Loss and Gain in the Life of The Believer
The book of Philippians represents the valley of the Christian experience. When a man comes to faith in Jesus Christ, some things are lost. St. Paul’s life is a true example of this as one who lost everything but also gained everything that was of lasting value.
Acts 9 gives the account of Paul’s conversion. As he comes to faith in Christ, we see that Paul experiences some immediate loss.
Fleshly Desires: Paul used to be a man of the flesh, a man of power. He was a great persecutor of the Church and was feared by many. Then he met Jesus on the road to Damascus and came to trust faith in Christ and his flesh shrank. His desire changed. He was no longer zealous to destroy the church but to build it up.
At the time of our salvation, our old man with his sinful nature should have died and we became a new creation. Our new desires now should be toward the things of Christ and the building of His Kingdom.
Sight: As Paul traveled on the road to Damascus, a bright light shone from heaven around him and he fell to the ground. He heard the voice of Jesus speaking to him and he had a conversation with Jesus. When the conversation ended and Paul arose from the ground, he found that he had no physical sight. He was blind for three days until Ananias was sent to him by God to restore his sight. When Paul received his physical sight, he became spiritually blinded to the things of this life and filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke only of Jesus from then on.
For us as believers, our sight should have also changed. We should be seeing the things of life now with spiritual eyes, with our sights sharpened by the Holy Spirit at work in us.
Paul lost his following, the men who helped him to persecute the Church. Now he was the one being sought for his life, but in the process, he also gained new men, a new kind of fellowship.
As believers, we should have also formed a new fellowship. Once we had fellowship with the world, but now our fellowship should be with the body of Christ, growing together with other believers.
Paul also lost his self-righteousness and put on the righteousness of Christ. His message of persecution was changed to the message of the cross.
Scripture tells us that our righteousness is as filthy rags. Jesus also says in Matthew 5:20 that unless our righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees and the Scribes, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. As believers, we are to die to ourselves and what we think is good and right, and instead seek first Christ’s kingdom and His righteousness, and all things will be added to us.
The wonder of it is this, at the time when all things become added to us, it is the time when all things cease to matter to us compared to the hope of an eternity in heaven with our Lord. Paul’s ultimate gain was his citizenship in heaven. He said, “For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain.”
Question: What things do I need to lose, so that I can gain Christ?
Thought: To enjoy the things ahead, we must let go of the things behind us.
Action: Press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Sermon notes from the May 06, 2007 message
by the late Senior Pastor Emeritus F. Edward Allen