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Safeguarding

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Phil 3
Claim - Our righteousness is achieved exclusively by faith in Christ not by works, and in that light we press on to become what we already are in Him. Focus - A gospel worthy life rejoices confidently in Christ’s grace, is not hamstrung by our past and presses on to be who we are in Christ. Function - To instil confidence and rejoicing in Christ’s grace, such that we press on to become more like him in every way.
Safeguarding is the word of the moment isn’t it.
The world’s gone safeguarding mad!
Much of it is essential, and important. Safeguarding our children for example - generally a good thing..
But sometime safeguarding goes too far.
Solly was telling me the other day that at his office they have spot checks in the stair wells to ensure everyone if holding the hand rail as they go up or down the stairs!
I suspect there is compulsory stair climbing safeguarding seminars for anyone ‘crazy’ enough to risk the horrific danger of using steps without holding on tight!
But some safegaurding measures are so obviously important, that we don’t even give them a second thought.
Electrical plugs are made of plastic not metal for example, so you don’t die every-time you want to connect your kettle to the electricity network.
Even God is involved in practical level safegaurding, for example,
This is a ram packed full passage of scripture. As I preach through books of the bible I note down specific sections that I feel warrant a revisit at some point, and this would have to be one of them.
he made toddlers to be cute in the eyes of their own parents, so that their parents don’t actually throttle them for being so annoying all the time!
Todays passage is also about safeguarding! So know I know we’re excited about it!
So let’s PRAY!
This is a ram packed full passage of scripture. As I preach through books of the bible I note down specific sections that I feel warrant a revisit at some point, and this would have to be one of them.
PRAY
The safeguarding here in is not an annoying safeguard, not even just an important safeguard.
But a joyous, essential, and ironically liberating safegaurd that we all ought to adopt.
Philippians 3:1 NIV
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
Revelation 3:1 NIV
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Rejoicing in the Lord - is our ‘safegaurd’ for our faith. for our relationship with God through Christ.
It is what safegaurds us from straying,
safegaurds us from living again according to our old ways,
It is what enables us, as we’ve been looking at throughout Philippians so far,
to live a life worthy of the Gospel.
We are to Rejoice in the Lord, it is our safeguard, for living a Gospel worthy Life.
The rest of the passage then lays our how to both live a life rejoicing in the Lord, and also what to avoid in order to live a life Rejoicing in the Lord.
Our first point is

