Put No Confidence in the Flesh (Philippians 3:1-3)
Topic: Philippians Scripture: Philippians 3:1–3:3
First Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 30:1-20
Second Scripture Reading: Galatians 5:1-26
Sermon Text: Philippians 3:1-3
The joy of our salvation comes from the assurance that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. We are not saved by our works or our merits, but only by the grace that comes in Jesus Christ. While some Christians over the centuries have been hesitant to emphasize salvation by grace for fear that it breeds antinomianism, this doctrine remains at the center of the gospel message. It is not just a Reformation doctrine; it is a biblical doctrine that spans from Genesis to Revelation and stirs both our hearts and our minds as we rejoice in what God has done for us. The Apostle Paul writes in Titus 3:4-7:
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
1. For review, read Philippians 2:19-30. In what ways are Timothy and Epaphroditus examples of what Paul teaches in Philippians 2:3-4? Is it good for us to admire the faith and works of other believers? Why or why not?
2. How can we obey the command to “rejoice in the Lord” in Philippians 3:1? What would such joy look like in your life?
3. Why is it important for us to hear the gospel repeatedly? Why is it “safe” for us to be reminded consistently that we are saved by grace?
4. Who was Paul talking about in Philippians 3:2? What were they teaching, and why did Paul use such strong language against them? For a summary of what the Church decided about the issue, read Acts 15:1-21.
5. Consider Philippians 3:3, especially the statement “for we are the circumcision." Work through the following three statements in this verse and discuss why these are characteristics of saving faith.
6. In preparation for next week, read through Philippians 3:1-11. How do you think verses 4-11 connect with what we learned from verses 1-3? As you consider the seven things that Paul lists in verses 5-6, what are some of the current things that some Christians boast about or find confidence in outside of Christ?