"The Example of Paul."
Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
transcription/ location is provided by http://www.theseason.org
Philippians 3:1 "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord, To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is save,"
Be happy in the Lord. Paul is saying, I write this over and over because you need to be reminded. It becomes safe for you, because when I repeated it over and over you will know and not be deceived.
Philippians 3:2 "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision."
Here Paul lets you know what you are to be aware of. Be aware of false religions, and those evil workers that bring them to you. Beware of teachers that say they bring you the Word of God, but instead they bring you their traditions. "Concision" in the Greek test means to "mutilate", and it could even be "circumcision". But is is to promote the idea of cutting on your flesh body for a religious purpose.
Indirectly Paul is telling you to be aware of those that would come and try to put you under any part of the law to save you. Today very few people know the difference between the ordinances and the law, or the statutes of the law. Paul is saying that, you that will continue to perform these blood rituals and old ordinances are dogs and evil workers. Circumcision of the flesh will not save you for there is only one salvation, and that salvation is through your faith in Jesus Christ. It comes to you through your repentive heart.
Philippians 3:3 "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."
You can do what every you can think of religiously in the flesh, and it will not save you one bit. Any time the spirit of the flesh tries to take over your thinking, you are going up a dead end street. There is no confidence in the flesh to save anyone. When we become saved, our circumcision is of the heart, and that is spiritually only. It is for both men and woman.
Philippians 3:4 "Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:"
Though you can be proud of what you do in the flesh, in your work of the Lord, and you can have confidence in it; but don't put your faith and salvation in those works. They are done in obedience to His Word, not unto salvation.
Whatever any person can say to show his worthiness in the flesh, Paul has done it, and more. For Christ's sake, Paul was beaten to the edge of his life, whipped, stoned, mocked, jailed, and shipwrecked just to name a few.
Philippians 3:5 "Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;"
Paul is telling us that he was circumcised right on time [the eighth day], and born into the right family. Though Paul was a Roman, he also was of the tribe of Benjamin, and educated in the finest schools of His day. Paul is telling us that even under the law, he was one of the best, a Pharisee. By church standards, they didn't come any higher in respect in the church world than Paul.
Philippians 3:6 "Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless."
Everything that Paul went after, he was the best in it. Even in his endorsement, when he carried the letters from the High priest which gave him the authority to punish the church of Jesus Christ. Before his conversion, Paul was proud of his placing men, woman, and children in chains, and parading them before the religious leaders to be beaten, and even killed. What ever Paul did, he was the best in that task. In fact it was while he was on his way to Damascus to bind Christians that the Lord struck him blind, and called for his conversion.
Acts 9:3 "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:"
Acts 9:4 "And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?"
Acts 9:5 "And he said, "Who art Thou, Lord?" And the Lord said, "I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."
Acts 9:6 "And he trembling and astonished said, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" And the Lord said unto him, "Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do."
Paul had a conversion on the road to kill and imprison Christians, and now God will use him to write most of the New Testament, and bring the gospel to the Gentile world. The one teaching Paul was Ananias, and God told Ananias what Paul ministry would be.
Acts 9:15 "But the Lord said unto him [Ananias], "Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel."
Acts 9:16 "For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for My names sake."
Paul did suffer greatly as he traveled preaching the gospel to Gentiles, kings, and to the souls of the lost house of Israel, those ten tribes that were scattered by the Assyrians before 722 B. C.
Paul is stating here in Philippians that according to the law, I was legal in the eyes of the religious world, in my persecuting Christians.
Philippians 3:7 "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ."
Compared to the things that I gained in Christ; all of the things that I could gain from the world is nothing but trash. Be very careful of those teacher that would tell you that you still have to maintain those things today. This is talking about rituals and ceremonies.
Philippians 3:8 "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,"
Paul is saying that basically he has lost everything. He has given it all up for the sake of serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul is counting those religious churches that still participate in those old ordinances nothing but dung. That is what I think about them. Those that would practice the old way, rather then excepting Christ and faith in the forgiveness that we have in our repentance for our sins in His name. Paul is saying this to warn you of those evil workers that would come and try to put strings and conditions on your salvation.
It is important to know the difference between the law, statutes, and ordinances. The law is everything written down combined. We call all of the writing of Moses, "the law". The law states the rules of conduct and custom that is expect by all the people, and will be enforced by the governing authority. If you lived in Moses day, and were an Israelite living in the camp of one of the tribes you followed the rules that God gave Moses to be written and followed. When you violated them you would have been punished, or curses placed upon you by God.
"A statute" on the other hand is a part of the law that is written down to control one part of the law. It is a condition within the law that must be done for the law to come into effect. The "statute of limitation" would govern time limitation that the law would be enforced. The limitation of blood sacrifice for the Israelites ended Jesus Christ died on the cross. At that moment the veil to the holy of holies was rented, and blood sacrifices were no more required under the law, because the true sacrifice for one and all times became in affect.
