Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself (Philippians 3 ESV).
Here at King’s Cross we have adopted the great mission statement of Christ Church as our own: All of Christ, for All of Life, for All of Moscow. We want the salvific fullness of Christ—all of His person and work—to flow into every nook and cranny of our lives—nothing untouched by Him. And we want this reality not just for ourselves, but for our whole town. All of Christ, for All of Life, for All of Moscow.
Therefore, in our church community, we put a big emphasis on living out the Christian life faithfully. We preach and teach a lot on marriage, family, Christian education, community and hospitality, evangelism, culture- building, business and finances, societal issues, and more. We want our faith to permeate everything. We want Christ to sanctify it all. We want to work hard to see his kingdom advance here and now. We want to see generational faithfulness.
However—if we are not careful, we can get this backwards. We can begin to make so much of our focus the All of Life part, leaving the All of Christ part somewhere in the distance behind. When this happens, pride creeps in and you can begin to look upon your good works, your efforts, your family or ministries, as the center of it all. Without realizing it, we can substitute the centrality of Christ with the centrality of certain convictions or endeavors – making the activity or good thing itself our focus. And so we must resist any temptation to elevate our families, our theology, our politics, our culture-building, or any other good work to a place where they begin to eclipse simple faith and trust in Christ.
We cannot let these good works, these blessings, become the things we begin to point to, in our hearts and minds, as the center of our faith and our confidence. It must be All of Christ. Christ is indeed the foundation… But He’s also what holds the whole building together. We do not move on from the person Christ. We don’t start with Christ and then move on to the work. As the Apostle Paul says in Romans, everything is from him, through him, and to him.
Christ is all in all. Christ is supreme. Christ is primary. Christ is central. And so here in his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul sets forth the knowledge of Christ as the most valuable possession in all the heavens and earth. Here Paul teaches that our greatest privilege in this life, and the life to come, is to know Christ and be known by Christ. If you were to live a thousand lifetimes you would never even get close to exhausting the riches found in Him. In fact, if you indeed are in Christ, you will one day spend forever beholding Him perfectly as He is, face to face, and yet still not come to the end of knowing Him in all His glorious splendor.
For the Christian, knowing Christ is everything. And here in this passage before us this morning, through warnings and encouragements, Paul is inviting you to imitate him in seeking to know Christ more and more—for making the knowledge of Christ as your true righteousness, your great ambition.