TEXT: Philippians 3:1-11
INTRODUCTION (verses 1 to 3)
It is a good thing (safe) to review the basics of the Christian life, especially the doctrine of salvation. And it becomes more urgent to do this in the face of false teachers who distort the Bible’s teaching on salvation by telling us that it is by means of our personal spiritual achievements (confidence in the flesh) that we can be saved. These people focus so much on external righteousness that they miss the fact that if the heart remains unchanged, their efforts amount to nothing. On the other hand, those who put their faith in Christ instead of relying on themselves can rejoice because they have received true righteousness and have experienced as well the transforming work of the Spirit in their hearts. That is why to them Christ is precious and worth every sacrifice. How can we experience Christ’s preciousness in our lives?
I. PUT NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH (verses 2-6).
The false teachers in this passage – Judaizers – thought they would be counted righteous in God’s sight because of their ancestry and because of their law-keeping, especially in the matter of circumcision. Paul, if he wanted to, could also boast about his ancestry and self-righteousness, but he put none of his trust in these things. He knew his works couldn’t save him because all his righteousness were but filthy rags in God’s sight (Gal. 2:16; Isa. 64:6).
I once had a conversation with someone who took a long time recounting all the good things he had done. I think he was actually insecure and had to to reassure himself, because deep inside he knew that no matter how many good works he did, they will never be enough to save his soul.
2. COUNT ALL THINGS AS LOSS (verse 7).
Paul gave up those things which he previously thought could save him: race, religion, and (self) righteousness because he realized that none of these things could save him. Only Christ could do that for him.
I’ve heard of people whose families and communities practically disinherited them because they converted to Christianity. They became outcasts. In Paul’s case, people of his own race even attempted to kill him. When he said he counted all things as loss for Christ’s sake, he really meant it!
3. CONSIDER CHRIST AS MOST PRECIOUS ABOVE ALL (verse 8).
A) He is our righteousness (verse 9) (2 Cor. 5:21)
B ) He is the resurrection (verses 10, 11) (John 11:25)
1. Don’t be afraid to give up everything for Christ – your religion, your race (family) and relationships, your (self-)righteousness, your riches, and your reputation. He is worth the sacrifice! (Luke 14:26; Mark 10:28-29)
2. Don’t be afraid to suffer for Christ’s sake because someday God will raise us up from the dead and give us glorified bodies (Rom. 8:16)