Hesston MB Sermon Notes: Confidence based on Philippians 3:1-6

Introduction: How confident are you?  Confidence is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as, “trust or reliance, feeling of assurance” It is usually easy to spot a person who is confident by what they say or do.  We can place confidence in ourselves, in others, or in things. On your notes page, I have listed several things we can place our confidence in.  Take about 30 seconds to circle those you place confidence in: self, spouse, friend, parent, child, job, school, sports, marriage, parenting, faithfulness, achievements, education, economy, politics.

In our passage today, we learn about what Paul’s confidence was in. We will discuss three “look” phrases in the message today.  

Look up (vs. 1a)

·         Finally, rejoice in the Lord. Paul begins Chapter 3 repeating one of his main themes: joy.  Remember our joy is not based on circumstances, but instead on who God is. Paul’s confidence was “in the Lord.” No matter what happened, he could trust and rely and be assured in God.

Look Out (vs. 1b-3)

·         Vs. 1b-Paul cares for the Philippians so he warns them (look out) and he says it doesn’t matter that he is repeating himself.

·         As a parent, we tell our kids often to “look out” for things around them (outlets, stove, street, stranger, online)

o   Molly on a walk—stranger is just a friend you have not met

·         Vs. 2-Look out for those dogs, men who do evil, mutilators of the flesh

o   Dog-Not as we understand dogs as pets-we think this. However in Paul’s day it would be more like this--In the Orient the dogs roamed, acted as scavengers, and were filthy in this sense.[1]

§  but a term used was the Jewish designation for all Gentiles; Paul hurls it back at the Judaizers

o   Who are these men who do evil? We are given a hint by the phrase “mutilators of the flesh”.

§  Judaizers-group of Jewish people who tried to get new Christians to add to their salvation circumcision and other Jewish traditions/practices

·         Acts 15:1--they try to mix Law and grace

o   Vs. 3-What was circumcision’s purpose? The original purpose was related to the promise or covenant given to Abraham.  Listen to the words from Genesis 17:9-12

o   The Old Testament rite of physical circumcision was not only a sign of covenant relationship, but it was also intended to be related to spiritual circumcision of the heart (cf. Deut. 30:6).[2]

o   Vs. 3-Paul says “we are the circumcision” Paul is making a distinction saying that it is the not those who are physically circumcised that are the true circumcision but instead those who worship by the Spirit of God, glory in Christ Jesus, & put no confidence in the flesh.

§  External vs. Internal

·         Worship-inward vs. outward conformity, Spirit empowered vs. self-empowered

·         Glory-in Jesus or self or good works

·         NO confidence in flesh-righteousness based on human initiative, righteousness based on Christ.[3] Is it about what you do? Or about what Christ has done? Flesh or Spirit?

Don’t Look In (vs. 4-6)

·         Vs.4-Paul says he had reason to be confident in his flesh or in other words, himself.

·         Over the last 5 weeks, I have learned a little about my self-confidence.  As humans and especially as Americans, we are a self-confident people.  We take pride in the fact that we can do things ourselves. We don’t need others most of the time.  But with my broken finger, I have had to ask for help.  Things we take for granted—taking a shower, buttoning a shirt or pants, washing your hands, cooking, laundry, typing on your computer now become challenges and require help. 

·         He is addressing specifically those who have confidence in their flesh, in what they do.

o   Vs. 5-Circumcised on the eighth day-check

o   Vs. 5-Israelite-a Jew by birth-check

§  He could trace his family lineage all the way back to Abraham[4]

o   Vs. 5-Tribe of Benjamin

§  tribe, together with that of Judah, constituted the real Jews after the loss of the ten tribes and after the Babylonian captivity[5] He was also a Benjamite, from which tribe came Israel’s first king[6], one of Jacob’s favorite sons

o   Vs. 5-Hebrew of Hebrews

§  Paul was a pure-blooded Hebrew, no ancester on either side being of other blood.[7]

o   Vs. 5-Pharisee-law

§  Paul was a Pharisee, a member of the strictest sect among his people. In addition to the Law of Moses (613) the Pharisees added their own regulations which in time were interpreted as equal to the Law.[8] Paul excelled in love for the law, strict interpretation of it, and ethical consistency. [9]

o   Vs. 6-Persecuted the church-zeal

§  In the first century, Jewish men often measured their commitment to God and the nation by how they opposed foreign religion and rule. Since Paul had persecuted the church, he had put into action his love for the nation and the law. He had taken his beliefs to an extreme that even his opponents did not, using physical force to eradicate Christianity[10]

o   Vs. 6-Faultless-legalistic righteousness

§  Measured by the righteousness of the Law, Paul was blameless. He kept the Law and the traditions perfectly.[11]

 

·         As followers of Christ, where do you place your confidence?  We know we are not saved by our works, but after we are saved, do we live as it’s up to us? Is our confidence in the flesh or the Spirit?  Our righteousness or Christ’s righteousness?

 

Closing: Grade Card--Difference between faith and faithfulness

·         I have been confident in my faithfulness in the past (Bible reading, prayer)

o   “confidence in the flesh” that Paul saw comes out especially when we compare ourselves with the shortcomings that are so obvious in others.[12] Or comparison to a standard? Perfection required.

·         I have recently transferred my confidence in my faithfulness to Christ’s faithfulness. Now, I focus on my faith in Christ (not amount or intensity, but what it is in)

o   When you find yourself glorying in anything other than Christ Jesus, you need to return to the gracious gospel that drew you to your Savior at the beginning. You need to see that Christ, and Christ alone, deserves your full confidence, for Christ alone conveys “the righteousness from God”

·         Take your grade card & put a cross over it.



[1] Lenski, R. C. H. (1937). The interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians and to the Philippians (p. 828). Columbus, O.: Lutheran Book Concern.
[2] Lightner, R. P. (1985). Philippians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 659). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[3] Melick, R. R. (1991). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 32, p. 128). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[4] Lightner, R. P. (1985). Philippians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 660). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[5] Lenski, R. C. H. (1937). The interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians and to the Philippians (p. 833). Columbus, O.: Lutheran Book Concern.
[6] Lightner, R. P. (1985). Philippians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 660). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[7] Lenski, R. C. H. (1937). The interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians and to the Philippians (p. 833). Columbus, O.: Lutheran Book Concern.
[8] Lightner, R. P. (1985). Philippians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 660). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[9] Melick, R. R. (1991). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 32, p. 130). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[10] Melick, R. R. (1991). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 32, p. 130). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[11] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 85–86). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[12] Johnson, D. E. (2013). Philippians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (1st ed., p. 195). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Quotes from Prodigal Church

Interview with R.J. Grunewald about Reading Romans with Luther