The Last Word is Life!

Phil 3:3-15

 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put 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; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, 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 is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Following Paul’s Example

15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.


In our passage here today we see Paul consider his whole life, past, present and future. And we see in the center of this passage the driving force in Paul’s life. Verse 10.

I want to know Jesus,

I want to know the power of His Resurrection,

I want to know the fellowship of His sufferings,

I want to be conformed to His death in order that I might attain the Resurrection personally!

Paul is considering what is important in His life and at the center of it is the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. And so today, I want us to consider the Resurrection of Jesus. What does God want us to see in the Resurrection? How is the Resurrection of Jesus two thousand years ago meant to impact our lives today? What we will find is that Jesus demonstrates how life works in His death and Resurrection.

The Resurrection is the source of our hope in a twisted and fallen world.

Is the end of our life death? Or is the end of our life life?

Is the end of every painful circumstance we experience suffering and pain? Or is the end of every circumstance of our lives life?

Jesus came to give us abundant life, the best life possible. Paul says this is true of his own life.

In our passage today Paul’s testifies that Jesus gives life better than anything past, present or future!

  1. Jesus Gives Life Better than Anything Past
  2. Better than our good past

Culture: Paul was Jewish. That was his culture. You are      Americans living in the 20th and 21st centuries. You live in an        incredibly privileged culture!

Education: Paul was a Pharisee. We are the best educated people on history!

Experience: Paul was zealous, fully committed and out front in   his service to God. We all have life experiences that shape who we are. The cause us to be cautious or to expect good things.

Good works: Paul says that before the law he was     faultless.   That is hard to manage!!

Paul says that all of that is rubbish compared to knowing   Jesus! Those things don’t give life the way that Jesus gives life!

We invest in education, we invest in learning to behave socially.

We invest in making money to live comfortably.

We invest in doing things to make the world a better place.

All of this is rubbish when you compare it to the quality of life offered to us by God when we follow Jesus!


  1. Stronger than our sin and shame

        Beyond our positive past, there is our negative past. And Jesus    manages our negative past perfectly!

        Paul calls himself the worst of sinners! Do you think that he is      kidding?

I Timothy 1: 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full         acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Why does Paul do this? This is almost the last book that he wrote! It is very near the end of his life. Should we take this statement at face value or is Paul using hyperbole?

I think Paul understands the incredible ability he has to miss        God’s will and live in opposition to God if he isn’t following Jesus.

But God does not leave Paul in this place of sin and missed opportunity!

Jesus’ death pays the penalty for our sin and shame in the past and his death is confirmed successful by His       Resurrection.


Acts 2:22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

What kind of person can it be said of that it is impossible for death to keep its hold on them?

Romans 6: We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

  1. Jesus is the culmination of all past revelation

Hebrews 1: 1In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

If a person doesn’t see Jesus as Messiah, the unique Son of God, Second person of the Trinity, then they have not understood previous revelation correctly.

Jesus is the reality of:

the Passover Lamb,

Noah’s ark and

Abraham’s ram.

Jesus is the animal skin that covers Adam and Eve’s shame,

He is the fulfillment of all of the sacrificial system whether tabernacle or temple. It all points to Him. He is the great I Am.

The Old Testament is full of pictures of Jesus. From Boaz to Ruth, to Hosea to Gomer to the Fourth man in the firey furnace!

Suffering Servant and exalted Son of Man

Picture after picture point forward to Jesus as its fulfillment.

This is why Moses and Elijah meet with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. The law and the prophets are not in opposition to Jesus, nor is Jesus in conflict with them! The law and the prophets are all about Jesus!

This is why “according to the Scriptures” is such a common refrain to Paul.

Jesus is the culmination of all previous revelation. We are not looking to what came before Him, and in our own lives, we need to see Him as changing everything as we follow Him. Life is from today moving forward! BC to AD not just in  history but in our own lives!

Paul turns his attention from his past to his present life.

  1. Jesus Gives Life Better than Anything in the Present

Everything in Paul’s life is rubbish and will be left behind in order that He might know Christ! 3:10

  1. The goal of life is to know God

John 17: Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Death is the separation of man from God in Genesis 3. Jesus is the reconciler of God to man.

Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1 follows this pattern!

Eph 1:

16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

A part of knowing Christ is knowing the power of Jesus’ Resurrection!

  1. We are to know the power of Jesus’ Resurrection

        This is personal!

Phil 3:10-11  10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

We are meant to walk in the power of Jesus to resurrect things in our lives. Only dead things are resurrected. There are two ways for things to die in our lives:

  1. We can have sin kill things. This is terrible and toxic, but Jesus can bring new life. We have hope that comes from repentance!
  2. We can die to things for the sake of Christ and He will bring new life into what we abandon. We forsake sin, Jesus fills us with life that sin promises. We have hope that comes from discipline!


  1. We are to know the fellowship of Christ’s suffering


This actually precedes Resurrection! Life is complicated. Good does not work out in a plain and simple manner. At least not all of the time. We often have to look for the good, wait for the good, seek out the good in our circumstances. But God promises that circumstances will work out for the good of those who love God and who are called according to His purposes.

The Resurrection of Jesus follows His death.

We are called as disciples of Jesus Christ to deny our present desires, to pick up the hardship of obedience to God’s will daily and follow Jesus. All of those aspects of self-denial will end in life! And that is the power of Jesus’ Resurrection!

Some hardship we will cause with our bad behavior.

Some hardship we will choose because of good behavior.

Some hardship will be chosen for us.

It does not matter. The goal is Resurrection life. And Resurrection life is Crucifixion life!


III. Jesus Gives Life Better than Anything in the Future


  1. This is true of the near future

Paul says of the future…

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

God has more life for you tomorrow that He did today.

We are to grow in our knowledge of Him.

We are to grow in our service to Him.

We are to grow in the quality of our lives.

God has plans and purposes for us each day in the future.

What are they? They revolve around Jesus and around helping other people find and follow Jesus Christ!

We can grow in the purposes for which we spend our money

We can grow in the purposes for which we spend our time, our education etc.

All of those things that Paul had in his life that he relied upon in the past are given to Jesus and they are Resurrected with new purpose and meaning!

Paul uses his Jewishness, Paul uses his education, Paul uses his keeping of the law. Paul uses all of these things in service to Christ and they are resurrected with new meaning and purpose!

  1. This is true of us in death

The earliest gospel presentation that we have.

Paul wrote I Cor in the middle 50’s. This is a creed given to him. It was passed down to him by the Apostles. Paul met with the Apostles three years after he was saved. And this is the creed that he was given!

I Corinthians 15:  Now I make known to you, brothers and sisters, the gospel which I preached to you, which you also received, in which you also stand, by which you also are saved, if you hold firmly to the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

For I handed down to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.

He was buried

He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

He appeared to:


The twelve

More than 500

James and all the apostles

He appeared to me

20 But the fact is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man death came, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body45 So also it is written: “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” The last Adam was a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy one, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly one, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

I John 3: Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.


  1. How to secure your resurrection


Ephesians 1:13-14

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.


God desires for you to know Him personally. The sin (bad behavior) in your life separates you from the life that God wants you to live. Jesus has died to pay the penalty for your sin and has lived to show you how to live best. Each person must individually trust and follow Jesus in order to be included in that set of people who are “in Christ.” This secures your personal resurrection.

Let’s pray:

In communion, we rehearse our entrance into Christ again and again. We do this because we need to grow in Him and the pathway to growth is the same as the pathway to finding Christ.