Sunday School Material 1-20-13: Knowing Jesus Christ

(Philippians 3:1-11; 1/20/13)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that believers need to focus on Christ more than human expectations. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to focus on Christ more than human expectations.

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Read Philippians 3:4-6

I. Actions to Take. Paul urges his readers to rejoice. In our Sunday School material he talks about his repeating himself being a safeguard for his readers. He wants them to watch out for those who are compared to “dogs,” evildoers, and mutilators of the flesh.

The circumcised are those who serve God by His Spirit, who boast in Christ, and who put no confidence in the flesh.

Applications –

- Repeated encouragement to rejoice. Notice in vs. 1 of our Sunday School material that Paul urges his siblings to rejoice in the Lord again. First, as believers, we should interact with one another as healthy siblings - brothers and sisters.

Healthy siblings should not be known for sibling rivalry and malice. We should be known for unconditional love and permanent relationship.

Second, we should urge one another to rejoice. Sometimes the circumstances of life can distract us from rejoicing about the goodness of the Lord.

Third, some things are important enough to say again. There are too many who are addicted to novelty. They always need something new.

But some things like rejoicing the Lord, love one another, and trust God’s plan are important enough to say again and again.  Let’s work on encouraging our siblings in the Lord to rejoice in Him.

- Watch them dogs. Notice in vs. 2 od our Sunday School material Paul warns his readers about the evildoers - dogs. On one hand, there are people who allow the devil to use them to do evil in and around the church. We should be on watch for them and make sure we don’t let the devil use us.

On the other hand, there is a danger is referring to people as dogs. This type of language is sure to create distance, not common ground. However, there are times when such language seems to be in order.

Remember John the Baptist referring to the Pharisees as snakes. We should make sure we have godly reason to refer to people out of their name. Let’s work on avoiding the negative impact of evildoers and being careful how we refer to people.

- Being true people of God. Notice in vs. 3 that Paul teaches that being true people of God or being truly circumcised is more about serving God in His Spirit, boasting in Christ, and putting no confidence in the flesh than about simple cutting a man’s body.

It is important that we focus on serving the Lord and making sure God gets the glory out of our lives, instead of simply focusing on eternal rituals.

In modern times, there are those who are really focused on water baptism and baptismal formulas to the neglect of living a resurrected life. Let’s work on keeping the main thing, the main thing.

Read Philippians 3:4-6

II. Example to Evaluate. In our Sunday School material Paul talks about how if anyone could boast about the flesh, he could. He list being of the tribe of Benjamin and being a Pharisee. He talks about persecuting the church and being faultless in reference the law.

Applications –

- Relating to those we minister to. Notice in vss. 4-6 of our Sunday School material that Paul shares how he is able to relate to those who are wrong, because he used to think the same way.

It can be helpful to share with others how we used to be wrong in our thinking and behavior.

We should make sure we move along and talk about how the Lord delivered also. There are too many who pretend they have always been right. Let’s work on relating to those we minister to, even when it means talking about how we used to be wrong.

Read Philippians 3:7-11

III. Attitude to Have. Paul talks about how all that he gained without Christ is considered garbage. In our Sunday School material he is focused on knowing Christ and the righteousness available by faith in Him.

He talks about participating in the sufferings of Christ, so he can also participate in the resurrection of Him.

Applications –

- Christ over vain religion and this world. Notice in vss. 7-11 of our Sunday School material that Paul teaches that the greatest value is found in association with Christ, not in vain religion or the things of this world. There is a place for organized religion.

There is a need for some kind of income to provide food, clothing, and shelter. However, without Christ, these things can only take us so far. Let’s make sure we live like association with Christ is more important than vain religion and the things of this world.

Such living should be known for making sure we obey God’s will, even when it contradicts the expectations of religion and the responsibilities of this world.

- Associated in suffering and resurrection. Notice in vs. 10 that association with Christ includes not only hope of resurrection, but also some suffering. There are too many who want all resurrection Sunday with no bloody Friday. But they go together.

Let’s seek the wherewithal to suffer for Christ and keep our hope in being resurrected by Christ.

Conclusion: Let’s work on focusing on Christ more than human expectations. God has much for those who obey Him.


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