We are returning to our sermon series in Philippians after an extended break because of the Advent Season.
This weekend's sermon text tells us that one of the reasons we are not becoming more Christ-like, as we should, is that we rely so much on our own resources. Paul lists his accomplishments and accolades only to demolish them all by saying, "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ." Imagine the most successful person in terms of worldly achievements to finally say at the end, "It's all worthless without Christ!" Paul takes it further by calling it all "rubbish" and that he gains Christ through the loss of these achievements. His utter reliance and dependence on Christ's provision instead of these things result in further sanctification. Of course, Christ's work on the cross is the ground of Paul's salvation, but Paul's suffering for Christ helps him further identify with Christ who suffered to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil 2:8).
Paul's reliance on Christ's provision is clear and so should ours. Paul was so changed by his encounter with Jesus that he left behind the rabbinical world that he worked so diligently to obtain in order to follow the call of Christ. Leaving that which we know for the unknown can be scary. But Paul knew Jesus and therefore he wasn't leaving the known for the unknown. Paul left all to know Christ more! He said, "that I may know him and the power of his resurrection" (Phil 3:10). That is our calling too! May we know him and the power of his resurrection! Amen!