01 January 15, 2012 Philippians, Chapter 3 Verse 4


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01 January 15, 2012 Philippians, Chapter 3 Verse 4

  2. 2. Please began communicating to your class this week that a member of the Pastor Search Committee will be visiting in the class next Sunday, January 29th.  A card will be mailed to the class teacher with the time slot they will be in the class, so you can prepare your lesson time around them.
  3. 3. Exodus 19:19 “ Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder .”
  4. 4. Job 26:14 “ His mighty  thunder , who can understand?”
  5. 5. Job 37:2 “ Listen closely to the  thunder  of His voice”
  6. 6. Job 37:4 “ He  thunder s with His majestic voice, And He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard.”
  7. 7. Job 37:5 “ God  thunder s with His voice wondrously, doing great things which we cannot comprehend.”
  8. 8. Psalm 29:3 “ The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; The God of glory  thunder s!”
  9. 9. "Our God Is An Awesome God" “ There's thunder in His footsteps  And lightning in His fists” 
  10. 10. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Copyright © Moody Press and John MacArthur, Jr., 1983-2007.
  11. 11. Philippians 3:4b “ If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more.”
  12. 12. *Paul’s Jewish credentials were impeccable, easily surpassing those of the Judaizers. *He knew firsthand all that Judaism had to offer.
  13. 13. Describing his life before his conversion, Paul wrote, "I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more
  14. 14. extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions" (Gal 1:14). *In today's jargon, he said, " been there . . . done that ."
  15. 15. If anyone could have achieved salvation by self-effort, it would have been Paul.
  16. 16. His impressive credentials enabled him to declare emphatically: “ I myself might have confidence even in the flesh.
  17. 17. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more.” Philippians 3:4
  18. 18. Paul did not make that seemingly prideful statement to boost his ego, or to claim spiritual superiority over others.
  19. 19. He understood the foolishness of boasting , and did so only for the sake of refuting the Judaizers.
  20. 20. As he did in the situation in Corinth (2 Cor 11:16-12:1), Paul sets forth his own credentials to counter his opponents' foolish arguments.
  21. 21. Paul's testimony may be divided into two parts , based on the accounting terminology in verses 7 and 8 noted earlier.
  22. 22. The apostle first lists those things that he once imagined to be in the spiritual profit column , purchasing eternal life for him, but which in reality
  23. 23. were in the loss column , damning him. *That column might be titled “ Religious Credits that do not Impress God ."
  24. 24. The true spiritual profit column might be headed “ The Surpassing Benefits of Knowing Christ ."
  25. 25. RELIGIOUS CREDITS THAT DO NOT IMPRESS GOD Philippians 3:5-6 “ circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew
  26. 26. of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.” Phil 3:5-6
  27. 27. Paul lists seven items that he once put in his spiritual profit column , but now places in his loss column .
  28. 28. When he understood the Gospel of Christ, the apostle realized that all of these credentials, achievements, privileges, and rights were worthless .
  29. 29. Paul is not saying that they are of no social, cultural, educational, or historical value.
  30. 30. Instead, he is saying that they are of no value for salvation ; they could not save him or anyone else.
  31. 31. SALVATION IS NOT BY RITUAL “ circumcised the eighth day”, (Philippians 3:5a)
  32. 32. Paul begins with circumcision because that was the major issue for the Judaizers (Acts 15:1; Gal 6:12-13).
  33. 33. The apostle went through the defining rite of Judaism (Gen 17:10-12; Lev 12:3) when he was circumcised the eighth day after his birth.
  34. 34. The Greek text literally reads, "with respect to circumcision an eighth-dayer ."
  35. 35. Unlike some of the Judaizers, Paul was not a Gentile proselyte to Judaism.
  36. 36. He was a Jew by birth and followed the Jewish rituals from the beginning.
  37. 37. At the proper time , he had gone through the ceremony that initiated him into the covenant people.
  38. 38. He, like most Jews, had long forgotten that circumcision was to depict in a dramatic way how sinful and in need of cleansing people are, and had made that surgery a
  39. 39. badge of righteousness.
  40. 40. Yet Paul includes circumcision , the most essential rite in Judaism, in his spiritual loss column .
