Philippians 3:8
More than that, I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ
Sermons
But Seek Ye First the Kingdom of GodHugh BinningPhilippians 3:8
Christ Jesus Duly PrizedT. Boston, D. D.Philippians 3:8
Loss for GainD. Clarkson, B. D.Philippians 3:8
RighteousnessGeorge MacDonaldPhilippians 3:8
That I May Win ChristT. Manton, D. D.Philippians 3:8
The Believer's RefugeW. Mudge, B. A.Philippians 3:8
The Excellency of Christian KnowledgeJ. Buchanan, D. D.Philippians 3:8
The Excellency of the Knowledge of ChristR. Watson.Philippians 3:8
The Excellency of the Knowledge of ChristJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 3:8
The Excellency of the Knowledge of ChristJosiah Redford.Philippians 3:8
The Excellency of the Knowledge of ChristT. Croskery Philippians 3:8
The Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ AppearsJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 3:8
The Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ in the Excellence of its SubjectJ. Buchanan, D. D.Philippians 3:8
The Excellency of This KnowledgeA. Alexander, D. D.Philippians 3:8
The Excellent Effect of the Knowledge of ChristJ. Buchanan, B. D.Philippians 3:8
The Gain of ChristAlexander MaclarenPhilippians 3:8
The Great PrizeL. O. Thompson.Philippians 3:8
The Knowledge of ChristC. Hodge, D. D.Philippians 3:8
The Knowledge of ChristJ. Lyth, D. D., W. Henry.Philippians 3:8
The More Excellent KnowledgeO. Winslow, D. D.Philippians 3:8
The Necessity of Letting Go Every False ConfidenceJ. L. Nye.Philippians 3:8
The Relation of the Knowledge of Christ to the Gospel SchemeJ. Redford.Philippians 3:8
The Superfluosness of the LawJ. Daille.Philippians 3:8
The Superiority of the Knowledge of ChristD. Clarkson, B. D.Philippians 3:8
The True Method of ReflectionT. T. Lynch.Philippians 3:8
To Win ChristPhilippians 3:8
To Win Christ and be Found in HimR. S. Candlish, D. D.Philippians 3:8
Willinghood Lightening SacrificeJ. F. B. Tinling, B. A.Philippians 3:8
Winning ChristT. Boston, D. D.Philippians 3:8
Winning ChristProfessor Eadie.Philippians 3:8
Winning ChristCanon Miller.Philippians 3:8
Winning ChristW. Jay.Philippians 3:8
Christian JoyJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 3:1-11
Grounds of Christian RejoicingJ. Lyth, D. D., W. D. Pope, D. D.Philippians 3:1-11
It is God's Will that We Should Rejoice in HimPhilippians 3:1-11
Joy in the LordR. Johnstone, LL. B.Philippians 3:1-11
Joy in the LordKnox Little.Philippians 3:1-11
Joy is not Always EcstasyH. W. Beecher.Philippians 3:1-11
Prideless PrideJ. J. Goadby.Philippians 3:1-11
Repeating the Same TeachingJ. Hutchison, D. D.Philippians 3:1-11
RepetitionH. Airay, D. D., R. Sibbes, D. D.Philippians 3:1-11
The Elevating Power of JoyKnox Little.Philippians 3:1-11
The Importance of Christian JoyR. Johnstone, LL. B.Philippians 3:1-11
The Joy of Christian BrethrenR. Sibbes, D. D.Philippians 3:1-11
The Repetition of Old Truth IsJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 3:1-11
The Usefulness of RepetitioH. Melvill, B. D.Philippians 3:1-11
The True CircumcisionR. Finlayson Philippians 3:1-16
The Cost and the Value of Personal ChristianityD. Thomas Philippians 3:4-8
Privileges no Ground of TrustR. Johnstone, LL. D.Philippians 3:4-10
The Faith of St. PaulT. Jones, D. D.Philippians 3:4-10
All Loss for Christ is GainV. Hutton Philippians 3:7, 8
A Business-Like AccountC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 3:7-9
Christ is True GainJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 3:7-9
Diverse Estimates of Paul's SacrificesJ. Trapp.Philippians 3:7-9
Life for ChristJ. Vaughan, M. A.Philippians 3:7-9
Loss for GainC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 3:7-9
Self-Renunciation for Christ not to be RegrettedJ. F. B. Tinling., Sunday at Home.Philippians 3:7-9
The Christian's AccountsDean Vaughan.Philippians 3:7-9
The Gain of LossL'Estrange.Philippians 3:7-9
The Importance of Spiritual AccountsJ. Hutchison, D. D.Philippians 3:7-9
Worldly Honour Consecrated to ChristJ. F. B. Tinling.Philippians 3:7-9
The Knowledge of Christ the One Thing NeedfulV. Hutton Philippians 3:8, 9
Phases of ChristD. Thomas Philippians 3:8-11
The EnthusiastR.M. Edgar Philippians 3:8-11
The True Ground of a Sinner's HopeT. Croskery Philippians 3:8-11
I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.

I. THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST.

1. It implies a knowledge of the way of salt, afloat, the Word of God being our guide. (Romans 10:17.) Eternal life hinges upon it. "This is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). It is by this knowledge we are justified. "By his knowledge shall my righteous Servant justify many" (Isaiah 53:11).

2. It implies an experimental acquaintance with him. It is he himself who gives us the knowledge of himself. "He hath given us an understanding that we may know him who is true" (1 John 5:20). We thus realize Christ in pardoning mercy, in subduing grace, in abiding peace.

II. THE EXCELLENCY OF THIS KNOWLEDGE. This may be set forth either positively by the nature and effects of the knowledge in question, or by contrasting it with all the things the apostle classes among "loss."

1. Positively.

(1) The experience of all God's people attests its excellence.

(2) The Word of God proclaims its excellence (Jeremiah 9:24).

(3) It is through this knowledge we become partakers of the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:3).

(4) It is by it we are enabled to escape the corruptions of the world (2 Peter 2:20).

2. By contrast with all things classed as loss. "I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." He had already included in this class all the distinguishing privileges and prerogatives of his Jewish descent, as well as three points in his personal character which, as a Jew, he had made the subject of boasting. But he now expands the language so as to include all things whatsoever, conceivable or inconceivable, as lying under the category of loss. Everything was valueless under the sun when weighed against the knowledge of Christ.

III. THE APOSTLE'S CONSCIOUSNESS OF HIS POSSESSING CHRIST. "Christ Jesus my Lord." This is the happy language of assurance.

IV. HIS PRESENT AND ABIDING SENSE OF THE EXCELLENCY OF THIS KNOWLEDGE. He spoke before in the past tense, "I counted these things loss for Christ." He now gives us his present judgment respecting the whole momentous concern, "I do count them but loss and dung." - T.C.







Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord
1. The analysis of our faculties into — thought, feeling, and volition, may be important to the understanding and classification of the phenomena of our nature; but these faculties are neither independent nor distinct. The exercise of one includes that of the other. There is always an exercise of will in thought, of feeling in cognition. In the Scriptures knowledge is not mere intellectual apprehension; it includes the proper apprehension not only of the object, but of its qualities; and if those qualities be aesthetic or moral, it includes the due apprehension of them, and the state of feelings which answers to them.

2. The knowledge of Christ, therefore, is hot the apprehension of what He is, simply by the intellect, but also a due apprehension of His glory, and involves not as a consequence merely, but as one of its elements, the corresponding feeling of adoration, delight, desire, and complacency. This knowledge —

I. INCLUDES —

1. A knowledge of Christ's person as God and man.

2. The knowledge of this work in the redemption of man.

3. Of His relation to us, and of the benefits we derive from Him, justification, adoption, sanctification, eternal life.

II. IS SUPERLATIVELY EXCELLENT: because —

1. He is Himself the perfect object of knowledge.

2. Because eternal life, the hope of the soul, consists in that knowledge. The possession of it enlightens and enlarges the intellect, purifies the heart, and renders perfectly blessed.

