Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary On

written by
Kraig J. Rice

(Clicking on these links will move you down this web page)
Chapters one through four
An Introduction to this Bible book of Philippians
 Chapter 1- Christ is our life
 Paul prayed
 Paul was persecuted
 Paul witnessed to his jailers
 Satan put Paul in prison
 Philippians memory verse
 Paul embraced suffering
 Paul had worthy conduct
 Don't be fearful

 Chapter 2- Christ is our example
 Getting Along In Church
 The Kenosis of Christ
 Works follow salvation
 Let us use Christ as our example
 A drink offering to God
 Timothy was Paul's helper
 Epaphroditus got sick
 Chapter 3- Christ is our goal
 Rejoice in the Lord
 The Judaizer dogs
 Spiritual circumcision
 Paul was a Hebrew of the Hebrews
 The righteousness of God by faith
 Paul desired to know Christ
 Paul fulfilled his destiny
 Put away the old and embrace the new
 Paul ran the race to win
 There were false teachers at Philippi?
 Jesus is coming again from Heaven

 Chapter 4- Christ is our sufficiency
 The Lamb's book of life
 Have no cares (have peace)
 Think good thoughts like Paul did
 Paul relied on God
 Greek words
 Some Sermon Material?
 Memory Verses

An Introduction

Who wrote this book?
The Apostle Paul wrote Philippians as a letter (epistle) to the church at Philippi.

What are some things that we know about Paul in connection with this church?
Paul went to Philippi on his 2nd missionary journey. Paul followed the leading of God to Europe. The church at Philippi was the first church founded in Europe and contained many gentile converts
(Acts 16:9, 12-40). Luke wrote: "...and on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither"
(Acts 16:13). If you want to go fishing, go where the fish are. This is what Paul and Luke did. They went to the folks who believed in God. They went to the river because some folks think that the river water was used for the purification of the Jews. The converts that were made there helped to start this church about 51 A.D. Paul financially supported himself at his trade of being a tent maker
(Acts 18:3; 1 Corinthians 9:12). The Church at Philippi helped to financially support his ministry from time to time. One time was when he was in the city of Corinth
(2 Corinthians 11:9), and another time when he was in the city of Thessalonica
(Philippians 4:16).

Philippi was a major city in Europe (Macedonia, Greece), but it was not the capital city because Thessalonica was. Doctor Luke (the author of the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts) was the pastor of this church for its first 6 years, according to church tradition. This city might have been Luke's home or where he went to school in order to become a physician. The Philippian church had good leadership, good doctrine, generosity, and a lot of love- this is a win-win situation for any church at any time.

When and where was this book written?
This letter was one of Paul's prison letters. He wrote a total of 4 prison letters including Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. Paul had preached the gospel for about 30 years or more. He had suffered a lot. He had been falsely accused, slandered, lied about, persecuted, shipwrecked, beaten, mobbed, and stoned. And now he was in a prison cell in Rome for the faith. But, through it all, he kept his eyes on the Lord who he loved, and he kept a Christ-like attitude to the end. This letter was written about 61 A.D.

Why was this book written?
The Philippians had sent Paul a gift of money. This is a thank you letter to them for their love and generosity to him. Epaphroditus had gotten sick, and after his recovery, was sent by Paul to them with this letter
(Philippians 2:25-29).

What was the historical setting in those days when this book was written?
Rome ruled the world in those days. Paul was in prison in Rome for the faith. This was about 10 years after he had founded the church in Philippi. He was surrounded by praetorian guards. The total force of the praetorium guard in Rome numbered 9,000 soldiers at that time and Paul was able to win some of these soldiers to Christ. But Paul had some (legal) expenses and had run out of money and was probably "praying it in." God answered his prayers by dedicated folks in the Philippian church. They sent their financial gift to Paul via Epaphroditus, who was possibly the pastor of the church at that time. But he got sick and took awhile to recuperate, after prayer was made for him. To repay their kindness, Paul sent this wonderful letter to the Philippians via Epaphroditus.

The theme of this book:  Jesus Christ is our Joy.
The word "joy" in its verbal and noun forms is found 16 times in the 4 chapters of this letter. Christ gives joy and victory for whatever may come to you and I in life.
The main text is: "Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say: Rejoice!"
(Philippians 4:4).