  41. 41. Salvation does not come by any ritual or ceremony, whether Jewish circumcision, infant or adult baptism, or the observance of the Lord's Supper.
  42. 42. SALVATION IS NOT BY RACE “ of the nation of Israel,” Philippians 3:5b
  43. 43. Paul's declaration that he was of the nation of Israel supports the idea that some of the Judaizers were Gentile converts to Judaism.
  44. 44. But Paul was by birth a member of God's chosen people, of whom God declared, "You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth“.
  45. 45. He inherited all the blessings of being part of the covenant nation .
  46. 46. Paul was a physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — a heritage that the Jewish people relied on, along with circumcision , for salvation .
  47. 47. But racial heritage, like circumcision, is unable to save anyone; no standing with God is gained by birth (but by rebirth !).
  48. 48. SALVATION IS NOT BY RANK “ of the tribe of Benjamin,’ Philippians 3:5c
  49. 49. Another of Paul's seemingly impressive credentials was that he was a member of the tribe of Benjamin , one of the most prominent tribes in Israel.
  50. 50. Benjamin was the younger of the two sons born to Jacob's favorite wife, Rachel .
  51. 51. He was also the last of Jacob's sons to be born and the only one born in the Promised Land .
  52. 52. *Saul, Israel's first king , was a member of the tribe of Benjamin. *Saul of the OT contrasted with Saul of the NT. *Driven (vs) Called!
  53. 53. When the Promised Land was divided among the twelve tribes, the holy city of Jerusalem was included in Benjamin's territory (Judges 1:21).
  54. 54. When the kingdom split after Solomon's death, only Benjamin and Judah remained loyal to the Davidic dynasty.
  55. 55. The great leader Mordecai, used by God along with Esther to save the Jews from genocide , was also from the tribe of Benjamin (Esther 2:5).
  56. 56. Thus, the tribe of Benjamin was one of the most noble in Israel .
  57. 57. *By Paul's day, many Jews no longer knew what tribe they belonged to. *Intermarriage during the years of exile had blurred the tribal lines .
  58. 58. But Paul's family had remained pure Benjamites .
  59. 59. That again elevated him above some of the Judaizers, who probably did not even know their tribal descent.
  60. 60. *But Paul's privileged status as a Benjamite did not impress God . *Family status has nothing to do with salvation.
  61. 61. SALVATION IS NOT BY TRADITION “ a Hebrew of Hebrews;” Philippians 3:5d
  62. 62. Paul did not personally contribute anything to earn the first three privileges on his list, but inherited them from his parents (circumcised the eighth day,
  63. 63. of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin). *The last four are things that he himself achieved.
  64. 64. The apostle's claim to be a Hebrew of Hebrews is best understood as a declaration that as he grew to manhood Paul strictly maintained his family's traditional Jewish
  65. 65. heritage. *He was born in Tarsus, a city in Asia Minor, not in Israel.
  66. 66. But unlike many Jews in the Diaspora (dispersion), Paul remained firmly committed to the language, orthodox traditions, and customs of his ancestors.
  67. 67. He did not become a Hellenized Jew ( Acts 6:1; 9:29), one who had been assimilated into the Greco-Roman culture.
  68. 68. Instead, Paul left Tarsus for Jerusalem to study under the famous rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3; 26:4).
  69. 69. *Paul's zealous devotion to his Jewish heritage was widely known . *Yet after he saw the glory of Christ, it became merely one more item transferred
  70. 70. from the gain to the loss column .
  71. 71. SALVATION IS NOT BY RELIGION “ as to the Law, a Pharisee;” Philippians 3:5e
  72. 72. *Paul pursued his Jewish heritage to the extreme . *He was so zealous for the Law that he became a Pharisee .
  73. 73. To the Sanhedrin Paul declared, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees " (Acts 23:6).
  74. 74. At his hearing before Agrippa, Paul testified, "I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion" (Acts 26:5).
  75. 75. *To become a Pharisee was to reach the highest level in devout, legalistic Judaism. *The Pharisees were supremely devoted to the Law, including the Old
  76. 76. Testament and all the traditions that had been added to it.
  77. 77. Jesus said they had actually substituted those traditions for the Law of God (Matt 15:1-9).
  78. 78. The word Pharisee probably derives from a Hebrew verb meaning " to separate ," signifying that they were set apart to the Law.
