Philippians 3-4 Secrets of Glory, Peace and Contentment

Psalm 150:1-6 The Finale of Praise
Ps 150:1 “Praise Yah! Praise God in his sanctuary! Praise him in his heavens for his acts of power! 2 Praise him for his mighty acts! Praise him according to his excellent greatness! 3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet! Praise him with harp and lyre! 4 Praise him with tambourine and dancing! Praise him with stringed instruments and flute! 5 Praise him with loud cymbals! Praise him with resounding cymbals! 6 Let everything that has breath praise Yah! Praise Yah!"

Observations: 150:1-2 The grand finale of praise gives the following reasons for praising God:
1a He is in sanctuary, dwelling in the midst of those He constituted to be His people;
1b He is Creator of the heavens, which display His handiwork and power;
2a He does might acts on behalf of His people in answering their prayers;
2b His character is excellent and great.
150:3-6 The soul stirring musical instruments, would have overwhelmed the senses with the grandeur of God. Loud resounding cymbals, along with the trumpets, etc, would have blocked out all other thoughts except the praise of God.
150:6 Since all beings live by the breath of God in them, all creatures have the mandate to use that breath to praise God.
Application: God is worthy of our greatest praise. How do you praise Him?
Prayer: Awesome God of heaven and earth, I praise You for giving me life and the purpose to glorify You; may I do so with my words and works, for You are worthy. Amen.

TMS Titus 3:5 Needing Mercy, Regeneration, and Renewing
Titus 3:5 “4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,

5 not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to His mercy
He saved us,
through/by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to give attention to good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

Observations: Salvation is not reformation (“I need to do better next time”) but regeneration (“You must be born again”). One doesn't ease into being a Christian by doing Christian-like things, or committing random acts of kindness, but by accepting Christ as God's provision for one's sins. Verses 7-8 say we're justified by His grace (not our works), and those who have believed should give attention to good works. This is parallel to the pattern Paul taught in Ephesians 2:8-10. The washing isn't regeneration, any more than the renewal is the Holy Spirit. The one preposition “through/by” (dia) controls them both, which with the genitive, gives the means by which something happens. The only other use of “washing” is Ephesians 5:26, where it refers to Christ sanctifying and cleansing the Church by the word. A common use of the genitive is source, so the washing is that which comes from or is sourced in our regeneration, and the renewal is that which is sourced in the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul is viewing the whole of our salvation as originating in God's mercy and power (not our works), and He gave us the Holy Spirit so that we could do the works that please Him, and become heirs. See comments on Titus 3 for more.

Application: We're saved, cleansed and regenerated not because we were doing such great deeds of righteousness, quite the contrary, the fact that we needed mercy, cleansing, regeneration and renewing indicates that we were in pretty bad shape to start with.

Prayer: God, I praise You for Your mercy, and all that it prompted You to do for me; please guide me into receiving all You desire to do for me. Thanks. Amen.

Philippians 3-4 Paul balances out the model of Christ gaining glory through His obedience (see Chapter 2) with his own example of focusing on the goal of gaining the prize of God's glory for his faithful service. He doesn't focus on the past, but on the future glory God has for him, by doing the present will of God. This is the mindset of a mature believer. Paul also passes on the secrets of peace and contentment and having God meet all your needs in the last chapter, all causes for rejoicing. However, to rejoice in the Lord is to rejoice in Him, and what He will do in glorifying His saints, not in temporal externals.

Philippians 3 The Mature Go for the Glory

3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not tiresome, but for you it is a safeguard. 2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh;
4 though I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If any other man thinks that he has confidence in the flesh, I yet more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the assembly; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless. 7 However, what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yes most certainly, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse/dung, that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own, that which is of (ek) the law, but that which is through the faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming conformed to His death; 11 if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect; but I press on, if it is so that I may take hold of that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I don’t regard myself as yet having taken hold, but one thing I do. Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as are mature, think this way. If in anything you think otherwise, God will also reveal that to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the extent/rule that we have already arrived, let us walk by the same rule. Let us be of the same mind.
17 Brothers, be imitators together of me, and note those who walk this way, even as you have us for an example. 18 For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, as the enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who think about earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will change the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory, according to the working by which He is able even to subject all things to Himself.