The chapters of this Bible book:

The Bible book of Philippians has four chapters:
1) Chapter 1  Christ is our life
2) Chapter 2  Christ is our example
3) Chapter 3  Christ is our goal
4) Chapter 4  Christ is our sufficiency

A Few Opening Remarks:

There was a strong love bond between Paul and the folks in the Philippian church. They faithfully supported him by praying for him and sending him money. Paul wrote this letter to them to express his love and gratitude towards them.

He did not need to correct their doctrine like he did with the Galatians, nor correct their conduct like he did with the Corinthians.

Our Savior's name is mentioned 40 times in this bible book. Why? Because Paul is talking about his best Friend.

There is power in forgiveness. There is power in prayer. And there is power in joy. Christ must be our joy, our aim in life, and our trust so that we can make progress in our spiritual journey on this earth. What can we observe about Paul? We can observe Paul's thankfulness, and his joy. Paul made a choice to be thankful. He prayed for others with joy. We can observe that he kept his eyes on the Lord. We can observe that respect has to come before love. Trust and thankfulness are important. The contents of this book can be nearly inexhaustible. I am just hitting some of the highlights in this brief commentary.

  The Secret of Prayer:

Taking A Look At Chapter One
Christ is our life

Paul was a prayer warrior and intercessor:
"Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God"
(Philippians 1:1-11).

Why do I say that Paul was a prayer warrior and intercessor? Because he stated: " every prayer of mine...and this I pray..."
(Philippians 1:4 & 9).
He prayed for others. He talked to the Lord. I think it is good for you and I also to pray to God and talk to Him about the things that concern us and others
(1 Thessalonians 1:2).

Paul did not say that he prayed because he was happy. Why? Because happiness is linked to one's circumstances. If you have good circumstances, you might be happy. If you have bad circumstances, you might be unhappy. What kind of circumstances did Paul have? He was in a dark and damp Roman prison cell, probably cold and hungry, possibly sick and depressed. So, the natural conclusion of many folks might be that Paul was unhappy. Joy, on the other hand, comes from the godly spirit that is inside of a person. It is not based on circumstances like happiness is. Joy can be great and full in one's inner most being. This is what Paul had- he had joy, not happiness. He had joy in prayer because, even though his body was restrained by chains and a prison cell, his prayers were not restrained and that is one way that he could reach those folks outside of his prison cell. Joy bubbled up from deep inside of him from God the Holy Spirit who lived there with him. Do you and I have that joy when adverse circumstances come to us?

Fellowship in the gospel:
"...for your fellowship in the gospel..."
(Philippians 1:5).
"Koinonia" is a Greek word that means fellowship.

Paul was persecuted:
"But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; and many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: the one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death"
(Philippians 1:12-20).

Paul had stress in his life. Satan likes to bring stress to every believer. Has Satan ever brought stress to you? Satan arranged circumstances for Paul to be arrested and thrown into prison, but Paul knew he was not alone and that he needed prayer. What was Paul's perspective while in prison? To my way of thinking, he kept an eternal focus- he kept his eyes on the Lord. That is the only way that he could use his jail circumstances to help him spread the gospel. There was a missionary one time named Jim Elliot. He was killed while on the mission field. He stated: "he is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." It took courage for Paul to live that way in prison. Do you and I have that kind of courage? Paul also penned these words:
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose"
(Romans 8:28).

Paul witnessed to his jailers:
"And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear"
(Philippians 1:14).

Was Paul paving the way to make it easier for those following behind him to proclaim Christ's gospel to the spiritually lost peoples of the world? Paul was not in prison because he was an evildoer or criminal but because of his religion. This helped him win the trust of his jailers and those of Caesar's household- those servants who brought the prisoner's food, gave him medical care, and did housekeeping duties. He witnesses to each of them and won many to Christ.

It appears that Satan put Paul in prison to make an example out of him and to keep him from spreading God's gospel. There is an old saying: "When life gives you lemons, then make lemonade." It takes faith to turn a negative situation in your life into a positive one. Do you and I have that kind of faith? Paul mentioned how he suffered for the cause of Christ. But persecution, than and now, always spreads the faith.

Paul embraced suffering:
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; that your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake; having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me"
(Philippians 1:21-30).

Paul stated: "for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Paul put Christ first in his life. In a similar way, Christ must be first in our life and we must use Him as our example. Life on this earth can be gain for the spread of the gospel through our evangelism efforts. But we will be persecuted. In Paul's case, Christ will be magnified by Paul's death as by his life. In Heaven it will be gain for Paul because he will be rewarded for his deeds in Christ's service.

