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 may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. Philippians 3:8,9
The apostle Paul had much to lose: worldly accolades, education, religious awards, a member of the sect of the Pharisees and today he would be recognized as one having a Ph.D. in religion with all the trappings of what the world thinks a man of God should be. All these things became as rubbish, garbage and literally dung to him who found the treasure of knowing Jesus Christ!
I would have thought Paul to be an unlikely candidate to send to the Gentiles with all the religious training and advancement in Judaism, but Paul was about to be killed with one thrust of the Lord's sword. On his way to persecute the church and continue his quest to destroy God's people, Jesus appeared to him in a blinding light about to change him into a new creation prepared for His glory.
Paul was blinded by God's glory so that he could see the spiritual realm of His kingdom. All his religious training and all that he thought he knew about God was washed away by the Lord's power and glory! In three days a new man emerged with a commission to win the Gentiles to Christ and to pen most of the New Testament.
'But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.
'I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.' Acts 26:16-18
DEAD MEN WALKING
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. II Corinthians 5:17
Paul was blinded to the world, saved, baptized in water and filled with the Holy Spirit and when he emerged from his watery grave he was indeed a new creation; his old life was gone, his sin washed away and he was resurrected just as his Lord Jesus was into a new realm of kingdom glory!
When one is born again he dies, like a worm to a butterfly there is a supernatural transformation that takes place, nothing is added to the person, like optional equipment that can be added to a new car, old things including the person are done away with forever. There must be a death, burial and resurrection for one to experience the new birth that brings about a total metamorphosis.
Sadly today there are few who truly experience the new birth, being rushed to pray a prayer, walk an isle and join up without being convicted by the true gospel of Jesus Christ that will thrust the sword of the Lord through their heart bringing about true repentance that leads to life. Then once they have been counted they are rushed to the baptismal to be dunked only to emerge the same as they were before, a lost church member.
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4
TO KNOW HIM
That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. Philippians 3:10
The apostle got his wish, he not only knew the resurrection power of the Lord, He knew the Lord of the resurrection! Paul knew Him intimately, he suffered for Him and he was definitely conformed to His death and without the death that comes from following the Lord, one can never truly know Him.
For one to find the light, one must truly seek the light of God with all of his heart, laying down his life, his ambitions and his pursuits to seek the true treasure that only a dead man can find. You cannot follow Jesus and the world and you cannot experience His true presence and knowledge by seeking it from man. If you seek Him with all of your heart you will find Him, if you don't, you won't, it is as simple as that.
Many today have given up the search and have become satisfied with stale bread and second hand knowledge that leads to more spiritual death. No spiritual food, no life, only dead ritual that replaces what the Lord has for His people and that is the most valuable treasure there is: to truly know Him.
"I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." John 8:12
THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
"Again the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls,"who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45,46
Jesus said that where your treasure is, there will your heart be! So where is your heart, it is an easy question that few will answer because something besides the Lord has their heart. You can ask the question a thousand times, "Do you know the Lord" and the answer will be the same, of course I do, I go to such and such church, or I prayed the "prayer" or I give to the poor, or I was baptized, sprinkled, dunked or whatever, but the truth is: they simply don't know Him!
The late Christian recording artist and author, Keith Green once said,"Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald's makes you a hamburger!" How true because many today are busy about many things, even ministry, coming and going and doing, but never stopping to drink at the well of life.
Most of the wells are dry and dusty and some are gone forever because no one seeks the Lord, only busyness and seeking after rewards and the approval of man that always lead to spiritual death. The question remains, "Do you know Him, and more importantly, does He know you?" In all of your earthly endeavors have you stopped long enough to know Him intimately giving all of your heart and soul to Him who is the true treasure, or do you only know about Him? The answer you give holds eternal consequences!
"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?" "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' " Matthew 7:22,23