Philippians 3:1-3

Philippians 3:1-3

Philippians 3:1-3 begins with a positive praise, pauses to present a warning, and gives evidence of a true follower.

Philippians 3:1-3 begins with a positive praise

Paul starts the chapter on a positive note by repeating an encouragement to “rejoice in the Lord.” Or maybe better said “because you are the Lord’s.” The Greek word for “rejoice” is charo, which is also translated joy. And this is the tenth time Paul has used it so far in the letter.

Keep in mind, Paul is in prison and unsure about his release. And yet, he rejoices. Why? Perhaps, because of Paul’s eternal perspective. This perspective appears in Philippians 1:21 where he says, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” In other words, I’m good with however this turns out. Paul doesn’t let his circumstances drive his attitude. He lives with an assurance that his ultimate destination is with Jesus in heaven.

Are you struggling in your circumstances? An uncertain future? As a Christ-follower, your eternal future is secure. Let that encouragement drive your perspective. And then rejoice.

Philippians 3:1-3 pauses to present a warning

Paul turns from rejoicing to a warning about people the Philippian church should watch out for. And his tone grows scathing.

Who is he talking about it? Most likely Jews or Jewish Christians who followed him during his evangelistic travels. Because they distorted his message of grace by teaching new converts there were additional religious practices they had to follow. They were adding “works” on to the Gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus. And it irritated Paul.

Look out for the dogs…

These dogs weren’t the cuddly, domestic pets we love today. They were dangerous canines that roamed wild, feeding off trash in the streets. And were considered unclean by the Jews. It’s the word Goliath used in his a rhetorical question when David faced him in a one on one fight. Using a mocking tone like, “Seriously? Is this the best you can do?” To call someone a dog demeaned them in the lowest manner.

Look out for the evildoers…

The Greek word for evildoers is tous kakous ergatas and literally means the evil workers. Is Paul accusing them of purposely leading new believers away from the faith? Not necessarily. Sometimes people are sincere in their misunderstanding of scriptural truth. But are adamant that others believe and practice the Christian faith the way they do. And in Paul’s mind, any teaching that misrepresented God’s truth was evil.

We all grow comfortable around certain practices that help us live out our faith. And that’s fine. But don’t insist others adopt the same practices and beliefs beyond the gospel that you do.

Look out for those who mutilate the flesh…Philippians 3:1-3

In Acts 15:1, there’s an example of teachers who contradicted Paul’s teaching. They insisted that circumcision was a requirement for salvation.

Circumcision was a universal practice by the Jews as part of the Old Testament Law. It was introduced as a sign of God’s special covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17:9-11. But notice. It was a sign of the covenant with God. Not a practice that guaranteed the covenant.

A similar example today is baptism. It too is a symbol…a public demonstration of faith. New believers follow Jesus in baptism to publicly demonstrate their faith. Not to insure salvation.

The Greek word for circumcision is peritome. But in this verse, Paul uses the Greek katatome, which means to cut or mutilate. Essentially he’s saying if you’re practicing circumcision as an “add-on” to insure salvation. All you’re really doing is mutilating yourself. A bit blunt, right? But obviously, Paul’s using sarcasm to discourage them from a painful practice that had nothing to do with salvation by grace.

REFLECT & RECORD

In what ways do people “add-on” to the gospel? What impact do you think that has on someone’s faith? Where do you have that tendency?

Philippians 3:1-3 gives evidence of a true follower

V. 3 For we are the circumcision who worship by the Spirit of God…

Scripture reminds us that God’s first concern is always the condition of our heart. And Paul goes on to describe Christian circumcision as a spiritual transformation within the heart.

Although this spiritual circumcision does manifest itself in three ways:

  • In worship by the Spirit of God
  • Glory in Christ Jesus
  • Putting no confidence in the flesh

Good works are important in living out your faith as a Christ-follower. But they should be motivated by a heart that is devoted to God. In order to please God.

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About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 3:1-3

Philippians 2:25-30

Philippians 2:25-30 describes the importance of Christian community along with the risk and the reward of ministry.

Philippians 2:25-30 describes the importance of Christian community

V.25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus

REFLECT AND RECORD

Consider a difficult time in your life when someone came alongside of you. Or perhaps, you came alongside of another. How was comfort provided? What are helpful things to keep in mind in those situations?

Christian community is powerful. It provides mutual encouragement, accountability, and support. A safety net when Christ-followers encounter difficult circumstances. To relieve hardship and ease suffering. Although sometimes there is nothing you can actually do. Just be there. Which is often more helpful than you think. Because it’s not about saying comforting words. Quoting the right scripture passage. Or even talking at all. Your concerned presence says it all.