1 - A Right Righteousness v2-9

Righteousness in simple terms, just means living a life that is right before God.
And Paul lays out 2 types of righteousness in v2-9.
He summarises them in v9
Philippians 3:9 NIV
and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
Now his point is that in reality any righteousness we pursue ‘on our own’ (by the God’s law in this case) is no righteousness at all!
But that that the only right ‘righteousness’ is given to us by God, through Christ.
Let’s look first at the ‘wrong righteousness’ we’re to ‘watch out for’.
Philippians 3:2–3 NIV
Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—
2
There was clearly some opposition towards or perhaps within the the church of Philipie.
And the strength of Pauls language shows it’s serious
Most likely they were Jewish people who claimed to now be Christians,
but had misunderstood how righteousness is achieved.
Paul uses heavily ironic language.
Dogs in those times were a derogatory way of referring to those outside the community of God - Ironic because these opponents claim to be the real community of God.
Evildoers picks up the irony that it is right to ‘do’ good works, yet what they think are ‘good works’ are actually evil.
And mutilators is a play on the word for , to cut, or to circumcise.
Circumcision was a God given, outward sign for His people in the OT,
but it was always intended to look forward to the time when
Again, circumcise was a God given sign of His people in the OT, but it was always inteneded to look forward to the time when the saviour would bring about a spiritual circumsision of the heart.
the saviour would bring about a spiritual circumcision of the heart.
Jesus has now done that is Paul’s point
- he’s not really suggesting that circumcision is mutilation,
he’s using a play on words to be ironic about the futility of their instance on circumcision, when it’s already been fulfilled in Christ.
That is why he includes even the uncircumcised Christians in 3, but says ‘we are the circumcision’
Paul then is warning the Philippians not be tempted into a misunderstanding of God’s good and holy law.
The bigger principle being that Doing things, however good you might intend them to be, even if they are in accordance with God’s good law of the OT, cannot give you righteousness.
It is not there to save us is his point. Jesus is.
So do not keep the law now to add to, or earn your righteousness!
That is to misuse the law and to deny your need for the grace of Jesus.
Paul gives his own little testimony in v4-6 to make sure we and they get the point.
If anyone fulfills the OT law and is therefore able to earn their own righteousness - being right with God - then Paul is!
phil 3
Philippians 3:4–6 NIV
though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
Perhaps you think your good works add to or even earn you a relationship, and righteousness before God,
Well Paul efforts were far better than yours is his point.
The pillars of Judaism embodied in his life. Circumcision, the right family history, the best of the best, and an unparalleled zeal for God!
He attends GC, reads his bible, prays always, hosts people, and has helped 5 old ladies accross the road just this week!
Perhaps you’re sitting here today, Christian or not,
Christian or not,
Perhaps you’re concerned that you need to do more, be better, obey more in order to qualify or ensure your own righteousness before God.
“I know Jesus died for me, but I still need to add a little to the mix.”
You need the liberating truth of a right righteousness says Paul.
For all my efforts he says in v7-9
Philippians 3:7–9 NIV
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
phil 3
Any hard work, claim or effort to earn or add to our salavtion is total and utter garbage.
Try all you like, it simply wont help.
Righteousness is achieved only in Christ Jesus.
You dogs are barking up the wrong tree says Paul. (no offence intended!)
It’s not about who’s good,
who’s fulfilling the law better,
who’s done what
- it’s about Jesus.
Cast off your faith in good works,
count them as nothing,
For Christ Jesus gives you everything. Freely and fully.
Righteousness is a gift from God.
Even the word faith here does not carry the understanding we normally put on it,
I have faith. - as if I am still contributing to my righteousness.
No to have faith is to
count on the ‘faithfulness of Christ’.
He is faithful.
Righteousnes, salavation, forgivenss, life eternal - is all from, through and for Him!
PAUSE
v1 - now has perspective:

brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you

Rejoice in the Lord, for that safeguards you from the wrong sort of righteousness.
You cannot and should not try and earn or add to your righteousness before God - that is to deny Christ.
Instead, remain safe, by counting fully on the faithfulness of Christ as he gives to you your righteousness…v10-11
Philippians 3:10–11 NIV
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
phil 3 10
His power to save, to make us righteous is in His resurection and his suffering.
He suffered, humbled himself for us, in our place.
He suffered, humbled himself for us, in our place.
Died for you and me.
Took the wrath of God on himself that was due to us - Forgiving us of our feeble attempts to earn righteousness, or for ignoring God altogether.
And he rose again!
He defeated what we couldn’t-death!
So that he can give to us, freely and fully,…?
Righteousness!
Righteousness!
Make sure you are not seeking to earn or add to your righteousness, avoid those that teach that you can or should.
Instead, seek the power of Christs suffering and ressurection, that gives to you His righteousness.
Rejoice in the Lord - He is your safeguard.
So now the question is, how does Paul balance this full on rejection of trying to ‘earn righteousness’ with his next section that tells us to ‘press on’, ‘strive towards’ - to follow his example.
These all sound like things we should do!
When he seems to have just said we shouldn’t do!
Shouldn’t we now just never worry about how we live.
Whatever we do is forgiven, nothing we do counts towards our righteousness - we are free.
SO what is Paul on about?
How is he pressing on towards a goal, without seemingly earning his salvation through obedience?
Isn’t he now just free in Christ whatever he does? Free from the law?
No, not really.
Let me explain with our second point:

