In this past Wednesday’s devotional, our main text came from 1 John 3:16, with the theme of, we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. The above quote from George Whitefield echoes that sentiment with a twist. Here it is being applied directly to Chaplains, Elders, Ministers, Pastors, those who serve the church. I think the Apostle Paul felt the same:
CONTEXT: Matthew Henry breaks down this chapter as follows: The apostle cautions the Philippians against Judaizing false teachers, and renounces his own former privileges. (1-11) Expresses earnest desire to be found in Christ; also his pressing on toward perfection, and recommends his own example to other believers. (12-21)
I do not what to “beat a dead horse” as the expression goes but there are a couple things implied by Whitefield and in our main text worth noting:
- Whitefield says we must not only be willing to die for the brethren but for the Gospel truths. That is upholding the Word of God is a priority for all who serve the church and Christ.
- Paul says whatever former “gains” I had, (things I considered important) are nothing in the kingdom plan
- BUT WAIT, there is more, not only are they worthless in the kingdom plan, all those things I have suffered the loss of, (health, wealth, etc.) are worthless in comparison to the privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord(Amp).
- In fact, those losses are but dung (manure) in comparison to the gain of Christ.
Spurgeon comments on our main text that…
“when we come to Christ, whatever we have to trust to, we must put away. We must write it on the other side of the ledger. We had entered it as a gain; now we must set it down as a loss; it is of no value whatsoever, it is a loss if it shall tempt us to trust any less in Christ.
Paul’s faith in Jesus reversed all his former estimates, ’so that his gains he counted to be losses. He thought it so much the worse, concerning zeal, to have persecuted the church, and so much to his injury to have imagined that he was blameless in the presence of God.
Paul thinks that to be righteous by faith is infinitely better than all the righteousness that can come by works and ceremonies. He therefore utterly despises that which he once thought to be more precious that gold; and he takes possession of, as his greatest treasure, that which he once trampled in the mire.“
It is good for those sitting in the pews to remember that those men standing in the pulpits each Sunday (preaching and teaching) will be held to a higher standard. James 3:1