Epaphroditus was that presence for Paul. He was sent as the official representative for the Philippian church. And he served Paul well. Because Paul described him in glowing terms.

  • brother
  • fellow worker
  • fellow soldier
  • your messenger
  • minister to my need

That’s a pretty impressive list for someone coming to the aid of a fellow Christ-follower. Is there someone in your life that represents that to you? Or you to someone else?

Philippians 2:25-30 describes the risk of ministry

V.27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me…

Unfortunately, Epaphroditus became seriously ill while serving Paul. And it stressed them both out. Epaphroditus worried that his fellow church members thought he was flaking out on his ministry assignment and Paul worried Epaphroditus would die on his watch. Paul was also concerned about the reception Epaphroditus would get when he returned home.

It’s a reminder that ministry offers no guarantees. God does not automatically put a hedge of protection around you because you serve in His name. Even though we often think he is supposed to. Instead Jesus says to take up a cross and follow him. Wow! That’s an effective recruitment slogan. Serve the kingdom of God. See the world. Oh yeah, and by the way, it might cost you.

Philippians 2:25-30 describes the reward of ministry

V.29-30 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ

The Greek word for “honor” is ĕntimŏs, which means valued, more honorable, precious, in reputation. In other words, Paul tells the Philippian church to give Epaphroditus a hero’s welcome when he returns home.

And so we’re presented with a puzzling paradox. A confusing conflict of competing values. How giving is better than receiving? Serving better than being served? The hardship of ministry more rewarding than the pleasure of comfort?

Obviously, the reward is intangible, not material. A spiritual dividend that floods the heart with overflowing joy. And a fulfilling sense of contentment. Unmoved by hazards. Even the possibility of death.

Is this what you signed up for? And are you all in?

Want to know when a new blog article is posted? Receive a monthly newsletter with inspirational thoughts and a sneak peak behind the scenes? Sign up on the form at the top right hand side of the page.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 3:1-3

Philippians 2:19-24

Philippians 2:19-24 discusses the importance of celebrating the spiritual success of other Christ-followers, focusing on Jesus, and mentoring Christian leaders.

Philippians 2:19-24 reminds Christ-followers the importance of celebrating one another’s spiritual successes

V.19 that I too may be cheered by news of you.

Paul is uncertain of his future. There’s a chance he isn’t released from prison. And he acknowledges it when he says, “as I see how it will go with me.”

Still, he is encouraged by the prospect of hearing a good report about their welfare. Even though his own welfare may not look so bright. And that is a distinguishing characteristic of Christianity. It’s not all about you, but the Kingdom of God. Even in the midst of your own difficult circumstances, you can still celebrate the spiritual victories of others. And why mutual encouragement is a valued practice among Christ-followers.

Hebrews 12:1-2 offers a picture of this encouragement. Like a stadium of believers who have finished their race, now the spectators cheering on those still racing.

Where do you find encouragement in your own spiritual race? Have you ever considered that encouraging someone else might encourage you? Who might that someone be for you?

Read Proverbs 11:25. Record your thoughts on what it says to you.

Philippians 2:19-24 reminds Christ-followers to focus on Jesus

V.21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ

It’s a constant drum beat in scripture. Take your eyes of yourself and keep them on Jesus. So why is it so hard? Probably because our sin nature is inherently selfish. And we’re easily distracted by so many concerns in this life. Of course those concerns are real and we all must navigate them. But Jesus is Lord over them. He is the way, the truth, and the life. And the main point of reference for keeping life in focus.

Look at what happened to Peter when he took his eyes off Jesus.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Where have you failed to make Jesus first and let selfishness rule this week? Take a moment to identify it, confess it and seek God’s forgiveness.

Philippians 2:19-24 Demonstrates the importance of mentoring Christian leaders

V.22 But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.

The apostle Paul was a busy guy. He evangelized heathens, started churches with the Christian converts, equipped the church members with doctrinal teaching and provided pastoral guidance.

But he still took time to mentor young leaders for ministry. Because one pastor can’t do it all. So Paul mentored young, spiritual leaders. And Timothy was one of them. Paul took him on several missionary journeys, and trained him as a coworker. He praised him as a man tested and proven. And eventually assigned him leadership roles in the churches of Thessalonica, Corinth, Philippi and Ephesus.

The type of mentoring Paul demonstrated is life on life. The same way Jesus trained his disciples. The spiritually mature investing in the spiritually young by rubbing off through a Godly relationship.

Who is God presenting to you as someone to mentor?

Join me next week in a study of Philippians 2:25-30. Have you checked out my Christian detective novels Soul Pursuit, or Finding Grace yet? Hope you will. I’ve also published some non-fiction Christian books. Take a look here.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 3:1-3

Philippians 2:12-18

Philippians 2:12-18 discusses what it means to be a proactive disciple of Jesus Christ, what motivates disciples, and the key to faithful discipleship.

