Mar 15th, 2020
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 69 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes, or so, we are going to be talking about … well, it's hard to put it into words.
You know, you don’t hear it as much anymore as you did before, but you guys remember the YOLO craze, right? It hit the internet in 2012 and proliferated into everyday life with the acronym showing up on merchandise in Walgreens and Macy’s. Wikipedia compares it to Latin phrases like carpe diem, which means “seize the day,” and momento mori, which directly translated is “remember to die,” but in common usage would be understood to be something along the lines of “remember that you have to die.” If you ask me, YOLO is basically the millennial “hold my beer” invoked when you’re going to do something you know is stupid.
However, in this episode, we are going to take this idea of only living once and examine it from a more enlightened and Biblical perspective (yep, that sounded just as pretentious as I thought it would). In the last episode, we talked about the issue of storing up things here on Earth instead of storing up treasure in Heaven. Basically, taking your eyes off of eternity, worshipping self as an idol instead of worshipping God. The idea there being to not focus on the temporary things of this Earth and focus on God and eternity. And physically this is true, but spiritually we have to recognize that we only have this one life to affect change and inspire life in those within our spheres of influence.
In the American Revolutionary War, there was a gentleman by the name of Nathan Hale who was executed by British Soldiers for being a spy. Before they hung him, his recorded last words were, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” His allegiance is admirable and this sentiment of a longing to give your life for something bigger than yourself is one that everyone can relate to at some point in their life. In Philippians 2:17 CSB Paul put it this way, “ Even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrificial service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.”
When the Jews read this phrase, it would have conjured up images of the blood of a sacrifice being poured at the foot of the altar in offering to The Lord. However, Paul’s ministry wasn’t to the Jews, but to Gentiles and converts to The Way. So, in this context, a “drink offering” is exactly what it sounds like. The modern practice of pouring one out for a fallen brother when drinking a toast isn’t as modern as it sounds. This is what Paul is saying he is willing to do with his life if it means bolstering the faith of fellow believers and furthering the cause of the Gospel. He says, even if I must relegate myself to an empty chair at your gatherings, so you can grow in your faith and spread the Gospel… Then bring it on! Paul had fully embraced carpe diem, his bio on his social media read momento mori, he had become the CEO of YOLO.
I’ve talked to so many that are serving The Lord with everything in them. Their volunteering at weekend services at their church, when they get a paycheck-they’re paying their tithe, they’ve gone on missions’ trips, volunteered at food pantries, even devoted themselves to religious studies or gone to seminary. We have to be careful, though, to bear in mind why we're doing what we do. In Philippians 3:7-9 CSB Paul says, “ But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ.  More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith.”
Paul had studied the scriptures from a young age, volunteered countless hours in the temple, gone on pilgrimages to spread the law to the furthest reaches of the known world. He had become a man of great stature before he had the revelation that everything he had done “for God” was done in honor of himself. Everything he had done was to prove his worth to God and man. He goes so far as calling his work dung when compared to knowing Christ and the work of Christ. This statement in verse 8 of Philippians 3 would have shook any first-century church reader. You don’t understand what Paul is saying. The word Paul chooses here, translated as dung, it’s only used one time in all of scripture, and there’s a good reason for that. The word in the Greek is:
G4657 σκύβαλον skubalon skoo'-bal-on Neuter of a presumed derivative of G1519 and G2965 and G906; what is thrown to the dogs, that is, refuse (ordure): - dung.
Except, that’s a very clean and polished definition. The reason this word is only used once in all of scripture is because it’s an invective, an expletive, a cuss, a swear, it is foul language. The kind of word you hope your momma doesn’t find out that you use. The closest modern word we have in English to equate with this word is from the acronym Stow High In Transit. S.H.I.T. Knowing what Paul is really saying, you can almost feel his disgust, almost taste the bile in his mouth as he recalls the show he’s put on elevating himself instead of Christ. I count it all as dung (I’m not going to use the actual word).
You Only Live Once, and then you face judgment and eternity. Do you want to stand at the judgment, Christ at your side, with crap in your hands to offer your savior? Do you want only dung to throw at the feet of The King of Kings, and The Lord of Lords? What’s a believer to do then?
Paul goes on in Philippians 3:10 CSB, to say, “ My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death,” YOLO in pursuit of knowing Christ and the power of his resurrection. Carpe diem without fear of living in fellowship with the sufferings of Christ. Momento mori in dying to self. All in the hope that on the day that The Lord returns as Paul puts it in verse 11 of Philippians 3, we will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”