Monday, September 12, 2022

2022.09.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 3:7–4:1

Read Philippians 3:7–4:1

Questions from the Scripture text: What has the apostle counted as loss (Philippians 3:7)? For Whom? What else does He count as loss (Philippians 3:8)? For what? Who is Christ Jesus to Him? What has the apostle suffered for his Lord? As what does he count them? In order to gain what (Whom)? What else does the apostle want to do with Christ (Philippians 3:9a)? Of what does the apostle have none of his own? What is the only righteousness that he can have? From Whom is this righteousness? By what is this righteousness? What three things does the apostle come to know/have through the knowledge of Christ (Philippians 3:10)? Of what is the knowledge of Christ the only means to the attaining (Philippians 3:11)? What hasn’t the apostle already done (Philippians 3:12)? What hasn’t already been done to him? So what does he do? In order to lay hold of what? What doesn’t he count himself to have done (Philippians 3:13)? Upon how many things does he focus? What does he forget? In order to reach for what? Toward what does he press (Philippians 3:14)? What is the prize? 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? Who walk (Philippians 3:18)? When has the apostle told them? What is he doing as he writes this now? As what do they walk? What is their end (Philippians 3:19)? What is their god? What is the true nature of that in which they glory? Upon what do they set their mind? Where is our citizenship (Philippians 3:20)? What else is in heaven? For what are we eagerly waiting? Who is that Savior? What will He do to what (Philippians 3:21)? What will He make our body like? What is He using the same power to do? How many things is He subduing to Himself? What four things does the apostle call them in Philippians 4:1? What does he command them to do? 

The things that “were gain” in Philippians 3:7 and the “all things” that are loss but counted as rubbish in Philippians 3:8 are the religious things of Philippians 3:5-6. Some of them were gifts/commands of God, but there is just no spiritual value apart from Christ Jesus. Whatever we must lose in order to gain Him is worth it. And only those things which God commands, by which to look to Christ for life, are worth doing.

The greatest spiritual treasure is knowing Christ (Philippians 3:8), because it is through faith in Him that we get righteousness from God (Philippians 3:9). Whatever superficial spirituality or religiosity is lost in order to gain this is worth it in order to have Him. Even with respect to physical/material blessing, Christ is all. Christ is the greatest thing that we can have even in a physical sense because we will be conformed to His resurrection and enjoy the new heavens and new earth—emphasis here on “earthy”—in resurrected bodies that are glorious like unto His. Certainly, an eternity of that enjoyment is an almost infinite physical/material treasure compared to whatever we might lose, or whatever we might suffer, in this world. Christ prevailed by suffering and prevailed by dying. The believer should be glad to do the same (Philippians 3:10-11). 

The apostle is determined to lay hold of that all that is in Christ (Philippians 3:12-14). Why so urgent? Certainly not for the possibility of failing to obtain it. This is what Christ has laid hold of him for (end of Philippians 3:12). Who can take him out of Christ's hand? Was it not Jesus himself Who said that no one could take us out of His Father's hand or His own hand (cf. John 10:28–29)? Instead, the greatness of the urgency is because of how gloriously valuable it is. If it what Christ wants for him, then it is something that he wants for himself.

Not just the apostle, but all mature believers, have this mindset (Philippians 3:15). And all genuine believers, even if they are immature, God will reveal to them whether they are valuing what he values (end of verse 15). What a great encouragement to us who know that we are not going after it or valuing it like we should! And how humble the mature ought to be, since it is God Who gives maturity. But this determination should be the mindset of all believers (Philippians 3:16). 

Not everyone in the church who thinks that he is mature is actually mature. Some, like in Philippians 3:17, are given to us as examples like the apostle; they do not think that they have attained to anything yet. Ironically, the self-satisfaction of those whom he describes in Philippians 3:18-19 itself exposes that they are not mature in Christ. For they are satisfied enough, though they are not yet resurrected (“their god is their belly”), and they are proud enough, though they are not yet sinless (“they glory in their shame”). This is all the satisfaction and glory they will have. “Their end is destruction.” Not only do they show that they are too easily satisfied with their fools’ gold in spiritual things, but also that they have an inordinate love for the things of this world. Rather than receiving them as good gifts from God, Who will give them so much better, these enemies of the cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18) too happily settle for less than Christ earned on that cross.

Those who are mature in Christ identify not with earth, but with heaven (Philippians 3:20). In heaven, saints are already sinless and enjoy the immediate presence of the Redeemer. And they are no more satisfied with physical imperfection than they are with spiritual perfection. They are eager not just to be sinless but for Christ’s return (verse 20b), and for the physical perfection that comes on that day (Philippians 3:21).

And what treasures will we then be able to take from this life, besides our sanctification? Besides Christ Whom we have by His spirit? We will take with us only other believers, and the fruit which God gave them through our edification and fellowship in the Lord… not carnal fellowship, but gracious fellowship that is actually aimed at edification. This is why the apostle calls them his “joy and crown,” and this is why in this life, our greatest investment ought to be in serving God in the gathering and building up of His saints.

Upon what do you spend discretionary time? Upon what do you spend discretionary funds? At what do you aim in fellowship? What is the Lord showing you about your mindset by comparison to His?

Sample prayer:  Lord, forgive us for being puffed up about ourselves or satisfied with this world. And forgive us for when our effect upon others is to bring them down to such things. Make us to press toward the goal for the prize of Your upward call, and to be examples and helpers to others, that they may be our joy and crown with You in glory, which we ask in Your Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH446 “Be Thou My Vision”

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