Philippians 3:15-21

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

EXHORTATIONS TO GODLY LIVING

INTRODUCTION:

We are in the process of looking at -

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

We have seen that believers should -

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

Next we see that believers should also -

B. Live Christlike Lives - 3:15-21

In living Christlike lives, we see that -

1. Believers Must Follow Paul's Example of Godly Living - 3:15-19

Philippians 3:15-19 - 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

In verse 15, Paul urges the same goal he has for complete Christlikeness in this life upon his fellow believers.

Paul exhorts his readers, Let us . . . be thus minded. It is this let us be thinking, this opinion let us be holding, or this opinion let us be forming by which Paul refers to the things he has mentioned in verses 7 through 14, that he should no longer be pursuing his own interests, all of which are characteristic of the flesh, but that he should be pursuing Christlikeness.

Therefore suggests that an inference is being drawn and means consequently or accordingly.

By us, Paul means as many as be perfect, i.e. as many as are spiritually mature or as many as are full grown spiritually.

And if in any thing ye be otherwise minded suggests and if you think differently or if you form a different opinion.

Inasmuch as it is not clear whether the Philippian believers are otherwise minded, if should be understood as assuming that.

God (i.e. God the Father) shall reveal even this is God will disclose this also or God will bring even this to light.

Unto you is simply to you. If these believers are not going in the right direction in their thinking, God will bring conviction to their minds regarding it.

Philippians 3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

The use of nevertheless indicates that Paul is breaking off his discussion and emphasizing what is important. The same word is translated notwithstanding in Philippians 4:14 .

Philippians 4:14 - Notwithstanding [i.e. nevertheless] ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

Whereto is unto what or in respect to what.

We have already attained is we came to or we reached.

Let us walk means let us be in line with, let us continue standing beside, let us continue holding to, let us continue agreeing with, or let us continue following.

What they are to continue holding to or following is the same rule, by which Paul means the same standard which he himself is following: to be pursuing after the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord and to be pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Let us mind the same thing is another exhortation. It means let us be thinking the same thing. It refers to the thought pattern the Apostle Paul has, that of seeking to be totally Christlike as seen in verses 7-14.

Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

In verse 17 Paul urges the Philippian believers to follow his example.

Paul addresses the Philippian believers as brethren by which he means brothers. They are brothers in Christ and fellow members of the family of God.

Be followers together of me is be fellow imitators of me. Paul has established an example, and they should seek to follow his example.

And mark is and look out for, and notice, or and keep your eyes on. Just as they should be in the process of becoming (or should continue being) fellow imitators of Paul, so they should be (i.e. continue or keep on) looking out for, noticing, or keeping their eyes on some others.

These others are described as them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

Them which walk is the ones who live or the ones who conduct their lives.

So as ye have us is in this manner just as you have us.

Ye have us, i.e. you have us, which refers to the Philippian believers following the example Paul himself set by his life. It may also include Timothy or even Silas and Luke, all of whom were with Paul when he first visited Philippi.

For an ensample is as an example or as a pattern. When Paul was in Philippi, he demonstrated the way believers ought to be living in contrast to the way unbelievers live. The Philippian believers should be following the pattern of genuine Christian living they saw in Paul as well as in Timothy, Silas, Luke, and others who would do nothing which might hinder the cause of Christ.

Philippians 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.

Verses 18-19 indicate the reason the Philippian believers are to be followers of Paul and of others whose lives are patterns of the way Paul has lived.

Verse 18 begins a parenthesis which continues through verse 19; so, verse 17 is to be connected with verse 20. Paul diverts from his main thought in verse 18 and returns to it again in verse 20.

For many walk, when used figuratively as it is here, means for many live or for many conduct their lives.

Of whom I have told you often is about whom I was many times telling you (or saying to you). Paul was on many occasions warning the Philippian believers of this kind of people during his brief stay in Philippi.

Furthermore, and now tell you even weeping indicates that the Apostle Paul is still trying to convince these Philippian believers of this and that he is writing his concern in this epistle to them. Having to tell the Philippian believers this makes him sad and brings tears to his eyes.

That they are the enemies of the cross of Christ indicates that they have set themselves in opposition to the good news that Christ died on the cross and paid for the sins for all humanity.

Philippians 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

Verse 19 concludes the description of the enemies of the gospel whose lives are not a pattern for the Philippian believers to follow.