How could Paul stand to suffer so much pain? In another letter he wrote: "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong"
(2 Corinthians 12:10). I think that we can learn from his example.

Suffering for Christ is not a popular subject and many folks like to avoid the topic. Paul definately knew what it was to suffer for Christ. Suffering for Christ is a sign of blessing- not a sign of any kind that God has abandoned or forsaken you. In other words, it is a privilege to suffer in His behalf
(Romans 5:2-4). Jesus told us that we would be rewarded by Him if we suffered for Him:
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you"
(Matthew 5:10-12).

Paul stated: "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake"
(Philippians 1:29). You and I might have to suffer for Christ. Christ talked about a baptism of suffering and death
(Matthew 20:22-23). Not everyone is called to this baptism, however, when you get to the place in your Christian walk where He allows you to suffer for Him, you may shout with Paul:
"...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"
(Philippians 3:8).

Worthy conduct:
Paul stated: "let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ." In other words "let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ"
(Philippians 1:27). Some folks think that this is the key verse to this bible book. Did the Philippians have worthy conduct? Probably so because the Church of Philippi was NOT mentioned by Christ through the Apostle John in any of his 7 letters to the 7 churches (of Revelation)
(Revelation chapters 2-3). Do you and I have worthy conduct in light of the gospel of Christ?

Paul did not want the Philippians to be fearful:
He stated: " nothing terrified by your adversaries." In other words: "do not be terrified by your adversaries..."
(Philippians 1:28). Should you and I be terrified, frightened, or intimidated by our enemies of the cross? Let us try not to be
(2 Thessalonians 1:1-5).

  The Secret of Joy:
  Jesus First
  Others Second
  Yourself Last

Taking A Look At Chapter Two
Christ is our example

Getting Along In Church:
"If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others"
(Philippians 2:1-4).

The two major problems, generally speaking, in nearly every church are women and money. How is a pastor to handle church problems? How does he avoid a church split? Has one church member been put down by another member? Has the pastor gotten into disfavor for one reason or another? Has someone not been called enough to sing in church? Has a power struggle erupted among church officers? These are just a few church related problems that can go on.

Let's take a look at how Paul expected folks to get along in church:
1) Show love (Philippians 2:1)
2) Be like-minded (Philippians 2:2)
3) Put others before yourself (Philippians 2:3-4)
4) Think and act like Christ did (Philippians 2:5)

The Kenosis of Christ:
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father"
(Philippians 2:5-11).

The word "Kenosis" in theology means "the self-emptying of Christ." What is it about? It means that Christ had to temporarily give up some of His God attributes in order to become a human being. Who cares? Well, it is part of the study of Christology and is important to some people. Can you explain it in simple terms? Well, there has been a lot written on the subject, but I will try to boil it down and make it as simple as I can.

Christ voluntarily took a servant's role that involved the necessary self-limitation of His divine glory that He laid aside in order that He might be born in the likeness of mankind. When Christ became a man, it is called His incarnation. In other words, Christ left Heaven's glory. It was joy for Him to come and be born as a human being
(Hebrews 10:7, 12:2).

Christ, eternal God, already possessed equality with God the Father but resolved not to cling to it. Why? Because He loved you and me and wanted us redeemed. And how could He do that in human form? He had to limit His God attributes to fulfill the will of God. Christ did NOT glorify Himself when in human form. Christ renounced what was His by right and chose, instead, the way of obedient suffering to the will of God in reference to His incarnation and goal of the cross of redemption. His suffering and death on the cross is called the Passion of Christ. His incarnation and passion comprise the Great Humility of Christ. Why? Because these are two great acts of self-sacrificing love. His great joy is to grant salvation to all folks who repent of their sins, trust Him, and worship Him. Our Lord is the greatest Treasure of all saved sinners. He IS the Word of God.

The Greek word "Kenosis" signifies that Christ emptied Himself. But of what did He empty Himself? Many false teachers, including the Gnostics and followers of Arius in the past, teach that Christ emptied Himself of His deity, but this idea is heresy and contradicts God's Word
(John 1:1-3 & 14). Rather, Christ limited Himself as to some of His divine attributes. Like what? Like His omnipresence (being everywhere at the same time), His omniscience (being all knowing), omnipotence (being all powerful), etc. He also laid aside His shekinah (shechinah) glory. Yet, He was fully God and fully man at the same time.

