THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 5-11-03
LESSON TITLE: PAUL'S LETTER TO THE PHILIPPIANS: "CHAPTER 3: FINDING TRUE HOPE IN JESUS"
Good morning! Let me welcome each of you to our program this morning. It is always a privilege to have you with us to hear the Living Word of God. We are excited that you have chosen to give this time of sacrifice to our God. Won't you take advantage of every opportunity this morning to give your own reverence to God, as we together offer this time of worship to Him. May all things be done, to God, for God and unto His glory. Let's begin our offering to with a prayer!
Let me say a big thanks to all who showed up last week and participated in the taping of song for the Living Word Program. We had a great turn out and everything was a true success to the glory of God.
This morning we want to begin our song of praise with a wondrous old hymn that reminds us that our Lord Jesus Christ is truly alive! Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "He Lives!"
(SONG # 1)
It is that time of the year right now when you see a lot of yard sales and when people are taking advantage of the weather to get ride of some unwanted stuff. Isn't it amazing how much unneeded junk can accumulate in our homes over the period of a year?
However, we all have those things in our homes and lives which we would never sale. Those things in this life which are precious to us and often have great meaning to us because they remind us of a wonderful person or a special event. Sometimes these object have even been passed down for generation through our families, reminding us of a long past day or of things from the past.
So, why do I mention all of this today? Because there is something in this life more precious than anything else that we should never want to sell or get rid of. So what is it? Well, turn with me from Proverbs 23:23 and let's see what the wisest man who ever lived said about that which should be most precious to us. There we read, "Buy the truth, and do not sell it, Also wisdom and instruction and understanding." Notice that we are to buy the truth of God, that is what He has said and what He has commanded. He further mentions here that we should also buy wisdom, instruction and understanding. But notice the key to it all! Solomon says once you have it, never sell it!
Furthermore, I might ask why we would want to sell such a wondrous gift so freely given by God? But the sad reality is in our day that many are not only willing to sell it, but they have completely rejected it by their words and deeds.
So let me ask, have you sold the truth as one who loves God - possibly for those things that you want, like or for what other want. Or maybe you have never even purchase this item that has been so freely offered! If you need to purchase the truth today, God is ready to see your purchase price paid - obedience. Are you willing to serve God? Are you willing to do things His Way?
This morning we are excited to have a special guest speaker with us, brother Willie Franklin. Brother Franklin has just finished a gospel meeting with us at the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ. We are thankful that he has agreed to be with us today and assist us with our study from God's Word of the morning. We are all certainly in for a treat.
As far as our discussion, we will be continuing our study together on, "Paul's Letter To The Philippians." Our specific topic today will cover, "Chapter 3: Finding True Hope In Jesus." So please stay with us and after our next song, brother Franklin will lead our lesson thoughts of the morning. Now let's join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, "Peace, Perfect Peace."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Willie Franklin
Good morning. I appreciate you all being with us in our study on the book of Philippians. We're going to be in Philippians chapter 3 this morning. I want to encourage you to get a Bible and follow along. I would like to read some of Philippians before getting into the discussion of the text.
Philippians chapter 3, beginning in verse 1, Paul writes, "Finally my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same thing to you is not grievous or tedious, but to you it is safe."
Verse 2, "Beware of dogs. Beware of evil workers. Beware of mutilation."
Verse 3, "For we are the circumcision who worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh."
Four, "Though I myself might have confidence in the flesh, if anyone else has confidence in the flesh, I yet more."
Verse 5 he says, "Circumcise on the 8th day of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, concerning the law of Pharisee."
Six, "Concerning zeal, persecuting the church and concerning righteousness which in the law, found blameless."
Seven, "But whatever things were gain to me, yeah, these have I counted loss."
Eight, Yea really, I count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things and did count them but rubbish that I might gain Christ."
Nine, "And be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own, but that righteousness which is through faith in Christ Jesus."
Ten, "That I may know Him, the power of resurrection, the fellowship of the suffering, being conformed to His death."
Eleven, "If perhaps I might attain from the resurrection of the dead."
Let's deal with this section. In this particular section, Paul refers to his past because they are individuals who are starting to struggle. They are letting their old self creep back in and then begin to try to separate because of race, because of income, because of education. And Paul, in order to catch their attention, he uses his past as an example to teach them. He says to them, "to rejoice." Of course, this word is mentioned throughout this letter. You would not even think Paul was in prison when he said, "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice," Philippians 4:4. Rejoice is saturated through this little letter. Because here's a man in prison rejoicing because he has hope in a future and he has other people he's encouraging because they too can have hope in the future.
Then he says to "be aware of dogs." These were individuals who will run around barking out accusations against Paul because he was teaching them that the law had been fulfilled in Jesus being nailed to the cross.