2 - A Right Life - v12-21

v12 is a
Paul’s theology does not, at any point, tell us that the law is a bad thing for us.
On the contrary!
The law of God, or simply put - the way in which God asks his people to live - is a very, very good thing!
The problem not that the law of God is bad, but that we are bad!
We are the ones incapable of living according to the law,
and as such, the law now has another wonderful purpose.
It shows us we need help!
We need another way to be right with God!
We need someone who can fulfill the law on our behalf!
We need Jesus.
The problem Paul is addressing in our previous point is not that the law is a bad thing to keep,
but that it is a terrible idea to think you can acheive righteousness through your own ability in keeping the law.
Once we realise that we cannot save ourselves, becasue of God’s glorious and good standards,
his Law,
we can then turn to His saviour,
we are freed from salavery to the law for salavation!
We are now, in Christ freed from slavery to the law and given the Righteousness of Christ!
We rejoice now in Christ, becasue he has done what we could never do!
So what do we do now?
Now, free from judgement and condenation under the law, becasue of christ,
we do what v16 says!
Philippians 3:16 NIV
Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
What have we already attained in this context here? Righteousness through Christs faithfullness!
we can now rejoice in Christ by As if God gave a law that was impossible to keep, just to show us how terrible we are
So what do now ‘press on to achieve’? Righteousness!
Not becasue it will save us, but becasue we are already righteous!
Listen to how Paul puts it:
v12-14
Philippians 3:12–14 NIV
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
phil 12-14
Our prize, our goal is to fully receive in body mind and soul when Christ returns, the full reality of righteousness before God for eternity.
But curently our earthly practice is note yet complete!
OUr curent state is to recognise and rejoice in Christ for who we are in Christ,
But we press on, strain, press towards becoming fully what we already are spiritually!
And press on, strain, press towards becoming fully what we already are spiritually!
Let me summarise the right life for a Christian in 3 points.
1 - Rejoice in Christ that in Him we are Righteous - Which is why we have peace and joy in Him in this life.
2 - Recognise that we have not yet taken hold of it fully in practice - Which is why we are a humble and repentant people before God.
3 - Live a life worthy of the gospel, by living according to God’s law, his standards. - Not to acheive righteousness but becasue we are righteous!
Think of it this way,
The good living standards of God for His people (the law) shows us our need for the gospel and then, once we embrace God’s salvation by faith, the law becomes the way to know, serve, and grow into the likeness of the one who saved us.
We now, Rejoicing in Christ, want to be like him?
And what was he like?
The perfectly obedient man who was righteous, according to God’s law, to God!
Rejoicing IN Christ, is to focus on and celebrate His Righteousness given to us in his suffering and Ressurection,
The simple answer is that these ways of life may sound like opposites, but they are actually, as Sinclaire Ferguson puts it,
Are we ment to do nothing by our won efforts now. Is the law of God now useless, was is evil in itself.
And it’s a common problem today as well.
which we partake in through Rejoicing in him all the more by pressing on towards practicing righteousness - obeying Jesus and his every word.
Not for righteousness - but becasue we are righteous and ought to strive to be what we have been made in Christ!
v3-4 - Confidence/mutilators in the flesh or boast in Christ

3:3–4a Genuine believers in Christ were the truly circumcised. Paul referred here to a spiritual circumcision rather than physical. In God’s economy, spiritual circumcision was always more important. The Old Testament said as much (Jer 31:31–34; Ezek 36:26ff.), and Paul confirmed it elsewhere (Rom 2:25–29). Physical circumcision served to identify someone with the Jewish nation and had value for purposes of ministry, but it had no value in commending someone to God. Spiritual circumcision was a matter of the heart (Col 2:11).

