Joy of Knowing Christ Part 2

October 16, 2004 Philippians 3:1-16

I.  The Character of True Believers – 3:1-3

-  when Paul used the word "finally," he was simply saying   "furthermore" or "in addition" to what I have already said about unity, being a servant, about the life of Christ, etc. . . .

-  Let’s review the first two of the 5 qualities of true believers:

A.  True believers rejoice in the Lord – 3:1

>  At the heart of the attack of false teachers is an attempt to undermine Who our Savior and Lord is and what He has done

Point:  We as believers should acknowledge our oneness in Christ and should not permit our unity in the body of Christ to be undermined by enemies of the Truth!

- Our joy is rooted in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ– the Psalmist put it this way:

  • Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

- One of the problems is that people want to find their joy in things that are temporal – that pass away with time – rather than in the eternal Son of God!

- it’s not logical is it?

B.  True believers exercise discernment – 3:2

- we are to beware = to continually be on the lookout for false teaching

CAUTION:  A stern word of rebuke to help prevent spiritual failure is not necessarily a sign of a lack of love – instead, it can be the most loving thing to do (Jesus spoke the truth/rebukes)!

- the enemy:  Judaizers

Input:  Who can tell me what the Judaizers taught?  What was their false teaching?

>  they were Jewish legalists who denied the gospel of grace & taught that circumcision & keeping the Law of Moses were necessary for salvation (Acts 15:1)

- Paul calls them: dogs / evil workers / false circumcision – strong words!

- the Jerusalem Council condemned their heretical teaching (Acts 15:2-29)

> Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone!

Input: What verses come to your mind that would support statement?

Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5

C.  True believers worship in the Spirit – 3:3a

- he does not depend on good works – that's only of the flesh

- true Christian worship is Holy Spirit-guided – i.e. the Spirit's work on the heart (inner man)

- we have to connect v. 3 w/ v. 1  because they could only rejoice in the Lord as a result of the Spirit's work – that’s one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit – JOY!

D.  True believers glory in Christ Jesus – 3:3b

glory = boast, take pride in; rejoice, be glad . . . IN CHRIST!

Q: Why?  -- go back to 2:5-11 – explains it all!!

- proper boasting focuses entirely on Jesus, the Anointed  Savior -- on His person and work - they glory in the cross and the free gift of salvation

- their "religion" is Christ-centered and grace-centered not man centered and works centered!

cf. 1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Cf. Galatians 6:14 – what do you boast in?

E.  True believers put no confidence in the flesh – 3:3c

- i.e. the "flesh" cannot, does not, will not ever be in a  position to give us confidence regarding any spiritual  issue

  • John 6:63 It is the Spirit that makes alive, the flesh profits nothing . . .

- Paul goes into an in-depth explanation of the ‘confidence in the flesh’ issue – if anyone could do that, it would be him, not the Judaizers – he lays out . . . .

II.  The Reality of True Righteousness – 3:4-11 [consider these quickly]

A.  Impressive profiles don’t matter! – v. 4-6

1. Circumcised the eighth day– just as the Law commanded (Lev. 12:3) – just like Isaac (Gen. 21:4 – just like Jesus (Luke 2:21)

- thats what the Judaizer's emphasized as a very important "work" in order to earn salvation.

- of course that wouldn't have been true of some of the Judaizers

- some of them would have been "converted" to Judaism as adults, and therefore would have been circumcised as adults...(he was circumcised of the eighth day)

2. Hebrew of the Hebrews

- if anyone had a right to throw around the issue of heritage and birthright... - it was Paul.

- he qualifies/explains that with the following statements: He was born . . .

a.  of the nation of Israel(he was no proselyte Jew - HE WAS THE REAL THING)

b.  of the tribe of Benjamin(the son of Jacob & his wife Rachael, the tribe were strong warriors, Mordecai who advised Esther was a Benjamite!

3.  A keeper of the lawa Pharisee (positive use here – he was communicating the fact that he was not rebellious, or lawless)

4.  A persecutor of the church

- many Jews could boast of their heritage, but Paul could even boast of how he fought against Israel's enemies, those "Christians"

Warren Wiersbe:  It is not enough to believe the truth; a man must also oppose lies. Paul defended his orthodox faith by persecuting the church….Every Jew could boast of his own blood heritage. Some Jews could boast of their faithfulness to the Jewish religion. But Paul could boast of those things plus his zeal for persecuting the church.

5.  Blameless when compared to God's law.

Point:  Humanly speaking, Paul was the complete package . . . but keep reading!

- Now he's going to tell us what he did with those reasons – from an accounting perspective:

B.  True righteousness is found only in Christ! – 3:7-9

- v. 8 (twice):  "I count all things to be loss..."  /  "I count them but rubbish..."

> that’s why Paul emphasizes in v. 8 “. . .in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord!”

- in one fell swoop, Paul completely changed the way he thought about those things he had used as a defense of his righteousness

Quote: Man at his best is at best a man!

>  that’s one of the reasons we place such an emphasis on sin, to jar men and women out of their self-righteousness

>  that’s why we want to have events like the Passion Play / Living Nativity

<  that’s what’s motivating the Community Center  - to help us focus on the cross...and remember that that is the only way to be reconciled to God.

C.  We can know Christ in a personal and practical way – 3:10-11

- Paul says, “that I may know Him”

- Paul had spent so many years being "full of himself," now it was time to empty himself and be filled with the knowledge of his Savior.

- that's what he counted as worthwhile- that's what he wanted to learn about, and focus on

Warren Wiersbe said of these verses - "When he was living under the law, all Paul had was a set of rules. But now he had a Friend, a Master, a constant Companion."

- Paul develops this idea in verse 10

1. the power of his resurrection(the most significant event in history – grand demonstration of the deity of Christ and the power of God – to overcome death, hell, and the grave!)

2. the fellowship of his sufferings(same word: to share in, participate in His sufferings)

3. being made conformable to his death– described in 2:5-11 [that is a process – not a one time act – progressive sanctification]

III. The Pursuit of the True Prize – 3:12-16

A. Starts with forgetting the past

- he probably has in mind all the things he mentioned in verses 4-6, and even the good things he's done since coming to Christ.

- he's not talking about passively forgetting them... instead, he has a conscious refusal to let his past accomplishments absorb his attention and impede his progress (Homer Kent)

B. Requires a high priority

- this emphasis comes through in several places:

  • v. 12 press on so that ....
  • v. 13 reaching forward ...
  • v. 14 I press on toward ...

prize= the crown of righteousness

C.  Even if you are maturing, keep heading down this path!

1.  You are never too mature – v. 15

- never get to the place of not needing to grow

- Romans 6 – positional holiness vs. practical holiness (the process of being conformed to the image of Christ!)

2.  Live up to the truth you already know – v. 16

  • Hebrews 5:12-14  12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.