"An ordinance" on the other hand, is an authoritative decree, which is made law by the governing leadership. It is a municipal regulation given to control or regulate the people within the community of that group. Street ordinances regulate how wide a street should be, or when a sidewalk should or should not be laid. In the Scripture, the ordinances were written down by Moses to help control what the people could and could not do while wandering in the wilderness in a large group, Most of them were given by God to Moses, however many are not in effect today. Ordinances were given for a time to a specific people by that governing authority, which in Moses day was God, with Moses the overseer. This is why some of the ordinances of the law are done away with, however many of them are not. The ten commandments will never be done away with in any community, even the heathen nations accept most of the commandments, because it sets the bounds where man can live in peace with his neighbors.
Christ's death on the cross set you free from all those strings and conditions of the law that deal with blood sacrifice. The blood of Christ frees us of the bonds that the law placed on us when we sinned. To the women who have gone through a divorce and repented of any sin on your part, don't let any church put you in guilt chains because of their strings attached to the old way. Many so called religious leaders will still try to hold you under those laws after you have repented. There is forgiveness at the cross of Christ for all sins, and when all sins are repented of, they are gone so don't allow others to place that guilt back on you. Paul is calling those churches that hold on to forgiven sin, dung filled churches. You don't need them.
Philippians 3:9 "And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:"
Paul is saying that he didn't have any righteousness within himself while he was playing church and binding people under the law. Paul is saying, be aware of those unrighteous men that I told us about earlier. The only righteousness that any of us can have comes through our faith in Jesus Christ, because when we repent to the Father for our sins, in Jesus name, the righteousness that we have is Christ's righteousness. He takes our sins, and we are sinless before the Father because of Christ.
Philippians 3:10 "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;"
There is power in Christ's resurrection, because in Christ's resurrection Satan was defeated, along with death and the grave. It is through Christ's resurrection that we have eternal life. Christ is the only way to find true freedom from the bondage of guilt from sin in this earth age. When we are baptized and submerged, we become part of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. This is why it is important to anoint someone before they are baptized, it is the preparation for the death burial of the sin body, and the resurrection of your spiritual body into righteousness, and brought into eternal life. We have the victory in Christ, and if you partake of those freedoms that are part of Christianity, then you will be blessed from this very moment by the riches of God. This is because Our Heavenly Father will look out for you, the worry and gilt from sin is gone.
A lot of people like to play at being a Christian, but their faith is missing from their life. There is a point that if you expect God's blessings, you must in your own mind know that Christianity is not a religion, but it is a reality. Then the blessings of God will flow out in your own life. Your faith must be strong, for faith is a part of your belief. It is your acting upon what you know to be true. It is your taking what God's Word says is true and acting upon every word.
Philippians 3:11 "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."
Paul is looking forward to the final change that comes when our Lord Jesus Christ returns at the seventh and last trumpet. Then all flesh is done away with, and all souls living on this earth will be changed in the wink of an eye. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:50-54 of this time when we put off our flesh bodies, and take up our incorruptible bodies. We discussed this time back in Philippians 2:11. At the last trump we will all be changed at one time; However, for God's election we will come into the full resurrection of both the body and the soul. Paul is saying that he is actually looking forward to that time of attaining the full resurrection into the eternal body that shall never die.
It is going to be a beautiful day when we are with Christ and in our spiritual bodies. There will be no handicapped people in the Millennium age, and all people will have the same mental capacity. There will be no sickness, nor needs that are common to maintain our flesh bodies. That is why it will be a time of discipline, where those that in ignorance fell short and worshipped the Antichrist, will earn their righteousness by their works. At the end of the Millennium [thousand year] age comes the judgment, and then is the time you will be judged by those works. Those works will be written it the books that are kept in heaven.
Revelation 20:11 "And I saw a great white throne, and Him That sat on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them."
The great white throne judgment comes at the end of the Millennium age, when this flesh age, and the Millennium age is over and done with.
Revelation 20:12 "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
All souls created will stand in judgment at that time, before the throne of God. At that time it is just you and God, and the record books recording your works that you are judged by. The only thing then that matters will be your works done in the Millennium age. Why, because the flesh age is past, and if you bowed to the Antichrist who is Satan, you will have given any good works of the flesh age over to Satan who is the "instead of Christ". Your works only are what is recorded in those many books.
However for those who are saved and under the blood of Christ and never bowed a knee to Satan the Antichrist, all their sins are blotted out and only their name is in the Lamb's book of life. They have already received their judgment, which is their rewards given at the end of the flesh age, one thousand years prior.
