Valuing Christ (Philippians 3:1-11)
God’s Word to us in the Bible is an amazing revelation of His glory. Like a diamond, it reflects the multifaceted truth of God in a brilliant display of color. There are so many variations and shades of color that we would never be able to categorize them all, we can only stand in awe. Yet, sometimes, Scripture is most profound when it is black and white. One of the things that I LOVE about the Bible is that it often divides humanity into two parts and forces us into one of two places. Simple, straight-forward, and helpful. God does not usually give us three or four or five choices, but two. He makes it simple so that we can know the truth because “the truth will set us free.”
Philippians 3:1-11 presents us one of these clear divisions of humanity. We are presented with two options. You will be able to judge for yourself where you stand... and friends, it is very important that we judge ourselves so that we are not judged by God.
In this section of his letter to the Philippians, Paul warns of false teachers, teaching a false gospel, that gives a false confidence. That word “confidence” is going to be a key to understanding this text. We put our confidence in a lot of things. Some things will prove themselves to be worthy of our confidence, and some things will fail us miserably. The wise man is the one who can tell the difference between the two.
Let me give you a couple of examples.
EXAMPLE #1 Imagine standing at the edge of a river, wanting to cross. But the only way across was one of those swinging bridges. You know, the kind with wooden slats held together with ropes that stretch from one side to the other. Have you ever been there? I have and I remember wondering if this thing would hold me. It seems so unstable and like it could break at any time. There’s no telling how many people have used it or how long it’s been here. Can I put my confidence in this rope bridge, physically?
EXAMPLE #2 Many people invest their money into stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Recently, a trusted financial counselor advised Sherry and me to invest some of our retirement savings into dividend paying stocks. He suggested the names of some global corporations that he considered to be good investments. As I look at pulling the trigger on this financial transaction, I am considering which companies are so large and so necessary that they will make a profit even in the midst of a difficult financial climate. In other words, which companies can I put my confidence in, financially?
EXAMPLE #3 After moving to Winchester about 10 months ago, we recently began looking for a family doctor. I asked several people for a recommendation. Finding a doctor who is warm and personable is a bonus, but what I really want is to find a doctor who will make the right diagnosis and give us the best medical treatment possible. Which doctor can I put my confidence in, medically?
I could give many more examples of the kinds of things that we put our confidence in — physically, financially, medically. But none would be as important as what we put our confidence in spiritually. That’s the issue in our text today. What do you put your confidence in to justify you before God? Let me ask it another way. What do you present to God as the reason that he should be good to you in this life and the next?
In Philippians 3, the Bible teaches that THERE ARE ONLY TWO ANSWERS TO THAT QUESTION:
1. Those who put their confidence in the flesh.
2. Those who put their confidence in Christ.
THE URGENT QUESTION is which one of these describes you?
We are going to learn two lessons today:
1. Those who put their confidence in the flesh are deceived.
a. Paul warns of false teachers, teaching a false gospel, that gives a false confidence.
b. Paul testifies to this truth in his own experience (eight confidences)
c. The most basic way humans justify themselves to God is through: Religion, Morality, Good Works
d. What do you put your confidence in to justify yourself before God?
2. Those who put their confidence in Christ will rejoice.
What does it mean to put our confidence in Christ?
a. They count as garbage all other means by which you might justify yourself to God. (7)
b. They know the worth of Christ. (8)
c. They gain the righteousness of Christ. (9)
i. A righteousness that belongs to Christ.
ii. A righteousness that is given by God.
iii. A righteousness that comes through faith.
d. They experience the resurrection of Christ. (10-11)