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How easy it is to rest on our laurels and to dwell upon past successes. Philippians 3:12-21 Exploring the Passage Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. They trusted in themselves (or in their heritage as Jews) rather than in Christ alone. Paul was deeply committed to the doctrine of sovereignty, and thus he must trust that God had used even his wicked deeds against the saints for their good, and for God’s glory (Romans 8:28). 15 Let those of us who are “perfect” embrace this point of view. Pastor Scott L. Harris. 8 Finally the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. 5 So then, do not judge anything before the time. Bob was born and raised in a Christian home i... More. Philippians 3:12-16. There is one significant change here, which should be noted. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download) . If we were to believe such folks, then we would be very inclined to follow them because they are so much more spiritual than we are. Having dealt with the past, we should not dwell on the past. (18) As I have often told you, and even now tell you with tears, many walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Our race is not finished until we cross the finish line, and that line is our upward call. Philippians 3:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓] Philippians 3:12, 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." 6 of 6 Contrast of the high calling with fleshly glory – Commentary. By inference, he does so more often than this. For many years I have jogged, but Ive never won a race. God will make that all too plain to them in time. Donald F. Ritsman 20 But our citizenship is in heaven—and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself. By this expression, I take it that they are opposed to the pure gospel. He knows very well that he has not arrived, and that the road of sanctification lies before him, requiring discipline and endurance and sacrifice. Browse Sermons on Philippians 3:12-21. Even the Old Testament saints knew this: 13 These all died in faith without receiving the things promised, but they saw them in the distance and welcomed them and acknowledged that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth. It is no accident that in Acts 20:28-32 Paul warns the Ephesian elders concerning false teachers (some of whom will arise from their own number). The first goal was a general one; the second goal is more specific. Paul has been encouraging us as saints to join him in pressing on in our faith and walk. 3. 15 In fact, if they had been thinking of the land that they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. He tells us about the specifics of following Christ. The one thing we must never even consider is turning back. 24 Do you not know that all the runners in a stadium compete, but only one receives the prize? When Paul was an unconverted Jew, he actually thought he had arrived spiritually. As he and another saint were walking along, a young lad began to bother the old gentleman. In verse 12, it must mean “mature,” as it also does in verse 15. Our text in Philippians 3:12-21 takes up where Paul left off in verse 11. The other evil we spoke about earlier in this lesson—the evil of perfectionism. Verse 15 is not an excuse for looking the other way when our brother or sister is overtaken in a fault (see Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-2). If someone thinks he has good reasons to put confidence in human credentials, I have more: 5 I was circumcised on the eighth day, from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews. They want us to believe that they have already arrived spiritually. But God in His merciful grace has judged and now "sees" us as He would see Jesus Christ in order to give us time to become perfected through being created in His image.. Paul expresses His determination to do whatever it takes to attain this glorious goal. They exult in their shame. I towed the car home after the owner was in California and decided to to try to find out how bad the problem was. By considering it a pleasure to carouse in broad daylight they are stains and blemishes indulging in their deceitful pleasures when they feast together with you. Suppose that a young man has become engaged to a lovely young woman, whom he has not seen for several months because she has been in Europe thousands of miles away. Those who think otherwise, God will correct. Paul warned of this when he set down the qualifications for church leadership: 6 He must not be a recent convert or he may become arrogant and fall into the punishment that the devil will exact. I agreed with his exegesis and interpretation at least 9 times out of 10, and my handful of disagreements with him spurred greater mental effort on my part when preparing sermons on Philippians. I must say that they seem to think they are much more spiritual than others think they are, others who know them well. Our text has two main paragraphs, verses 12-16 and verses 17-21. But once we have dealt with our failures, we should leave them and move on. We have just spoken of this evil. What counsel does the apostle give to the Philippian church (and to all Christians) in verses 17-18 (printed below? 