Philippians 3:1-11 (True Gain: Righteousness Through Faith in Christ)

Phil 3:1          Notice the preceding and following context of Paul’s admonition in this Phil 3:to rejoice in the Lord, and recall Paul’s circumstances as he was writing; is our joy as Christians dependent upon circumstances?  What (or Who) is it dependent upon?  See also Phil 1:15-18, 4:4.  Note: in 2 Cor 13:5 Paul admonishes us to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith; one such test is our abiding joy in spite of circumstances: do we rejoice in the Lord regardless of our circumstances, or find joy only when the circumstances are favorable, and perhaps grumble and complain when they are not?  What does Paul’s example teach us about the importance of repetition for a teacher?  See also 2 Pet 1:12-15.  How is such repetition different from the spirit of the world?  Confer Acts 17:21, 2 Tim 4:3.

Phil 3:2-6     What warning does Paul repeat for the Philippians?  To whom does he refer, and by what epithets does he call them?  How do the true sons differ from these false sons?  See Phil 3:3.  Of what does the worship of false sons consist?  See Mark 7:6-8.  In what do they glory?  See Phil 3:19.  In what do the true sons put their confidence?  See Phil 3:9.  What allowed Paul to speak so forcefully against the outward form of religion of the Judaizers?  See Phil 3:4-6.  Why are each of the 7 things Paul mentions in Phil 3:5-6 noteworthy?  Notice that he was not just any son of Abraham, but a son of Isaac, who was circumcised on the eighth day and not in the thirteenth year as was Ishmael; he was a natural born son of Israel and not a proselyte; he was of the tribe of Benjamin who was born to Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife and from whom came Israel’s first king; he was a true Hebrew of Hebrew parents (notice he doesn’t say “Jew of Jews”) who unlike most Jews of the time had not succumbed to the Hellenizing influences of the world and could still read and speak Hebrew and Aramaic (see Acts 21:40-22:2); he was a Pharisee, which was the most orthodox “Bible-believing” sect of the day (see Acts 22:3, 26:5); and he wasn’t  just a pew-warmer: he was so full of zeal as to actively persecute those who disagreed with him, including the church of which he was now a part; moreover, concerning the righteousness that comes from obeying the law as understood by the most orthodox and strictest sect of Judaism, completely blameless.  How did this background uniquely prepare him to spearhead the defense of the gospel against the Judaizers?

Phil 3:7-11   What sorts of things did Paul once count as gain?  See Phil 3:4-6.  In what sense does he now count them as loss for the sake of Christ?  What sorts of things do people today count as gain?  Have we come to see as Paul did how utterly worthless they are in relation to knowing Christ?  In Phil 3:8 Paul uses 5 Greek particles to emphasize in the extreme (alla men oun ge kai., lit, “yea, indeed, verily…”) how he counts all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ as Lord; is our desire to know Christ as extreme?  How did Paul regard all the things that the world and worldly followers of God counted as gain?  Note: NASB “rubbish” = KJV “dung”; what is the significance that this word refers to refuse of any kind that is thrown to the dogs?  See again Phil 3:2, and cf. Ex 22:31, Mat 7:6, 2 Pet 2:18-22.  Considering the righteousness that Paul had in the flesh (Phil 3:4-6), what do his words in Phil 3:9 teach us about how our own righteousness compares to the righteousness found in Christ?  How does God view whatever righteous acts we might accomplish in our own flesh?  See Is 64:6.  What did Paul consider to be real and lasting gain?  What does he mean by his desire to know Christ?  In what sense did he want to know Him?  See Phil 3:10-11.  Why did he consider such knowledge to be far superior to any gain offered by the world or found through his own efforts?  See Prov 3:13-18.  What does he mean by the power of the resurrection?  See Rom 6:4, 8:11, Col 3:1-2.  What is the relationship between the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings?  See Rom 6:5, 2 Cor 12:8-10, Col 3:3.

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