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Counting losses. Counting gains.

November 20, 2018

This is excerpted from my sermon, "I am thankful for Jesus." You can hear the full sermon here.

 

"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."  - The Apostle Paul, quoted from Philippians 3:7-8

 

You see, Paul wanted good things: righteousness before God (not just the kudos of his peers) and with it, the promise of resurrection from the dead. But his ethnicity and orthodoxy could not get him there. That is what he learned when he met Jesus. In reality, those things were only getting in the way. Gerald Hawthorne, a commentator on Philippians put it this way, “Paul had to abandon his past advantages precisely because they were the very things that kept him from coming to God.”

 

That’s true of everyone who would come to Jesus. The things you think are points in your favor are the very things keeping you from seeing the incalculable worth of Jesus Christ. That’s true before you become a Christian—but it can also continue afterward.

 

In your mind, take out a sheet of paper. At the top write the word “Gain.” What would you put under that category?

 

  • I take care of my family.

  • I voted in the midterms.

  • I did well on my tests.

  • I reduced my carbon footprint.

  • I pray.

  • I love my grandkids.

  • I give to the church.

  • I teach children.

Be honest, what do you think are points in your favor?

If you’re not a Christian the list will look a little different; but we all have lists like this. Now, cross out the word ‘gain’ and write “Loss.” Why? They’re good things right? Maybe they are—but if you think they are somehow gaining for you righteousness in God's eyes and the promise of the resurrection, than they’re actually, truly a loss, because they are keeping you from seeing the incalculable worth of Jesus Christ.

 

The only words that belong in the ‘Gain’ column are these two: Jesus Christ. But to believe this, you must first see the incalculable worth of Jesus." 

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