3. Without this knowledge we are not only ignorant of God, but of the way of salvation. We know not how to be justified or sanctified. We of necessity, therefore, are left to seek and trust in other ineffectual methods of obtaining these blessings.Conclusion:

1. All religion is included in this — to know Christ. To this we should concentrate all our attention and efforts. It is vain to seek the knowledge of God or His favour, to strive after holiness and peace in any other way.

2. The only test of Christian character is found here. Men may be benevolent, in a certain sense pious, but they cannot be Christians unless they know Christ, and find in that their spiritual life.

3. The only way to save men is not by preaching the doctrines of natural religion, nor by holding up the law, nor by expounding the anthropological doctrines of the Bible. These things are important in their place, but they are subordinate to preaching Christ, i.e., holding Him up in His person, His work, etc., as the great object of knowledge, and, as such, the great object of love, the only ground of confidence, and our only and all-sufficient portion.

(C. Hodge, D. D.)

I. ITS NATURE.

1. Speculative.

2. Experimental.

3. Practical.

II. ITS EXCELLENCY in —

1. Itself.

2. Its use.

3. Its effect.

III. ITS VALUE. Incomparable; all else but dung and dross.

IV. ITS POWER.

1. To sway the judgment.

2. Induce sacrifice.

3. Excite effort.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)The more we know of some things, the less we admire them; a minute inspection reveals deficiencies; but the reverse is true about Jesus Christ. So St. Paul felt, and so feels every genuine Christian.

I. THE VALUE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST JESUS. This knowledge —

1. Contains all that can satisfy the understanding. If we derive pleasure from the knowledge of art, science, literature, history, how much more may we derive from the discoveries of Divine truth? This leaves all the discoveries of scholars at an immense distance. If men were to propound to the wisest, "How shall man be just with God?" it would baffle them. But the knowledge of Christ solves this. The truths of the incarnation, death, etc., of Christ, while the profoundest are yet the most simple. To regard this knowledge, therefore, with indifference is a mark of a weak mind. And, besides, it is the constant study of the angels of heaven who behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2. Pacifies the conscience. Some men would give all the world for a peaceful conscience. Think of what they do to procure it — amusement, repentance, business, etc., alas, are only opiates. But let a man be alive to the discoveries of the gospel, see justice satisfied in the death of Christ, and know that God is reconciled through His Son, and the storm will be stilled.

3. Purifies the heart. In all the lessons of human wisdom there are two incurable defects.

(1)They are often only conjectures.

(2)They propose no motives of sufficient weight. Now this knowledge has been tried, and has been found to be saving, and no imaginable motives could be stronger than "for the sake of Christ," and "to win Christ."

4. Saves the soul. "This is life eternal," etc.

II. THE DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERS OF THE CHRISTIAN'S REGARD FOR THAT KNOWLEDGE.

1. It is personal — "I count." The error of the Jews was that they substituted relative for personal piety. They gloried in their relation to Abraham, etc. So now a great many depend upon the merits of others. The religion of some is hereditary, or by proxy. But neither the devil nor Christ will be served in this way.

2. Decided and unequivocal. "Yea, doubtless." The Christianity of many is very vacillating; but this Christ rejects, and even man contemns.

3. Rational — "I count." Men sometimes set up a blazing profession because their feelings have been wrought upon, and without any idea of what the profession involves. But the cost ought to be counted, and must be if there is to be any stability.

4. Supreme — "All things."(1) We are to count all things sinful as loss for this knowledge.(2) Things that are lawful. All that is valued on earth must be subordinated to this.

(W. Henry.)

I. IN THE SACRIFICES THE APOSTLE MADE TO SECURE IT.

II. IN THE BENEFITS IT SECURES.

1. Righteousness.

2. Resurrection power.

3. A glorious hope.

III. IN THE DISPOSITION IT CREATES.

1. A correct estimate of ourselves.

2. Earnest purpose.

3. Persevering effort.

4. Love and unity.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

I. THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST IS SO EXCELLENT, THAT A GRACIOUS HEART COUNTETH ALL THINGS DUNG AND DROSS RATHER THAN MISS IT.

1. The knowledge here spoken of. Knowledge is two fold.(1) A bare speculative knowledge. Even this is a great privilege (1 Peter 1:12; Ephesians 3:10); but if we are content with it we shall perish. It was not those who saw the ark, but those who entered it who were saved.(2) A saving knowledge such as is accompanied by

(a)Faith, i.e., a certain persuasion of the truth of our redemption by Christ upon evidence so as we may venture our souls and all our interest in His hands (John 6:69; Acts 2:36; John 17:8).

(b)Love.

(c)Obedience (1 John 2:4).

2. Why is this knowledge so prized?(1) It is valuable in itself; better than all other.(a) From the Author (Matthew 16:16; John 6:45; 1 John 2:20).(b) The matter to be known, Christ the Saviour of the world. This is comfortable knowledge if we consider our deep necessity (Colossians 1:21; Job 14:4; 2 Timothy 2:26; 1 Thessalonians 1:10), and His sufficiency to do us good (Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:20, 27).(c) The effect. It is a renewing and transforming knowledge (Colossians 3:10; 1 John 2:2).(2) The subjects who thus esteem Christ.

(a)Their minds are changed (Jeremiah 31:34). By this they have a spirit of discerning.

(b)Their hearts (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).

3. Uses.(1) Of reproof.(a) To those who study all things but Christ. If God hath laid out the riches of His grace and wisdom to do us good, surely it deserveth our best thoughts.(b) To those who content themselves with the form of knowledge (Romans 2:20). Christianity is not only to be believed, but felt (1 Peter 2:3). Experience is the best seal and confirmation (2 Peter 1:8).(2) Of exhortation. Consider —

(a)The necessity. You must know Christ before you can believe and love Him (2 Timothy 1:12).

(b)The pleasantness.

(c)The profit (John 17:3).(3) Bless God that He hath given thee this knowledge, and do not murmur if He hath denied thee other things. Remember

(a)how it excelleth all other gifts.

(b)How a true value and esteem of Christ lesseneth all other things.

II. JESUS CHRIST MUST BE KNOWN AS LORD.

1. What this Lordship of Christ is — the new light of propriety and government over all men which Christ now hath as being the Sovereign of the world.(1) It is superadded to the former sovereignty and dominion which the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost had as Creator (Revelation 5:12).

2. It is derivative, and cannot be supreme, but subordinate (Matthew 28:18; John 17:2; Philippians 2:11).(3) It is beneficial to us. Its end is to effect man's recovery to peace with and loyalty to God.

2. How this right accrueth to Christ.

(1)By purchase (Romans 14:9).

(2)By grant (Acts 2:26).

3. How we come to be concerned in it.

(1)By our passive subjection, and

(2)voluntary submission (2 Corinthians 8:5).

4. What our concern is.(1) Our privileges and immunities.

(a)Freedom from the curse and rigour of the law (Galatians 5:18);

(b)from the guilt of sin (Colossians 1:13-14);

(c)the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10); and deliverance to grace and glory.(2) Our duties (Hebrews 5:9). Privilege and duty must not be separated (Luke 6:46; Matthew 7:21).

