This past Sunday was the first Sunday back in the building. It was good to see a number who ventured out to attend in person. While Sunday are still not what we want them to be (in terms of being able to interact with one another in the way that we might like), we are learning how to live in this new world. If you are still a bit uncomfortable coming in person, we will continue to live stream each service.
As we work out way through Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi, we relate to the uncertainty and suffering of first century Christians. While our suffering is a different sort, we can learn much from Paul’s words. In this week’s passage, Paul addresses the false teachers that have made their way into the church at Philippi. They are likely misleading the Christians into thinking that the Jewish Law will pave the way to their spiritual success. But Paul poses a very different approach. Rather than trying to achieve good graces with God by following the Jewish Law, the Christians should strive to know Jesus. This knowing comes only through identifying with His suffering and in turn joining Him in His resurrection. This might seem like a vague description. Join us on Sunday as we explore this passage together. I will include it below in the NTE version.
(Philippians 3:1-11 NTE) So then, my dear family, it comes down to this: celebrate in the Lord! It’s no trouble for me to write the same things to you, and it’s safe for you. Watch out for the dogs! Watch out for the “bad works” people! Watch out for the “incision” party, that is, the mutilators! We are the “circumcision”, you see – we who worship God by the spirit, and boast in King Jesus, and refuse to trust in the flesh. Mind you, I’ve, got good reason to trust in the flesh. If anyone else thinks they have reason to trust in the flesh, I’ve, got more. Circumcised? On the eighth day. Race? Israelite. Tribe? Benjamin. Descent? Hebrew through and through. Torah-observance? A Pharisee. Zealous? I persecuted the church! Official status under the law? Blameless. Does that sound as though my account was well in credit? Well, maybe; but whatever I had written in on the profit side, I calculated it instead as a loss – because of the Messiah. Yes, I know that’s weird, but there’s more: I calculate everything as a loss, because knowing King Jesus as my Lord is worth far more than everything else put together! In fact, because of the Messiah I’ve, suffered the loss of everything, and I now calculate it as trash, so that my profit may be the Messiah, and that I may be discovered in him, not having my own covenant status defined by Torah, but the status which comes through the Messiah’s faithfulness: the covenant status from God which is given to faith. This means knowing him, knowing the power of his resurrection, and knowing the partnership of his sufferings. It means sharing the form and pattern of his death, so that somehow I may arrive at the final resurrection from the dead.