Observations: 3:1-3 We should rejoice in the Lord and what He has in store for us, not in the things that worldlings rejoice in. Paul warns the believers against the Judaizers who want Gentiles to keep the law as the means of blessing (see comments on Galatians), who place confidence in their flesh rather than their faith. Those who have confidence in the flesh rely upon a one time act (like circumcision) rather than ongoing dependent faith. One time acts of faith get someone justified, but are as useless for reaping blessing in the Messianic Kingdom as is circumcision. Worshiping and rejoicing are in the present tense, indicating ongoing actions. Remember worship is a response to revelation, which necessitates ongoing, purposeful obedience (that should accompany faith -Romans 1:5-Romans 16:26). Rejoicing is not just singing a song either, but encompasses what these two chapters are about (cf 3:1).
3:4-8 Paul had more reason than most for putting confidence in his fleshly achievements. However, he considers that as dung so that he might gain Christ. Gain/win is in a purpose clause (hina+subjunctive) which is conditional and not something Paul presently possesses. Obviously Paul is justified/forgiven, but there is something more that he wants to gain or win. Christ is put for all that the Messiah has to offer as the following context indicates. Gain is used in the calls to discipleship and the parable of the talents, obvious reward passages, as here (Matthew 16:26; Matthew 25:17; Phil 3:14). Forgetting what is behind us is usually a good idea, but do remember the lessons learned. Past failures can make us feel inadequate, and past successes can lead to complacency. So a forward focus is a good perspective.
3:9-14 Paul elaborates on what he means by gaining or winning (the approval of -ellipsis??) Christ. He wants to be found, when Christ returns, in an abiding relationship with Him, not following the rituals of (ek =sourced in/out of) the law, but because (dia) of faith in Christ, with a righteousness (doing what is right in His sight) that comes from God, based upon (epi) faith in His promises. The purpose or result of having this righteousness is that Paul wants to know/experience abiding intimacy with Christ, and experience the power of His resurrection (Holy Spirit enabling power). The resurrection power is necessary to participate/share in the sufferings (that usually accompany obedient ministry) of Christ, becoming like Him in His death (for the benefit of others).
Why would Paul want to suffer? In Romans 8:17 Paul taught that those who co-suffer with Christ will be co-glorified with Him. No pain; no gain. “If by any means” is conditional, as is “may attain” (subjunctive). Paul wants to attain to the “out resurrection” from the dead. Paul puts the prefix “ek” in front of the word for resurrection (only used here). He's thinking of more than just being pulled out of the grave, as the following context shows. Everyone is resurrected, some to life/dominion/glory, others to shame (Daniel 12:2-3). Paul is envisioning the fulfilling/perfecting of his purpose on earth, his glorification. He says that he hasn't already attained it nor is perfected (perfect tense) so he chases/pursues it, so he can take hold of the thing for which Christ took hold of him. What was that? One doesn't have to chase after justification or forgiveness, God has freely granted that to those who believe in Jesus. The thing Paul chases after is the prize of the glory. That's why Christ took hold of him, to be able to share His glory and rule with His faithful companions. So forgetting past attainments, Paul focuses on one thing (cf 2 Corinthians 5:9-10). He stretches forward as an athlete straining forward to break the tape at the finish line, to win the prize. His goal is to win the award from the umpire in the games (only used in 1 Corinthians 9:24 in the same context of winning a race). Modern Olympic award ceremonies follow the ancient practice of calling up the winner to the platform at the conclusion of the race to receive his/her prize. The upward call probably has a double meaning; the call up to the winner's platform, and the call up to the resurrection of the righteous when Christ returns and rewards His faithful saints (Luke 14:14).
3:15-16 Paul says that pursuing the prize (reward of glory) is what all mature believers should do. The immature are only concerned about earthly reward, the mature saints stretch themselves forward to take hold of the glory for which Christ took hold of them (cf. Ephesians 1 comments). Those who think otherwise are in for a reproof or rebuke from God when He reveals the error in their thinking and ways. Paul exhorts the believers to walk/live by the same standard/rule to which they have come/arrived, in other words, keep pressing on. Unity is achieved by everyone embracing God's way, not agreeing to disagree.
3:17-21 Therefore, in light of the prospect of the upward call to reward and glory, Paul exhorts them to follow his example and that of those who press for the prize. The reason this exhortation is needed is because many walk the broad and easy way, as enemies of the cross of Christ. This doesn't mean they are unbelievers, because why would Paul weep over them, and why would the Philippians be tempted to follow unbelievers? These are either the folks who advocate circumcision over the cross, or those who abhor the cross of self-denial, or they could be one and the same. Their god is their belly/appetites; their glory is in the things that will cause them shame at the resurrection (Daniel 12:2-3); they focus on the earthly things (for the benefits they derive from them); their end is destruction, not reward and glory; they are worldlings. In contrast a Christ following believer's citizenship is in heaven, from where will come the Savior they eagerly await, the Lord Jesus, the Messiah. When He comes, He will change the mortal body of believers to be like His glorified body (see comments on glory suit in 2 Corinthians 5; and 1 Corinthians 15). Christ does this through the working/administration of God's power, the Holy Spirit of glory, through whom all things will be subjected to Christ.

Application: Mature believers forget the past and go for the gold of God's glory.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thanks for Your model and that of Paul in putting aside the past to serve others in anticipation of eternal glory; may I be faithful to follow that example. Amen.

