Friday, June 18, 2021

2021.06.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 3:15–17

Read Philippians 3:15–17

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does the apostle now address (Philippians 3:15)? Whom does he include in this group? What are they to have? Who will do what if they think otherwise? What are they to do with whatever they have already attained (Philippians 3:16)? By what should they walk? What should they be? Now whom does the apostle address in Philippians 3:17? What does he tell them to do? And at whom else to look? For what purpose has God given the apostle and such other men?

The apostle has just described himself as not satisfied with himself but rather straining forward and eager to have more and more satisfaction in the infinitely satisfying God in Christ Jesus. 

How every mature believer thinks, Philippians 3:15a.

Now in v15, the apostle defines mature believers as those who have that mindset and urges every last one of them to maintain that mindset. That is to say that they continually pursue Christ Himself for His mindset to be in them (cf. Philippians 2:1–11).

So that it can be verified that they are mature, Philippians 3:15b.

How deep are the effects upon our minds and hearts of remaining sin! The apostle says in verse 15b that it’s possible to think that you are satisfied with Christ rather than self, and to think that you are straining forward eagerly for more of Him, and to be wrong! Our hearts are deceitful above all things. But God is all-wise to know them. And He is gracious. There is a marvelous promise here. We can look to God to help us see where we are self-deceived. Let us always be seeking for the Lord to reveal to us if we are actually self-satisfied rather than Christ-satisfied.

So that we can live it out, Philippians 3:16.

Whatever point we are at in our maturity, and whatever level of self-awareness God has given us, it must not remain only a way of thinking. It must be a way of walking, a way of living. Don’t just think that you depend entirely upon Christ and need more of Christ. Live dependently and desperately for Christ! Live in the way the apostle has described himself in Philippians 3:12-14.

So that other believers have as many good examples as possible to follow, Philippians 3:17.

In Philippians 3:15, the apostle had addressed “as many as are mature.” Now, he broadens that target-audience with the word “brethren.” 

All believers (Philippians 3:17) are to join the mature believers (Philippians 3:15) in following the apostle’s example of running hard after Christ (Philippians 3:12-14). And now that the apostle has given the instruction in Philippians 3:15-16, he can include a multitude of other examples for the brethren: “Note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.”

If you are mature, you are not mature for yourself. You are mature for Christ. You are mature for the church’s sake. “You have us for a pattern,” the apostle says. Maturity in Christ is maturity that comes from Christ for the purposes of Christ. And a big part of that purpose is to give the rest of His flock a pattern.

How are you walking in dependence upon, satisfaction with, and devotion to Christ? What examples do you have in your household, or in your congregation, of others who are doing so already?

Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry before You Come” or TPH429 “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

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