Then he says that "we do not put any confidence in that law." Watch what he says beginning in verse 4. He says, "Though also I myself might have confidence in the flesh, if anybody else think they might have confidence in the flesh," he said, "I yet more." I have more than them. He said, "Now check my credentials." He says, "I was circumcised on the 8th day." Let us deal with that. A Jewish boy was circumcised on the 8th day because a child's blood will not clot before 8 days. I believe in this country we give vitamin k shots when children are born so that the blood might clot. And a boy at 8 days old was a part of God's covenant without ever knowing God. But Paul was pointing out to them, he was a part of God's old covenant which the gentiles had not been, Ephesians 3:11, where he pointed out that "they did not know God." So Paul says he's a part of God's covenant after 8 days of living. Then he goes on to say that of the stock of Israel and of the tribe of Benjamin, he was a part of the old covenant but he was also a part of the favored tribe. When David's boys took his kingdom from him, Benjamin was the only son who did not try to take his father's kingdom and so eventually the tribe of Benjamin became the favored tribe. Not only was Paul a part of the covenant, but Paul was from the favorite tribe of the Jews. Is that credentials or what?
Then he goes on to say, watch, he says, "A Hebrew among Hebrew." In other words, a super-Jew! Paul stood out among his own people because of his zeal and commitment to God. And then he says, "Concerning the law of Pharisee, Pharisees are very zealous." Of course you know they gave Jesus a difficult time, but Pharisees were very religiously committed. In fact, Paul said in Romans 10, "I wish I could be a curse on behalf of my brothers for the Lord's sake."
Then he goes on to say... Oh, I wanted to make a comment about being a Pharisee. Some of what I studied has said that to be a Pharisee you have to memorize the first five books of the Old Testament. Ya'll ought to try that by the next time we get together and see if you can come up with that. The first five books of that Old Testament. These guys were committed religiously and so Paul shows he had religious commitment.
Then he says, "Concerning zeal, he was found persecuting the church." Then concerning righteousness which is of the law, he said, "He was found blameless."
Wow! I read that and my past puts me to shame because I used to have hope in my past. I once played a little football, if ya'll will forgive me, Oklahoma University and I also got to play a little pro football and after becoming a Christian, I too, had to learn that I had to put my past behind me. I once had hoped in my athletic ability, but as most of these professionals will tell you that you are always one injury from retirement. So how long can that hope last? And so I was beginning to look around and to see what had substance and as I became a Christian and I too began to put hope in Christ because there was hope in Christ for the future.
That's what Paul is encouraging the Christians at Philippi to do, to put their past behind them, no longer look to it, no longer trust in it because there was a time before that these people became followers of Christ, they put hope in their race or their education or their income or their family name, but don't look to those things anymore. Now we look to Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 says, "We look to Jesus as the author and the perfector of our faith who for the joy set before me endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of God."
Now we have hope for the future because Jesus said in John 14, (verse 1) "Do not let your hearts be troubled, believe in God but also in me." (verse 2) "In my Father's house are many mansions," he said, "and I am going to prepare a place for you."
You see, we have hope in a future because we know Christ cannot lie. "Neither does God," Titus 1. There is a hope for the future in Jesus and He wants everybody that wants that hope to have hope for the future because your past will not give you hope for the future. That's what Paul is pointing out here. The sad scenario is that there's too many people today whose future is their past. They can't escape it. They can't get away from it. It beats them down. It gives them depression. They go through all kinds of sicknesses and struggles because of their pasts. In Christ, I've learned to put mine behind me because I've read this letter in Philippians 3 and I have hope for the future because I no longer look to my past.
Look at verse 7. Paul says, "Whatever things are gain to me." You see the point he's making? That those things could only be gained to him. They couldn't give him any future. They were not spiritual. Oh he could brag about it around other humans, but all that was going to do was create chaos with others who may not have been a Pharisee or with others who were not blameless. According to the law, it would create dissension. In Christ, there is to be no dissension because we are all one in Christ. "We are a body of baptized, spirit-filled believers," 1 Corinthians chapter 12, verses 12 & 13.
So he encourages these individuals, "don't look to your past." In fact, in many of Paul's sermons, he would bring up his past to make this point to people. Remember Galatians chapter 1? He said, "I did not see this by the revelation of men, neither was I taught it by men. But it came to me through the revelation of Jesus Christ." He said, "Many of you have heard (Galatians 1:11) of my former manner of life, how I persecuted the church and made havoc of it." Paul often brought up his past because he no longer had hope in it and he no longer had shame in it because he was no longer who he once was.
Someone said these words. "I know I'm not what I should be. I know I'm not what I'm going to be. I know I'm not what I ought to be, but I thank God that I'm not what I used to be."
You see, there should be differences between you and your past if you come to Christ. I no longer allow my past to beat me up or to beat me down, because I have a hope and a future. I can look to my past and never let my present become what I once was. That's what Paul is getting at. "What things were gain to me, these have I counted loss. Yeah verily I count all things loss," he says, "for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, my Lord."
And so Paul saw that he wanted to get to know Christ. We need to get to know Christ. Then we too can have hope for the future. That's what Paul is reminding the church at Philippi about, to no longer get caught up into who they were or what they had, but what they knew. Now they know Christ and because of that, we can all be a family. We can all be brothers and sisters in Christ.