Revelation 20:13 "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."
Their works from the Millennium age.
Revelation 20:14 "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."
This is the death of the soul. All memory of that sinner will be destroyed, even the very thought of you in the minds of your loved ones. It will be as if you never existed.
Revelation 20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
There is only one way to have your name written in the "book of life" in this flesh age and that is through faith and believing in Jesus Christ. By failing to do that in this flesh age through your ignorance, your only salvation for eternal life will be by living the thousand years in a disciplined and just life through the Millennium age, and then being judged by your works alone at the end of the Millennium age of Christ's kingdom. God will be fair to all his children, and you are judged then by what you do only.
Paul is saying that he is looking forward to this time. The resurrection of the dead means that even mortal [liable to die] souls that earned it by their works will overcome.
Philippians 3:12 "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus."
This hasn't happened yet, but Paul is saying that he is captured by Jesus Christ, and he is looking forward to the time when we are secured in that final spiritual body that shall be eternal. At the resurrection, his coming to end this earth age of the flesh, all souls will be completely captured by Christ.
Revelation 13:10 "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints."
Though this sounds like a negative thing, it is not for it is dealing with destiny. The captivity is they shall go into is the captivity of Christ. The sword is Christ's tongue that is written down in the Word of God. Everything that God has said would come to pass, will take place exactly as it is written. The "patience of the saints" is the opportunity of the saints to be captured or apprehended by Christ himself and to lead other into that captivity. That captivity is the becoming a son of the living God, with all the wealth and inheritance that comes with that position. You become joint heirs with Christ.
Philippians 3:13 "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,"
Paul is saying that he knows he has not been apprehended yet, for this time is at the seventh trump. Then is the time that we will obtain that perfect body, or perfect position of heir with Christ. However Paul is saying that there is one thing that he will always do; and this is the down fall of most Christians who are sunk in their problems.
Remember Paul's warning earlier telling you to be aware of "those dogs" evil ministers and preacher that would drag you back into the captivity of their own house, demanding your tithe; and forcing you under the law. They do not want to set you free in Christ, but keep your past sin and guilt that has been repented to the Father in Jesus name, fresh in your mind. Friend, that is the bondage that Paul is telling you to forget and leave behind. Even though you may fall daily, that is why you must confess those sins to Him, and just keep on reaching ahead to do better.
As you continue studying in God's Word your knowledge will expand, and so will your ability to reach out and look ahead to prevent falling into other traps of Satan's devices. Many churches today will restrict the position and activities you can be involved in if you have been divorced. They will restrict your teaching a class, of being a deacon, or even being a minister. They will lock down that guilt and memory of that divorce to the point that it will be like chains are placed on up. They want to make you a second class citizen when you are amongst them, as they continue in a far deeper sin, that of self-righteousness. Then they sputter away that Christ forgives sin, even though they don't believe it.
Friend, don't look back on old sin that has been forgiven, and don't participate in any church that hangs on to old sin and guilt. Paul calls them "dung houses" and that is exactly what they are spiritually. Looking back on forgiven sin is blasphemy against Jesus Christ and the blood that was shed on the cross for all sin. It is an insult to our Heavenly Father who willing gave of his Son, and to the Spirit of the living God. So stay away of those spiritual whore houses that would make a second class citizen out of any Christian and make you look back on old sin, and comparing you with anyone else.
It is blasphemy to place any sin that has been repented in Jesus name back on that person, and restrict them in any form of worship. And they call it church...Paul calls it dung. Paul was a wise person. [Go back to verse eight] DON'T LOOK BACK, LOOK FORWARD.
Philippians 3:14 "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
What you do for Christ in this earth age, is creating the reward that you will have for all eternity. You will never be able to come back to this period of time and redo it. The help you can give today, and the opportunity that God is giving here and now will never come again. Our Heavenly Father is a fair judge, and His will give you exactly what you deserve. Salvation itself is one of the most beautiful thing that can be attained, but in the hereafter, in heaven there is more to it. Some will end up there without a garment to wear, and it is very Scriptural.
That means that they have absolutely no rewards, because they have believed what some evil teachers would have to say; "All you have to do is be saved." "You don't have to study God's Word", "The Old Testament doesn't apply to us," and other such hogwash. This is the greatest robbery of all times, because people are being robbed of the riches that they can inherit in their living and doing for God, and in there leading others into the captivity of Jesus Christ. What a prize. Reach for it and go for it.
Philippians 3:15 "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you."
The word "perfect" should read "mature". Only Christ is perfect, but we as Christians are expect to be mature in Christ. That means that there is discipline in your life, regulated by the Word of God, with the understanding and knowledge of the Word that will allow you to act and talk as we are instructed by His Word. Included in the knowledge is the understanding of God's overall plan for all the ages, and an understanding of the signs of the times that you are living in. That is a mature Christian.
