The first Friday of each month, I lead a Bible study for a small group of ladies. We are working our way through Philippians. This month we studied chapter 3. If you're interested, you can go back and read our study outlines from chapters 1 and 2 as well.
Confidence in Christ, not Flesh - 3:1-11
Verses 1-11 Shows how the confidence of a Christian should not be the result of things we DO, but rather from our relationship with Christ and Him alone.
- Judaisers teaching falsely that Gentiles must be circumcised in order to receive God’s salvation.
- The true meaning of circumcision in this passage is not a literal cutting of a piece of flesh, but rather a spiritual cutting of the heart which reveals believers their need for a Savior. Confidence of salvation cannot be placed in something physical, like circumcision, but only in the work of Christ. When Christ came, he freed us from the bondage of doing and offered us a relationship with Him.
- If anyone had reason to boast in the flesh, it was Paul. He followed the law perfectly, but it did not save him. He was not saved until He came face-to-face with Christ.
- Paul calls all those “things” rubbish/dung/garbage (vs. 8).
- Righteousness comes from faith in Christ, not the law (vs. 9).
- KNOW Christ and BECOME like Him (vs. 10).
Application: Am I more centered on DOING (following rules and doing things to “serve”) rather than BEING in relationship with Christ?
- Focus on knowing Christ and becoming like Him. This is harder than doing, because this requires us to be still, listen, and come face-to-face with God. Doing is easy because we can stay busy, preoccupied with ourselves and others and avoid God altogether if we are not careful.
Goals With an Eternal Focus
Verses 12-21 - Teaches us how to press on toward eternally focused goals.
Verse 12 - Christ has made me his own and therefore I will keep pressing forward.
Verses 13-14 - Forget the past because it is paid for, done, and settled. Dwelling on past (forgiven) sin will only hinder you and hold you back from reaching the goals Christ has for your life.
Verses 15-16 - Christians who still beat themselves up about their pasts are immature. Mature believers recognize their past is covered by the blood of Jesus and press on to live victorious lives for Christ.
Verse 17 - Paul followed Christ’s example. Look for people around you who are following Christ and learn from them (but give them grace because they are not perfect). Strive to be a follower of Christ so someone else can live by your example as well.
Verses 18-19 - We live in a world with many “enemies of the cross” who do not follow Christ. Their life’s focus is on the here and now rather than God’s eternal Kingdom.
Verses 20-21 - Paul reminds us not to live with our focus on earthly things because this is not our forever home. Our earthly sinful bodies will one day transform into heavenly glorious bodies. A body no longer affected by the curse of sin, which means it will not give into weakness, death, decay, or sin.
Application: Am I more centered on earthly or eternal goals?
- How do I spend my time and money? What do I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about and actually doing?