Friday, December 2, 2011

Philippians 3

This is the outline of a Sunday School lesson I taught on March 3, 2011. I have no idea how closely I stuck to the outline. Sometimes I can‘t read my own typing.

Intro: A common expression

Have you ever heard the expression “so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good”? If that’s true of someone, then the one thing you can count on is that the thing that’s that person’s mind is not Heaven as it’s talked about in the Bible.

2 things inside the church that will rob your joy.

  • Not talking about the obvious things like drunkenness, violence, etc.
  • These are temptations for all of us.
  • These will keep our minds and our lives from moving where they should be moving. I.e., they will distract us from Christ, who is our life. (Colossians 3:4)

What are the monsters that will rob our joy?

I.e., what are the wrong ways to think about heaven?
Legalism is any notion that you can achieve a right standing with God by personal effort. It is to put “confidence in the flesh”.
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Everything else is less!
There are different forms of this:
  • Roman Catholics who believe that performing a ritual guarantees the results.
    • Church of Christ believes this about baptism.
  • People like the preacher in the movie Footloose, who believe that avoiding sins guarantees your acceptance by God.
What is Paul’s response?
“not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”
What is Paul’s goal?
“that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
This is similar to (but different from) Legalism. Some Methodists believe you can reach the place where you no longer sin or no longer have great sins.
What’s the problem? If perfectionism is true, then
  • Why does Paul say he, the guy writing over half the books in the New Testament, hasn’t got there yet?
  • Why is Romans 7 there at all?
  • Why, in I Corinthians, the book written against the most sins, does Paul end with the statement of the Gospel? Of all the things he could have built up to (more law, higher spiritual “levels”) does he end with: “This is of first importance &dots; Christ was crucified according to the scriptures, was buried, and was raised on the third day according to the scriptures”
The problem is not with faith, it’s with the object of our faith, with what we have our faith in.
  • We put our faith in our obedience.
  • We put our faith in our ability to not sin in some way.
  • We put our faith in our having overcome some particular sin.
  • We forget that God is infinite, and that the smallest sin against him is therefore infinite.

Pursuit of Christ

Paul’s attitude about his past:
  • Garbage
  • Rubbish
  • Dung
Paul’s attitude about his present:
  • I have no righteousness of my own.
  • Whatever righteousness I have is by faith.
  • The faith I have is in the Jesus who was really there, and not the Jesus I imagine.
  • I haven’t reached the end yet.
  • I press on to know Christ — the Christ who’s really there.
How can we pursue Christ?
  • Bible
    • Reading — just to know what it says
    • Study — to understand
      • the depth of the “easy” parts
      • the truth of the “hard” parts
    • To find Christ
  • Prayer
  • Worship
  • Fellowship
  • Serving our neighbor.

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