The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian Church -- "But what things were GAIN to me I have counted LOSS for Christ. Yet indeed I also count ALL things LOSS for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the LOSS of ALL things, and count them as rubbish -- that I might GAIN Christ" (Philippians 3:7-8).
Let's look at exactly what Paul is referring to in the use of these two words LOSS and GAIN.
Paul had a sterling pedigree of his life and achievements (Romans 11:1 -- 1 Corinthians 11:22-30 -- Philippians 3:3-6) before his personal encounter with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19).
And yet, when he came face-to-face with the Risen Lord Jesus he willingly turned his back on all his past achievements and turned all his zeal and energy on making Christ known far and wide.
Let's take a look at the immediate responses of several who were called and touched by Jesus --
Simon and Andrew "Immediately left their nets and followed Jesus" (Mark 1:16-18) -- James and John were in the boat mending their nets -- "and immediately HE called them, and they left their nets . . . and went after Him" (Mark 1:19-20) -- "After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi (Matthew), sitting at the tax office. And He (Jesus) said to him, follow Me, and he left all, rose up and followed Him" (Luke 5:27-28).
Do you see in each of these encounters the immediate and urgent reaction to drop everything and join Jesus in the spread of the Good News of Salvation full and free? Would to God that Christians would react the same way today!
In the Book of Matthew -- "Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his Cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will LOSE it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will FIND it" (Matthew 16:25,26).
Jesus repeats it again in the Book of Luke -- "Whoever seeks to save his life will LOOSE it, and whoever LOOSES his life will PRESERVE it" (Luke 17:33).
The Apostle Paul tells us -- "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is GAIN" (Philippians 1:21) -- and he tells it again like this -- "Now Godliness with contentment is Great GAIN" (1 Timothy 6:6).
So we conclude with all these examples that any LOSS in this life cannot compare with the GAIN we receive when we follow the examples of Jesus Himself, and the followers of Him in the early Church.
Paul boldly proclaims -- "I am crucified with Christ -- nevertheless I live -- yet not I, but Christ lives in me -- and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the Faith of the Son of God, who Loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20) -- indicating that he is identifying with the crucified Christ in death to self -- AND -- in His resurrection victory. However, Paul's new life is now being ordered by Christ -- and faith has brought him to the point of this LOSS or GAIN.
Page 2 of 2 - Getting back to this title and opening verse -- exactly where do you stand?
Exactly what would be the most important GAIN in your life? -- AND -- what would be the most important LOSS in your life -- IF you had to face something really large in the near future? Seriously weigh this matter NOW -- DON'T DELAY! -- it is possible that God might have something really special for you and He is about to test you.
REMEMBER -- "I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME" (Philippians 4:13)
For more information contact Pastor Bruce R. Burke, Open Bible Ministries, 263 Edgefield Road, Lake Ariel, PA 18436; phone (570)698-7890; cell (570)470-3760; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit on-line at www.obmworthitall.org.