Philippians 3:4-7

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Text: Philippians 3:4-7

EXHORTATIONS TO GODLY LIVING

INTRODUCTION:

We have already seen -

I. PAUL'S OPENING GREETING - 1:1-2

We have also seen -

II. PAUL'S THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER - 1:3-11

In addition, we have seen -

III. PAUL'S CIRCUMSTANCES AND DESIRES - 1:12-26

Furthermore, we have seen -

IV. PAUL'S EXHORTATION TO UNITY - 1:27 - 2:18

We have also seen -

V. PAUL'S COMMENDATION OF TIMOTHY - 2:19-24

And we have seen -

VI. PAUL'S COMMENDATION OF EPAPHRODITUS - 2:25-30

While looking at -

VII. PAUL'S EXHORTATIONS FOR GODLY LIVING - 3:1-21

We are in the process of noting that believers should -

A. Have No Confidence in the Flesh - 3:1-14

Last week we saw that inasmuch as legalism places confidence in the flesh, believers must -

1. Beware of Legalism - 3:1-3

Philippians 3:1-3 - 1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

We continue with the fact that believers must not only beware of legalism, but believers must also -

2. Regard all Things as Loss for Christ - 3:4-7

Although Paul has an amazing pedigree in things deemed important by the legalists, he has come to regard all these things as loss for Christ.

Philippians 3:4-7 - 4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more. 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

In verses 4-6 Paul indicates that he has more reason to boast in the flesh than others have. If they have reason to boast in the flesh, surely he has even more reason. However, he knows that the flesh accomplishes nothing in the sight of God.

Though is although or even though.

I might also have is understood in the sense of I am someone who might also have.

What Paul might also have is confidence or trust in the flesh, literally in flesh, by which Paul means in himself as contrasted with in the Lord, the One in Whom a person's trust should be placed.

If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh is a condition whose construction in the Greek text indicates that, for sake of discussion, it is assumed to be true.

However, it may or may not actually be true of a particular individual. For this reason if should be understood as assuming that.

Any other man is simply some other or any other and implies any other person. No term for man appears in the Greek text; so, it may include anyone and is not limited to adult males.

Thinketh is thinks, believes, supposes, or considers.

That he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh suggests (that he may) depend on flesh, (that he may) trust in flesh, or (that he may) put his confidence in flesh.

Inasmuch as a part is used to refer to the whole, by using in the flesh, Paul means in himself.

I more indicates that Paul has more reason to place confidence in (the) flesh (or in himself) than any other person would have. I more means I to a greater degree and suggests I have reason to have confidence in (the) flesh to a greater degree. Paul is about to demonstrate that the credentials or pedigrees of the Judaizers do not match his.

Philippians 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee.

In verse 5 Paul continues his statement which indicates reasons he could have even more confidence in the flesh than the Judaizers have.

Paul had been circumcised the eighth day. This was something required of all Jewish boys. It means that he had been born a Jew and had been brought up under the law and in accordance with the law. He was a true Jew from birth; whereas, Jewish proselytes would not be circumcised until later in life after they had converted to Judaism.

He was of the stock of Israel, which means that he was of the nation of Israel. It means that he was born a Jew, one of the chosen people of God.

Of the tribe of Benjamin indicates that the Apostle Paul was born into the tribe of Benjamin, one of two tribes which remained loyal to the house of David at the time of the division of the kingdom following the death of Solomon.

He was also an Hebrew of the Hebrews, by which Paul means he was brought up to speak Hebrew and retain his Jewish culture and heritage rather than to speak Greek and adopt Greek culture.

An Hebrew of the Hebrews reminds one of the dispute in the church at Jerusalem in Acts 6 where the Grecians and Hebrews had problems with each other in the daily ministration or service. The Grecians were Jewish Christians who had adopted the Greek language and culture, and the Hebrews were Jewish Christians who had refused to adopt the Greek language and culture. Paul was proud of his heritage and was not going to adopt the Greek culture even though he learned the Greek language.