Jesus humbled Himself, not to just become a man, but to die as a Lamb
(John 10:15, 17-18).

At the end of His ministry on earth, He prayed:
"And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." He asked God the Father to restore His skekinah glory. Why? Because He had set it aside for a little while in His incarnation. That glory is a prerogative of deity. He did NOT ask God to restore His deity because He had never given up His deity
(John 17:5).

What was His shekinah glory? It was the brilliance and glory of God that was seen in Old Testament days
(Exodus 40:34). Jesus Christ is "the Brilliance of Righteousness" as seen in the bible book of Malachi.

Angels, men, and devils will bow before Him to acknowledge His deity:
"...and unclean spirits, when they saw Him, fell down before Him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God"
(Mark 3:11).

Works follow salvation:
"...wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure"
(Philippians 2:12-13).

If you have salvation first, then works will follow. In other words, you are not working for salvation but showing the works of salvation. God has a special plan for your life and for my life. Let us work for Him and share His gospel with others. This teaching falls under the sanctification classification rather than the salvation classification in Christian doctrine. Here are a couple more scriptures that I want to share with you:

"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works"
(James 2:17-18).

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast"
(Ephesians 2:8-9).

Let us use Christ as our example:
"...Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain"
(Philippians 2:14-16).

Each of us should use Christ as our example in daily living. Jesus said that His true servants are the light of the world:
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven"
(Matthew 5:14-16).

Poured out like a drink offering to God:
"Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me"
(Philippians 2:17-18).

Paul wanted to be poured out like a drink offering to God, sacrifically, in service to Christ
(Genesis 35:14).

Timothy was Paul's helper:
"But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly. Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick"
(Philippians 2:19-26).

Paul was Timothy's father in the faith, leading him to Christ, and teaching him the things of the Lord
(1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Acts 16:1-2).

Epaphroditus got sick:
"For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me"
(Philippians 2:27-30).

Bible historians are really not sure who Epaphroditus was. His name means "charming." Some think that he was the pastor of the church in Philippi, and some don't. Regardless, he was with Paul in Rome and was Paul's friend. He got sick and almost died, but after much prayer, he got well. If he had died, it would have meant sorrow upon sorrow and despair for Paul. Paul was already in prison, mistreated, persecuted, falsely accused, suffering for Christ, and could not take much more. God comforted Paul in this situation. Paul penned these words from experience:
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it"
(1 Corinthians 10:13).

Taking A Look At Chapter Three
Christ is our goal

Paul encouraged the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord
"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"
(Philippians 3:1).

Paul learned to rejoice in sickness, in imprisonment, in poverty, and in persecution. He encouraged the Philippian believers to rejoice in the Lord. Let's you and I also rejoice in the Lord.

Paul referred to the Judaizers as dogs:
"Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision"
(Philippians 3:2).

The Judaizers were "deceitful workers"
(2 Corinthians 11:13). Paul calls them "the concision" rather than "the circumcision." Why? The word "concision" means "mutilation." Paul was saying they not only butcher the flesh of one's body in stating that all Christian gentiles must be circumcised in order to be saved, but that they also butcher sound doctrine. Legalistic teachers violate the doctrine of grace and can cause much harm spiritually to true believers
(Romans 10:1-4).

Paul pictures the Judaizers as dogs. Why? Well, let's look at a mad dog. It might be half wild (appears godly but is immoral), snarling and savage (destroying sound doctrine), and attempting to be territorial (driving off true teachers of the gospel). These false teachers were attacking "God's grace through faith" and adding works for salvation. The legalists said that each male had to be physically circumcised and keep the Law of Moses to be saved, as well as having faith in Christ.

Paul also teaches against this heresy in
(Ephesians 2:8-18; Romans 4:11-17, 10:3-6; Galatians 2:16, 4:9, 5:1-13; Acts 15:1).

Spiritual circumcision:
"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh"
(Philippians 3:3).

True circumcision is spiritual- a change of one's heart in the conversion experience
(Galatians 6:15) when one invites Christ into his or her heart. There are different names for this one experience. It is when one is born from above, or has experienced the new birth (born again), or is considered to be in Christ. Paul also calls this the circumcision of one's heart. This experience is necessary for salvation and sanctification.

Jesus said, "...unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God"
(John 3:3).

