Last Sunday’s Sermon Summary
Love Gives Up (Philippians 3:4b-14)
Pastor Tim Tseng – March 13, 2016
Main Point: For Christians, true love is expressed (1) by our willingness to give up our need to maximize ourselves (“the flesh”) and (2) by cultivating a desire to know and gain Christ Jesus. Love is a life-long striving towards this goal.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians is one of his most intimate and passionate. Written from prison with great uncertainty about his future, Paul had the opportunity to reflect on why he was willing to suffer for Christ’s sake. In the middle of his suffering, he found joy – and I would add, the true meaning of life and love.
- Paul, before Christ, was a self-maximizer (4b-6)
His story is well known. Before God called him to be the apostle to the Gentiles, he was a self-maximizer, an upwardly mobile Jewish leader. “If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more.” (Phil 3:4b)
- But now Paul wants to know Christ above all else (7-11)
Paul now considered all his past accomplishments rubbish, trash, dung. He is willing to give them up for something better – knowing Christ.
- Love is reordering our priorities for Christ – who is better.
The bible also reveals this pattern of giving up for something better. For example, Hebrews 10:34 “You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions” and the story of Mary and Martha and Jesus (Luke 10:38-42).
- Knowing Christ – Straining ahead (12-14)
– Experiencing the power of resurrection, gaining his righteousness, sharing in his suffering, death, and resurrection.
– “one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus“ (verses 13-14)
- Spiritual Road Map to Knowing Christ – engaging this passage
As we strive to gain Christ through our life journey let us be conscious of a pattern of suffering, death, and resurrection in our choices:
a. Teens: Owning up vs. Zoning Out
b. 20s-30s: Commitment vs. Convenience
c. 30s-40s: Creating vs. Consuming
d. 40s-50s: Modeling vs. Muddling
e. 60s+: Yielding vs. Yodeling
f. Shepherd needed! It is necessary to have a mentor, spiritual director, shepherd, accountability groups, coach. None of us can do this alone.