Acts 6:1 - And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews [i.e. there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Grecians], because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

As touching the law is simply in relation to law or according to law a Pharisee. The word translated as touching is also used twice in verse 6, where it is translated concerning and touching. By Pharisee, Paul indicates that he was a part of the group that held the strictest interpretation of the law.

Philippians 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

In verse 6, Paul continues listing his pedigree to indicate his boast as far as flesh is concerned.

Concerning was translated as touching in verse 5 and means according to, in accordance with, or in relation to. It will also be translated touching in the second half of this verse.

Zeal means that he was fervent in spirit.

Concerning zeal means in relation to his fervency in spirit.

What he did because of his zeal or (out of fervency) is indicated by persecuting the church. Paul did everything he could to stamp out this church of Jesus Christ, the One he thought was the enemy of Pharisaism. In Acts he had gone after believers, pursuing them as far as Damascus where he intended to have them arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and even put to death.

Touching is a third use in verses 5-6 of the same word translated as touching in verse 5 and concerning in verse 6 and means according to, in relation to, or in accordance with. It may even mean in reference to or with a view toward.

It is concerning (or in reference to) righteousness (or uprightness).

Righteousness is restricted in its meaning by which is in the law, i.e. it is the particular righteousness in the law of Moses or in the Mosaic law.

Blameless means without blame, faultless, or without fault and describes Paul's attitude toward himself as far as the law was concerned. As far as he was concerned, he carried out the law fully (or obeyed it completely) by observing all its precepts.

Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to what he has written in verses 5-6.

What things is which things to be sure or which things by their very nature and refers to the things mentioned in verses 5-6 that were part of Paul's pedigree, that he had been circumcised the eighth day, that he was of the stock of Israel, that he was of the tribe of Benjamin, that he was an Hebrew of the Hebrews, that he was a Pharisee, that he was zealous to the point of persecuting the church, and that he had a blamelessness in the righteousness of the law.

What things were gain to me indicates those things that were of benefit to him or those things that advanced him in his religious status among the Jews.

Were indicates continuing action in past time and speaks of the time in Paul's life prior to his salvation in the sense of used to be.

Gain suggests profit. The verb form of the word translated gain is translated might win in the next verse.

To me means to Paul.

Those refers to what things were gain (or gains) to me and suggests these very things.

I counted means I have thought, I have considered, or I have regarded. Its tense indicates an action completed in the past whose result has continued on to the present. Due to its emphasis upon the result of its action, it is understood as indicating a state of being in the sense of I think, I consider, or I regard. In Paul's mind it is a settled matter and is not subject to re-consideration. His thinking was not evolving on this matter.

He regards these things as loss, i.e. they are damage, they are a disadvantage, or they are a forfeit. All gains Paul thought he had achieved were regarded as one big loss, damage, disadvantage, or forfeit.

For Christ is because of Christ or for the sake of Christ. None of these things are of any benefit for the cause of Christ. They are not going to win any people to the Lord; they are not going to help Paul live for the Lord; they are not going to help Paul be a godly man; they are not going to help Paul in his relation to other believers; and they are not going to produce any righteousness in Paul's life. They are of no use whatsoever to him.

Paul's experience is reminiscent of what he wrote in Romans 7:4-18 ,

Romans 7:4-18 - 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5 For when we were in the flesh [i.e. prior to our salvation when we were unsaved], the motions [i.e. the passions] of sins, which were by the law [i.e. which were aroused by the law], did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. 7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust [i.e. covetousness], except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. 8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence [i.e. every kind of evil desire]. For without the law sin was dead. 9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived [i.e. sin sprang to life - the thought is that when the law said I could not do something, my old sin nature sprang into action and desired to do it], and I died [the thought is that I realized that I was dead in trespasses and sins]. 10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment [i.e. taking advantage by the commandment or seizing an opportunity in the commandment], deceived me, and by it slew me. 12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful [God used this experience to show Paul how sinful he really was.]. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.