5. Use, to persuade us to own Christ as a Lord.(1) Let us enter into the state of servants and vassals to Him by renouncing the devil, the world, and the flesh, who were once our lords, but were, indeed, our enemies (Isaiah 26:13).(2) Be not subjects in name add by profession only (Colossians 1:10).

III. THERE SHOULD BE SOME APPLICATION WHEN WE CONSIDER CHRIST AND ADDRESS OURSELVES TO KNOW HIM.

1. What is this application?(1) Some distinctions.(a) The application of comfort is when I respect Christ under such a term as implies some privilege to me, that He is my Saviour, etc. (Galatians 2:20); ,but the application that respects duty is when I apprehend Him under a term which inferreth my obligation to obedience — "my Lord."(b) The application of faith is a particular application of Christ and the promise to ourselves, so as to excite us to look after the benefits for which Christ is appointed: the application of assurance is when I actually determine that my own sins are pardoned and I adopted into God's family (1 John 3:19).(c) The application may be implicit, dark, and reserved, when we have not so full a persuasion of our good estate, but comfortable encouragement to wait upon God in the way of duty; it may also be explicit, clear, and open (Ephesians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 5:1: 2 Timothy 5:8).(2) Some observations.

(a)The application of faith may be without the application of assurance; sometimes they go together.

(b)The one is necessary, the other comfortable.

(c)It is a support to have the darker way of applying Christ and His benefits, when we have not the full certainty that they belong to us.

2. Why there should be such an application of Christ.(1) Because things that nearly concern us do most affect us. The love of God in general doth not so affect me as when I know "He loved me and gave Himself for me."(2) Without some application there can be no interest and benefit to us. General grace must be made particular. Christ's blood will not avail unless it be sprinkled.(3) The Scripture insisteth much on a personal entering into covenant with God (2 Chronicles 30:8).(4) Our personal interest in Christ is the ground of our comfort and confidence (Habakkuk 3:18; Luke 1:17). Application:

1. Resolve to give yourself up to Him to serve Him. A believer cannot always say, "Christ is mine"; but he can say "I am His" (Psalm 119:94).

2. In applying Christ seek necessary grace rather than comfort.

3. When God draweth — run (Song of Solomon 1:4). When He knocketh, open (Revelation 3:10).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

Its notes are —

I. CERTAINTY. Concerning moral and religious truth men have been most uncertain, and have bewildered themselves in endless speculations. And yet, on such subjects, certainty is of the utmost importance. The knowledge of Christ is certain. What God teaches must be absolute truth. He can neither deceive, nor be deceived. That Christianity is a system of Divine knowledge from God is proved —

1. By prophecy.

2. Miracles.

3. Experience (John 7:17).

II. MAJESTY AND GRANDEUR. Great thoughts in religion are necessary for man; and true religion must in its own nature have them. It is one of the characteristics of false religion to inculcate low thoughts of God and Divine things. Take the Christian conception of God — eternal, just, merciful, redeeming.

III. SUITABLENESS AND ADAPTATION. It is in all its parts knowledge for us. No kind of useful knowledge is to be undervalued. Many branches are of great importance. But all such is —

1. Partial. A king may be a criminal before God.

2. Temporary. But look at the knowledge of Christ.

(1)It is salvation for sinners.

(2)Communion with God for them who have been afar off.

(3)Comfort in affliction.

(4)Life in death, and all this for us, not for devils or angels.

IV. COMPREHENSIVENESS. It is not only light itself, it gives light to everything beside, not a star, but a sun. He who knows Christ knows —

1. Creation (Colossians 1:16).

2. History. Human writers narrate the events, in Christ their purpose is discovered. The call of Abraham, etc., all stand connected with the designs of providence in regard to the spiritual interests of mankind. The Roman Empire was designed to be the wide field for the triumphs of Christ. The voyage of Columbus was intended to bring America into the Christian fold.

3. Daily providence.

4. The sepulchre.

V. HOLINESS. Human knowledge does not sanctify, it often pollutes, and there is also a knowledge of Christ which leaves us in sin and under condemnation. But this knowledge leads to holiness. Conclusion:

1. Would you possess this knowledge? You must count all this but loss for it.

2. If this knowledge is incalculably excellent, then it is our duty to diffuse it.

(R. Watson.)

I.IT SURPASSES all other.

II.IS ONLY COMMUNICATED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD.

III.EXALTS THE NATURE OF MAN.

IV.BRINGS PEACE, HOLINESS, SALVATION.

V.IS PERMANENTLY VALUABLE.

VI.IS WORTH ANY SACRIFICE.

VII.SECURES ETERNAL GAIN.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

I. WHAT THIS KNOWLEDGE IS.

1. Comparatively —(1) It stands opposed to the ignorance of the heathen (1 Corinthians 1:21; Romans 1:21; Acts 17:23).(2) It is distinguished from the knowledge of the law of Moses (John 1:17; Hebrews 10:1).(3) It is superior to the speculative unsanctified notions of nominal Christians (Titus 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:5; 2 Timothy 2:19; Luke 13:27).

2. Positively. It is —(1) Spiritual (Ephesians 1:17; John 6:63).(2) Supernatural (1 Corinthians 2:14); the sole prerogative of the supernaturally renewed man.(3) Experimental (2 Thessalonians 2:10; 1 Peter 2:2-3).(4) Practical It is sometimes put for the whole of religion (1 John 2:3-4).

3. Specifically. It is the knowledge of Christ.(1) Christ Himself is the object of it.(2) His character, also, and office and work (1 Corinthians 2:2; John 1:14).(3) Faith is included (Isaiah 53:11; Psalm 9:10).

II. ITS EXCELLENCY.

1. It is most necessary. Of many things we may be ignorant, because we cannot attain the knowledge of them; and of many others we may safely be ignorant; but this knowledge is necessary to salvation (Proverbs 19:2). There can be no faith in or love to Jesus without it. Satan takes the greatest pains to prevent its attainment, and God to communicate it (1 Timothy 2:4).

2. Most heavenly. Every good gift comes from God, but this especially (2 Corinthians 4:6; Isaiah 54:13).

3. Most useful.

4. Every kind of knowledge is useful in its place; for it is to the mind what light is to the eyes; but this exceeds all other.

(1)It converts the soul (Acts 26:18);

(2)regenerates (Colossians 3:10);

(3)humbles; other puffs up (Isaiah 6:5; Job 40:4; Revelation 1:17);

(4)encourages (Psalm 9:10; Ephesians 1:13; 2 Timothy 1:12).

4. Is most pleasant. Knowledge in general is grateful to the mind, yet some kinds are painful (Ecclesiastes 1:18). There must be a good deal of pains to get it, a good deal of care to keep it; the more we know the more it seems to us remains to be known, and the folly and misery of man the more apparent. But this knowledge is easily attained, and he who increaseth it increaseth joy (Psalm 119:72, 162; Jeremiah 15:16).Conclusion: Is this knowledge so excellent, then?

1. Do we possess it? (1 Corinthians 15:34; John 3:19). If not, seek it at once (James 1:5; Proverbs 2:3-7).

2. If so, be thankful (Matthew 13:16; Luke 10:21; Jeremiah 9:23-24).

3. But do not be proud. The wisest know but little of what is to be known (Hosea 6:3; 2 Peter 3:18).

(G. Burder.)

If the soul be without knowledge it is not good. This is true in regard to worldly knowledge; much more to heavenly.

I. ITS OBJECT — Christ Jesus. It —

1. Comprehends adoring views of the Divinity of His Person. Do away with these, and scriptural revelation becomes chaos.

2. Involves intelligent apprehensions of the mediatorial and vicarious character of His work (Romans 3:25).

3. Includes a believing and experimental acquaintance with the way in which sinners become interested in the blessings of redemption by being reconciled to God through faith in Christ.

