 3:7-9           PRAY!


V. 7     The Past is a loss compared to Knowing Jesus Christ


Paul had just finished speaking about the things that he used to place his confidence in: his ethnic background, his religious background, an act of initiation, that he was a good person, and his past accomplishments.


But here he says everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ.


The Greek word for gain is an accounting term that means “profit.’


He once had regarded his past accomplishments as “profit” toward his goal of achieving righteousness by the law, but now he has come to the settled conviction that they were actually a detriment. They had not provided him with true righteousness after all.              -Expositors


I have found over the years that one of the hardest persons to reach with the truth of the gospel are religious people who trust in their religious background but have no real relationship with Jesus Christ! 


Loss is another Greek accounting term used to describe a business loss.


You hear people speak of their business losses and say, “I’ve written it off!”


Paul uses the language of business to describe the spiritual transaction that occurred when Christ redeemed him.


Paul had come to understand our past accomplishments do not save: Jesus saves!


Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.             -2 Corinthians 5:17


This truth is certainly good news for those who understand they are sinners incapable of saving themselves!


But it’s bad news for those who believe themselves to be pretty good people and trust in their own righteousness!


Turn to Luke 18:9-14


V. 8     The Present is nothing compared to Knowing Jesus Christ


Paul says, “More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”


Paul’s thought broadens from his past “advantages” just mentioned to include everything that might conceivably be a rival to his total trust in Christ. –Exp


Paul certainly had much to boast of now that he was a believer: souls won, people discipled, churches planted.

These new accomplishments, as wonderful as they were, were not what Paul was excited about: he was excited about his relationship with Jesus!


The Greek word Paul uses (Gnosis) indicates experiential knowledge, personal knowledge.


We speak of being better for knowing a person, being their friend –


SING: What a Friend We Have in Jesus!


Paul says, “I’m not falling into the performance trap anymore, Christ comes first, fruit follows because I am abiding in Him!”                                 

“I am the vine, you are the branches; if you abide in Me, you’ll bear much fruit; without me you can do nothing.” -John 15:5


And then Paul says, “Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth So that I may gain Christ.” 


Paul felt so strongly about this he just about curses! 


The Greek word translated “filth” there means more than garbage; it means “Dung; Manure! CRAP!” 


Paul is saying, “All that ‘oneupsmenship’ I used to be a part of based on background, and deeds, it was all crap compared to knowing Jesus, gaining Christ!”  


Paul no longer lived by the scales approach, trying to do more good deeds than bad deeds in hopes of pleasing a distant God; Paul now lived for his personal relationship with the living God! 


That’s great, Danny, but what does that mean in the real world on a Monday morning, when somebody is hassling me at work or school?   




When it gets really tough tomorrow, start chuckling to yourself – and when that mean person who always tries to get your goat says, “What’s up with you?”


You Say: “I’m just remembering something my Pastor said yesterday!’  And when they say, “What did he say?”


You Say: “Pastor Danny said that this kind of thing is just crap compared to knowing Jesus!” 


This does not mean that the other relationships and obligations we have are not important to God, it simply means they must be kept in perspective to the surpassing value of knowing Jesus!


For instance, a young child thinks a $1 bill is a big deal.


But if you let a teenager choose between a $1 bill and a $100 dollar bill, they will immediately understand that the $100 is so much more valuable.


I enjoy watching a high school soccer game.


But in 1994 my brother Lance and I received an amazing opportunity based on the generosity of our older sister Katy.


She bought us tickets to see the World Cup Semifinal game in Los Angeles between Brazil and Sweden.     Oh Yeah! 


The World Cup game far surpassed the value of the other!

I remember my first crush, thinking I was in love. But that is nothing compared to the richness of love & contentment I have after 17 years of marriage w/ Elizabeth! 


The value of knowing Christ puts all other relationships and obligations in perspective. Among other things this means that Jesus comes first in our lives and all other life choices must be evaluated by faith in Him!


The girl who thinks she’s met her future husband wants to know what her friends and family think about him and them together.


The Christian girl is concerned with that, but adds in something far more important: what does Jesus think about them together!   


V. 9     The Future will only be gain because of Jesus Christ


And be found in Him, Not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ - the righteousness from God based on faith! 


Twice already Paul has talked about the future time known as the Day of Christ, when Christ will rapture His church and afterwards reward believers.


When he says here, “And be found in Him” Paul is probably referring to that day.

In that day all that will matter is that a person really knew Jesus Christ!


Notice here how righteousness comes – it is imputed to a believer based not on his or her works, but on faith.


But to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who declares righteous the ungodly, his faith is credited for righteousness.             

-Romans 4:5

Jesus told a little story about a man that understood the comparative value of knowing Jesus, and the gain He is compared to everything else in our lives. 


The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure, buried in a field, that a man found and reburied. Then in his joy he goes and sells everything he has and buys the field.                           -Matthew 13:44


Here we see again that everything is a loss compared to knowing Christ, and every part of our lives should be ordered around Christ: we are urged to place a comparative value on everything else related to our love for and faith in Jesus.


It’s not worth it to date and marry a non-Christian, someone who won’t value Christ the way I do!


It’s not worth it to cheat on a test to get a better grade. It doesn’t matter if I think the teacher will find out –Christ will know, and I want to please Him more than I want to please men.


It’s not worth it to do something unethical at work; Christ is my ultimate boss! 


For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life? What can a man give in exchange for his life? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.                       -Mark 8:36-38


Nothing is worth it if I have to compromise my faith and love for Jesus to do it!


Now let me speak to those of you who would readily admit you haven’t always valued Christ like you want to.


One of my favorite analogies for life is that it is like a book.


When we look at some chapters in our past we say: I did pretty good there!


But when we look at other chapters in our past we say: how could I have done that!


But by God’s grace today, this season of life can be a new chapter, filled with grace, forgiveness, and impact for Christ! 


And there’s no such thing as a bad book if it has a good ending!


Maybe you are supposed to start a new chapter today!


The average American is being crucified between two thieves: their regrets about yesterday and their fears about tomorrow.


But for the Christian those aren’t the days that matter most. In fact:


For the Christian, only two days matter: The day I was saved, because of the blessings that became mine in Christ; And today, the difference we can make together in His name!