Philippians #7 - I Surrender All
I Surrender All
Text: Phil. 3:1-11
Thesis: To stress the necessity of surrendering everything to Jesus.
(1) On the road to Damascus, Paul was forced to make the most important choice in his life.
(2) On the one hand, Paul had everything going for him in the Jewish world.
(3) On the other hand, Paul had just learned that Jesus truly was the Son of God.
(4) Obviously, we know that he chose to become a Christian.
(5) From Philippians 3, let us note what Paul gave up and what he gained.
I. What Paul Gave Up (vv. 4-6):
A. After warning the Philippians to beware of the Judaizers who were attempting to lead Christians astray, Paul reminds them that he was once of that mindset, which would therefore add credibility to Paul’s warning.
B. Paul was one of the elite Jews.
1. He was “circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel.”
a. “First on the list is physical circumcision, perhaps because the Judaizers so greatly stressed it. Proselytes received this rite at the time they adopted Judaism. (Were some of the Judaizing teachers of this sort?) Others submitted to it in adulthood for various reasons (Acts 16:3). But Paul had been circumcised as a Jewish boy in accord with the instruction given to Abraham (Gen 17:12) and in accord with what the law later prescribed (Lev 12:3). Furthermore, he was born of Israelite stock. He was no proselyte; the blood of Jacob flowed in him” (EBC).
b. “The ancient Jew placed an inordinate amount of emphasis on this, even affirming that no circumcised person could be lost!” (Coffman).
2. He was born “of the tribe of Benjamin.”
- “He belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, a fact he proudly acknowledged on more than one occasion (Acts 13:21; Rom 11:1). This tribe alone had been faithful to the Davidic throne at the time of the division of the kingdom. It had given the nation its first king, after whom Paul had been named by his parents” (EBC).
3. He was “a Hebrew of the Hebrews.”
- “By calling himself a "Hebrew of Hebrews," he may have meant he had no mixed parentage but was of pure Jewish ancestry from both parents. The phrase may also refer to his linguistic and cultural upbringing, which involved the Hebrew and Aramaic languages (in distinction from that of the Hellenist Jews), even though he had been born in the Diaspora (Acts 6:1; 22:2, 3)” (EBC).
4. He was a “Pharisee.”
a. “This party contained the most zealous supporters and interpreters of OT law, and Paul had studied under Gamaliel, its most celebrated teacher (Acts 22:3; cf. 5:34)” (EBC).
b. “The Pharisees were distinguished among the Jewish sects for their rigid adherence to the letter of the law, and had endeavored to guard it from the possibility of violation by throwing around it a vast body of traditions, which they considered to be equally binding with the written law…The Sadducees were much less strict; and Paul here says that whatever advantage could be derived from the most rigid adherence to the letter of the law, was his” (Barnes’ Notes).
5. He was zealous to the point of “persecuting the church.”
- “His zeal for the law led him to persecute the church of Jesus Christ, to follow them to strange cities, to cast men and women into prison, and when they were put to death he gave his vote against them (Acts 26:10)” (GAC).
6. He was “blameless … concerning the righteousness which is in the law.”
- “This does not mean that Paul considered himself sinless; elsewhere he affirms that all men have sinned (Rom. 8:23). Nor can it mean that he perfectly kept the law in its totality. The law intensified the reality of sin for Paul (Rom. 5:20; 7:7-13; Gal. 8:19). How then could he consider himself blameless? It must be that he has reference only to the ritual aspects of the law. It is the ritual emphasis, as a matter of fact, that is the real issue with the Judaizers, as is exemplified in their concern for circumcision” (LWC).
II. What Paul Gained (vv. 7-11):
A. He gained the knowledge of Christ.
B. He gained Christ.
C. He gained the righteousness which is from God by faith.
D. He gained the fellowship of Jesus’ sufferings.
E. He gained the resurrection from the dead.
(1) Obviously, any sacrifices that we have to make cannot even begin to compare to what we stand to gain in Christ Jesus.
(2) Will you surrender all that you have to gain all that Jesus has?