4. Implies an obedient regard and solemn recognition of the high authority of Christ as King and Lawgiver.

II. ITS NATURE.

1. It is not visual and corporeal, but intellectual and theoretical. The former was the ease in the days of our Saviour's flesh, and yet to many it was of no avail. While something more than head knowledge is required, yet that is essential. Ignorance is not the mother of devotion.

2. Experimental and appropriating; this is unintelligible to carnal men. Who can make a blind man understand colours, or a deaf man sounds. Sin has got into the heart, Christ also must get there.

3. Practical and constraining. Mere uninfluential knowledge of Christ will only aggravate the sinner's doom. Hell is full of it, Does your knowledge, then, lead you to love good works, to hate sin, to be humble and obedient?

III. ITS EXCELLENCY.

1. It is the essence of all gospel truth.

2. By it alone we obtain a comprehensive and accurate knowledge of the Divine character. "The world by wisdom knew not God," but he that hath seen Christ, hath seen the Father.

3. It may be seen in the excellency of those who have made and still make it their chief study. Angels, Prophets, Apostles, and the greatest of uninspired geniuses — Bacon, Newton, Milton, Locke.

4. In the excellent effects it produces on individual character. There is no necessary connection between science and sanctity, but that between the knowledge of Christ and purity and charity is inevitable.

5. In its improving influence on society at large. Compare heathen nations with Christian.

6. The possession of it stander in inseparable connection with the salvation of the soul. What is civilization compared with this?

7. It shall outlive and eclipse all other knowledge.

(Josiah Redford.)

arises from the fact —

I. THAT IN CHRIST ALL DIVINE AND HUMAN EXCELLENCIES ARE COMBINED. Whatever beauty resides in the Divine attributes, for "in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," and whatever perfection of human virtues, because He was "holy, harmless, undefiled," etc.

II. THAT IT HAS A TRANSFORMING AND ASSIMILATING EFFECT ON ALL WHO BELIEVINGLY CONTEMPLATE IT. "God is love, and he that dwelleth in love," etc. "Beholding His glory, we are transformed," etc.

III. IT IS INTIMATELY CONNECTED WITH OUR JUSTIFICATION. As faith is belief of the truth, this knowledge includes it.

IV. ITS TENDENCY IS TO GENERATE LIVELY HOPE, AND FILL THE SOUL WITH PEACE AND JOY.

V. IT FITS THE SOUL FOR HEAVEN. "This is life eternal," etc.

VI. IT WILL BE FOREVER INCREASING. However high the saints may rise, still Christ will be the inexhaustible source of their increase of knowledge. Conclusion: If the knowledge of Christ be so excellent —

1. It should be our constant and vigorous effort to increase in it daily.

2. We should endeavour to extend it to as many of our fellow creatures as we can reach.

(A. Alexander, D. D.)

I. WHAT KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST IS THAT WHICH IS SO EXCELLENT? It is —

1. Extensive. Apprehending Him as —(1) Christ, i.e., His nature and offices — the anointed Prophet, Priest, and King.(2) Jesus, i.e., His intention and execution of those offices — viz., salvation.(3) Lord, i.e., the consequents of those offices — dominion in Christ, subjection in us (Romans 14:9). Many will take Christ as Saviour who will not own Him as Lord, but this is to apprehend Christ without His crown, and so not an excellent knowledge.

2. Appropriating. The marrow of the gospel lies in the pronouns "my" and "ours." To apprehend Christ yours on good grounds is the excellency of this knowledge.

3. Effectual. It has a powerful efficacy on the heart and life.(1) On the judgment; when this knowledge in Christ is exalted as the chiefest among ten thousand, and the richest treasure esteemed dross in comparison with His riches.(2) On the affections. To kindle desire and raise joy in Christ.(3) On the practice. The profits of sin and its pleasures are renounced as well as self-righteousness.

4. Fiducial. It brings the soul to rest in Christ and His righteousness alone for pardon and acceptance, and to cast away all those rotten proofs of good nature, harmlessness, accomplishments, etc.

6. Useful. He that has it studies to improve Christ, and to use Him for those blessed purposes for which He is given (vers. 9-10).

II. WHY THIS KNOWLEDGE IS EXCELLENT. Because —

1. It is that knowledge which the most excellent creatures on earth and the most exalted in heaven desired, obtained, and gloried in. Abraham (John 8:56); Moses (Hebrews 11:26); the Prophets (1 Peter 1:10-11); and Kings (Luke 10:23-24); Paul (1 Corinthians 2:1-2); angels (1 Peter 1:12; Exodus 37:9).

2. In knowing Christ we know the glorious excellencies of God (John 14:7; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3; 2 Corinthians 4:6).

3. It makes those who have it excellent (2 Corinthians 3:16, 18; 1 John 3:2; Philippians 3:21). Note the degrees by which fallen man is raised by this knowledge.(1) The removal of that which makes him vile (2 Peter 2:20).(2) Partaking of the Divine nature, i.e., of His holiness, the image of God (Colossians 3:10). All things pertaining to life and godliness are given through this knowledge (2 Peter 1:3-4).(3) Investing us with the righteousness of Christ (Isaiah 53:11).(4) Eternal glory (John 17:3).

III. CHRIST HIMSELF IS MOST EXCELLENT, THEREFORE THIS KNOWLEDGE IS EXCELLENT KNOWLEDGE.

1. There is nothing in Him but is excellent. There is a mixture in all created beings — the heavens (Job 15:15); angels (Job 4:18); but Christ is altogether lovely and higher than the heavens.

2. All the excellencies that are in the creatures are eminently in Christ.

3. All these excellencies are in Him in a more excellent manner.

(1)Perfectly, without a shadow of imperfection.

(2)Infinitely, without limit.

(3)Unchangeably and eternally.

4. Innumerably more excellencies than are in all creatures together are in Christ alone, for in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

IV. USES.

1. Reproof to those who neglect or despise this knowledge.(1) Those who are not diligent to get and increase it. No knowledge worth having is to be had without diligence, and how sad that many are so busy about lower knowledge that they say they have no time for this.(2) Those who strive not to communicate this knowledge. To this may be attributed the ruin of families and commonwealths, and lays you under dreadful threatenings.

2. Exhortation.(1) To those that want it — be you persuaded to get it.(2) To those of you who have some of it — grow in it.(3) To attain it.

(a)Be convinced of and humbled for your want of it.

(b)Lay a good groundwork in the principles of the knowledge of Christ, otherwise you will but build in the air (Hebrews 6:1).

(c)Let the Word of God be familiar to you (Colossians 3:16; John 5:39; Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

(d)Make use of those who are already acquainted with Christ (Hebrews 10:25; Proverbs 13:20; Proverbs 15:7).

(e)Be much in seeking God (James 1:5).(4) To grow in it.

(a)Make all your other knowledge subservient to this. See Christ in everything that is good, make your knowledge of what is evil heighten your desire of Christ.

(b)Get nearer Him and keep near.

(c)Fix the eye of your souls upon Him (Exodus 37:9). Study the excellences of His person, the advantages of His offices, the riches of His grace.

(d)Seek it not for curiosity, but that you may enjoy Christ more.

(e)Content not yourselves with light without heat. Let every spark of knowledge kindle zeal and love.

(f)Live up to the knowledge you have; that is the way to attain more. Let the light that shines in your minds shine in your lives (John 7:17).

(g)Let humility keep pace with knowledge.

(h)Make use of Christ's prophetical office.

(D. Clarkson, B. D.)

