Philippians 3: Pressing Toward the Goal

Why do we sometimes need to hear a message more than once before we really understand?

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Philippians 3:1 So now, my friends, rejoice in your relationship with the Lord. I don’t mind repeating the message to be sure you understand.
King James
Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

Why are works important if they do not save us?

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Philippians 3:2–3 Watch out for the wild dogs, those who would tear at your flesh, people who do evil by saying you must be circumcised to be saved. Actually, we are the “circumcised,” who worship God in spirit, rejoicing in Christ Jesus, knowing that the works of the flesh will never make us worthy,
King James
Philippians 3:2–3 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

What does worshiping God in spirit have to do with circumcision?

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Philippians 3:3 Actually, we are the “circumcised,” who worship God in spirit, rejoicing in Christ Jesus, knowing that the works of the flesh will never make us worthy,
King James
Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Why does Paul boast about his natural heritage?

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Philippians 3:4–7 although I might think so. Of all those who have reason to boast of their credentials, I have more. I’m an Israelite by birth, circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. In faith toward God, the most committed among the Hebrews. In keeping the Law, a Pharisee, the most highly regarded among the Jews. Was I passionate about pleasing God? To the greatest extreme, persecuting the followers of Christ. Concerning righteousness as defined by the Mosaic Law, blameless. Even so, all that made me feel good about myself back then, I now consider worthless in yielding to what Christ wants to do in my life.
King James
Philippians 3:4–7 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

In what ways can knowledge and possessions hinder our relationship with Christ?

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Philippians 3:8 Without a doubt, I consider everything that hinders my knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as a total loss. I have sacrificed everything I had before, seeing it as garbage, so I could have the treasure that Christ has for me.
King James
Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

What is the difference between doing what the Law says and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

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Philippians 3:9 A relationship with Christ is not something I achieve by doing what the Law says. No, it comes through trusting God and following the guidance of his Spirit in doing what is right.
King James
Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

People often make sacrifices in order to obtain something of much greater value. What kinds of sacrifices can we justify for the value of eternal life with Christ?

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Philippians 3:10–11 After living for him, suffering for him, and dying for him, I will know the life and power of his resurrection and somehow be among those who are raised from the dead.
King James
Philippians 3:10–11 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

In striving to become better, what should our goals be?

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Philippians 3:12 I’ve not yet achieved the relationship that Jesus had with the Father when he walked on Earth, but I’m moving in that direction. I’m not yet perfect, but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus laid hold of me.
King James
Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

In what ways can our past help us? How can it hurt us?

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Philippians 3:12 I’ve not yet achieved the relationship that Jesus had with the Father when he walked on Earth, but I’m moving in that direction. I’m not yet perfect, but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus laid hold of me.
King James
Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

What is the value of focusing on our heavenly reward?

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Luke 9:62 “After a man puts his hand to the plow,” Jesus said, “he is not fit for the Kingdom of God if he keeps looking back.”
Philippians 3:14 I focus entirely on the heavenly reward that comes in following Jesus Christ.
James 1:8 Those who can’t make up their minds are unstable in all they do.
King James
Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Why might our current mindset be insufficient for what God has in mind?

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Isaiah 64:4 Since the beginning of the world, eye has not seen nor ear heard. No mind can even imagine the wonders that God has prepared for those who long for him.
Romans 12:2 Don’t follow what society says is right. To experience God and have the highest feeling of self-worth, and to live life to its fullest, your thinking must drastically change. Instead of centering your desires upon yourselves, satisfy the good and perfect will of God by seeking to help others.
Philippians 3:15 If you want to do better, you need a different mindset, one that seeks the perfection God has for you. He will reveal the steps to get from where you are to where he wants you to be.
King James
Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Philippians 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

What means do we have to measure our progress?

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2 Corinthians 10:12 We dare not be like others who brag about what they say and do, ranking themselves by using themselves as a standard for greatness, which isn’t very smart.
Philippians 3:16 Be thankful for the progress you have made, and build on that.
King James
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Philippians 3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

What can we do if we’re not satisfied with where we are and want to do better?

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Proverbs 19:20 Get expert advice and consider where you should adjust your thinking so you may be wise when it matters most.
John 16:13 “But when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own authority but will say only what he hears. He will reveal to you things to come.”
Philippians 3:17 My friends, look at what Christ has worked in me and others who walk with me. Follow our example.
2 Timothy 2:15 Diligently study so you will be recognized by God and others as one who correctly interprets Scripture, one who need not be ashamed.
King James
Proverbs 19:20 Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Why is Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross important to us?

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Philippians 3:18 I am grieved that I must repeat with tears what I’ve warned you about before. Don’t listen to those who say we don’t have to follow the example of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
King James
Philippians 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

Why do people listen to others who care only about themselves?

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Philippians 3:18–19 I am grieved that I must repeat with tears what I’ve warned you about before. Don’t listen to those who say we don’t have to follow the example of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. They care only about themselves, shamefully worshiping earthly goods, filling their bellies while others live in hunger and poverty, which will work to their destruction.
King James
Philippians 3:18–19 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

How can we be sure we are “citizens of Heaven”?

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Romans 8:14 All those who are guided by the Holy Spirit are God’s children,
Romans 8:16 God’s Spirit confirms in our human spirit that we are his children.
1 Corinthians 2:12 No longer do we have the spirit of the world working in our lives, but we have the Holy Spirit so we can experience all that God has for us.
Philippians 3:20–21 We are citizens of Heaven, not this world, so we look to our deliverer, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our earthly bodies to heavenly glory through his power over all things.
King James
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Philippians 3:20–21 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.