Knowing Christ as Real Treasure                                  click here for audio

Philippians 3:7-11


Recently where I work I was in the office of another staff member. I was impressed with all the certificates, plaques, trophies and numerous awards hanging on the wall.   It was very clear this person had achieved much in her career as a prison correctional employee.

There are many people who take great pride in their accomplishments, achievements and degrees.

We remember last time in our study together that the Apostle Paul was a high achiever.  He went all the way in his profession.   Today,  he would have had credentials from Yale, or Harvard with impeccable status and honorable degrees.

Paul was outstanding in regards to his

Rituals –  v.5 he was circumcised on the eighth day…he was an eighth dayer.  He didn’t become a Jew, he was born a Jew.

Paul was outstanding in regards to his

Ethnicity  –   he was of the nation of Israel.

Paul was outstanding in regards to his

Rank –of the tribe of Benjamin

Paul was outstanding in regards to his

Tradition –a Hebrew of Hebrews

Paul was outstanding in regards to his


Rule keeping –a Pharisee….kept the law…and then more laws

Paul was outstanding in regards to his

Zeal –persecutor of the church…..      Christians were to be put out of business in Paul’s book….

Paul was outstanding in regards to his

Obedience to the law –blameless…when it came to righteousness under the law


These were OUTSTANDING CREDENTIALS  to Paul’s credit…..     But something happened!

In Acts 9 –   conversion of Saul of Tarsus …who we know best as the Apostle Paul

Review His Conversion event….


Acts 9–  is the outward visible conversion…. A visual explanation of his conversion

Phil 3 – is the inward explanation of his conversion….


This is an excellent description of  HOW TO KNOW CHRIST……VV.7-11

This is the GOSPEL message from the Apostle Paul.    This is what it means to be saved.


Let’s begin with v.7

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ…

#1 – Knowing Christ is a Personal Experience

–  This is personal….    In vv.7-11     NINE times    personal pronoun    (I, or my)

Knowing Christ = is a personal experience.    You don’t inherit  “salvation” from your parents like inheriting personal property.    You don’t “sign up” like your joining a club.    It’s like the experience of Saul of Tarsus….not as dramatic, or as intense as we see in Acts 9,  but just as real because meeting Christ is a personal experience.  It’s having a real encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ.

A-    It’s not just  “head” knowledge…  intellectual information where you agree with what you’ve read, or heard…   It’s not just knowing and agreeing to the facts of the historical Jesus.

B-   It’s the experience in the heart….  Jesus is not just the Savior;   He’s YOUR Savior.   God is not just God, but YOUR God.  Your Father!   And Christ is  YOUR Lord……  it’s your own personal

Encounter with the Living Christ!





#2 – Knowing Christ is an Exchange

Knowing Christ = is exchanging all that you have believed was TREASURE; for The LORD JESUS CHRIST WHO IS REAL TREASURE.      It’s trashing and treasuring.    What goes in the trash is FALSE treasure.

Here’s  Paul’s take on it…..

“I had achieved all those honors, I had won all those awards, I had gotten all the applause, I had impressed all my contemporaries…but God pulled everyone of them off the wall. He put all that into correct perspective as He crushed my pride, won my heart, and came to live within me.”[1]


But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.


A>   This EXCHANGE is  NOT     exchanging   good treasure for  better treasure…..    Paul is saying…  whatever gain I had…whatever I had to my credit…. I COUNTED  (I evaluated) as LOSS…..not less quality of treasure…. It’s not treasure…it’s a loss…  The only time in the New Testamenet the Greek word “loss” is used with the same meaning is Acts 27

10 saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.”   21  Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss

(READ  Acts 27….  The ship was in jeopardy of being destroyed by the waves….. they helped to stabilized the ship   by lightened the ship by throwing overboard all the cargo….  Food supplies…

God revealed to Paul during the night ….they would be safe…

Must stay in the ship to be saved….   Lost their cargo….    EXCHANGE..  cargo FOR  Your LIFE

Man thinks… I must jump from this ship to save my life…  to improve my situation… Man jumps from one thing to another all his life seeking to SAVE his life…  from job to job…  from one relationship to another relationship;   from one drug to another drug…  from one pleasure to another pleasure SEEKING TO  FIND MEANING,   FIND LIFE, ….   THERE’S   ONLY   ONE SHIP….  THE GOOD OLE’ GOSPEL SHIP..


Well, I’m gonna take a trip In the good ole’ Gospel Ship I’m goin’ way beyond the sky You know that I’m gonna shout and sing Until the Heavens ring When I’m biddin’ this old world goodbye


Matthew 16:25-26

25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?…


Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

INDEED   (even more so..)   Everything as loss….      Paul goes from “what he had gain” vv.5-6 as loss to  EVERYTHING AS LOSS…

  • Paul is saying— I’m NOT trusting in anything but Christ…    everything else is a LOSS..    It’s a liability…
  • My wisdom, my intellect, my religious upbringing,  I’m NOT trusting in those things…
  • Even right a Christian…  you’re tempted to trust in your own abilities,
  • Your feelings….. I feel safe,  secure…  I feel like God is pleased with me….
  • Your prayer life… I’m scoring points with God because of my prayer life
  • My personal bible study…. It’s really taking off in a good way…..   I’m winning points
  • NOTHING in your past……nothing in your present ….even good religious activities CAN REPLACE    knowing Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior


NOTHING SURPASSES  the Worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

There’s not a price you could pay that even come close to the VALUE of Knowing Christ.