I. The OBJECT of this knowledge. Unlike all other objects of human study it is single. Human science diverges into several branches. And then it is not a thing or a system, but an individual. It is a knowledge of Christ Jesus as —

1. God. To take a lower view of Him is to degrade His dignity and destroy His atonement. He is the Creator, and as the creator of a thing, must be greater than the thing created, so the knowledge of Christ must be superior to that of nature.

2. The only revealer of God. You may study science in all its branches and be totally ignorant of God. The heathen world is an evidence of this. But Christ is the revealer of the Father's mind and heart.

3. The Redeemer. As guilty sinners, under the curse and condemnation of the law, we wanted a Saviour who should bear our sins and provide such a salvation as would harmonize the moral attributes of God, and make it honourable in God to pardon. Jesus Christ is such a Saviour.

4. The Provider and the channel of the Holy Spirit, by whose power alone we become living souls. Unspeakable as is God's precious gift to us, without the gift of the Spirit it had been of no avail. Take out the science of dynamics from the other sciences and you reduce them to a shadow. The Spirit provides the spiritual dynamics of Christianity and makes redemption effective.

II. ITS TRANSCENDENT EXCELLENCY.

1. Its majesty and grandeur. What is there that can be compared to it. The time will come when those around whose name an halo of scientific glory exists will stand upon the confines of eternity. Where will the splendour of human science be then?

2. Its certainty. There is a degree of uncertainty attaching to all science. You will rarely find two scientists perfectly to coincide. But there is no doubt as to Christ's personality, the lustre of His Deity, the efficacy of His atonement, etc. The only uncertainty is that which man's depraved nature invents.

3. Its adaptation to the highest interests of our nature, and its supply for all our yearnings after happiness, knowledge, and a nobler state of being.

4. The only knowledge that meets the solemnity of a dying bed is this. Here Bacon and Butler had to lie their dying heads.

(O. Winslow, D. D.)

Knowledge is one of the most valuable of all attainments. Happiness and usefulness depend upon it. The image of God consists in "knowledge" as well as righteousness, etc. It is indispensable for the formation of character and the regulation of conduct. All knowledge is good, but its highest subject is the greatest Being. Hence it follows that religion must of necessity embrace the highest kind of knowledge, and the knowledge of Christ is that of "God manifest in the flesh," exemplifying the perfections of the Divine character, fulfilling the purposes of the Divine mind. This is the theme to which the apostle deliberately bent his unequalled powers, and the more we know of it the less shall we wonder that he determined to know nothing else. This is the theme in which he prays that believers may be well instructed (Ephesians 1:16-19; Ephesians 3:14-19.)

I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THIS KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST. The whole substance of gospel truth, because every truth in Scripture relates to Him, and derives its value and use from this connection. In this view the knowledge of Christ is not limited to the facts of His personal history, but represents the sum and substance of saving knowledge. It is remarkable how Paul makes every other topic tributary to this. When he refers to the principles of natural religion it is to awaken sinners to their need of Christ. When he speaks of the past history of the world it is to show how it was a preparation for Him. He expounds the prophets, the types, the obligations of the moral law, all with reference to Him. He cannot recommend charity without speaking of Christ, nor express gratitude for temporal mercies without thanking God for His unspeakable gift (Colossians 3:11). Christ, then, is the one grand subject of the gospel, and everything, whether in nature, providence, or Scripture, is to be viewed in its relation to Him.

II. ITS PECULIAR EXCELLENCY AND TRANSCENDENT VALUE. Knowledge is excellent in proportion to —

1. The greatness and dignity of its subject. Some subjects are so inconsiderable that the knowledge of them is of little value, and a mind may be full of them without being enlarged, because the subject of its thought is insignificant. There is a distinction between the subject of our thoughts and the mere fact which may give rise to them; e.g., in examining a flower a peasant may be studying the Divine perfections; in examining a world a philosopher may be studying the mere laws of matter; and hence the grandeur of a subject is not to be estimated by the magnitude of the object, but by the quality or relation which occupies the mind. On this principle the humblest disciple may be occupied with loftier contemplations than ever occur to an irreligious philosopher.

2. Its certainty. The mind may be dazzled by a splendid conjecture, and astonished by a wonderful narrative, but it can rest in neither until verified. The knowledge of Christ excels all other, inasmuch as it rests on the infallible testimony of God.

3. Its necessity. There are many interesting subjects of curious research, but they are not of urgent concern. There are others necessary for some, but not for all. But in the knowledge of Christ all men are deeply interested, inasmuch as their safety and happiness depend upon it.

4. The magnitude of the evils it averts and the value of the benefits it secures. Secular knowledge is valuable because it averts temporal calamities and promotes temporal comfort, but the knowledge of Christ has reference to the interests of the immortal soul.

5. The moral influence it exerts. Many kinds of knowledge have no direct influence on character or conduct, but in this knowledge, all that is useful in truth is blended with whatever is beautiful in morals, and both are so represented that no man can be familiarized with the Bible without being elevated. Take, e.g., the character of Christ.

6. The stability of its objects and the permanence of its use. "The things which are seen are temporal," etc. Religion only, of all the forms of human knowledge, is immortal; the usefulness of every other is only temporary.

(J. Buchanan, D. D.)

I. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE APOSTLE DELIVERS HIMSELF ON THIS GREAT SUBJECT.

1. He openly professeth his esteem of Christ above all, and that not in general, but from his own experience, which teacheth us that the saints should avowedly profess their superlative esteem of Christ. Christ is not only to be enjoyed but to be confessed. This is for His glory, and that others may fall in love with Him.

2. With the utmost certainty — "yea, doubtless." He was not halting between two opinions. This is necessary for us with respect —(1) To the outward truths of religion, because —

(a)Doubts are both afflictive and sinful.

(b)They are enemies to our faith.

(c)They are the spring of apostasy.

(d)They are prejudicial to the growth of religion. So, then, for confirmation, study the word of truth; give yourselves up to the teaching of the Spirit of truth, and walk in the truth.(2) To the inward truth of religion. We should seek this certainty.

(a)Because the saints may attain to it. "He that hath my commandments" etc. "Give diligence to make your calling," etc. sure.

(b)Because doubts are hurtful.

(c)The case of our day calls for it. A doubting Christian is unfit to act for Christ in a difficult time. Therefore awake from sleep; walk closely with God; examine yourselves; receive the Spirit so freely given of God to bear witness with yours.

3. With affection, counting all things loss and dung. The excellency of Christ naturally fires gracious hearts, because —

(1)All their hopes are in Him, and

(2)all their desires.

II. THE GRAND SCOPE OF THE APOSTLE. Jesus is absolutely matchless. All sheaves bow to Him. The transcendent excellency of Christ is proved.

1. By testimony on the part of —

(1)God (Isaiah 13:1; John 3:16).

(2)Angels (Luke 2:10-14).

(3)Saints in heaven.

(4)Saints on earth.

(5)His enemies.

2. By evidence.(1) He is God, "the true God and eternal life;" therefore His excellence is infinite.(2) He is commensurate to the desires of the soul, which all the creatures combined are not. But "it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell."(3) Whatever excellence is in anything else, it is derived from Him.(4) All things besides Christ cannot make a man happy, but Christ can.

(a)The creatures want sufficiency; but Christ is completely satisfactory (Psalm 73:25).

(b)Certainty; but Christ is unchangeable.(5) He can do for us what no other can, procure pardon for sin, peace with God, a right to heaven.

3. By comparison. No person or thing is to be compared with Him.(1) Men on earth; the greatest one His vassals, the best only good through Him.(2) Saints in heaven are only like the lilies wearing a glory for which they never toiled.(3) Angels are all servants.(4) The highest earthly good is a broken cistern, and even grace and glory are but His gifts.