  79. 79. The origin of the Pharisees is not known for certain, but the sect probably arose formally during the intertestamental period.
  80. 80. It had been developing since Ezra's time when the concern for God's law was revived (Neh 8:1-8).
  81. 81. Although relatively few in number (the first-century Jewish writer Josephus estimated their number at 6,000 ), they had the greatest religious influence
  82. 82. on the common people.
  83. 83. To be a Pharisee was to be a member of an elite, influential, and highly respected group of men who fastidiously lived to
  84. 84. know, interpret, guard, and obey the Law.
  85. 85. Paul's cherished status as a Pharisee was but one more item in his spiritual loss column .
  86. 86. No priest, monk, theological scholar, or member of a devout sect can achieve salvation by such involvement.
  87. 87. SALVATION IS NOT BY SINCERITY Philippians 3:6 “ as to zeal, a persecutor of the church;” (3:6a)
  88. 88. As further evidence of his zeal for his Jewish heritage, Paul confessed that he had been a persecutor of the church.
  89. 89. The Jews viewed zeal as the supreme religious virtue .
  90. 90. *It is a two-sided coin; one side is love , the other hate . *To be zealous is to love God and hate what offends Him.
  91. 91. Paul's zealous but misguided love for God caused him to hate and persecute Christianity.
  92. 92. Vance Havner said: “ these are the days of guided missiles and misguided men.”
  93. 93. *In terms of zeal, Paul went the Judaizers one better . *They only proselytized the church; he had persecuted it.
  94. 94. His zeal for God led him to relentlessly, unsparingly, and mercilessly try to stamp out Christianity.
  95. 95. *Paul was sincere, but sincerely wrong . *The world is full of people who, like Paul, are sincere in their religious beliefs. .
  96. 96. They will make any effort, pay any price, and sacrifice anything in their attempts to please God (in the flesh).
  97. 97. They may be devout, orthodox Jews or Protestants who are heavily involved in church services and ceremonies.
  98. 98. *They may pray, fast, or live in poverty, and seek to do human good. *But religious zeal guarantees nothing .
  99. 99. *Those people can be absolutely wrong . *When Paul faced the reality of Jesus Christ, the zealous persecutor of the
  100. 100. church realized that his misguided zeal was a spiritual killer and belonged in the spiritual loss column .
  101. 101. SALVATION IS NOT BY LEGALISTIC RIGHTEOUSNESS “ as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.” (3:6b)
  102. 102. Before his conversion Paul outwardly conformed to the righteousness which is in the Law .
  103. 103. *Those who observed his life would have found his behavior blameless . *One of the best little boys in Raymond.
  104. 104. *Paul seemingly had it all . *He had undergone the proper rituals, he was a member of God's chosen people, he was from a favored tribe in Israel, he
  105. 105. had scrupulously maintained his orthodox heritage, he was one of the most devout legalists in Judaism, he was zealous to the point that he persecuted
  106. 106. Christians, and he rigidly conformed to the outward requirements of Judaism.
  107. 107. All these “good” things were actually deadly , because they deceived him into thinking that he was right with God.
  108. 108. Paul saw all these things as useless for salvation, and the reality of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ was revealed to him.
  109. 109. False religion deceives the mind and consequently damns the soul.
  110. 110. Philippians 3:7-8 7)“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
  111. 111. 8) More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whom I have suffered the loss of all
  112. 112. things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,” Philippians 3:7-8
  113. 113. The statement but whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ sums up the dramatic change that took place in
  114. 114. Paul's perspective when he met Christ. *All of the cherished treasures in his gain column suddenly became deficits . *But by God's marvelous
  115. 115. grace, those things that he wrongly imagined would give him eternal life were replaced by five matchless benefits that were his in Christ.
  116. 116. The forceful phrase “ more than that ” is an untranslatable string of five Greek particles (lit. "but indeed therefore at least even").
  117. 117. It strongly emphasizes the contrast between the religious credits that do not impress God and the incalculable benefits of knowing Christ.
  118. 118. In verse 7, Paul counted the religious credits in verses 5 and 6 as loss ; here he expands that conviction and declares all things to be loss in view of the surpassing
  119. 119. value of knowing Christ Jesus.