True spiritual circumcision of the heart involves faith in Christ without any legalism of the Law of Moses
(Jeremiah 9:23-24). Paul refers to the example of his own conversion experience as the basis of truth for his teaching
(Acts chapter 9).

The false teachers taught the doctrinal error of "grace plus." In other words, you had to have Christ in your heart plus you had to keep the Law of Moses in order to be saved. The true gospel of Christ is grace plus nothing. Paul called the false teachers "the concision." In other words, Paul was teaching: "down with legal righteousness." The problem here is one of internal versus external, one of salvation versus religion. Religion won't save you or I. It is relationship and not religion that will save us.

Beware of any religious group today that teaches the doctrinal error of "grace plus." Any group that teaches it is labeled as a cult, and God, through the Apostle Paul, states that it is wrong.

Paul was a Hebrew of the Hebrews:
"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"
(Philippians 3:4-6).

In Philippians 3:4-14 is Paul's autobiography. He also lists more in
(2 Corinthians 11:18 & 22-28). A "Hebrew of the Hebrews" means that Paul was a religious leader in Jerusalem before his conversion to Christ. He was in the high ruling class elite, in the top circle (possibly a member of the Sanhedrin or one who was in line for that office)
(Acts 8:1). If salvation were by the Law of Moses, Paul would have it because he earned it:

" regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless..."

The righteousness which is of God by faith
"But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 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, 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"
(Philippians 3:7-9).

In regards to Christian doctrine, Paul is talking here about positional righteousness. Paul trusts in Christ, and Christ only, for his salvation. His old way of life and old way of living he has flushed down the toilet as dung. He got rid of all the old things he used to believe in. For example: the Law of Moses for salvation. Those things, at one time in his life, meant a lot to him. Any righteousness that comes from depraved and sinful flesh is as filthy rags in God's sight
(Isaiah 64:6). We need Christ's righteousness imputed to us. Salvation is a free gift. We cannot earn or work for our salvation
(Galatians 3:21-26). All we have to do is to accept this free gift from Christ. This is a position of perfect acceptance for you and I in the righteousness of Christ gained only by faith.

All of the positives of Paul's righteousness, according to the Law of Moses, is now worthless in comparison with his relationship with Christ by grace through faith. All his gains, before he became converted to Christ, Paul considers worthless. He counted it all loss, but he considers winning Christ as the ultimate prize or treasure of his life.

A spiritual conversion by Christ in your heart with the new birth experience will turn your spiritual world upside down. It happened that way with Paul
(Acts chapter 9). And it happened that way with me:

  • The salvation testimony of Kraig J. Rice

    To know Christ:
    "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"
    (Philippians 3:10-11).

    To my way of thinking, what Paul meant in this verse is that he could get closer to Christ by suffering for Him. Could there be special fellowship with Christ as Paul suffered for Christ? Paul could know the power of His resurrection when Christ raised Paul from the grave. Until then, Paul wanted to stay totally identified with Christ.

    Some folks think that the "power of His resurrection" means victory over spiritual death and sin. The "fellowship of His sufferings" means that Paul (and us) can identify with Christ when we are persecuted for His sake. It is possible that many of us will never suffer as greatly as Christ did. But suffering is expected for every soldier of the cross. There are battles to be fought and victories to win, but not without cost.

    Paul fulfilled his destiny:
    "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"
    (Philippians 3:12).

    Did Paul fulfill his destiny? I think so. Was Paul perfect? I think so. The word for "perfect" in Greek is teleioo. It does not mean sinless perfection but means "fully developed maturity." So, in our personal sanctification, if we are perfect it means that we are mature and complete in Christ.

    Every person's life is in the plan of God. Every life touches other lives. Your life and my life does matter in Christ. Many years ago a movie was produced in America that helped to portray this truth. The title was "It's A Wonderful Life" and it starred James Stewart. Let us leave this world a better place spiritually than when we entered it.

    "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil"
    (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

    Put away the old and embrace the new:
    "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before"
    (Philippians 3:13).

    So many Christian individuals beat themselves up daily in remembrance of the sins they committed or omitted before they came to Christ. These sins are labeled as B.C. (Before I came to Christ). If anyone reminds you of them, you just tell them they are B.C.- that you do not do those things anymore.

    Is there any scriptural justification for saying that? Yes.

    "...for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back"
    (Isaiah 38:17).

    "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us"
    (Psalm 103:12).

    The Apostle Peter preached, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord"
    (Acts 3:19).