Philippians 4 Secrets of Peace and Contentment

4:1 Therefore, my brothers, beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. 2 I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to think the same way in the Lord. 3 Yes, I beg you also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they labored with me in the Good News, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, "Rejoice!" 5 Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things. 9 The things which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me: do these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
10 But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length you have revived your thought for me; in which you did indeed take thought, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect to lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it. 12 I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need. 13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
14 However you did well that you shared in my affliction. 15 You yourselves also know, you Philippians, that in the beginning of the Good News, when I departed from Macedonia, no assembly shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent once and again to my need. 17 Not that I seek for the gift, but I seek for the fruit that increases to your account. 18 But I have all things, and abound. I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, a sweet-smelling fragrance, an acceptable and well-pleasing sacrifice to God. 19 My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
20 Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever! Amen. 21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those who are of Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Observations: 4:1-5 In light of the expectation of the upward call of Christ to reward faithful believers, Paul encourages the Philippians to stand firm in their union with the Lord. Unfortunately two women who had labored with Paul were having a unity disrupting disagreement that Paul heard about. He exhorted them to become like-minded, by agreeing to look at things God's way. He also asked fellow believers (yoke-fellows) to be peacemakers. The rejoicing in the Lord (rather than in getting one's own way) and forbearing/gentle spirit (that takes no offense at offenses) would go a long way toward developing that unity. That's what they should be known for, not bickering nor disagreement. As an additional motivation, Paul reminds them that the Lord is coming back soon to judge, and disunity doesn't get rewarded with glory, but something less desirable.
4:6-10 See the extended comments in the TMS observations on this verse in the 1 Corinthians 15 post, as well as those in the 7PASSAGES Discipleship Study in the Sidebar. We should pray about every and any thing that makes us anxious, and knowing that God knows, will enable the peace of God to guard our hearts and minds as we are in union with Christ. However, there is more blessing to be had. Those who focus on what is pleasing in God's sight (see list in text) will have the God of peace with them, a greater benefit than merely His peace (see John 14:21, another good verse to memorize). Following the teaching and example of Paul would result in the blessing of greater intimacy with God.
4:10-13 Paul rejoices in the Lord greatly (as in praise, thanksgiving, appreciation, and general whooping it up) because the Philippians have revived their financial concern for him. This is a reference to Philippians 1:6. They were concerned but lacked opportunity to give. As a result Paul's financial needs weren't being met by them. But Paul was not complaining, because he had learned the secret of contentment. He knew how to have a lot, or an abundance, and how to have a little, how to be filled and hungry, abound and be in need. The word for learned/instructed was used of being initiated into the mysteries of a religion. Outward circumstances were irrelevant, because Paul knew the inside secret. This is that Christ would supply all he needed to do His will, strengthening him supernaturally when necessary. We always have all we need to do God's will. Our job is to determine His revealed will, and then do it, trusting Him to provide the resources we need. It's not to think what we can do with the resources we have, and then determine that to be God's will. It is true that if God doesn't give us the information or resources we need to progress in a certain direction or make a certain decision, then we don't have what we need to determine and do His will. That would be presumption, to decide something independently of God, and then say it was His will. But do remember when Israel crossed the Jordan under Joshua's leadership, the revealed will was to cross the river, while the water was still in it. It wasn't until they took the step of obedience that the waters parted. The situation was different under Moses and the Red Sea, which is why we don't determine God's will by circumstances nor resources. See the Will of God outline on, if you haven't already. So the secret is to have an abiding relationship with the True Vine (John 15) so we can discern His will and draw on His strength to do it. We too can do all God wants us to (or commands us to) by His strength. All we need to do is draw on it, and not waste it on trivial pursuits.
4:14-19 Even though Paul was perfectly content with whatever God saw fit to provide for him, the Philippians did well to share in his affliction/pressure. In the beginning of his ministry after he left Macedonia to go to Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, and other places, only the Philippians supported him. He isn't seeking a gift, but the fruit/reward that will accrue in their heavenly bank account (Matthew 6:20). He knows the secret of having all he needs (and needing all he has), because Christ strengthens him. But the sacrificial gift from them is an offering to God, that is sweet in His sight (and nose). Then Paul promises that God will meet every need of theirs (as they are doing His will), according to His riches, by/in His glory/power, in their union with Christ. This is a promise specifically to them, but the principle is applicable to all who sacrificially serve Christ according to His will.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
4:20-23 Paul ends with a desire for God to be glorified as He pours out His grace on faithful saints. Apparently Paul's statement in 1:13 about not only the palace guard, but the whole royal household included converts in Caesar's house as well. God can get the gospel to the highest places in the world, through bad things happening to good saints (cf. Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah, Ezra). What we might think is a tragedy will turn into a triumph if we respond correctly in faith (that God delivers and rewards those who diligently seek Him -Hebrews 11:6).

Application: The secret to peace and contentment is to focus on God and the things that are pleasing in His sight, having Him meet our needs with His abundance.

Prayer: God, thanks that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and that You will supply all I need to do Your will, every moment of every day. Amen.

Digging Deeper

God in a nutshell: God supplies peace, needs, and glory to those rightly related to Him.

Build-a-Jesus: Jesus strengthens those in union with Him, so they can do God's will at all times.

Us in a nutshell: We need to put our maximum effort into being pleasing to God if we want to receive the prize of His eternal glory. If we focus on the things that are virtuous and praiseworthy, we will also receive the blessing of the presence of God Himself. Good deal!

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