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Is There a Best Thing?
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Posted by Ed Fedor, Associate Pastor

 

Some reflections on the Scripture text from Sunday’s worship service (Phil. 3:1-9).

 

We’re all looking for the best thing.

 

What’s the best car I can get that fits within my budget? What’s the best career I can have given my skills and interests? What’s the best product for the money? We make that calculation all the time for all kinds of things.

 

No one intentionally sets out to try to find an inferior product when they have the opportunity to get a better one. That doesn’t make any sense. But so many of us do that all the time. Without thinking. And we do that about things that are eternally significant.

 

Is there really a best thing? For everyone? What is it? What’s the one thing that surpasses absolutely everything else in value, both here and now, and for eternity?

 

The apostle Paul thought he had been living the ultimate life. He was born of the right lineage. He was a Jew – one of God’s chosen people. He studied hard to be the best. He was a Pharisee. A Hebrew of Hebrews. Zealous for God. Righteous (Phil. 3:4-6). The cream of the crop. Not many excelled like he did.

 

But then Paul found something better. WAY better. Not even close! Actually, it found him (Acts 9:1-19 – powerful story).

 

And in a moment, everything he achieved in his life suddenly paled in comparison. Everything he achieved suddenly looked like garbage (“rubbish” – his word, ESV) in light of what he had gained!

 

What did Paul gain? He gained Jesus Christ. In one act of faith.
And why was that so great? Let’s think about what Paul gained.

  • He gained a personal relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Creator of the universe, the sustainer of life. How amazing is that?
  • He gained forgiveness for his sin. Peace with God. Peace in his soul.
  • He gained a glorious eternal inheritance in heaven. Guaranteed.
  • He gained an eternal purpose for his life – to see both Jews and Gentiles also gain the best thing. How many of us are searching for meaning and not finding it?
  • He gained a power over sin he never had before because of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
  • He gained treasures in heaven for his faithful obedience to God. They’re real and they’re waiting.
  • He gained hope and peace in the midst of the turmoil of his daily experience.
  • He gained eyes that can finally see the ultimate reality of life.
  • He gained the peaceful realization that even if the persecution he experienced ended in the worst case scenario – his death – he would be instantly ushered into the presence of His Savior.
  • He gained deep, loving, everlasting relationships with others who share his faith in Christ.
  • And much, much more.

Isn’t that what we all want?

 

How did Paul get it? How can any of us get it?

 

We have to realize that salvation cannot be achieved by our own merit – our own good works. It can’t be achieved by our own hard work to be good. Can’t be done. Paul proved that.

 

That whole list is free gift of a gracious, merciful God who created you, has a claim on you to be holy, and who sent His only Son to be the atoning sacrifice to purchase your salvation. Sin is the problem keeping us from God. And God sent His Son to us to remove that barrier through Jesus’ perfect obedience to God and His going to the cross to bear our sin and our judgment. And all those who believe – who trust in Christ and what’s He’s done on the cross will gain the whole list. The best. “The surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:8).

 

Once you have it, you’ll wonder why anyone would work so hard for  so long for rubbish. It’s a stark way to put it, but that the truth of the matter. Don’t settle.

 



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