Whose end is destruction indicates that the end result or outcome of the lives of these enemies of the cross of Christ is going to be their eternal loss in the lake of fire.

Destruction is ruin, utter ruin, or hell. It speaks of their destination in the lake of fire. These are unsaved people who will spend eternity in hell.

The same word translated destruction in this passage was translated perdition in Philippians 1:28 , which says,

Philippians 1:28 - And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God (emphasis added).

In addition the word translated destruction in Philippians 3:19 is translated damnable, destruction, pernicious ways, and damnation in II Peter 2:1-3 , which reads,

II Peter 2:1-3 - (1) But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (2) And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (3) And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not (emphasis added).

Whose again refers to the enemies of the cross of Christ.

Whose God is their belly indicates that the belly of these enemies of the cross of Christ is the most important thing in life to them.

By belly Paul means stomach. These unsaved people are looking out for their own interests and are not pursuing Christlikeness in order to be an example to believers.

And whose glory is in their shame continues the thought. It means (whose) fame, (whose) renown, or (whose) honor is in their disgrace.

Who mind earthly things is the ones who have set their mind on earthly things or the ones who are intent on earthly things. They are not at all concerned about future things or spiritual things. As unsaved people, they are concerned with what they can get out of this life; yet, they seem to be pretending to be believers and have infiltrated among those who are genuine believers.

In living Christlike lives, we see that believers must not only follow Paul's example of godly living, but also that -

2. Believers Must Live as Citizens of Heaven Who Will Soon Be Glorified - 3:20-21

In verse 20 Paul returns to the thought expressed in verse 17.

Connecting verse 17 with verses 20-21, we read -

Philippians 3:17 , 20-21 - 17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample . . . 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Verse 20 contrasts Paul, Timothy, Silas, the Philippian believers, and all believers everywhere with his description of the enemies of the cross of Christ in verses 18-19.

For introduces an explanation.

Our refers to Paul, Timothy, and the Philippian believers, and by extension, to all believers everywhere.

Conversation is a word which no longer means what it meant in 1611 when the King James Bible was translated. Here it is used in the sense of citizenship.

Is in heaven tells where our citizenship is and means exists in heaven, is present in heaven, or is found in heaven. Although believers may be citizens of countries on this earth, they are citizens of these countries only temporarily. Their real citizenship as Christians is found in heaven, which is their eternal home. The earth is only a temporary home. Believers should be living in such a way that they are aware that their citizenship is in heaven.

From whence also is out of which also or from where also and refers to heaven.

We look for is we await eagerly.

The One believers are eagerly awaiting is the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, which means that the Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Who refers to the Lord Jesus Christ and introduces what He will do in the future.

Shall change is will transform or will change the form of. This is definitely going to occur at some time in the future. It is only a matter of time before it does. This change will occur at the rapture when believers meet the Lord in the air.

What He will change is our vile body, i.e. our body of humiliation, our body of humility, or our body of low estate.

That it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body is (in order) that may be fashioned like His glorious body or in order that it may become similar in form to His glorious body, which suggests like His resurrection body.

According to the working whereby [i.e. by which] he [i.e. Christ] is able even [i.e. is able also] to subdue all things unto himself [i.e. to subject (or to subordinate) all things to Himself].

The day is coming when the salvation of believers will be completed. Gone forever will be their old sin natures; instead, they will be completely like the Lord Jesus Christ and will have new, sinless, glorified bodies. They will be forever free from sin and all it brings. One is reminded of I Corinthians 15:51-58 ,

I Corinthians 15:51-58 - (51) Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, (52) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (53) For this corruptible [i.e. this corruptible body] must put on incorruption, and this mortal [i.e. this mortal body] must put on immortality. (54) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (55) O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (56) The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. (57) But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (emphasis added).

One is also reminded of I John 3:2 , which says,

I John 3:2 - Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is (emphasis added).

This change to Christlikeness is also mentioned in Romans 8:23 as the adoption, . . . the redemption of our body.

Romans 8:16-23 - (16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (19) For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (20) For the creature [i.e. the creation] was made subject to vanity [i.e. to futility], not willingly, but by reason of [i.e. because of] him who hath subjected the same in hope, (21) Because the creature itself [i.e. the creation itself] also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (22) For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (23) And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body (emphasis added).