Philippians 2:12-18 Encourages Pro-Active Discipleship

Discipleship requires balance. Because on one side it invites God’s Spirit to work within you. And letting him transform you from the inside out. However, on the other, it’s engaging in spiritual disciplines like prayer and Bible Study. And striving to apply God’s truth to your life. But leaning too much either way causes trouble.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Describe the discipleship balance in your spiritual life. What does out of balance look like? What does a healthy balance look like? How balanced are you at the moment?

V. 12 work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

At the start of chapter one in Philippians, Paul calls his audience “saints.” Which means they have all responded to the Gospel and are followers of Jesus. And in many of his other writings, Paul teaches that salvation is by grace. It is not earned or deserved. Is he saying something different here?

No. The Greek word for “work out” is katergázomai and means to overcome, work at, prepare and equip. So Paul’s not saying work FOR your salvation. He’s telling the Philippians not to put their spiritual life on cruise control. Sit back, let the Holy Spirit guide you, and enjoy the ride. But that disciples should actively participate in their own spiritual growth.

Philippians 2:12-18 Discusses The Motivation That Promotes Discipleship

V. 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Even though discipleship involves a personal effort on your part, it shouldn’t be a drudgery. A list of religious duties you perform or else you feel guilty you’re not a “good Christian.” It’s focusing your activities on things that please God because you want to. Like a child doing things to please his parents. Or you wanting to please a spouse or other loved one.

Jesus did this too. In Matthew 3:17, following Jesus’ baptism, God spoke from heaven and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

And the Greek word for “well pleased” is eudokéō–the same one used here for “good pleasure.” Did Jesus need to be baptized? No. Because he was without sin. But he did so as an act of obedience. In order to please his Heavenly father. It is this desire that should motivate Christ-followers today.

If following Jesus feels like a burden to you, perhaps you should ask yourself why?

Philippians 2:12-18 Reveals The Key To Faithful Discipleship

V. 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain

The Greek for “word” is lŏgŏs and generally indicates something said. In Jewish thought the sayings of God were of great importance. And in John 1:1, lŏgŏs is used to describe Jesus Christ as the living Word of God. Which represents the entire theme in the Gospel of John.

And while we absolutely should cling to Jesus as disciples, the context in this passage suggests Paul means the word relating to the truth of the gospel, rather than specifically Jesus. In other words, hold on to the words of the gospel as your source of truth and spiritual nourishment.

This encouragement is especially true for disciples of Jesus today. We are bombarded with competing voices, messages, and talking points from all directions. How do we identify what is false? By knowing and holding on to God’s truth revealed in scripture.

This is how you stay the course and run the race to the glory of God.

Join me next week in a study of Philippians 2:19-24.

I’ve received another positive review for Finding Grace. Click here to read it. Or check out my Christian detective novels Soul Pursuit, and Finding Grace for yourself. I’ve also published non-fiction Christian books. Take a look here.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 3:1-3

Philippians 2:5-11

Philippians 2:5-11 supports the Bible’s Gospel message. God came to earth as a human to accomplish what we could not do for ourselves. This passage discusses the deity of Jesus Christ, his humanity, and his final exaltation.

Philippians 2:5-11 presents the deity of Jesus Christ

REFLECT AND RECORD

In what ways does power and privilege affect a person’s attitude? Why do you think it is corrupting? What is the anti-dote?

2:6 though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped

The Greek word for form used in V.6 is Morphe. It means outward manifestation and relates to the essence that doesn’t change. In other words, as a human, Jesus was the same in essence as God the father.

But Jesus didn’t let his divinity corrupt his attitude or use it to further himself.

The Greek word for grasped is harpagmos, which means to seize, snatch violently and hold fast. It presents the idea of holding a privilege that you take advantage of in the future.

Paul’s exact meaning is unclear. Is he saying that Jesus Christ surrendered his equality with God by becoming a man or that he could have asserted his divine essence as a man, but chose not to?

It is clear however, that Jesus carried out his mission according to God’s will. And it’s a game changer for those who respond to him.

Philippians 2:5-11 presents the humanity of Jesus Christ

2:7-8 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

In V.8, the word for human form is schema. It refers to the outward appearance that changes and may be temporary. In other words, Jesus physically grew and matured like every other human. It’s a radical idea. And what separates Christianity from all other religions. That God, the creator, came to earth as a human.

The Greek word for taking is labon and implies an addition, not an exchange. In other words, Jesus didn’t stop being God to become human. He added humanity to his divine essence. He was fully man and fully God.