Or even more simply,
So, it’s wrong to keep the law, to obey God, to become righteous,
v5-6 - Confidence in the flesh/law does not help - persecuted the church, but also did good things. The issue is Christ and boasting in him - out of which flows ‘serving God’
but right to to keep the law to enjoy what we already are in Christ’s Righteousness.
Christ has done it all for us.
Well applying the OT law today is not always straight forward.
Much of it is directly addressed in the NT and we are given renewed ways of fulfilling it.
So, we’re told for example that we now have circumsised hearts, so we don’t need to have the outward sign of a circumsised…well you know where I’m going.
Much of this ceremonial law as we know it is fullfilled in the life, death and resurection of Christ.
So we are told we know longer need to make animal sacrifices to represent an atonement for sin, for the pure and perfect lamb, Jesus has done and completed that work.
Some laws are defined more strictly by Jesus in the NT - Do not murder becomes do not even think hateful things in your mind!
What’s the point?. Christ has done it all for us.
He does not remove the law as if it’s a bad thing.
He fulfills it in himself - gives his Righteousness to us freely through faith,
And we therefore strive to be Christlike - be obedient to all that God demands of Jesus.
There is much more to say on the law, and perhaps we’ll look at it in the future.
But here today - Make sure your righteousness is from Christ, not yourself.
And in responce, in our rejoicing for our righteousness - press on to have a right life.
A life that becomes more and more like what we already are and one day will fully be.
The alternative, to get this wrong - to think you are ok before God on your own, is desperate place to be:
IN what is generally considered to be a rather ironic and scathing remark, Paul say in v15
Philippians 3:15 NIV
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
He uses the word ‘mature’ from the root word for ‘perfection’ to challenge those of us that think we can earn our own righteousness! For note that Paul has already said he has not yet attained his goal.
He is not perfect.
Philippians 3:15–19 NIV
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
15-
Don’t get this wrong, for it makes you an enemy of the cross if you think you’re good enough for God. It denies the need for Jesus.
The
Instead Safeguard yourself by always looking to the suffering and resurection of Jesus
that gives us His righteousness.
And look around at those who are living to please Jesus,

The three characteristics involve worship, glory, and confidence. First, true believers worshiped by the Spirit of God. Using a term that often referred to temple service (latreuō), Paul identified inward, spiritual worship in contrast to the legalism of outward conformity to the law. The Spirit energizes and focuses Christian worship. Second, true believers glory in Christ Jesus. The term “glory” means to boast (kauchaomai), and Paul consciously contrasted the boasting of good works with boasting that is in the work of Christ. Third, true believers have no confidence in the flesh. Again he referred to a righteousness that trusts in human initiative and energy to gain spiritual blessing. Paul came to the place where he realized his own efforts were useless, and that attitude paved the way for his trust in Christ.

not for Righteousness, but becasue of their rejoicing in Christ’s Righteousness.
But instead, look around at those who are living to please Jesus, not for Righteousness, but becasue of their rejoicing in Righteousness.
v8 - All loss compared to Christ?

These seven characteristics of heredity and achievement reveal that Paul’s accepting Christ did not occur because he was marginally Jewish. He had not failed in his own religion. He had seen a better way and had chosen to follow it.

This passage makes clear, however, that theology and life go together and that the antidote to poor living is proper theology. If the Philippians understood the richness of Paul’s life, they would not follow the false teachers.

The last 2 verses, which is where we’ll leave it today,
The New American Commentary: Philippians, Colossians, Philemon Evaluation of Paul’s Former Life (3:7–8)

No one can choose Christ who does not reach a similarly negative conclusion about his own efforts.

The New American Commentary: Philippians, Colossians, Philemon Evaluation of Paul’s Former Life (3:7–8)

They did not bring him to Christ. Three times Paul expressed that the goal was Christ. First, he said it was “for the sake of Christ” (3:7).

The New American Commentary: Philippians, Colossians, Philemon Evaluation of Paul’s Former Life (3:7–8)

of “the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (3:8)

The New American Commentary: Philippians, Colossians, Philemon Evaluation of Paul’s Former Life (3:7–8)

Seen this way, “knowledge” means “a personal response of faith and obedience to God’s self-revelation.”