III. USES.

1. They have a poor portion who are without Christ.

2. They have made a good choice that have received Christ.

3. We are to stand on nothing so as we may gain Christ.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I. THAT ONLY IS THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST WHICH TERMINATES IN AN INTEREST IN AND ENJOYMENT OF HIM. To confirm this consider —

1. That all the knowledge of Christ that brings not to Him is but splendid ignorance according to the Word.

2. That knowledge of Christ which is not an interest in Him is mere opinion which is dubious and uncertain. It may be a good opinion, but it is not certainty. You will not commit your money to a stranger of whom you have only a good opinion. So it is with those who have only a speculative knowledge of Christ. Two points of saving knowledge exemplify this. Do you take Him for and instead of all? (Matthew 13:45-46). Have you committed your soul unto Him?

3. The true knowledge of Christ engages the heart and captivates the soul — "They that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee." As the loadstone draws iron, so does Christ the sinner.

4. The saving knowledge of Christ differs not in kind, but degree, from heaven's happiness (John 17:8).

II. ALL THINGS ARE BUT LOSS IS COMPARISON WITH THIS KNOWLEDGE.

1. In what respect?

(1)Singly.

(2)All together. What are the stars without the sun?

2. Proofs and illustrations.

(1)An interest in Christ makes God ours, for lie is God.

(2)This interest is the one thing necessary.All things must go for necessaries (Matthew 6:25). Other things are mere conveniences. Man's desire is to be happy, and nothing outside of Christ is necessary to this end, for with Christ man may be happy and lack every earthly blessing (Philippians 4:13). Everything that one really needs is comprehended in this: "He that spared not His own Son" etc.(3) This interest is satisfying to the soul, while nothing else can give satisfaction, He is substance, all else is shadow and dream. In Him are both suitability and fulness.(4) This interest is a most enriching interest — "All things are yours."(a) The Christian hath more in possession than the greatest on earth. What so great as a kingdom? The Christian hath the kingdom of God within him. Monarchs lose their kingdoms because they are outside them. Christ is in us the hope of glory.(b) The little that a Christian hath, having Christ, is more valuable than the abundance of a Christless man.(c) The Christian makes a sanctified use of what he possesses, and so "all things work together for good." The abundance of the ungodly is their curse.(d) What the Christian hath he hath for nothing, but others will have to pay a dear reckoning for what they have — "What is a man profited," etc.(e) The Christian hath a far better right to his little, for it comes by covenant and not simply by common providence.(f) The Christian's portion is but an earnest.(5) This interest is the only lasting interest. It will abide when we have lost all other things (Matthew 6:19-20).

3. An induction of particulars.(1) Knowledge of other things is no way comparable to the knowledge of Christ either for pleasure or profit. Grotius said, "I have destroyed life, laboriously doing nothing."(2) Compared with Christ riches are lighter than vanity (Proverbs 23:5).(3) Worldly reputation depend, upon the uncertain thoughts of others and may be easily stained; but the Christian shall shine with eternal honour.(4) There is no ease that is permanently pleasant but in Christ.(5) Friends are much valued, but how often do they prove themselves like brooks dried up (Job 6:15). Christ is a friend that will help in all cases.(6) Domestic and social relations are great mercies, but we must part from them.(7) Liberty is but a devil's chain without Christ.(8) Life and self are loss without Christ.

III. USES.

1. Of Information.(1) How foolish are men who, like Martha, are diligent to get other things, but who neglect the one thing needful.(2) Men are gainers, lose what they will for Christ.

2. Of exhortation.(1) Christ is willing to receive you.(2) Consider what you are without Him.(3) An interest in Christ is the best interest you can have in the world.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

1. Christ is gained when we get an interest in Him and in His benefits (1 Corinthians 1:9; Hebrews 3:14). The ungodly have no part in Him. The apostle had won Christ already, but he would win a full enjoyment of Him.

2. The word κερδησω is put in opposition to the loss he had incurred, and means that there was enough in Christ to compensate him.

I. WHAT GAIN WE HAVE IN HAVING CHRIST.

1. He is our ransom from the wrath of God, and so you have somewhat whereby to appease your guilty fears (Colossians 1:14).

2. He hath purchased God's favour that we may have comfortable access to Him (Hebrews 10:19).

3. Our natures are renewed, and not only the favour and fellowship of God restored, but His image also (Titus 3:5-6; 2 Peter 1:4; Hebrews 12:10).

4. Christ is our treasury and storehouse, from whence we fetch all our supplies (1 Corinthians 1:30).

5. By Him we are made heirs of eternal life (Romans 8:17).

II. HOW MUCH THIS GAIN EXCELS ALL OTHER.

1. It is most comfortable, for here is comfort at all times and in all cases (Philippians 1:21).

2. Most universal (1 Corinthians 2:22-23; 1 Timothy 4:8).

3. Everlasting (Luke 10:42).

4. Sanctifying.

III. USES.

1. For reproof of —(1) Those who take no pains to get it (Matthew 16:26; Luke 16:25).(2) Those who part with Christ for temporal profit (Hebrews 12:16).

2. Per instruction.(1) If Christ be gain then we may make some losses for Christ if we may not have them and Him too (Hebrews 11:26; Mark 10:29-30).(2) We should not murmur when others go away with other things, if we have Christ (Psalm 17:14-15).

3. To persuade you to get Christ.(1) He is the best gain if God be preferred before the creature, eternal glory before finding riches, the soul before the body.(2) This gain may be gotten at a cheap rate (Isaiah 55:1; Revelation 3:18).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I. IT IS THE CHRISTIAN'S GRAND OBJECT, AND SHOULD BE THE DESIGN OF EVERY ONE TO WIN OR GAIN CHRIST.

1. What it is to win Him and how. It is to get Him to be ours and enjoy Him. It imports that we are naturally without Him (Ephesians 2:12).(1) We must work and win as labourers do (Philippians 2:12).(2) We must fight and win as soldiers — "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence," etc. Whenever a soul is on its way to Christ, the alarm is sounded in hell, and if the soul would bare Him it must be in opposition to flesh and blood, and principalities and powers.(3) We must wrestle and win as those do who strive for the mastery (Ephesians 6:12-14).(4) We must run and win as racers do.(5) We must trade and win as merchants do (Mark 10:22).

2. Some reasons.(1) If we win Christ we gain all (Matthew 13:45-46).(2) If we win not Christ we gain nothing and lose all (Matthew 16:26).

II. THOSE WHOSE GRAND OBJECT IS TO WIN CHRIST, WILL COUNT ALL BUT DUNG THAT COMES IN COMPETITION WITH THIS BARGAIN. They will count —

1. Nothing too much for Him, but be content to have Him on any terms.

2. Cost what it will they will not think they are even hands but gainers.

3. Have what they will they will count they have nothing while they have not Christ.

4. Be about them what they will, if Christ be not in them they will count them loathsome.

5. Be in their way what will, to hinder them from Christ, they will shovel it out of the way rather than be kept back from Christ.

III. THEY ARE TRULY WINNERS, LOSE WHAT THEY WILL, WHO GAIN CHRIST. Winning Christ —

1. We gain a ransom for our souls.

2. A treasure. Solomon counted all that was in the world as two great cyphers — "vanity and vexation." But in Christ all is precious; grace, pardon, peace. They were purchased with precious blood (1 Peter 1:19); they are wrapped up in precious promises (2 Peter 1:4).

3. That which will turn everything to our advantage — "All things work together for good." This is the stone that turns all to gold.

4. A heirship.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I.IS GREAT GAIN.

II.IS THE NOBLEST OBJECT OF AMBITION.

