15 March 2011

True Joy Is Found When We Put No Confidence In The Flesh (Part 2)



Phil 3:1-11

Do you wish you could go back to the way things were in your life? Do you wish you could have your old life back again? Are you constantly looking back into the past because you miss the way things where? If that’s the case then what does (v7-8) really mean to you at this point in your life? Paul look back at all his accolades........all his trophies and lined them up beside God and realized that none of them would ever give him credit to enter Heaven! Instead he calls them for what they are!! “Rubbish” is the Greek word for “garbage” or “waste”, and can even be translated “dung” or “manure”. Apart from Christ and His finishing work on the cross, do you count your life as loss because of what you gained in Christ Jesus our Lord? Again salvation is by graced through faith...not works, accolades, trophies or your good intentions. Paul counted all his treasures and works as worthless in comparison to Jesus Christ! Look what he says next (v8) I give everything up or count them as manure for one treasure! “Excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ” What is Paul saying? To know Christ is not some intellectual knowledge.....it’s that personal relationship you have with Him at the point of conversion and so on. This is what Paul desired above everything!! That intimate, everlasting relationship with the Jesus that came to save sinners! So let me ask you the hard questions! Everything you have in your life at this moment do you count it all loss in comparison of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you desire that relationship you have with Jesus over everything in your life or do you miss your old friends.......the parties......the lifestyle of living free?We see examples of this in the Scriptures! Lot’s wife as she loved her life and lifestyle.......Jesus said ".......No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62. We are told to deny ourselves………..pick up our cross…………..and never look back to Sodom! We are always supposed to fixed upon Jesus and seek His wonderful face. Charles H Spurgeon says “Are you satisfied with Christ? If you are not, you have not really got Him. If you have got Him, He is everything to you.” Can you answer that question with “I’m completely satisfied with Christ?” Paul finally counted everything loss (all things loss) for the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ! What did he count as loss?

• His religion
• His rituals and traditions
• His self righteousness
• His deception by believing a lie
• His delusion to biblical truth
• His confidence in the flesh
• His sinfulness and wretched standing to a holy God.
• His pride and ignorance to the beauty of Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Why does Paul count all those things as loss? Look what he says in (v9) “Righteousness which is from God” This only comes from God to repentant sinners at the point of your conversion....becuas eit's all about Him and His saving grace. James Boice said “you cannot fool God with human righteousness”. What Paul is saying is it’s a right standing with God and acceptance by Him through His grace and mercy. Sinners have their sin imputed to Christ and His righteousness imputed to us which is the heart of the Gospel.  Paul wrote in 2Cor 5:21 “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” This means you have no part in your salvation........This means you can’t do anything to attain salvation.......This means you are dead apart from His wonderful saving grace. Why? He gets the glory in your salvation!God knows the flesh is weak and it will take every opportunity to glory in itself!! Paul knew this wonderful truth! We are dead to self and alive in Christ Jesus our Lord.“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” Eph 2:4-5. As Paul continues this letter reminding the church that it’s not by our flesh or our legalistic behaviour that helps enter Heaven and into the fellowship of Jesus Christ! It’s through His death and resurrection (v10-11). There are THREE THINGS that Paul touches on here in this part of his letter! THREE THINGS we can benefit from when we but no confidence in the flesh. THREE THINGS we can count as gain, when we deny ourselves and hide ourselves in Christ. As Paul Washer says "the roaring lion is not afraid of the sheep, it is afraid of the Shepherd ….so stick with the Shepherd!”

1. THERE IS POWER IN HIS RESURRECTION


"power of His resurrection" (v10).....This was the most powerful act performed by the Godhead. There is no power in the Law except showing us our sin. There is no power in the flesh except the bondage of sin and Satan. We have been given the gift of life through the same spiritual power that raised Jesus from the dead. Remember what Paul said in Rom 6:4-6 "We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin." There is cleaning power in the cross of Jesus Christ. There is newness of life through the power of His completed work on the Cross. Jesus died and lay in a tomb completely dead and on the 3rd day He rose again so that we could find redemption power through His life.
God is the only one who can transform a self righteous person who seeks the flesh to see Christ the fulfillment of the Gospel! How? By God’s life giving power found in the Gospel ...that same power that saved our wretched souls from the gates of Hell, if you are a child of the living God.

2. THERE IS FELLOWSHIP IN HIS SUFFERINGS

“fellowship of His suffering” (v10) Better translated “may share in His suffering” This brings us into a deeper partnership and communion with Christ in sufferings. John MacArthur says “the deepest moments of spiritual fellowship with the Living Christ are at times of intense sufferings; sufferings drives believers to Him” Remember He is our.........Merciful High Priest........a Faithful Friend..............A God who sympathizes with our present situation. He is not a God who is a far off and who doesn’t care about His sanctified children.“For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Heb 4:14-15. The spiritual reality for each and every one of is that suffering is part of the true Christian life (Again going back to v28-v29 of chapter 1) Ask yourself......did the people accept Jesus?.......And if not! What did they do to Him? We can find joy in our sufferings because Jesus suffered for you and me!! As Paul said “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor 12:10. We have no confidence in the flesh

3. THERE IS LONGING TO BE WITH CHRIST AND TO BASK IN HIS GLORY

“I may attain (arrive at) to the resurrection from the dead” (v11). Paul looked forward to his death! Paul looked forward to the day he would be able to spend eternity with Christ. Paul didn’t care how God brought it to pass, but longed for death and for the fulfillment of his salvation in his resurrection. “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Rom 8:23. Paul said all this because he came to a point when he opened his ledger and looked at his life. And asked the question.......what worth can I bring to the cross and my salvation? Nothing! He looked into his past to what he had accumulated by his inheritance........by his efforts and reflected on them as loss! Realizing this life he lived kept him further away from Christ Jesus our Lord. So ask yourself......Have you exchanged your assets or your past in for Christ? Or Do you put your trust in your flesh and goodness, which will never be accepted by God! ..........Because if you are doing that your goodness will take you to HELL for all eternity! Remember God didn’t come to save good people; He came to save bad people like you and me! So lay your goodness, your righteousness aside, counting it all loss for the personal relationship found in Jesus Christ! God will credit Jesus Christ to your account and save your soul by His everlasting and merciful grace! Jesus Christ, the ONE who has become our wisdom and righteousness, holiness and our perfect redemption......1Cor 1:30-31 "He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." (NOT IN SELF)......Listen to this wonderful hymn

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress,
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die
Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee
If this is your heart cry this morning?

God will provide the washing and Christ will be reckoned as your one sufficient asset forever. You have no reason to look back or be sad when Christ is everything to you!We do not attain anything in this life by means of self worship, legalism or religious traditions, following the Law or the Flesh and your self- righteousness.The bible says in Rev 21 “But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.” It’s not Jesus plus....it’s Jesus only! As Peter proclaimed “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12. It is only by His grace that we are saved though faith in Him........ The Lord Jesus Christ! We are to count all things as loss for the wonderful intimate relationship that is found in the shedding blood of Jesus Christ!! There is power in the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour....There is power in the Gospel, but there is no power in you and your good intentions execpt His saving grace! SDG 

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