So from what did Jesus empty himself? This question has sparked an extensive theological discussion around what is called the kenosis’ theory. And is beyond the scope of this article. But I like what a number of scholars suggest. That Jesus chose not to exercise the full extent of his divine privilege.

And he humbled himself at 3 levels:

  • In taking on a human form
  • In sacrificing himself for our sin
  • In accepting the most horrible, humiliating death of the day–crucifixion

Philippians 2:5-11 presents the final exaltation of Jesus Christ

You have a will. A choice. And you’re free to believe in, disbelieve and to accept or reject Jesus Christ.

V.9 Therefore God has highly exalted him…

The Greek word for exalted is hyperypsóō and means to raise to the highest position. After Jesus humbled himself to redeem mankind, God raised him up. It’s a message passed on to Christ-followers as well. That God encourages and rewards humility.

V. 10-11so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

But Paul says a time is coming when everyone acknowledges him. Not because you are forced to. But because you will be overwhelmed in the presence of his glory.

Join me next week in a study of Philippians 2:12-18. Have you checked out my Christian detective novels Soul Pursuit, or Finding Grace yet? Hope you will. I’ve also published some non-fiction Christian books. Take a look here.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 3:1-3

Philippians 2:1-4

Philippians 2:1-4 discusses the topic of church unity. Paul identifies the motivations and qualities that promote unity along with the importance of an outward focus.

Philippians 2:1-4 discusses the motivations that promote church unity

Church is not simply a building. Or a weekly worship service for your religious fix. It is a group of Christ-followers who meet regularly and relationally. Who do life together in the name of Jesus Christ. But they are all still sinners. So problems within a church are inevitable. And unity is an important, but difficult challenge.

REFLECT AND RECORD

What are some church conflicts you’ve experienced? Describe them, their cause and the result? What motivations fueled or diffused them?

We face different challenges in life. And often, our success or failure depends on the level of motivation. How bad do you want it? In this passage Paul begins with a discussion on motivations.

And he frames it with an “if” and “then.”

V.1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy

In other words, IF you have these motivations. Let’s break them down.

Encouragement in Christ—Encouragement in Greek is paraklēsis, which means to exhort. Literally, a calling to one’s side, or to one’s aid. Christ-followers should encourage and come alongside one another both physically and in their faith journey.

Comfort from love—The Greek for comfort is paramythion, which also means consolation. It infers a sense of constraint and speaking to other Christ-followers in a friendly manner. As Paul advises in Ephesians 4:15, it’s not just what you say, but your tone of voice in how you say it.

Participation in the spirit—Participation is the Greek word koinōnia discussed in the study on 1:26-30. It is the unique sense of community fostered by the presence of the Holy Spirit when Christ followers gather. He is the spiritual super glue that holds the church together.

Affection and sympathy—Affection is the Greek word splanchnon which also means compassion. In other words, genuine caring for others. As Jesus demonstrated compassion and caring, we are to follow his example. Especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ at church..

Philippians 2:1-4 discusses the qualities that promote church unity

V. 2 complete my joy by… being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Okay, Paul doesn’t actually say “then” but it’s implied. Notice also, he doesn’t demand compliance from a position of apostolic authority or guilt them into submission. But persuasively suggests it would really make him happy to see them demonstrate these qualities. It would make the joy he expressed for them in chapter 1:3 complete.

Same mind and one mind–Both use the same Greek word phronéō, which means to think or plan. Share the same opinion. A church must move together in how it thinks. And this is directed by God’s word and the leading of his Spirit. So it’s important for Christ-followers to individually and regularly pray and study the Bible. There will always be differences in interpretations, but there can be agreement on fundamental truth and important doctrines within a body of believers.

having the same love–The agape love that motivates Christ-followers should also be expressed among them. It includes support, encouragement, and accountability. And a willingness to seek and extend forgiveness.

being in full accord –The Greek word for accord is sumpsuchŏs and means similar in sentiment and like-minded. In other words, a synonym for phronéō.

Philippians 2:1-4 discusses the outward focus important to unity

REFLECT AND RECORD

What comes to mind when you consider people that demonstrate humility? How is it expressed or lacking in your own life?

V.3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Jesus warned about humility posers. People who showcased virtuous acts to demonstrate moral goodness. And he told stories that exposed the hearts behind certain acts of charitable giving and pious prayers.

And now, Paul identifies a simple principle of Biblical humility. Take your eyes off yourself and focus on others. In other words, it has very little to do with how you present yourself. But where you focus your attention. It’s not thinking less of yourself, but thinking about yourself less.

Join me next week in a study of Philippians 2:5-11. Have you checked out Soul Pursuit, or Finding Grace yet? Hope you will. I’ve also published some non-fiction Christian books. Take a look here.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.