Summary: Jesus is Lord, and I want to know Him, more and more every day. What about you?
We’ve been moving through the book of Philippians and are halfway through the letter now. Paul writes this letter while in prison for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. I’d like us to watch a short clip of Paul as he addresses the church. Watch and listen to him as he reminds us of Who it is that he is teaching about…(video clip – Peter Vik)
Today we move into chapter 3, and I want us to pay special attention for what it is that we all need to have as our main goal in life…(Graham h. to read scripture)
Philippians 3:1-11 (New International Version)
No Confidence in the Flesh
1Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
2Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
v.1 – Paul has been giving much instruction on how to live in humility, with Christ as our example. He has taught that we should not only expect good things in our lives as followers of Christ, but we should also expect to suffer in life as well (as Jesus did). He’s told us we should not argue or complain…about anything. He has affirmed the promise that God will complete the work that He Himself started in us, that is our salvation. And he has reminded us about the importance of relationships, with each other, and especially our relationship to Christ.
And so Paul comes to this point in the letter, and seems like he is about to being it to a close with the phrase, ‘finally’. But like a sermon on Sunday mornings sometimes, the final point can bring with it a few sub-points; and the sermon goes on for a little longer, just when you thought it was almost finished. But the sub-points in the conclusion can often be as or even more important than what we’ve heard so far. We are brought to attention again, and the focus at this point in Paul’s letter is…rejoicing!
How often to we have to be reminded to ‘rejoice’, be happy, celebrate, turn that frown upside-down, get up and dance, have a good time, and tell others why you’re happy? Is it predestined for Christians to be glum, sad, down-in-the-mouth, grovelling, walk all over us, kind of people? Why, of all people, it is those who have found new life in Christ who have reason to celebrate, to be full of joy, to have a kind of ‘glow’ about them. We are SAVED, how good is that? It’s GREAT, it’s AWESOME, it’s something worth rejoicing about!!! Look ahead at chapter 4:4, rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS, and I say it again, REJOICE! Be glad, be happy, let it out, let others see it in you and in the way you live.
Then in verse 2, Paul gives another warning. This is the continuing message, the ongoing sermon. Some theologians feel this may actually be a separate letter written to the Philippian church, but at around the same time, thus put together as we see it in our bible today. Regardless, it is definitely of Paul, and it is definitely a message we need to heed to.
He warns of the ‘dogs’. These were the Judaizers of that day. Those who taught that believing in Jesus and trusting in Him was not enough; one must ALSO be circumcised, follow the law, and work for their salvation, when it is CHRIST ALONE that we need, nothing more, nothing less. We are saved by grace, it is a gift from God, so that we cannot boast about what WE’VE done for our salvation, but boast only in what CHRIST HAS DONE to save us!