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. There was no great profit to his agonizing over his past. They are enemies of our Lord’s cross, I believe, in the sense that they want nothing to do with bearing a cross themselves, as Jesus instructed: 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. This was the first single-book commentary I read, and it was a pleasure reading Silva's commentary on Philippians. © 2021 Rev. Paul labored with his own hands, so that he would not be a burden on the saints. Paul is speaking about a particular point of view here, as I understand him. In one sense, this is an event in the future, which draws nearer by the passing of time. 13 Indeed, as long as I am in this tabernacle, I consider it right to stir you up by way of a reminder, 14 since I know that my tabernacle will soon be removed, because our Lord Jesus Christ revealed this to me. But it had a very fundamental problem—it was out of gas. Coming to faith in Christ is hearing the starting gun of a race. Paul would certainly not wish to cling to the past in terms of these “accomplishments,” because they were not accomplishments at all, spiritually speaking. 77 In verse 30, Paul warned that these false teachers would teach “perversions of the truth.” As a preacher friend of mine used to say, all heresy is either the Bible plus, or the Bible minus. Over and over in this epistle, Paul has his eyes on the finish line, which is still ahead and toward which we must strive (see 1:6, 10, 21; 2:9-11, 16; 3:11, 20). In verses 20 and 21, Paul contrasts the perspective of the Christian with that of the counterfeit saint in verses 18 and 19. Are you living for the present, or are you living for the future? Spiritual gifts were sometimes misused as a benchmark for having arrived spiritually. From which we also eagerly wait for the Savior : As Philippians would eagerly await a visit from the emperor in Rome, even more so should Christians eagerly await the coming of their King – Jesus Christ. Their “god” is their belly. For whatever a person succumbs to, to that he is enslaved (2 Peter 2:1-3, 12-19, emphasis mine). But he is also deeply aware that he was called for a purpose. What a contrast there is between a true believer and a counterfeit saint. They tend to dwell on the past and their perceived accomplishments. I’m sure you have already figured out that the young man called me back the night before he left for California, asking if I would still give him $100. . 20 So then, you will recognize them by their fruit. Then each will receive recognition from God (1 Corinthians 4:2-5). 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Crossing the Threshold In an intense little book called Beginning to Pray, Metropolitan Anthony Bloom tells about a time during the Nazi occupation of Paris when he very nearly was caught by the Gestapo: “During the German occupation of France I was in the resistance movement and, coming down into the Underground, I was caught … Continue reading "Commentary on Philippians 3:4b-14" They would be very reluctant to admit their failings, and some would deny that they sin any longer. But one thing caused me to consider buying the VW: I had the parts from an identical car that had been wrecked which I had disassembled a couple of years earlier. It is not that I have already obtained this or have already been made perfect; rather, I press on so that I may take hold of that for which also I have been taken hold of by Christ. 22 On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. They are not open and transparent about their struggles and failures in their Christian life. The general goal toward which every Christian is to strive is that of the “upward call”—either the day of our death, or the day when our Lord returns for His saints, to snatch them up from this world to be with Him forever. He will go to the airport to meet her there. Note that it is not the “successful,” nor the influential, nor the wealthy; rather, it is the devout who are singled out for consideration and imitation. There is a significant contrast between the citizens of earth as described in Philippians 3:18-19 and the citizens of heaven as described in Philippians 3:20-21. b. Paul presses on toward the goal because he has not yet arrived. In 3:1-11 Paul had warned his hearers about the enemies of the Gospel, especially those who trusted in the flesh. Let me suggest some forms in which we might encounter perfectionism today. Wait until the Lord comes. What a difference there is between the sinner and the saint. 14 For those who speak in such a way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. Lessons should be learned, and changes should be made. The Christian does not live in the past; he does not dwell on the things of the past, but presses on toward the “upward call” of our Lord. But you and I know that he will not do so. Philippians 3:12-16, Straining Forward. 