    The Apostle Paul wrote, "...if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new"
    (2 Corinthians 5:17).

    What about tomorrow?
    Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

    Once upon a time there were 3 preachers who decided to get together and confess their faults to each other. They were sure this would make them all feel much better. The Baptist preacher said: "I know I should not do it, but I drink alcohol and I am a secret alcoholic." The Methodist preacher said: "I know I should not do it, but I like too many women in my congregation. I like them much more than I should, if you know what I mean." The Assemblies of God preacher said: "I know I should not do it, but my fault is gossip, and I cannot wait to get out of here!"

    Paul ran the race to win:
    "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus"
    (Philippians 3:14).

    Paul paints a picture, with his words, of one running a foot race, much like in the ancient olympics. And we are running the same race. Our prize is Jesus. We are going to be in His presence- we are going to be like Him. Paul had a personal hope of Heaven and that should be our hope, as well. And how are we to view it? We are strangers here on this earth but our home is in Heaven. We have to walk the Christian walk on this earth but our hearts are in Heaven with our Lord.

    The reason the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) in Old Testament days, who were quite wealthy, lived in tents is because they believed that they were just pilgrims and strangers passing through this life here on this earth. Their citizenship was in Heaven, not here on this earth. They did not want any permanent dwelling places to hold them here because they were not planning on staying.

    There were false teachers at Philippi?
    "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. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (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.)"
    (Philippians 3:15-19).

    According to church history, some false teachers were teaching antinomianism. What was that? If it feels good, do it! Do not worry about sin, God's judgment, or the consequences of your sin. In other words, they were teaching that one should continue in sin that grace might abound.

    God's grace should NOT be used as an excuse to commit wilful sin. A believer is not to commit wilful sin under the banner of Christian liberty.

    Paul uses strong words against the "enemies of the cross," false teachers, professing Christians "whose god is their belly." These folks gave in to their fleshly appetites instead of daily carrying their cross of self denial and self sacrifice. What kind of appetites did they have? Money, sex, power, and fame are appetites that some may be tempted to sell their souls to the devil for. Some folks live for self only. If you spell the word "self" backwards and add the letter h, it reads flesh. Some talk the talk but they don't walk the walk. If Christ is in your life and my life and rules on the throne of our heart, then we must live a life that proves it.

    According to church history, another false doctrine going from church to church in those days was the teaching of the Restitutionalists. What did they believe? They believed that everyone at the end of the world was going to be saved, even the devil was going to be saved. Why? They had a twisted view of God's mercy and love- some call it the view of depraved mercy. They falsely believed that God's mercy and love was so great that He would forgive everyone. Didn't He show mercy to person after person? Didn't He love unconditionally? Well, since He never changes, then He will act according to His great character. It sounds good, doesn't it? So, what was the problem? The problem was that it is not the truth. Why? They failed to look at God's justice, and His view of sin. God hates sin and will not have it in Heaven with Him- in any way, fashion, shape, or form. Satan is the personification of sin. God's justice demands that transgressors must face justice. There are consequences to all wrong actions. The unpardonable sin comes into focus when a person dies who is not under Christ's covenant of blood atonement
    (Matthew 12:31).

    Let us take a look at a few scriptures that refute the doctrine of the Restitutionalists:

    Concerning angels, Peter wrote:
    "...God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down into hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness"
    (2 Peter 2:4).

    Jude states: "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness"
    (Jude 6).

    Satan and his demons are eternally destined to the lake of fire
    (Matthew 25:41, I Corinthians 6:3; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:7-9).

    Jesus freely recognized the existence of demons, for He cast them out
    (Matthew 15:22, 28). He rebuked them (Mark 5:8), and He commanded His disciples to cast them out
    (Matthew 10:1).

    "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places"
    (Ephesians 6:12).

    At Gadera, when confronted by Jesus Christ, the demons were fearful of their future fate, but they acknowledged its certainty without dispute.
    "...they cried out saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?"
    (Matthew 8:29).

    Jesus taught that the ultimate purpose of the tormenting fires of hell were expressly for Satan and his demons, and this indeed is to be their eternal state.
    "Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels"
    (Matthew 25:41).

    Jesus is coming again from Heaven:
    "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"
    (Philippians 3:20-21).

    Since our true citizenship is in Heaven, then we are ambassadors for Christ while we are here on this earth.

