Paul's exhortation. Finally my brethren, rejoice.
A. A true Christian is a rejoicing person.
1. Peter speaks of rejoicing with a joy unspeakable and full of glory.
2. Jesus said to His disciples, that when they see Him again their hearts will rejoice, and no man can take their joy from them. The cross will bring them sorrow, but the resurrection will bring them joy.
B. Beware of the things that can diminish your joy.
1. Beware of dogs. The wild scavengers that run in packs snapping at everybody, and everything.
a. They are not going to have joy, and they will keep everyone around them from having joy.
2. Beware of evil workers.
a. Those who by their works are trying to establish their relationship with God.
b. Through their misinterpretation of the law, they have made the law void.
c. They have become unreachable because of their self righteousness.
3. Beware of the concision or mutilators. Those that keep the letter of the law and not the spirit.
a. They look upon circumcision as the sign of their salvation. But in their hearts they are not right before God.
b. Their circumcision counts for nothing, it is just a mutilation of the body.
c. Their sequel today would be those who look to their baptism as a sign of their salvation. Ritual does not save.
d. We are the circumcision who worship God in spirit. We rejoice in the finished work of Jesus Christ and in the righteous standing that He gives to us before God. We have no confidence in our flesh. We are not trusting in a fleshly ritual, such as circumcision or baptism. Peter speaks how that we are saved through baptism, but not that putting away of the filth of the flesh, but of a pure conscience before God.
C. If any man had a right to be confident in the flesh Paul had more right than anyone.
1. He was circumcised the eighth day of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin.
a. God had made a covenant with Abraham that He would make of his descendants a great nation, they would be His people, and He would be their God. The sign of this covenant would be circumcision.
2. Of the stock of Israel. That is he came from Jacob. Abraham had other descendants, the Ismaelites could boast that they had Abraham as their father. The Edomites could trace their lineage to Abraham through Issac.
3. From the tribe of Benjamin, which gave to Israel it's first king. He was probably named after him.
4. He was a Hebrew, born of Hebrew parents. He retained the Hebrew language.
5. As touching the law, a Pharisee. They were an elite sect. Sort of like the trained athlete, they devoted their lives to their spiritual goals.
6. As far as zeal, he was persecuting the church. He knew Judaism in the most fanatic and intense way.
7. Concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
8. These were the things that were on the credit side of his ledger.
D. His willingness to count these things as loss for what he had gained.
1. Those things that were gain to me, I counted loss for Christ.
2. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for who I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them as refuse.
a. Note that the past experience is transferred into the present. I counted loss, I do count them as refuse.
b. The past experiences are only valid in the extent that they are transmitted into the present.
c. To many trying to live on past experiences. The things that they once did, the sacrifices that they once made, the blessings that they once had.
d. The fact that I at one time counted something as loss for Christ is not valid if I have returned to pick it up again.
3. What he lost was his standing among the Pharisee's, what he gained was a standing before the Lord.
4. What he lost was his self righteousness, what he gained was righteousness of Jesus Christ.
D. His gain.
1. The excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, as Lord.
2. He had won Jesus Christ.
3. The righteousness which is by the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God through faith.
4. He traded his filthy rags for the white linen pure and clean.
E. His ambition.
1. To know Him. From gnosko to know by experience of relationship.
2. To know or experience the power of His resurrection. "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you."
3. To know the fellowship of His sufferings.
a. Here is where many fall short. They want the power of resurrection, but they do not want the cross.
b. They want the glory without the pain.
c. They want the riches without the sacrifice.
d. They are willing to take all the blessings, but do not want to deny themselves and take up the cross to follow Him.
4. Being made conformable unto His death. "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me."
5. To attain to the resurrection of the dead.
a. If you are not crucified with Him, how can you be raised with Him?
b. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
c. Not as though I had already attained or were perfect.
d. But I am following after that I may apprehend that for which I was apprehended by Jesus Christ.
1. This is the reason I was apprehended by Him, that I may be conformed into His image. That I might become perfect in Him. That I might obtain the resurrection from the dead, that I might spend my eternity with Him.
F. What he was doing to attain his goal.
1. Forgetting those things which are behind.
2. Reaching for the things that are before.
3. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
a. They which run in a race, run all, but only one receives the prize, so run that you might obtain.
4. If your goal is to be complete in Christ, then you must be likeminded to Paul.
5. If that isn't your mind then let God reveal it to you.
6. Walk by the same rule, have the same mind set.
G. Paul's call to them.
1. Be followers of me.
2. Watch those that are walking this way that you might have an example.
H. Paul's warning. He gets quite emotional about this.
1. Many whose walk marks them as enemies of the cross of Christ.
a. They may talk of the power and the glory, but they know nothing of the crucified life.
b. Their end is destruction. Jesus at the end will deny knowing them. They have never fellowshipped with His suffering.
c. Their real gods is their belly, for their mind is after earthly things.
I. The marks of the true believer.
1. Our conversation is in heaven. Manner of living. They have a heavenly mind set.
2. They are looking for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ to come from heaven.
3. They are anticipating the change from this vile body, to the new body that is fashioned after the glorious body of Jesus Christ. This they know will be accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit.
a. We with open face, beholding the glory of the Lord are being changed from glory to glory by the power of the Spirit.