So Paul deals with this section in talking about putting your past behind you. Notice he goes on in verse 10 and says, "I want to know Christ." You see, when you have a hope for the future, you also have a constant desire to want to know Christ more and more everyday, every second, every minute. Paul had that fire. He had that energy of wanting to know more about Christ because it was so phenomenal that the "Word would become flesh and live among us," John chapter 1. No one ever would have thought of that idea. No one ever would have thought God would come down in the flesh to live among us and yet, Matthew 23, "He was God in the flesh. He was Emanuel with us." And Paul is awed by it and he wants to get to know him. He says, "I want to know Christ.
Someone penned the words this way, dealing with verse 10 in trying to give insight. They said, "There was an actor that had a friend that was a Christian and he was invited to give out an Emmy at the Emmy Awards. Well he invited this Christian to come with him and while they were eating dinner before the presentation, the Christian asked the actor, "Do you know any scripture?" The actor said, "Well of course I learned to quote Matthew, ugh Psalms 23 when I used to go to Sunday School." He said, "I want to challenge you when you get up before that crowd, I want to challenge you after your presentation to quote Psalms 23 to your audience." He said, "On one condition, if you'll quote it behind me." The Christian agreed. And so the actor stood and made his presentation. He said, "I have something in store for you." He said, "The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He restores my soul. He leads me beside still water, for His namesake, yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil." And the crowd stood and gave him a standing ovation because this actor could quote scripture. I'm sure that would surprise folks today. He said, "Now someone else will quote Psalms 23 to you." The Christian stood and he said, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He restores my soul. He leads me beside still water, for His namesake, yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil for thy art with me thy rod and thy staff. They comfort me." A silence fell among the crowd as he finished quoting Psalms 23. No standing ovation. No clapping. No cheers. And the actor stood up and he said, "Excuse me a moment. I'd like to say something else." He said, "I know the Psalm, that is true, but he knows the shepherd."
It gives me a little bit more understanding of what Paul is talking about, not just knowing scripture but using scripture to know Christ. Paul says, "I want to know Him." And so, Paul talked about his past because he didn't want his present to become what his past used to be and he wasn't going to allow his past to bring him down for the future because now we have hope for the future.
Then he goes on to talk about his present. Notice what he said now beginning in verses 12 and following. "Not that I've already obtained or am already made perfect, but I press on that I may lay hold on that for which Christ Jesus lays hold of me."
Thirteen, "Brethren I do not count myself to have apprehended but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and pressing on toward the prize or the mark of the high calling of God." That word "press on" is a soldier term. It means when bombs dropping all around you, you don't go left or right, you march straight ahead. Paul said he was pressing on with that type of focus. You see, he knew who he was. Paul was a child of God. It is vital today that a "person that has obeyed the scripture become a child of God," Romans 6:3-5. They put Him on in that death, burial and resurrection, that you know who you are presently. You are a child of God. Let no one judge you by your income, your education, or the color of your skin because now we are children of God and such we are. That's what Paul was getting at, at present, that he's a child of God. And these brothers and sisters will be able to get along if they will not squabble over race or income or education, but now realizing that they've been called to the kingdom of God through Christ Jesus and they have a hope for the future, not in their past but in their present being children of God.
So Paul goes on to say, "Therefore," verse 14, oh sorry, 15, "Therefore, let us (including himself), as many as are mature have this mind. If any of you think otherwise, God will reveal this even to you. Nevertheless," (sixteen) "to the degree that we have already attained let us walk by the same rule and let us be of the same mind." That word "mind" is mentioned over some 16 times in the book of Philippians because someone has said, "You can imprison a person's body. You can chain their hands and feet, but you cannot imprison the mind of an individual. The mind is it's own place." Someone has said, "There's none so blind as he who refuses to see." Paul wanted these individuals to open that spiritual eye that Ephesians 1:18 speaks of to understand that God wants us to be a family and in order to have a hope for the future, I can't look to my past. I can no longer look to the flesh. I can no longer look to my education. I have to look to Jesus for my hope and a wonderful future.
God is wanting you to do just that, to have a hope for the future. That's why in this letter Paul is appealing to these brothers and sisters to be spiritual-minded enough that they can look to a future by learning how to let go of their past and identify with their present.
2 Corinthians 5 says, "If any man is in Christ, he's a new creation. Old things have passed away. Behold, they all have become new." Three times in the New Testament, Romans 6:3, 1 Corinthians 12:13, and Galatians 3:27 and 28 tells us how we get in Christ. "For by one spirit we are all baptized into one body, For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
You see, we get into Christ and once we are in Him, we become children of God. We have a hope that no one can take away. We have a hope for a sure future and Jesus has given it to us if we look to Him and continue to walk in Him and let us not get caught up in squabbling about the physical because now we are at that spiritual level.
I want to thank you this morning for our study in Philippians chapter 3. I hope you'll continue to study with us. It's been a joy to be with you. Thank you.
(SONG # 3 - "Jesus is Tenderly Calling!")
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!
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May we each realize the true hope that we have through Jesus Christ our Lord. Because it is only through Him and in Him that we will receive our greatest, final, and eternal reward of Heaven.