Community Bible Chapel
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
A place to grow.... where everybody is somebody and Jesus Christ is Lord.

3.2.2014 – Philippians 3:17 – 4:1

Verse 17

-         This is the 3rd time in this chapter that Paul affectionately addresses them as brethren.

-         The phrase, “join with other in following my example, literally reads “be fellow imitators with me”

-         Paul is not putting himself of the pedestal of spiritual perfection as we saw last week, but instead, “he was encouraging the Philippians to follow him, an imperfect sinner, as he pursued the goal of Christ-likeness.”

-         In following Paul the Philippians as well as us have the opportunity to see how he overcomes his imperfection, we can see how to handle the disappointments of life, the trials, showing us how to deal with pride, resist temptation, and put sin to death in our own lives!

-         This verse also touches on “those” meaning others in the church, not just Paul, the leader and apostle.

-        Observe the good examples in the church… see how the power of God has changed their lives and “learn to share the power of Christ in the body of Christ, the church.” as J. Vernon McGee said.

-         OBSERVE = keep a watchful eye on, notice carefully

-         There are others in the church that live as examples for us. Some of the greatest examples that I have had in my life were not pastors. Godly men and women of all ages have been wonderful examples that I have looked up to.

-         For me those people were Sunday School teachers, youth workers, coaches, teachers, and I think the best example for me that I got to see all the time were my parents and my father particularly helped me to see practically how to live out biblical manhood and how to deal with our mistakes, because we know they will happen.

Verses 18 & 19

-         The letter to the Philippians repeats rejoice, joy, rejoice in the Lord, but here when he starts talking about those who oppose the cross of Christ he turns to great sorrow, as this is the only time that Paul speaks of himself in the present tense with tears.

-         Those enemies were even part of the church. They were not openly hostile, but rather subtle and exceptionally dangerous.

-         Since Paul doesn’t specify who the enemies of the cross were, we have two options.

o   They could have been Jewish false teachers who gained the title of Judaizers (Acts 15). They taught that salvation could not be through faith and trust alone but also required circumcision and follow of the law.

o   Or they could have been gentiles… and they were the forerunners of Gnosticism that came more to the forefront in the second century. They taught that matter was evil and spirit was good and therefore salvation involves not redemption of the body but deliverance from it.

-         There are four things to be seen of these enemies of the cross:

1.     Destiny is destruction

a.      Destiny refers to ultimate destination.

2.     God is their stomach

a.      Metaphorically referring to all unrestrained sensual, fleshly, bodily desires. 

3.     Glory is in their shame

a.      Judaizers gloried in the rubbish that we talked about last week in verse 8.

b.     Gentiles glories in their supposed freedom to pursue sensual desires. They were proud of their most disgusting perversions as we see in 1 Corinthians 5:1-2.

4.     Mind is on earthly things

a.      James 4:4

DC Talk, “The biggest problem with Christianity today is people that confess Jesus with their lips and deny Him with their lifestyles.”


Verses 20 – 21

-         The underlying motivation for pursing Christlikeness is the hope of the return of Jesus Christ. Since that is where Christ is right now, we must be preoccupied with heaven and longing for Christ to return and take us to be with Him (1Thess. 4:17).

-         Paul cared little for the comforts and pleasures of this world as seen in 2 Cor. 8-10, 2 Cor. 6:4-10, and 2 Cor. 11:23-29.

-         Furthermore it is consistent for believers to have a focus on heaven because that is where our citizenship is.

-         Citizenship refers to the place where one has official status.

-         Though we live in this world we are citizens in heaven. We are members of Christ’s kingdom, which is not of this world (John 18:36), our names are recorded in heaven (Luke 10:20), our Savior is there (Acts 1:11), our fellow believers are there (Heb. 12:23), our inheritance is there (1 Peter 1:4), and our reward (Matt. 5:12) and treasure are there (Matt. 6:20)!

-         The hope of Christ’s return provides us with motivation, accountability, and security.

o   Motivation to be found faithful when he returns to reward believers.

o   Accountable to God for producing gold, silver, and precious stones and not wood, hay, and straw (1 Cor. 3:12)

o   Security in the words of Jesus – John 6:39-40.

-         We are to eagerly wait for Christ’s return. This term is used many times in this context of Christ’s return (Rom 8:19, 23, 25, 1 Cor. 1:7, Gal. 5:5).

 -         Christ will have the power to “arrange in rank and order” all things. And that is huge because we struggle with that here on earth. We put things in an order in which they don’t belong. Whether it is sports, entertainment, money, or possessions Christ will order all things as they should be however that looks at that time.

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