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Philippians 3.1-11

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“Jesus is not Garbage”

 

“Confidence in the flesh”

In the days of Paul, people argued about whether or not a person was supposed to be circumcised in order to become a Christian.  Some people believed that Christians should follow all the rules of Judaism, and some people argued that Christians should not have to.  It was eventually agreed by the leaders of Christianity—the disciples of Jesus who were still alive, Paul, and others—that in order to become a Christian, you did not have to be circumcised.  All that you had to do to become a Christian was to believe in Jesus.  Otherwise, you could say “I’m a Christian because I am circumcised,” but that would not be true at all.

Forcing Christians to be circumcised would also force them to follow the rest of the law as well because you can’t just pick and choose which laws you want to follow.  You have to follow all the laws.  If being a Christian depended on following laws, then people could boast and say that they are a better Christian than other people because they are better at following the laws than others are.  This is what Paul means when he says, “confidence in the flesh.”

People who believe that they needed to earn their salvation by following the law put their confidence in themselves and what they do instead of putting their confidence in Jesus.  If we could be saved by following the law, then Paul would have been the most amazing of Christians.  He was circumcised exactly like he was supposed to, he was born into the right family, he knew the law better than anyone, and he was so zealous that he persecuted people who didn’t follow the law.  In short, Paul was the man.  No one was better than him.  But that was before he actually became a Christian.

“I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ”

One day when he was going to Damascus to persecute Christians there, Jesus himself appeared to Paul in a vision.  Paul’s life instantly changed.  Suddenly, the things that he thought were so important took a backseat.  Paul now realized that the most important thing in the whole world was Jesus.  He realized that all the things that he was doing trying to follow the law were worthless without know Christ.  He even called them “garbage.”  He came to realize that in order to be righteous, he needed to believe in Jesus, not trying to follow every law.

Paul’s life changed dramatically.  Instead of studying the law to try to follow it better, he desired to know Jesus so he could follow Jesus better.  He wanted to become more and more like Jesus every day.

The Things we trust in place of Jesus

 

Every one of us struggles with trusting in different thing rather than trusting in Jesus.  It is good for us a Christians to realize what those things are and to confess them to God.  For some of us, we trust in the things that we do.  For some of us, we trust in our status or how people view us.  For some of us, we think the most important thing is the number of friends we have or whether or not we have a boyfriend or girlfriend. What do you trust in instead of Jesus?  What can you do to confess that to God and place your trust in Jesus?

Prayer Requests

Review from last week:

            “Without complaining or arguing”

            Saying “I love you”

Bible Reading

Summary of the passage

Paul warns the Philippians to be on guard against people who put their trust in things other than Jesus.  Paul encourages the Philippians to trust in Christ instead because everything else is garbage.

Explanation of Passage

            (See above)

What does “confidence in the flesh” mean?

What do people who put “confidence in the flesh” feel about salvation?

      They think they can earn it.

Did Paul put his confidence in “the flesh?”  Could he if he wanted to?

What or whom did Paul put his confidence it?

What do we put our confidence in instead of Jesus?

Confession of Sin and Closing Prayer

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