There’s not a worldly delight  to  even come close to the DELIGHT in Knowing Christ.

There’s not a thrill that could ever match the thrill of Knowing Christ.


Paul says… 

I count  …I evaluate   EVERYTHING AS LOSS because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

KNOWING CHRIST is  exchanging Rubbish for Treasure……

B>               The Exchange is exchanging Rubbish for Treasure.


For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

When it gets right down to it……    Paul says    Here’s the bottom line…

I have suffered the loss of EVERYTHING….count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.

Paul —   all my religious achievements…      rubbish….  Filth…  garbage…. Kjv  “dung” animal or human excrement….

  • Life is worthless apart from knowing Jesus.
  • Like Tony Merida has said in his commentary – “You can have the Bread of Life  that will eternally satisfy or you can have a pile of dung. Which do you prefer: the dung of religious self-efforts and earthly praise and possessions or the eternal joy of knowing Christ as your Savior and Lord?”[2]


Paul says –  I suffered the loss of all things………..count them as rubbish gain Christ

Paul’s  experience  is the SAME AS   what JESUS  said in a parable…

Matthew 13:44-46

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

The EXCHANGING of Rubbish for Treasure…..INVOLVES A   Forsaking of all … and selling out….  Selling all you have to gain hidden treasure….finding one pearl of great price…


Knowing Christ  is    PERSONAL     and    It is an  EXCHANGE..


#3  Knowing Christ is to be Eternally SAVED.      (Read V.9)  “and be found in him…”


John 17:3

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

1John 5:20

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Knowing Christ Jesus our Lord =  equivalent =    eternal life


To be Eternally SAVED….   Means

  1. IN HIM v.9      Positionally -We have a right standing with God –  we are declared righteous      v.9

See  v.9

and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

Theological word –  Justification !

Romans 5:1   therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God.

We are made right   NOT by our works,  our efforts,     because of knowing Christ..we are  “in him”…   we have the   “imputed”  righteousness…  credited to our bankrupt account.     It’s based on FAITH..      Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

  1. Becoming like him v.10        Progressively –  We are becoming more like Christ – we are becoming  in practice what we are in position.    Positionally, we are declared righteousness based on the obedience of Christ.     Progressively…we are becoming righteous in our practice….never ends until we get to Heaven.

Theological word –   Sanctification !


that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

POWER –   as believers we have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

Ephesians 1:19-20  19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

  • The Power of God is at work in us…

Phil 2:13

for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.


  • The Power of God is at work in us that we may endure…

Colossians 1:11

being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy

Yes…  we want God’s power at work  in us…………there’s a part we would like to jump over…….


that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,


Phil 1:29    For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,


You mean —Suffering is a part of the Sanctification process????         You wouldn’t think that if all you heard was  the  “prosperity gospel” !        that crowd that says… “Just have faith and you will be healthy and wealthy”


Sufferings of Paul…..1Corinthians 11:22-29

Imprisoned,   countless beatings, nearly dying of his beatings.  5 times received forty lashes less one…3 times beaten with rods…once stoned…..3 times shipwrecked…dangers from robbers ….experiencing hunger and thirst…. Often in the cold and exposed…..  daily pressure and concern for all the churches…



Acts 5:40-41  they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.


We don’t know what our sufferings will be….when, how and  To what extent they will be….

But Christ was the MAN OF SORROWS… and we travel the Calvary Road there is on that road suffering ….


“if you want to know Christ more than anything in life, it’s through suffering for Him that you’ll know Him better”[3]


To be eternally saved…  to know Christ  means

1)   To be in him  ..   be In Christ

2)   To become like him

3)   To be with Christ

  1. C. Be with Christ….. when will that take place????? Our resurrection !

11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.


“that by any means possible”     Paul is not uncertain about his resurrection,  but he is not sure as to when it will take place….  Will he be alive when it happens??


1Thess 4:16-18

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:   17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.


v.11  resurrection  …the only place in the New Testament where this form of the Greek word resurrection is used.     “out- resurrection”      “out from the dead ones”


Theological word –    Glorification !


1Cor 15:51-52

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.



Knowing Christ – is to know Him personally,

It’s exchanging Trash for Treasure

It’s to have eternal life… which means…

  • We are In Christ…. standing in His righteousness… …we are justified!
  • We are Becoming like Christ… which involves suffering… we are being sanctified!
  • We will be WITH CHRIST one day….. at our resurrection… we will be  glorified!





[1] Unknown quote seen in Laugh Again by Swindoll

[2] Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary, Philippians by Tony Merida, pg. 140

[3] Tony Merida,  Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary, Philippians, pg. 144