The New American Commentary: Philippians, Colossians, Philemon Evaluation of Paul’s Former Life (3:7–8)

It was impossible to hold on to the former values and still have Christ. It was one or the other, and Christ exceeded anything and everything else. The three statements express repentance regarding Paul’s former attitudes about salvation. He turned away from the past to gain Christ.

v9 - no righteousness of law/flesh - but of Christ

Paul explicitly stated that this righteousness comes to people from God and based on that faithfulness. Paul rejected his own faithfulness to the law, realizing it was insufficient. His hope was the faithfulness of Christ. This verse, then, brings a knowledge of how God makes his righteousness available: It is through Jesus’ faithfulness and a person’s total reliance on him.

summaries this ‘now and not yet’ experience of being righteous in Christ,
v10-11 - all baout becoming like Christ to attain ressurection
now and not yet experience of being righteous in Christ,

Paul described succinctly and successively what has come to be known in the topical arrangements of classical systematic theology as “justification” (v. 9), “sanctification” (v. 10), and “glorification” (v. 11).

:
IMPORTNAT QUOTE

First, at conversion believers experience the power of a spiritual resurrection. They are given new life. A new spiritual energy characterizes the new life in Christ. Yet this powerful life only begins at conversion. Successively and progressively the moral life must be changed, the physical body ultimately transformed, and believers brought to the eternal resting place of resurrection, heaven itself. The transformation does not happen at once. It culminates in the attaining of the resurrection from the dead. The resurrection occurs at the time of the Lord’s return to earth. (1 Thess 4:13–18). That will finalize the application of resurrection power to the Christian.

The task of the Christian is, in part, to realize that the nature of salvation is a death. By constantly choosing that death to sin and self, a conformity to Jesus’ death occurs. Jesus completely died to self and became a sacrifice for others. It was the greatest demonstration of commitment to the will of God, and it was that death which brought his resurrection life. Paul realized that conformity to Jesus’ death made him a candidate for resurrection power. This helps explain the spiritual discipline mentioned in 3:12–16.

v12 - We are not the finishe product - but we are preparing for it in Christ
The New American Commentary: Philippians, Colossians, Philemon Paul’s Desire to Fulfill His Call (3:12–14)

The best explanation of this desire is that Paul looked ahead to the completion of his salvation.

Philippians 3:20–21 NIV
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
v13-14 - Press on towarsds the goal/prize of being like and with Christ?
The New American Commentary: Philippians, Colossians, Philemon Paul’s Desire to Fulfill His Call (3:12–14)

He lived for the day when the heavenward call would come, like a victory in a race.

The New American Commentary: Philippians, Colossians, Philemon Paul’s Desire to Fulfill His Call (3:12–14)

Rather than slack off, as some were prone to do, the thought of it motivated him to further purity and service. He would get to know every dimension of Christ (reign and suffering), through every means. The joy of the process kept him going, but he realized that the ultimate joy was the completion of God’s work in his life.

v15 - God will make it clear to you?
The New American Commentary: Philippians, Colossians, Philemon Paul’s Encouragement to Other Believers (3:15–16)

Two primary possibilities exist regarding it. Conceivably, Paul addressed a group of people who shared his outlook and were perfect in their understanding of their imperfection or in their desires to be perfected. This meaning requires different uses of two words built on the same root, which is awkward. On the other hand, Paul could have been speaking in irony, addressing a group of people who assumed they were perfect. If so, he was calling them to admit their imperfect knowledge about such matters and accept his evaluation.53 The choice between the meanings is difficult, but the latter is likely the correct reading.

v16 - LIVE UP TO WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE!!
v17 - Follow Good examples?
PRAY
v18-19 - Worldly living - even those in the chruch?

v20-21 - We await a Saviour who will complete the full transformation - we will become what we already are!!!!

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