Paul set an example, and he has written and taught you what the Word of God is; now be mature in that Word. If there is some minor point, or hang-up on a matter dealing with the mature Christian's walk that we are in disagreement, that is alright for in the end, the Holy Spirit of God will reveal the answer to you in time. If you are a mature Christian God can deal with you. Maturity comes from understand the Word, and understand comes from your study and striving to look up the actual meanings. It comes from an effort on your part.
Philippians 3:16 "Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing."
However let us all live up to the maturity that we know is the maturity that we have in Christ. It is to be brought into captivity, whereby you are free. It sounds sort of like double-talk. When you are brought into the captivity of Christ, He sets you free. It is when you put Christ yoke on you, you allow Christ to take those burdens that you can't handle, and shift the weight of those burdens over to his side of the yoke.
Matthew 11:28 "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:29 "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest into your souls."
Matthew 11:30 "For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
The load is light because Jesus will carry that load for you.
Philippians 3:17 "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample."
Paul is telling them to follow exactly as I am doing and be aware of those in your midst that are setting an example in the Word, and try to do what they do. Remember the subject of this chaper is to be aware of those evil preachers that would lead you astray. Now Paul is telling you just who to follow, and they are those that are mature in God's Word, and strive to follow their understanding of that Word. Know how to tell the difference between the two. When anyone strives to hold you in bondage, that is wrong. Learn to know the freedom that we have in our Savior.
Philippians 3:18 "(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:"
Paul is telling the Philippians that he has reminded them over and over, and I even cry when I think about it. With tears in my eyes I am telling you that there are many that claim that they walk after Christ, but they are enemies of the cross of Christ. They claim to be a church following Christ, but they are an enemy to the cross of Christ because they would put you in bondage, when the cross of Christ sets you free. In verse two, Paul calls it "concision", the "mutilation" of the freedoms that we have in Christ by those dogs, those evil false preachers and teachers. It is the going back to the old church systems under the law. We can read of this warning over and over in Paul's writings. Paul had compassion for Christians and it hurt him to see Christians placing themselves back under bondage once they were free of the law, and under the cross of Christ.
Many things were nailed to that cross of Christ, such as days, new moons, the Sabbaths, as well as many ceremonial rites and sacrifices. Colossians 2 gets into those things that were nailed to the cross. You should be well familiar with all of that chapter. When you reach up and take any one of those things back off that cross, then you become an enemy of the cross. It is because you then limit the power of the living God, through His Son, the only begotten of the Father, that paid the full price with His own blood, to nail those sins to that cross. It is no wonder that Paul would have tears in his eyes, when you see the evil that many are doing in the name of the cross of Christ.
Philippians 3:19 "Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)"
Paul is saying that the end of those evil works and teaching, is that you are going to perish. This word "destruction" in the Greek text means "perish". Those false teachers have placed the things of this earth greater then the things of heaven. The words that they speak come out of their belly, their own physical body and motivated by the money that their teachings will bring them, and not from the Word of God. They are directed by what feels good to them, and advances their own causes. They pay attention to those earthly things, those sins that they should be forgetting, instead of being focused on the blood of the cross which covers all sins. Their lies will steal your money from you, and they hold you prisoner with it.
Philippians 3:20 "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:"
"Our conversation" is the "Word of God", and that Word comes from God who is in heaven. That Word of God tells us that Jesus Christ is going to come again, and we are earnestly looking forwardly to that day of his coming.
Philippians 3:21 "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself."
My friend, you are just going to have to put up with all the short comings that this flesh body is bound to, until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. However at the sounding to the seventh and last trumpet, we will get rid of these vile bodies, and put on a new and glorious body that shall never age. For all those in our generation that do not bend a knee to Satan the Antichrist, and take his name or number, and hold fast with patience to the end of this flesh age. There is not only a body of incorruption [never ageing], but immortal [eternal] waiting for you. As long as you are in the flesh, your body is vile and corrupting with decay.
Just as God formed Adam from the clay of the earth, God is going to form again a new and glorious body for each of us, that will be similar to His glorious Body. God is able to bring everything that is written in His Holy Word to reality, and yet you have churches that would say, "You can't be forgiven for this sin or that." Friend, don't allow yourself to be put under such bondage, get away from any church that would say such a thing. They are not of God, but enemies of the cross of Christ. They just don't know what they are talking about. Paul called them by name "dung houses" and you also can call them by name, and get out of them.
It is time to look forward, and march on to better things in Christ. The day of His return is just around the corner in our generation, when the loving power of Jesus Christ will have the victory over all His enemies. You are part of that victory celebration, when you are in Christ, and focused on the cross of Christ.
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