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Summary: TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF (PHILIPPIANS 3)

TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF (PHILIPPIANS 3)

A Protestant moved into a completely Catholic community. Being good Catholics they welcomed him into their community. But, also because they were good Catholics they did not eat red meat on Fridays. So when their neighbor began barbecuing some juicy steak on Friday night, they began to squirm. They were so annoyed that they went to talk to him about it. After much talk they convinced him to become Catholic. The next Sunday he went to the priest and the priest sprinkled holy water on him and said, “You were born Protestant. You were raised Protestant. But now you are Catholic.”

And so, the next Friday, as the neighbors sat down to eat their fish, they were disturbed by the smell of roast beef coming from the neighboring house. They went over to talk to the new Catholic because he knew he was not supposed to eat beef on Fridays. When they saw him, he was sprinkling ketchup on the beef saying, “You were born a cow. You were raised a cow. But now you are fish.”

Is the change in your life sudden, slow, superficial, stable or Scriptural?

Paul was at the pinnacle of his success, the peak of his potential and the prime of life when he met Jesus and accepted Christ. The two brothers Peter and Andrew left their nets, and followed Jesus (Matt 4:18-20) while James and his brother John immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Jesus (Matt 4:21-22). Zacchaeus, on the other hand, gave half of his goods the poor; and was willing to restore fourfold those he wronged or defrauded (Luke 19:8). Paul followed Jesus as all other disciples would: forsake their all, follow the Lord and further His kingdom.

What kind of values does God require from His children and disciples? How do we as believers grow in Him? Why is His path for us a reason to rejoice and not regret?

Let Go: Be Up to Date

1 Further, my brothers and sisters, 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. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised 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; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and 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 on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

THE OLD THE NEW

Slaves Sons

Schoolmaster (Gal 3:23) Savior

Laws Love Gal 5:14

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Sacrifices Sacrifice

Rom 8:2

law of sin and death Rom 8:2

law of the Spirit of life in Christ

Written in stones Written in their hearts Heb 10:16

I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them

Rejoice (v 1) means glad (Mark 14:11) and God speed (2 John 10). The verb “rejoice” occurs nine times in the book (1:18 twice, 2:17, 18, 28, 3:1, 4:4 twice, 10), more than any epistle, four times as imperative (2:18, 3:1, 4:4 twice). Paul uses the imperative present for “rejoice” six times in his letters (2 Cor 13:11, 1 Thess 5:16), four in Philippians alone - all present tense imperatives, occurring, ongoing, on and on. The themes and tone of the rest of the chapter is serious, but Paul did it with a smile because he was not afraid, abandoned or alone. Also Paul wrote the rest of the chapter out of cheer, calm and contentment.

The verb “watch out” (blepo) is translated as look (Matt 5:28), see (Matt 6:4), behold (Matt 7:3), take heed (Matt 24:4) and perceive (2 Cor 7:8). Have you noticed how many times he repeated the verb? It is also an imperative but of the strangest, sharpest and sternest type, with three imperatives of the same word in one verse. There are only twelve verses in Paul’s letters with three or more imperatives in one verse, but only one is repeated another two times same verb. It is to be watchful, to be warned and to be wise. For these evildoers, mutilators and Judaizers, circumcision was the prerequisite, path and pinnacle of faith. True circumcision is not based on confidence in the flesh, which results in futility, failure and fatigue. The verb “confidence” occurs twice (vv 3, 4) and the noun once (v 4). It is translated as persuade (Matt 27:20), trust (Matt 27:43), obey (Acts 5:36), believe (Acts 28:24) and assure (1 John 3:19). It means dependence on our ancestry, appearance, achievement, ability or advantage. It makes one feel superior, self-centered and smug with race, refinement or righteousness.

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