P’s and Q’s : Philippians 3
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.” (verse 1)
- “Rejoice in the Lord…” those may be the most life-changing, attitude-shaping, disposition-improving words ever written…especially since they were written by a man in prison, chained to men not-so-famous for careful treatment of prisoners and bearing countless scars on his body from multiple floggings, stonings and beatings with rods.
What do those four words mean to you when you are in your worst circumstances?
- Why does Paul say that “rejoicing in the Lord” is a “safeguard” for you?”
Paul knows, since he has been through such painful and hard situations, that God will always be your safeguard. Even when circumstances and people in this world let you down, Jesus will never let you down.
“Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the false circumcision…” (verse 2)
- Who are the “dogs” & “evil workers” in your life? How can you “beware” of them?
“…for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh…” (verse 3)
- What does it mean to you to “put no confidence in the flesh”?
“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” (verse 7)
- Why is it a worthy cause to count all things you’ve gained as loss for the sake of Christ? In ALL honesty, what thing do you hold onto for the sake of pride or habit that interferes with you gaining Christ?
It is a worthy cause because a relationship with Christ is far more joyful and happy than anything on earth. Furthermore, you may lose things on earth but it is worth it because you will spend eternity in Heaven.
“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ…” (verse 8)
- Describe the “surpassing value” of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord.
- What is the difference in your life between knowing Jesus as opposed to knowing about Jesus?
The difference is giving everything to Him or just checking the boxes. If I give everything to Him, then I am praying, getting in God’s Word, and trying to show others about Christ. If I am just checking boxes, then I go to church and attend Kamp but don’t care to pursue Christ in any other ways.
- Can you honestly say that you count all things as “rubbish” compared to the value of knowing Jesus?
“… and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” (verse 9)
- Where do you get your righteousness? How did He give it to you?
You do not get your righteousness from yourself; you get your righteousness from the blood of Jesus which covers all of your sins. Jesus gave you this righteousness by accomplishing your ultimate redemption in His death and resurrection.
“… that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (verse 10)
- Why was Paul so willing to “give it all up” for the sake of knowing Jesus personally?
Simply put, JESUS IS BETTER. Paul got to experience everything you can imagine from the Jewish to the Roman cultures. He knew what it was like to have much and to be famous, and yet, he came to realize that Jesus is so much better and worth sacrificing everything for.
- What does it mean to live by “the power of His resurrection?”
- How do you experience “the fellowship of His sufferings?” How have your sufferings brought you closer to Jesus?
“…in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (verse 11)
- How does verse 11 answer the above questions?
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” (verse 12)
- What does it mean to “lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus?”
“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (verses 13 & 14)
- How do verses 13 & 14 inspire you?
- Why is receiving grace for your past essential for pressing on for the prize?
In a foot race, any hindrance keeps you from pressing on towards the prize. When people live with their past sin and do not receive grace from Jesus, they struggle to press on to the prize due to the weight on their back. A believer must receive the grace Jesus has for them to rid themselves of that weight so they might fully press on for the prize.
- How has God revealed a new attitude in you when you weren’t “pressing on to the greater prize?”
“However, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.” (verse 16)
- What standard is Paul talking about? How do you live by that standard?
“Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.” (verse 17)
- Why is it SO important that each of us resist temptation and live above reproach?