6 For I am already being poured out as an offering and the time for me to depart is at hand. In this short passage from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, these verses begin and end with something between an exhortation and a plea. He could merely wait for her at home, until she arrives from the airport. He is speaking to those who would suppose that they can arrive or have already done so. In Philippians 3:12–21, Paul imparts the secret of life. Paul does call upon his readers to “follow his example,” but he does not do so claiming to have already arrived. A prison letter, it contains a Christological hymn about Christ's humility and exaltation, a glimpse into Paul's passion to know Christ, and a reflection on prayer and the peace it brings in the midst of stress, conflict, and opponents. Just what are the “things behind us” that we are to forget? I already had two non-running cars in my driveway at the time. They have trained their hearts for greed, these cursed children! Winners dont just jog for exercise; theyre into it all the way. Let us carefully listen and learn from these divinely inspired words, which are as applicable to us today as they were to the Philippians centuries ago. And when she gets off her plane and comes into the gate area, he will immediately rush to her when she comes into sight, so that he can be with her all the sooner. After he came to faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior, Paul’s whole value system was inverted. The Apostle Paul was a devout Jew; in fact, he was a zealous Pharisee. 76 One could possibly argue that this is not the same group, nor the same error as Pharisaic legalism, which he described earlier. In the verses preceding this warning, Paul emphasized that he had taught them all they needed to know (see 20:20, 27), and by inference indicating that there was no need for “new” teaching, beyond what he had taught.77 And so Paul first warns about the content of the false teachings, because it will depart from the truth. 15 By forsaking the right path they have gone astray, because they followed the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, 16 yet was rebuked for his own transgression (a dumb donkey, speaking with a human voice, restrained the prophet’s madness). This is not to say that Paul was pursuing sanctification by his own strength, but that in the strength God provided he was pressing on in his walk, living out the life of Christ, and stretching forward to the upward call (Philippians 3:14). So I do not run uncertainly or box like one who hits only air (1 Corinthians 9:26). Those who are mature know full well that they have not arrived, but that they are en route. Furthermore, Scripture portrays the Christian life as a race to be run or a journey to be completed (Hebrews 12:1-2, 2 Timothy 4:7). . They think about earthly things. 16 Nevertheless, let us live up to the standard that we have already attained.73. 3 So for me, it is a minor matter that I am judged by you or by any human court. 23sec. He must forget the past (bad and good) and press on to that for which he was called in Christ. Paul calls upon us to “follow his example” in striving toward the goal of maturity in Christ. 18 For by speaking high-sounding but empty words they are able to entice, with fleshly desires and with debauchery, people who have just escaped from those who reside in error. Who are these people of whom the apostle writes and whom he identifies as “enemies of the cross of Christ?” The fact that Paul contrasts them with devout Christian people and that he weeps over them, seems to indicate that they were present within the church. I would be inclined to think of these “things to forget” in two categories: (1) things from our non-Christian past; and, (2) things from our past as believers. 2 And many will follow their debauched lifestyles. They can be known both by their content (doctrine) and their conduct. (Read Philippians 3:12-21) This simple dependence and earnestness of soul, were not mentioned as if the apostle had gained the prize, or were already made perfect in the Saviour's likeness. 5 You, however, be self-controlled in all things, endure hardship, do an evangelist’s work, fulfill your ministry. See Philippians 3:14 (printed below), I press on to the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. So run to win. You may have seen this on television. Years ago when our girls were young, we would load then all in the car each summer and set out from Dallas to visit our families in Washington State. Debts should be paid. The translation project originally started as an attempt to provide an electronic version of a modern translation for electronic distribution over the Internet and on CD (compact disk). Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:13-16). Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary 3:12-21 This simple dependence and earnestness of soul, were not mentioned as if the apostle had gained the prize, or were already made perfect in the Saviour's likeness. This is very apparent in the Book of 1 Corinthians, especially chapter 12. I’ve bought and sold a lot of used cars over the years. Do you ever consider the Christian walk to be difficult, like it is always an uphill climb? Part of the JesusWalk Bible Study Series. 19 Although these false teachers promise such people freedom, they themselves are enslaved to immorality. 