    Paul here refers to the Rapture of the Church. This pre-tribulation, pre-millennial event is revealed in other scriptures, as well:
    (1 Thessalonians 3:13, 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 John 3:2).

    Taking A Look At Chapter Four
    Christ is our sufficiency

    The Lamb's book of life:
    "Therefore, my brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice"
    (Philippians 4:1-4).

    How did these individuals get their names written in the Lamb's book of life? Any individual gets his or her name written in the Lamb's book of life when that individual invites Christ to come to live inside of their heart. When that happens, Christ transfers ownership of that person from Satan to God. Christ possesses that person, the person is born again, the person receives a new spiritual nature from God, and that person's sins are forgiven him or her by God. You can study more about the book of life from the Apostle John:
    Revelation 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, 20:15, 21:27, 22:19.

    Joy is a fruit of God the Holy Spirit.

    "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand"
    (Philippians 4:5).

    The phrase "let your moderation be known unto all men" can be translated as "let your gentle behavior be known unto all men." This appears to go well with what Christ said in   
    (Matthew 10:16).

    The phrase "the Lord is at hand" can be translated a little differently. It can be translated: "Jesus is coming again soon." Why? The Syriac translation of this phrase uses the Greek word Maranatha. I like this word. When I incorporated my ministry many years ago I named it the Maranatha Gospel Bottle Crusade. There is a similar verse to it in
    (1 Corinthians 16:22).

    Have no cares (have peace):
    "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus"
    (Philippians 4:6-7).

    In other words:
    1) Worry about nothing (down with anxiety).
    2) Pray about everything (prayer is good).
    3) Be thankful in all circumstances (God inhabits the praises of His people).
    4) Enjoy His peace (that surpasses all understanding) (John 14:27).

    You or I may feel painful anxiety when we are alone, or persecuted, or facing any difficulty or danger. But, keep the uplook. Let God's peace flow over our sanctified hearts and minds as you and I travel over the ups and downs in this life. This peace flows from God to us as the end result of our justification in Christ
    (Romans 5:1).

    Think good thoughts like Paul did:
    "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you"
    (Philippians 4:8-9).

    We are to think positive thoughts. In order to do that we need to get into God's word and study it daily. That way we will learn to think the way that God does. We must guard our thought life in order to do this. So lets think about what is true, honest, honorable, reputable, righteous, acceptable, and commendable. The word, virtue, in some translations has to do with courage and strength.

    Paul relied on God:
    "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen"
    (Philippians 4:10-23).

    You and I may need to learn how to be content. There is an old expression: "practice makes perfect"
    (1 Timothy 6:6).

    Whatever you need to do, you can do it with Christ's help. He gives strength to those who ask Him for it.

    God shall supply all your needs. When you run low, start praying and asking Him to bring it in to you. This is what is meant by the expression: "praying in your needs".

    Bonus Material:

    Some popular New Testament Greek words- "it is all Greek to me."
    These are some popular
    Greek Words used today by the Christian church world:
    1) Koinonia means fellowship.
    2) Maranatha means Jesus is coming again soon.
    3) Dunamis means power.
    4) Epainos means praise (anything that calls down the approval of God).
    5) Eucharistia means thanksgiving.
    6) Euphema means speaking well of.
    7) Icthus (IXOYE) (the sign of the fish) means Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.

    Some Sermon Material?

    Title: "That I may..."
    1) Win Christ (Philippians 3:8)
    2) Know Him (Philippians 3:10)
    3) Be found in Him (Philippians 3:9)
    4) Know...the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10)
    5) Know...the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 3:10)
    6) Press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (Philippians 3:12)
    7) Press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus
    (Philippians 3:14).

    Title: "Joy Triumphs Over Suffering" (Philippians 1:1-30)
    1) Joy in Christ (Philippians 2:1-11)
    2) Joy in Salvation (Philippians 2:12-30)
    3) Joy in Christ's righteousness (Philippians 3:1-9)
    4) Joy in Christ's will (Philippians 3:10-21)
    5) Joy in Christ's strength (Philippians 4:1-7)
    6) Joy in Christ's provision (Philippians 4:8-23)

    Memory Verses:
    Philippians 1:6 "...being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."

    Philippians 1:21 "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

    Philippians 4:6 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God."

    Philippians 4:7 "...the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

    Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

    Philippians 4:19 "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

    51. Colossians Commentary Index

    Celebrate Christ's Resurrection

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    As of January 20, 2012