III.IS WORTHY OF EVERY SACRIFICE.

IV.REQUIRES SELF-RENUNCIATION AND FAITH (ver. 9).

To the apostle Christ was —

I. So identified with the TRUTH, that when he gained Him he gained the highest knowledge.

II. So identified with the LIFE that when he gained Him he was endowed with the noblest form of it.

III. So identified with SPIRITUAL INFLUENCE, that when he gained Him his whole nature was filled with power and gladness.

(Professor Eadie.)

The world has ever shown curiosity with regard to the inner lives of its great men. Hence it is that few branches of literature are more popular than autobiographies. The Church shares this curiosity with regard to the eminent servants of Christ; and it has pleased God with regard to two of them to gratify this feeling. David and St. Paul are to us more than historic characters; we are admitted into the inner workings of their hearts. In the text we have the key and master spring of all the apostle's actions and motives.

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY WINNING CHRIST.

1. Remember that St. Paul did not write these words in the first fervour and flush of a new conversion. It often happens with new converts that their impressions and resolutions are like the early blossoms of spring, which perish in the bitter winds. When the apostle wrote these words he had been serving Christ for thirty years, and had derived no earthly advantage, but had suffered every earthly loss for Him. Can any votary of pleasure after thirty years' service of self, sin, and Satan say that there is nothing more he desires so much as a few more of those sinful gratifications?

2. That which was before St. Paul was not Christianity but Christ. There is a wide difference between a system and a Saviour, between abstract truth and a living, loving person. This is always the object which St. Paul sets before himself and his readers; hence the vital interest of his life and writings.

3. The apostle desires to win Christ and be found in Him. Here we have the key phrase of St. Paul's writings; but it is only a continuation of the Master's teaching (John 15)(1) This has reference to the believer's legal condition before God. By faith man becomes one in Christ, and when God looks upon him, He looks upon him as being "a man in Christ."(2) But this has also a moral reference, being quickened in Christ from the death of sin to the life of righteousness. There is a great distinction between all human morality and the morality of the gospel. Heathen morals are many of them very beautiful, but they lack the grand disideratum — the motive power. In the gospel we get not only perfect precepts, but the motive union with Christ. And there is this distinction. In ancient times there were thousands of followers of the systems of Aristotle or of Plato, but whoever heard of such an expression as "in Aristotle." Christ, however, is not an external teacher, but He is in me and I in Him, and so I have power to obey His law.

II. WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THIS.

1. The loss of all that St. Paul counted gain. If ever a man could have gone to heaven without Christ it was he. He was conscientious, earnest, and ecclesiastically all that could be required. He had a high position and brilliant prospects. But he gave up everything to come as you must come, an empty handed, empty hearted sinner to Christ. But besides self-righteousness and worldly advantages to be given up, a Christian must expect to bear ridicule and persecution.

2. But for all this loss he was amply compensated by the gaining of Christ. What will be the wealth of all the Indies to us when we come to die.

(Canon Miller.)

I. THE PERSON WHO WISHES TO WIN CHRIST. This coming from Paul awakens —

1. Admiration. What an instance of the influence of Divine grace I He had been Christ's bitterest foe. Here we see the prophecy fulfilled, "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree," etc.

2. Inquiry. Had not Paul won Him already? Yes, but his experience was the same as that of all other Christians in whom we find the good work begun but not completed. The Christian finds the war still going on in his members, desires a livelier assurance, wishes to grow in grace and to know more and more of Christ. It was exactly so with St. Paul.

II. THE VALUE OF THE PRIZE. Saints are said to be the excellent of the earth; but He is fairer than the children of men — "altogether lovely." They have some excellencies, He has all; theirs are derived, His original; theirs imperfect, His complete; theirs finite, His infinite. He is the fountain of life.

1. Are wisdom and knowledge valuable? In Him are hid all the treasures of them.

2. Are power and strength? "He giveth power to the weak."

3. Wealth? His are unsearchable riches.

4. Life? He that hath the Son hath life.

5. Peace? "In Me ye shall have peace."

6. Security? "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?" All this gain is to be reaped in life; but the believer gains much more by death: for then we shall awake in His likeness.

III. THE POSSIBILITY OF WINNING THIS PRIZE. To what purpose otherwise is its display? Two questions arise.

1. Am I now a partaker of Christ? Have you ever felt your need of Him, sought Him, received Him? Do you believe in His name, renounce every other foundation, build upon Him, place all your dependence in Him? Then you may claim all the benefits of His salvation as your own.

2. May I become a par taker of Him? "Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out." That you may win Him He sends forth His servants with invitations; He offers His blessings gratuitously; He throws a thousand impediments in your downward course, so that you may go to Him.

IV. THE DREADFULNESS OF LOSING THIS PRIZE. What would you do without Christ if you were to meet with —

1. Prosperity. If a Christian met with it, he would possess it with safeguards, receive it with thankfulness, use it with diligence, as a good steward. In a worldly man's hands it is as a razor in the hands of a child — "The prosperity of fools destroys them."

2. Adversity. The Christian in this has "the consolation of Israel," and has more left in Christ than he has lost; but the worldling loses all without compensation.

3. Death. Only the Christian can meet that with equanimity, for Christ has robbed it of its terrors.

4. The day of judgment.

(W. Jay.)

To win Christ is the supreme achievement of this life.

I. SUBSTITUTES FOR CHRIST. Some have one thing, and others another in His place. Paul had just enumerated several things, whose possession, while he was without Christ, gave him a certain sort of pleasure.

II. But CIRCUMSTANCES CHANGE THE VALUE OF THINGS.

III. THINGS HE HAD GAINED BY THE EXCHANGE.

IV. QUERIES OF PROFIT AND LOSS.

1. What is our gain without Christ?

2. What is our loss without Christ?

3. What must we lose to gain Christ?

4. What do we gain with Christ?

5. What must we do to win Christ?

6. What is the danger of losing Christ?

7. To what extent have we given up all things for Christ and the excellency of His knowledge?

(L. O. Thompson.)

is perfect security and consummate blessedness. The language suggests a goal and a starting post; that "I may win Christ," the goal or end I have been seeking to reach; that "I may be found in Him," ready not only for resistance to old adversaries, but for a new start and onward movement towards Divine perfection. Consider —

I. WHAT IT IS TO WIN CHRIST.

1. To count Him gain in opposition to what Paul once counted gain. There is an entirely new estimate of gain and loss. What is gain to me is what puts me on a right footing with God. Thus I once thought that my personal qualifications of birth, privilege, attainment might do. Now I see that for any such purpose they are worthless. In view of the end for which I once pressed then I now perceive Christ to be gain. There is much implied in your perceiving this.(1) You are in earnest as regards the end with reference to which you estimate what is gain (ver. 2). Is this so? Naturally it is not so. You care little about righting your position towards God; or is it your anxiety to stand well with Him?(2) If the latter, it is no wonder that what things were gain to you are now counted loss, for they seem but to aggravate your condition of wrong standing, however good they may be in a sense, and however you may multiply them.(3) But just as all else is thus felt to be worthless Christ is seen to be gain. What a relief to find in Christ the reconciler and the peacemaker; the justifier of the ungodly and the revealer of God. How thoroughly He meets our case. I see an instant end of the weary attempt to amend the old position, and a way wonderfully open for the immediate occupying of a new one.

2. Christ is coveted and sought as gain. It is not enough to count Christ as gain. This is often done by those who evince an unconquerable repugnance to accept the gospel. But Christ must be really and earnestly sought as well as desired.

3. Christ is appropriated as gain. It is for nothing short of this that you are called upon to count all things but loss. This is to be done by faith alone.