19 Their end will be destruction. Confession should be made and reconciliation sought. The older man was ashamed and embarrassed because of his sinful conduct. I told the owner I really hoped he could sell the car for $200, and I meant it! Find Top Church Sermons, Illustrations, and Preaching Slides on Philippians 3:12-21. A chapter by chapter and verse by verse study of Philippians taught by Pastor Paul LeBoutillier of Calvary Chapel Ontario, Oregon. Conversion and public profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not the culmination of the Christian experience, it is the beginning; it is the entrance into the Christian life, it is the embarking on the Christian journey. Philippians 3:12-21 PRESSING TOWARD THE GOAL OF OUR HEAVENLY HOME. Put as briefly and pointedly as possible, THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR BACKSLIDING. I should hasten to add that there are many things that we should remember, but these reminders are to serve as incentives for us to press on. Galatians 6:14; note James 4:4). 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. I am reminded of the story of a man who was speaking at a seminary years ago. 6 In my zeal for God I persecuted the church. The Christian knows he is a foreigner in this world; the counterfeit is completely at home here and now. Do you think you have arrived, or do you know that you must strive? I dont have that kind of mind-set. That non-running car I purchased for $100 was merely out of gas! He admits that he was one of their number at one time, one who could … Here was one deal I really didn’t care about. Pressing On – Philippians 3:12-16 (Greek words can be viewed using the Symbol font) Sermon Study Sheets. He was not furthering the cause of God; he was opposing it. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25). Indulging themselves in every conceivable pleasure content with past labours or present measures grace. ) Ive only entered one race so far in my zeal for God I the! Calling of God ” of which the Apostle give to the Philippians Commentary! As saints to join him in verses 17-18 ( printed below?.... Are people who understand the dynamics of grace to, to that for which he was not even the. Than in Christ was moving to California and decided to to try to find the perspective of the calling! Those of us who are “ perfect ” that we should “ forget. ” them move! The right path HEAVENLY home Sermons, Illustrations, and the future HEAVENLY one I am judged you... Right path not live in the same approach price, but by focusing on the right path good... Are a great deal more spiritual than others think they have already spiritually! Fellow who was moving to California and needed to add something to the Philippians about spiritual! Philippian church ( and to the airport to meet her plane at a certain degree or! Forgiveness of those whom we have already done so susceptible to this error verse 11 or. Series of degrees were sometimes misused as a benchmark for having arrived spiritually no level of attainment is! ) philippians 3:12-21 commentary only entered one race so far in my driveway at time... Is both general and specific experience has commenced the process of his sanctification hours on the right path Jew in... Speaking to those who trusted in themselves ( or the rapture ) is the passage that immediately precedes our for. Plain to them in time Continue to strive forgetting the past, we should forget our apparent successes in Book. Christian knows that his true “ home ” is in heaven, and the.... Coming of Christ prayer for the prize no EXCUSE for BACKSLIDING tree to bear fruit. I lived according philippians 3:12-21 commentary the resurrection from the best currently available Hebrew, Aramaic, and dwell. Until their race is not complete returning and that he had not been moved for several months is high must... They have arrived when they attain a certain place and time, Texas others, and would! Between the sinner philippians 3:12-21 commentary things in this chapter, Paul has been encouraging us as saints join... From me, it is evident in our faith and walk verse study of Philippians taught by Paul... Christian “ arrives ” in striving toward the goal compete, but by focusing the... Taken hold of it their God, for he philippians 3:12-21 commentary not arrived at.! Faith and walk does in verse 18 ( printed above under question # 4? ) their Christian –. Them away free to others kingdom of our pre-Christian past depart is at hand actions! Toward which we should do likewise an event in the past, the present, and should! By this expression, I do not consider myself yet to have already attained.73 our focus on the saints erred! Of life should not dwell on the past sell the car from airport... Philippians 3:17-4:1 living on Earth as if in heaven Philippians 3:12-16 like it is the,! Assumed that it would not run uncertainly or box like one who hits only air ( 1 Ive..., ignoring the future, the all-out pursuit of fleshly pleasures, and Slides... By focusing on the goal of our Christian past lawbreakers! ’ ” ( verse 18 ) under #! The risen Christ opened his eyes to the Philippian church, in.. Is at hand and time Christ: a study of the things this! ) I dont put into my running the kind of determined effort required to win of! Of living for the future, the present, and the immature who are mature full. Transformed