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Philippians

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Waste Disposal

Philippians 3:7-8

Spiritual pride is dangerous garbage.  Paul's pride in his privileged family background and religious education had made him a loyal and faithful Rabbinic student but he was no servant of God.  Paul’s misplaced zeal in seeking religious approval made him an enemy of Jesus Christ and a menace to the church.  Having listed his 'religious qualifications' (Philippians 3:5-6), he now puts them in the same category as animal manure and rotting household waste.  He calls them dung ('garbage' in this translation).  That is an exceptionally strong condemnation of what most people would think was ver

Covered by Christ

Philippians 3:8b-9

It is not enough just to repent of wrong. We need to have a new kind of righteousness from God.

In-Depth Relationship

Philippians 3:10-11

Paul had met the living Lord Jesus on the Damascus road (Acts 9:1-9).  He knew Christ's presence and had suffered many things because he followed Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:23-29).  Paul had prayed that believers in Ephesus would know Jesus better (Ephesians 1:17); and yet he now says that he personally wants to 'know Christ'.  Of course, as with every relationship, there is so much more we might learn about the other person.  Even long-time married couples still learn about each other's character, likes and dislikes, years after the wedding.  That is even truer as we get to know the infinite

Work in Progress

Philippians 3:12

No Christian, in their right mind, would dream of comparing themselves with the Apostle Paul.  He was given such wisdom and courage, and even dared to hold himself as an example to the churches (1 Corinthians 11:1).  Few of us have such self-discipline, endurance and cool-headedness in pioneering gospel work, under persecution (2 Corinthians 11:25-28).  Yet Paul had no delusions of spiritual grandeur and was willing to work sacrificially so that God’s people might be blessed (1 Thessalonians 2:6-9).  He knew he was not fully the person God wanted Him to be.  No doubt that was a great encour

Still on Track

Philippians 3:13-14

The great Apostle Paul admitted that he had not yet grasped all that Jesus Christ wanted for him.  Unlike the travelling religious teachers of his day, Paul did not claim perfection or a superior spiritual lifestyle; but neither had he given up.  He was still on track for the finishing line in the 'race of faith'.  The 'race' of the Christian's life is not a competition to exclude all other runners.  Like modern day city-marathons, everybody who completes the course according to the rules will receive a prize (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Still 'On Message'

Philippians 3:15-16

The advertising industry and politicians know that inconsistent communication does more harm than good.  They need to be clear about what they believe and get everybody in the team to know how to express it in such a way that there is no confusion. It is the same with Biblical teaching.  The message is clear but those who do not like the message fail to teach it.  

Apostolic Example

Philippians 3:17

Christian maturity does not come automatically, nor simply with the passage of time.  Three essential inputs are required: teaching, example and discipline (1 Timothy 4:16).  Without teaching we will never be able to understand God's grace or learn how to engage with Him in order to live differently.  Without seeing the Jesus-way-of-life in others, it is difficult to grasp the radically different style of living which comes through the Spirit's power.  Many try to 'live a good life' by copying good examples, but that is all it is.  Imitating other people without the power which comes from t

Dangerously Low Horizon

Philippians 3:18-19

It would be nice to think that everybody is a friend of God, but that is not true.  Whatever people say, everybody is either living as a friend or an enemy of the cross of Christ.  There is no middle ground.  Clearly it deeply concerned the apostle, as he had passionately warned the church about the dangers of drifting from the cross as the only valid spiritual anchor point (Galatians 1:6-9).  Today, despite a plethora of so-called ‘spiritual’ ideas circulating the globe, the cross of Christ is still the only access point to God and sharing eternity with Him.

Great Expectations

Philippians 3:20-21

The ‘but’, at the beginning of these verses, contrasts two radically different kinds of people – those who follow the Apostle’s teaching and lifestyle with many people who are ‘enemies of the cross’, whose ‘destiny is destruction’, whose ‘god is their physical appetites’, who delight in what is really shameful because ‘their mind is on earthly things’ (Philippians 3:17-19).  It may be that the church in Philippi contained both cross-lovers and cross-haters, or that true believers were suffering the slander and insults of Jesus-hating Jews (Philippians 3:1-3), or that the attacks were from b

Positive Encouragement

Philippians 4:1

Wise parents want their children to excel as they grow up.  In the same way, the Apostle Paul watched over the church in Philippi.  He was a spiritual father to them in that he brought them to faith in Jesus (1 Corinthians 4:15), but he is not their heavenly Father: he is their brother in Christ and their friend.  What a model of Christian ministry – proclaiming the gospel, tenderly caring for the spiritually new-born, teaching them how to live their new life, but humbly recognising that he is equally indebted to the gospel.

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