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Philippians 3:4b-14

The story of Saul’s conversion is one that points us to the transforming power of Christ! When Saul meets Christ on the road to Damascus, the man that emerges from that event is forever and completely changed. The man that once actively worked against the spread of the Gospel would become its champion – spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to all who would listen. Saul is transformed, saved, redeemed and Saul becomes Paul, the man God calls to extend the reach of the good news.

It can be hard to fully grasp a transformation like this. It was hard for the people who knew the man before and after his interaction with Jesus; it was especially hard for those who had heard the story second hand. Even today, we find it hard to believe stories of complete transformation like this. But our God is still in the transformation business! Thanks be to God!!

Paul knew his story could be and would be hard for some people to understand. He knew that there would be some that would require more of him in order for them to listen to what he had to say. We see that here in Philippians 3. Paul gives us his background information to show his credibility and why he should be believed. In verses 4-6 Paul gives us his lineage and his resume to show the impact his encounter with Christ really had.

He says, “This is who I am. I am of Jewish descent, circumcised like you. I am from the tribe of Benjamin; I was a Pharisee and did what I could do thwart the movement of Christ among by brothers and sisters. And then I met Jesus and something amazing happened…I realized just how worthless all of that was compared to knowing Christ!” Paul says, all these things that we think are important – heritage, lineage, status, none of it matters – it is all worthless compared to knowing Christ and being in relationship with Him.

Paul came to realize just how much all of these things left him lacking. These were things about himself that he used to think made him special, they made him important. But instead of filling something in his life, they actually kept him from finding and discovering true life, true fulfillment. It wasn’t until he met Christ that he found true fulfillment.

As I was praying through this passage I began to think about our churches and the people who sit in our pews. Where are they looking for their fulfillment? How many people in our churches would be willing to say, like Paul, that all of the things they have or think they have are worthless? Are they willing to declare their social status, their financial status, their heritage, their lineage, all of the things they have worked and strived for are worthless compared to knowing Jesus?

Pastor, are we? Can we truly say it is all rubbish?

The Greek word for rubbish in verse 8 is the word, (σκύβαλον) skýbalon. According to Strong’s it means “the excrement of animals; worthless, detestable.”[1] Are we willing to throw it all away, just to know Jesus?