Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Are you willing to pray this prayer?

 Paul shared some powerful Truth and some Godly instruction in the previous chapters. In addition to living a righteous life of obedience to God and service to others, Paul also warns us to expect suffering. Now in chapter 3, Paul gives us the primary thing to do in all situations; good times, bad times, lack and plenty...we are to rejoice. But we are NOT to be joyous in some type of Utopian, pretend to be happy” kind of way. We are to rejoice in The Lord!
Philippians 3:1a Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.

Paul must have figured that the Philippian church would have felt like it was problem-some for Paul to instruct them again with what he has already taught them, so he makes a point to tell them that he does not mind teaching them again. In fact, Paul says it is really for your own protection and safety:
Philippians 3:1b For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.

What was Paul so concerned about? Up to this point in the letter he seemed pretty confident that the Philippians were not only talking the talk, but they were walking the walk; so what's the concern? Paul is warning about the false teachers! Jews that were teaching works salvation, and were preaching the requirement to be saved one must be circumcised:
Philippians 3:2-3 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,

All works salvation doctrine is a work of the flesh. Paul is saying, “PUT NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH...YOU CAN DO NOTING TO EARN SALVATION, OR DESERVE SALVATION!”

Then Paul decides to put the “ultra religious” types in their place by saying, OK, you want to boast in your religion (which used to be Paul's religion), how do you stack up with these credentials?:

Philippians 3:4-6 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Then after Paul gives his laundry list, of which, no other Jew could even hold a candle to; he says; “IT IS ALL WORHTLESS!”
Philippians 3:7-9 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order 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 comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith--

Before we look at this next couple verses, ask yourself: Would you be willing to pray that God would save you by ANY MEANS necessary? Think about it for a second. If you have been potentially deceived in to thinking you are saved; would you be willing to call out to God with this prayer, “Lord, I think I am yours, but if not, please save me by any means necessary!”

That's the kind of zeal Paul had to know he would attain the resurrection of eternal life in Christ Jesus:

Philippians 3:10-11 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Paul wants more of Jesus. Up to this point he has preached the Gospel everywhere he was sent, he endured all the sufferings that The Lord brought him to, he's rebuked some of the most powerful religious men of the day, and he walks by the Spirit and continues in prayer, just as he commands us to do....yet, he wants more of Jesus:
Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul gives another directive:
Philippians 3:17-19 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
 
I heard a preacher say once; “if you went on vacation and didn't like the carpet in your hotel room, would you get out the yellow pages and find a carpet installer to come and change the carpet? Of course not, because you are not going to be there long, you are only staying temporarily, that is not your home.”
In the same way we need to put aside the cares of this world, this is not our home, we are only here temporarily:
Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

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