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Philippians chapter 3





AUTHOR:  Joe Ligon

It is funny to me that Paul starts this chapter with the word “finally”.  He not only has this entire chapter to write but he also has the fourth and final chapter of this letter to write.  Like most preachers, when Paul says “finally” it is a rather relative thing.  We preachers have a sometimes have a difficult time landing the plane when we are speaking.

As the chapter opens, he reminds the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord.  That is an important concept that will be developed in the next chapter.  But we should at least remember today that our rejoicing is to be in the Lord not in our circumstances which are not always good nor in other people who are not always good. But the Lord is good.  He is always good.  So, we can always rejoice in Him.

From there Paul issues some rather distinct warnings.  These warnings are about Judaizers who had a habit of coming into new churches and teaching a false gospel.  Particularly they taught that salvation was not in Jesus alone but in Jesus and the Law.  They taught that people would have had to follow the Law including the men being circumcised (“those who mutilate the flesh”).

Paul goes on to say that if anyone had a right to boast about what he could do on his own and in his own power, he had the biggest bragging rights.  In verses 4-7, Paul actually lists his accomplishments “in the flesh”.  But he quickly explains that none of that mattered.  All of his accomplishments, all of his bona fides, all of his bragging rights were really worthless compared to what was available in Christ Jesus.

I want you to skip down to verse 13.  In this verse, Paul makes an interesting statement.  He says “forgetting what lies behind”.  Now let’s be honest.  When you compare that statement to his list of accomplishments that we just covered, it is obvious that he had not “forgotten” the things of the past.  In fact, it seemed that he remembered them in great detail.

The solution to this apparent contradiction is what is meant by forgetting.  Forgetting does not mean an inability to remember.  We all remember our past, good and bad.  And sometimes those memories come to mind in the weirdest of times.  We can’t make ourselves stop remembering those things.

But we can make spiritual decisions that our past doesn’t matter.  We are not going to live in our past.  We are not going to let our past dictate our future.  Instead, we are going to live with our focus on Jesus and eyes on the prize of the triumphant Christian life and a glorious eternity in heaven.  That is a good way to live.


Posted by Joe Ligon with

Philippians chapter 2





AUTHOR:  Joe Ligon

There is no such thing as a bad chapter in the Bible.  But there are some chapters that just sort of soar above all the others.  Genesis 1 is an example of that.  Psalm 23 could be an example of that.  John 3 might be in that group.  Romans 8 is certainly an example of really great chapters.  Hebrews 12 fits in that same category.  And, for many of us, Philippians 2 is one of those chapters.

Now for those of you who didn’t get your favorite chapter listed, don’t send me hate mail.  My list was just a collection of examples.  It was not an exhaustive list.  So, feel free to add your favorite chapter to the list.

Although this chapter has a ton of information about relationships within the church, the focus of this section begins around verse 5 and wraps up in 11.  Theologians call this the Kenosis passage.  Kenosis is a Greek word that refers to emptying or, more specifically, a self-emptying.  We find this emptying mentioned in verse 7.

It is used in terms of Jesus emptying Himself of His right to the place, position, and power of the Divine.  In other words, Jesus gave up heaven to come to earth.  He gave up His rightful position as ruler of the universe to become a servant.  And he gave up His Divine attributes of omnipresence (While in a human body, He could not be everywhere at once.) and His omniscience (While in a human body, He did not know everything God knows.  For example, Jesus said only the Father knows when the Son will return.)

That doesn’t mean He ceased to be the Second Person of the Trinity.  He emptied Himself of those things to come to earth to serve and saved humanity.  But when He ascended back to heaven, He picked those things back up. 

As you look through these verses, you will see that because Jesus humbled Himself, God exalted Him.  Similarly, because Jesus chose to be a servant, He would be recognized by all as the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Not only does this chapter display and teach the Kenosis but it also does a masterful job of teaching us how we should live in light of what Jesus did.  For example, in verse 2, we are to be of one mind, one accord, and one love.  The work that Jesus did for us all should serve to unify us all

In verse 14, we see where the Kenosis should be a motivation for our service.  We are to serve without grumbling or disputing or fussing or fighting.  Our willingness to serve with joy and selflessness is always an undeniable testimony to those in the world. 

Paul ends this incredible chapter by reminding us of two important men in his life.  One was young Timothy who Paul considered his son in the ministry.  The other was Epaphroditus.  He was a member of the Philippian church who brought an offering from that church to Paul.  He would also be the one tasked with delivering this letter to the Philippian church.  We see in both of these men a selfless willingness to serve others. 

May the same thing be seen in us.


Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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