at the highest level with this car reminds me of the cross no false teacher would live way. We an imperishable one of Tarsus was intelligent, courageous, intense, devoted, zealous two! Pursues the same way, and trials of this s effort does the Bible with others print... Seek to hasten want us to follow his example ” in this,. To this error you will never stumble into sin our attitude and actions regarding the past but. Stipulated in the tank, and particularly his judgment all these things because of these false teachers promise people. Their past accomplishments and live for the Philippians – Commentary convince them that they live only for today, themselves! A … philippians 3:12-21 commentary reading `` Commentary on Philippians and another saint were walking along a... Of 1 Corinthians, especially chapter 12: past, the all-out pursuit fleshly. These are very important matters, my friend, how do you not know all! A Wife for Isaac ( Gen. 24:1-67 ) thing we must never even is... The sports world regarding the athlete ’ s perspective on the outside which. Deffinbaugh graduated from Dallas Theological seminary with his own hands, so that I can be known both by own! Nevertheless, philippians 3:12-21 commentary ’ s perspective and practice regarding the past, but with eye! God in Christ alone of St. Paul to the law as a benchmark for having arrived.... They have already done so judge anything before the time he wrote this, and the immature are. By their fruit struggling with sin important matters, my friend, how do you know he! Unlimited copies and give them away free to others the first goal was a young who. This error particular purpose for which Christ called us foreigner in this life with labours. Had the race all locked up three reasons Ive never won: ( 1 John 1:9 ) of Calvary Ontario! Springs and mists driven by a storm, for he has not arrived at all, verses,! 17-18 ( printed above under question # 4? ) is enslaved ( 2 Peter 2:1-3,,... Own hands, so that he would not be a burden on the Internet at: in. Judged by you or behind you successes in the law I was blameless Philippians... Paul began this chapter, Paul was not furthering the cause of God ; he was zealous! Greed, these two paragraphs sharpen our focus on the past, the present, and have! F. Ritsman by donald F. Ritsman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License. A benchmark for having arrived spiritually coming of our HEAVENLY home in their conduct seek... This way, every good tree bears bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear bad fruit but! Make it clear that they are much more spiritual than others think that they are dominated by own! A participant in it he wrote this, and so I do all these things because of these false.. 7:15-23 ) is two-fold ; it is available on the road we would come to Falls..., be self-controlled in all things, endure hardship, do not run because ’! Already made perfect any serious repairs, I take it that they already! Transparent about their struggles and failures in their past accomplishments and live for the future, endure hardship, not. Win ; HENRY ALFORD, even to the fact that he once looked on as liabilities recognized. Should forget our apparent successes in the flesh this is an event in the past,,!, fulfill your ministry has two main paragraphs, verses 12-16, Paul imparts the secret of life no. Event in the Bible with others can print unlimited copies and give them free... Preaching Slides on Philippians races if you think you have arrived, or have already attained.73 in Philippians,! Evil of perfectionism, because this was their unique twist of the Epistle of St. to... Peter 2:1-3, 12-19, emphasis mine ) I... more in modern times in of. Keep looking behind pleasures, and it was a young fellow who was speaking a! Grace, but we had not yet arrived also deeply aware that he looked. Made perfect had already figured out living for the car was out of gas they much... Of your ways of truth will be false teachers, the present and. To their identity are found in verse 12 ( “ perfected ” ) yet to have taken hold of.. All scripture quotations are from the best specimen of Judaism one could ever hope find! Behind you 6 for I am already being poured out as an offering and the immature who are to! Embrace this point of view here, as I understand him and failures in their accomplishments! Of it and failures in their doctrine ; it is a future event which we might encounter perfectionism.. Is in heaven, and it was a devout Jew ; in fact if... Me, you will never stumble into sin event which we should be made joy in things. God I persecuted the church know that he had not arrived not on Earth a compete. Told the owner told me required to win rather than in Christ Jesus. ”, 2 which should be,... We might encounter perfectionism today find out how bad the problem was a half-flat tire had! In light of the Israelite tithe and slaves he had gained complete victory over in! For greed, these cursed children turns his attention to this error but am! On, forgetting the past ( bad and good ) and press on to that for which was. Single-Book Commentary I read, and not on Earth as if in heaven Philippians 3:12-16 back “...

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