4. Christ is, won so as to be enjoyed as gain; and yet not as the miser wins wealth to hoard it, or the spendthrift to waste it, but for profitable use.

II. TO BE FOUND IN CHRIST is it the fitting sequel of winning Christ.

1. For defence, that I may meet every adversary.

2. To meet and obey the high calling of God, that I may press on. As one with Him I would know more of Him.

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

Paul had previously sheltered himself in fleshly confidence.

I. THE REFUGE.

1. There are many refuges of lies.(1) The refuge of wilful ignorance. "We are no scholars" is often only an excuse for negligence and indifference. Do they wish to know better? if not the excuse will not screen the sinner in the day of God's visitation.(2) The refuge of carnal ease. Many live as though there were only the body to care for, and cry, "Peace, when there is no peace." Remember the rich fool!(3) Worldly pleasure. This is the refuge of many of our youth particularly. But unblessed of God it is delusive and borders close on misery.(4) Self-righteousness, a house built on sand as Paul found it.(5) A hasty inconsiderate profession of religion from whatever motive.

2. Opposed to all this is Christ.

(1)In His person.

(2)In His love.

(3)In His offices and work.

II. THE BELIEVER'S SAFETY in it against —

1. The world.

2. The flesh.

3. The devil.Conclusion:

1. Abide in your refuge.

2. Welcome others to it.

(W. Mudge, B. A.)

According to the design of God the advantages and sacraments of the law are of no avail since the manifestation of His Son, and that those who now beguile themselves with them lose their time and their trouble, as completely as though, after the rising of the sun, they still used the light of a lamp; or as if, in the strength of manhood, a person were retained in all the exercises and sports of childhood.

(J. Daille.)

Even as a poor beggar discovering a rich mine or some vast treasures, is ready to leap for joy that he has found that which will make him rich forever; he casts away his former rags, he despises his former poor and wooden furniture, for he has discovered that which will enrich him and make his condition plentiful; so the soul to whom the Lord has made this rich, this excellent discovery of Christ, he has found a mine more precious than gold, and larger than all the face of the earth; he casts off the rags of his own righteousness; his former accomplishments are now but as a beggar's furniture; his heart is full of joy; he says, Rejoice, O, my soul; rejoice with me, my friends, for I have discovered the unsearchable riches of Christ.

(D. Clarkson, B. D.)

If the real worth and dignity of our knowledge in any department depend on the subject to which our thoughts are directed, it were easy to show that the religious peasant may find a nobler subject of thought in the structure of a flower, than the irreligious philosopher finds in the structure of a world!

(J. Buchanan, D. D.)

It is said of Phidias, the celebrated sculptor, that in preparing the design, and in executing the elaborate carving of the shield of Minerva, over the portico of the Acropolis of Athens, he so curiously wrought and intertwined his own name with the work, that it could not be obliterated or taken out anywhere without injuring the whole. So Jesus Christ cannot be taken away from any part of the system of Divine truth, without doing irreparable injury to the beauty and perfection of the whole Christian system — "for to Him gave all the prophets witness." Christ was typically seen in Melchesidec, King of Salem; in the binding of Isaac as a sacrifice; in the persecution of Joseph. There was a knowledge of Christ Jesus set forth in the paschal lamb, as eaten by the Israelites, and in the lifting up of the brazen serpent. Christ was painted in hieroglyphics and read by the Jews in all their ceremonial observances. Look in what varied views and degrees the ancient seers had an apprehension of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, for he was the Shiloh of departing Jacob; Isaiah's "Root of Jesse;" Jeremiah's "Branch;" Ezekiel's "Ruler among the people;" Haggai's "Desire of all nations;" Daniel's "Ancient of Days;" Zechariah's "Fountain;" and Malachi's "Sun of Righteousness." All these figures had their substance in their great Antitype. All their predictions had their measure of accomplishment in Jesus Christ. The writers of the Old and New Testaments are like the cherubim overshadowing the ark — face to face, and looking down at the propitiatory, which is Christ.

(J. Redford.)

When we are in the dark we are glad of candlelight, and glow worms will make a fair show in our eyes; but when the sun is risen and shines in his full strength, then candlelight seems needless or offensive, and the worms that glittered in the dark, made no better show than other vermin. So when men are in the state of nature and darkness, then their Church privileges and carnal prerogatives, then their outward performances and self-righteousness, make a fine show in their eyes. They are apt to glory in them, and rely on them, as that by which they may gain the favour of God and eternal life. Ay, but when Christ appears, when the Sun of Righteousness arises in the heart and discovers His excellency, His all-sufficiency, then a man's own sparks vanish; then all his formerly beloved and rich esteemed ornaments are cast off; then all he has, and all he has done, privileges and outward services, are loss and dung. None but Christ for pardon, acceptance, life. This is the excellent effect of this excellent knowledge.

(D. Clarkson, B. D.)

The practical applications and uses of this knowledge are as important as its direct and immediate influence on the mind. The least practical kind of knowledge is useful, if it raise the mind above those sordid tendencies to which ignorance is allied; but the knowledge of geometry is the more valuable by reason of its many useful applications to mechanical arts; and astronomy itself, the sublimest of all the sciences, by reason of the aids which it affords to the practical art of navigation. The spiritual astronomy, which points to Christ as the Morning Star, gives a directory also to guide our course amidst the storms and tempests of that voyage in which we are all embarked. It lays down for our guidance a clear, simple, and comprehensive rule for the whole conduct of life, marking out the end at which we should steadfastly aim, and the means by which we should seek to attain it: and it affords us the blessed assurance that Christ Himself will be our leader, and His Spirit our guide. It is applicable, not only for our direction in every condition of life, but also for our comfort and support in the hour of trial: imparting those blessed consolations which the world can neither give nor take away; and even, in the hour of death, when all other knowledge fails, and leaves the soul to sink alone and unbefriended into eternity, this knowledge gives us that hope which is an anchor, sure and stedfast, entering into that which is within the veil.

(J. Buchanan, B. D.)

One night an inquirer, long under deep conviction, but still unsaved, dreamt that he was walking along the edge of a terrible precipice, and fell over it into a terrible abyss. As he was failing he grasped a little branch of some bush that was growing halfway down. There he hung and cried for help. He could feel the branch giving way. He looked into the black yawning gulf beneath, and again cried out for help. Looking up he saw, in his dream, Christ standing on the edge, and saying, "Let go the twig and I will save you." Looking at the terrible abyss below, he could not. He cried again; and again came the same answer. At length he felt the branch slipping, and, in the utter desperateness of his despair, he let go the branch — when, lo! in an instant, the arms of Jesus were about him, and he was safe. He awoke. It was but a dream of the night. Yet from the vividness and instructiveness of its imagery, he was enabled to let go every false confidence and rely only on the true. Would that every anxious soul would go and do like wise!

(J. L. Nye.)

If we rightly reject the world it is because, in the pure processes of our spirit, we have taken from it its nutriment. And, therefore, viewing what was in Christ as in comparison with Judaism, Paul felt that the old forms and types and usages were now as the refuse which the spirit had put away on receiving for itself, and appropriating for its full health and growth and nutriment, Christ's revelation.

(T. T. Lynch.)

Men who have made the greatest sacrifices for the cause of Christ have hardly been conscious of them. So Livingstone, as late as 1857, said, "I never made a sacrifice;" and Hudson Taylor, the leader of the China Inland Mission, has publicly made the same statement of himself. It was in this spirit that Samuel Rutherford said, "The Cross of Christ is the sweetest burden I ever bore; it is such a burden as wings are to a bird, or as sails are to a ship."

(J. F. B. Tinling, B. A.)

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