Sep 29 2019 - Philippians 3 - What Are You Relying on for Your Salvation?
29th September 2019
Last week we ended talking about the Judaizers – those Jews who had come to Christ, but believed that Gentiles needed to become circumcised and have to follow the Law – and they would come in behind Paul and spread these lies.
Philippians 3:3 For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised.
Paul is saying it has nothing to do with being Jewish! They were saying – the most important thing was your DNA – if you were Jewish, and kept the Mosaic Law – you were saved. But Paul is saying:
We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more.
It is all in Christ, and only in Christ. These are bragging that they are the ones who have kept the Law…
Paul continues: We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more.
Paul was at the top of the charts regarding Jewish leadership – point by point on how he could ‘boast’ even more than they could!
7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,
Here is what he is saying – we cannot trust and hope in Christ for our salvation, IF we have other things we are relying and trusting in – especially our religious efforts – especially our goodness, or morality. If we are relying on any of that to be approved by God – pleasing to God, we are hopelessly lost. The only hope we have is the death and resurrection of Christ. None of us can do it on our own – none of us can win His blessing.
Probably not circumcision – but here are some things people trust in: that they are good – that they are religious, or go to church. They may trust in the fact that they had a Christian upbringing – but if it takes away anything from Christ alone – they are lost.
There are those who believe in the work of justice and mercy – which we are to be involved in – Here is what is required of you – Do justice – love mercy… (Walk humbly with your God).
Acts of justice and mercy are very important – but some are relying on that as a way of being right with God.
For some, personal morality. It is very important – and it is in the Bible, but some are relying on that. But anything we rely on – other than Christ – we need to count as loss.
Those things which at one point held value in our religious life – those things – I count as a disadvantage and a hindrance – to making it Christ only and Jesus alone.
Tim Keller – has done a teaching on the prodigal son – He talks about how the story is focused on the ‘bad’ son – but the story is really about the OLDER son – who ‘always obeyed his father’ – but in the end is more lost than the other son. Some get lost from God because of their badness, but others get lost from God because of his goodness.
Jesus’ death on the cross – no matter how good or bad we are – is the only thing we can trust in – and anything else we trust in – is rubbish.
9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
You might think you’ve really been doing all the good things – and God can bless you! We all think that way – but that is not how God works. A lot of people have a hard time thinking that God DOESN’T work that way!
By grace you have been saved – not on works – none.
Then He says this -
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
We need to experience His resurrecting power – not the power of our will – but the power of the resurrection inside of us who naturally does these things – that is Christian transformation – being changed from the inside out. It is God –
Work out your salvation – it is God who is in you to will and to work – He is inside of us doing this work – so we can unite with His power.
Paul is saying – I want to know the fellowship of His suffering – WOW!
How do we go about that?
We have a demonstration of it –
United with Him in His suffering and His death and resurrection.
How do we do that?
Don’t go looking for suffering!
Suffering WILL come – when we follow Jesus wholly – it will enter our lives. The primary way we experience the fellowship of His suffering – back to chapter 2 – who was God, but did not hold on to that, but became a servant. Then He gave the example of Timothy and Epaphroditus – Living in self-sacrificial service of others. Then, as it goes through this – becoming a gospel partner with God – Joining with Him in the Gospel.
Focus on those two things -and we will experience His power – that is where His power is – not that we’ve done ‘enough’ to experience it – but the power lies in serving others and engaging in Gospel partnership with Him – so when we walk into those arenas – we are entering in where His power works.
These verses CAN –
Being conformed to His death - Resurrection from the dead…This can seem discouraging like we need to live some ascetic lifestyle. We think we are so far away from being selfless – I am a selfish person – just ask my wife! We all are – and we look at Paul and we think - uhhhhh
And that takes us to the next section:
12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul gives us permission to forget what lies behind – THE ONE THING I DO! Let’s pray,
Lord, help us to do that one thing – to stretch forward – which we can’t do if we are regretting and guilting about those things that happened last year or yesterday – help us to stretch forward!
Part two – Building situation – three options –
Buying/building/finding another building
Joining with another church
Renovating this building to make it more accessible.
Things are expensive… Back in January – I have been friends with Tim Brown of Bailey Rd. Christian – for several years – we were talking – and I said – Just want to throw this out – what would you think about our two churches coming together? So we started talking – and we came up with this phrase: Can we accomplish more for the kingdom of God and this community together than we can separately.
I talked to our leadership team – he talked with his – and Jeff and Dick and I started meeting with them in maybe May? We come from different traditions – but we thought that there is enough common ground to at least start taking the next steps. We are just at the beginning of this.
More of you knew about it than they did. We don’t keep secrets as well. To move forward to discern what God might be doing – No decisions have been made at all. Let’s – as a church – and them – as a church – try to discern if God is doing something in the two churches and the community – so we will begin the process of discerning and let me say this: Your opinion – whether positive or negative – is required – as a community.
There is a key factor in all of this – we feel that both churches would need to set aside who they are and their identities and become a whole new church. That doesn’t mean – we both have history, of course – but unless that happens – it will be like two churches trying to work together.
It will require change. And change – no one likes – it is just a reality.
Let’s see – One thing – when I think of this – is to live with an open hand – I think that is the Christian life – to live with open hands. “But this is so important to me!” – but outside of the Creeds – of Orthodox Christianity – everything else should be lived with an open hand.
So what we would like to do – two things – we’ll create a leadership team from our church and theirs – and we’ll meet regularly to think about how we will proceed.
Tentatively – November 10 – to have a worship time together – up at their church – their church is larger than ours and all on one floor – It will be much more convenient – and then, over the next months – to get together in various ways – we’ll gather back together and re-evaluate. It will probably be a year-long process just to come to a decision. We are embarking on something new – always looking to what is God doing? And trying to discern if God wants this or not.
With the building – this building doesn’t work – and their building would work better – so we would go over there –
As for the building fund – if that were to happen – that money we raised would be used in our ‘new building’ – to do the stuff that needs to be done to do the most possible in this community.
I believe – if we are able to find enough common ground and follow the example of Jesus, Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus – becoming servants – this could be something that God uses.
What we are doing is unique – and we’re going through a book 0- Better Together – as a guide.
As things go – they have a lawyer who can help with things.
We are not there yet. We are beginning a relationship. We’lll have our first date in October!