Bible Reading Thoughts

Philippians Chapter 3

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on Philippians. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

As we read Philippians Chapter 3 we will see Paul express his deep desire is not merely for life in the future, but an ongoing daily experience with God. A full and abundant life now and forever.

Philippians 3:1-21 (NIV)
1 Finally, 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. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For 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– 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has 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 legalistic righteousness, faultless. 7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What 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 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 and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. 17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Philippians 3:1

In our study of Philippians we have said that joy is a recurring theme for the Apostle Paul. As the people of God we are to be joyful. I don’t mean that we are supposed to run around pretending that we are happy all the time, but the understanding that God loves us and that Jesus is coming back for us is supposed to help us to always experience a measure of joy, regardless of the circumstances in our lives. And yet, many Christians are not experiencing a lot of joy. The reality of living in a fallen world on a broken planet can really cause us to lose our focus. There are a lot of potential kill-joys in our lives.

Philippians 3:1 (NIV)
1 Finally, 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.

Paul gives us some safeguards for being joyful here in Chapter 3

Philippians 3:2-6

Watch out for the Pharisee in me

Philippians 3:2-6 (NIV)
2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For 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– 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has 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 legalistic righteousness, faultless.

In verses 2 through 6, Paul talks about big problems of Phariseeism. Phariseeism, my word for legalism, is a serious kill joy. The bottom line of Phariseeism is that it corrupts the focus of your life. Instead of focusing on all that God has done for you, your focus shifts on to what you have to do for God. You get trapped into trying to live by rules and regulations, instead of living by doing the next right thing. This has been a problem for people for thousands of years. It would be easy to write the Pharisees off as evil, and yet they started out with good intent. They wanted to keep Judaism from being morphed by the Greek culture. And yet, over time in their attempts to do that, they started adding more and more rules and regulations. What they lost, was the idea of grace. Without grace there can be no joy.

How do we know when we are moving into Phariseeism? We get very self-righteous. We start to compare our selves to others with that little Steveism I introduced to you some time ago called the sin scale. Rather than loving people, we start judging them. As we have discussed before, true righteousness sees the beauty of people’s potential, is full of grace, and is displayed in love.

Philippians 3:7-9

Profit and loss

Philippians 3:7-9 (NIV)
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What 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 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 and is by faith.

Another big kill-joy is getting our priorities upside down. We need to consider like Paul did, what is profit and what is loss. What is really important in life? For many people, there is no joy because they are living with there priorities all messed up. Are you more focused on the temporary or the eternal? Have you considered what is really going to last? What lasts forever? Your relationship with God and your relationship with other believers. Since these are the things that last forever, doesn’t it make sense that these are the areas in our lives that should be a priority?

Philippians 3:10-11

I want to know Christ

Philippians 3:10a (NIV)
10 I want to know Christ

To maintain your joy, to be joy full, your number one goal in life needs to be to know Christ. To know Him more. To know Him better. How do you do that?

Spend time with Him. Get connected in prayer. Read, study and memorize His word. Be thankful for five things everyday. Encourage two people. It is only in Him that we ever experience the type of joy filled life that we were created for.

Philippians 3:12-19

Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Another serious kill joy is being stuck in your past. I talk to a lot of people who are stuck in their past. Stuck in their guilt, shame, anger, and hurt. Their perspective on life is passed through a series of old dead filters from old dead living.

People stuck in yesterday, stuck in all the bad things they have done and all the bad things that have happened to them, don’t live. You can’t change yesterday.

The only thing that yesterday can help you with is to hopefully teach you about what you should do differently today. But you are not living if you are stuck in your past.

Paul is saying, I am not perfect, but I am not going to live in what is behind, I am going to press on to what God has called me to in Christ. My perspective is not behind, my perspective for life is in Him.

Philippians 3:20-21

In Jesus, we have life now and forever. We are citizens of heaven, and one day soon Jesus is coming back for us. Until He does, redeem the time wisely. Watch out for the trap of Phariseeism, keep a close eye on your priorities, don’t get stuck in the guilt and shame of your past, and above all get to know Christ better. That is where we experience a joyful life.

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