4If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith [or faithfulness of] in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
Knowing You, Jesus
All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this
Knowing you, Jesus
Knowing you, there is no greater thing
You're my all, you're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord
Now my heart's desire is to know you more
To be found in you and known as yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All-surpassing gift of righteousness
Oh, to know the power of your risen life
And to know You in Your sufferings
To become like you in your death, my Lord
So with you to live and never die
Graham Kendrick • Copyright © 1993 Make Way Music
This is the 18th Sunday after the Festival of Pentecost! We're five months into the Time of the Church in the Church's Year of Grace. On the Day of Pentecost we had red paraments and vestments; almost everyone wore red to church. In three weeks we celebrate another major "wear red" festival of the Spirit— Reformation 500! Red also is the liturgical color for commemoration of martyrs.
Today we continue in the Apostle Paul's letter to the church at Philippi. As founding pastor, he writes from prison (house arrest?) with yearning and compassion, conveying his identity in Jesus Christ's death and resurrections is central.
Three of the gospels include an account of Jesus' birth. For Paul, the gospel is death and resurrection! His seven undisputed (authentic) epistles include only a single birth narrative:
4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. Galatians 4
Today's passage starts out with one of Paul's famous lists; this one is tells us his credentials: Notice it includes seven (the number of perfection) elements. You remember his Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22-23, his works of the flesh just before in Galatians 5:19-21? Paul's list of how love behaves in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8?
For Paul, the gospel is death and resurrection. In this passage to the Philippians church he founded, he reminds them "what's really important" in life.
Discussion that included how many people with ample wealth are generally unhappy; many with limited financial means have joy and composure. Pastor Peg observed how Jesus still thought of others, even as he was dying on the cross. How about us?