Philippians | Part 5

Pastor Chris jumps back into our Philippians series with part 5 from Philippians 3:1-11. Paul continuing with his theme of unity and in part 4 talks about unity without grumbling or arguing shifts gears a little bit in the 3rd chapter. For instance, he begins the section of the letter by mentioning for the 6th time up to this point, “Rejoice!” This letter is loaded with mentions of rejoicing and joy. Known throughout the history of the church as the joyful letter. Which is quite amazing considering the reality that Paul us writing it from prison enchained 24/7 to a guard.

After that, Paul then begins to talk about these “dogs.” What does he mean? Is he talking about literal house pets that we know today? No, he is talking about the ravenous wild dogs that would freely roam the city of Philipi. Therefore, using them as examples of the Judaizers who were telling the new Christians all of the “stuff” or “actions” needed to fulfill there salvation. One of these being circumcision for men.

Above all, Paul is telling them don’t listen to them. They are just trying to add “things” to what is already freely given in salvation. Therefore, he then drops from knowledge on them. He says if we are to “list qualifications for salvation,” then I win. Paul says, “I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.” (Philippians 3:4-6)

In conclusion, Paul then goes on to say all of these “achievements” or “qualifications” are garbage! They mean nothing in comparison to Christ. Wow! What an incredible perspective. In other words, all of what one would consider in life great things mean nothing to him. Therefore, Jesus is the only thing that matters.

What does Paul’s outlook on his life show you about how he feels about Jesus? What does rejoicing in God look like in your life? In what ways could rejoicing work together with surrendering to Jesus this week?

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