1. The most important thing I want now is for you is to be full of the joy of the Lord instead of worrying about me! It is a good idea to remind you of the things that I have taught you before.
Nehemiah 8:10 shows us that we will receive God's strength as we rejoice about what He is doing in us!
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you. John 14:26
2. I am thinking it is a good idea to remind you to be careful of the Jews who say they are following Jesus while mixing in the Jewish laws. They are only cutting themselves.
Watch out for those who pretend they are obeying God by a ceremonial circumcision but are only cutting themselves. These people want to control others.
When God repeats something it shows that it is very important. Paul tells the readers three times to watch out for people who want to control you.
3. For them, the old law of circumcision (which was supposed to show that you belonged only to God) is not showing that they belong to God but is just a ceremony.
Circumcision showed obedience to God by being willing to deny your flesh and to be known as someone who has been set apart for His purpose.
We have the circumcision of the heart. Romans 2:29
Some people are trusting in a religious ceremony which has no meaning. This can also apply to us when we do something stupid in the flesh. Romans 8:1 says that He will not condemn us. Psalm 103:10. says that He has not treated us in the way that we deserve.
5. If I wanted to brag about what a good Jew I was then nobody could come close to being like me in that way of life. I was circumcised, exactly as the Law commands, on the eighth day. Nobody can say anything against my life as a leader of the Jews.
6. I did everything the law commanded and was at the top of the list of Pharisees who hated Jesus.
Paul calls himself a zealot, but during that time we know that his conscience was constantly being touched by God's Spirit. Acts 9:5
7 – 8
But to me, that is all garbage when compared to knowing Jesus. I gave up all that garbage in exchange for His covering of my rebellion against God when I trusted in Him.
Paul uses the word “count” (which means to consider and overcome) three times here. Paul is throwing away the false Jewish training he grew up with. He was an expert in the ideas the Jews used to explain how their people should live and also the Jewish stories which added their own ideas to God's Word. Paul now thinks of all this as garbage.
Do not be as the fig tree in Mark 11:13-14. That fig tree had leaves which made it look like it had fruit, but when the Lord needed this tree it was empty. Keep yourself full of the Word and ready at any time to produce fruit for the Lord Jesus!
Where can we get this kind of faith?
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of God. Romans 10:17
Build yourselves up in your most holy faith. Jude 20-21
Psalm 36:9 says, “In Your light we see light” which shows us that if we follow the light, we have, God will give us more light.
In some way, Christ suffers when we suffer.
If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
I am participating in the sufferings of Christ... Colossians 1:24
This resurrection power can work in us to resurrect the things (friendships, marriages, health, mind) in our life that appear to be dead. All we have to do is ask and come closer. Even the weakest prayer will be heard.
The righteous man may fall down seven times but he gets back up. Proverbs 24:16
12. I want to get ahold of the assignment for which God got ahold of me. I know that I cannot do this without God's help.
All of us have a job to do for the Lord. Once you understand this then you can focus on what you are supposed to be doing, instead of what other people want you to do.
Once God has given you a job to do, He waits patiently for you to do it.
“God does not take back the gifts or calling that He has given you.” Romans 11:29
Each of us has been given a specific gift or motivation in our spirit. We see things from a different viewpoint. This protects us from things that we are blind to. Once a brother has made sure he is seeing clearly, he can help us to see another way of looking at things (Matthew 7:5).
We are told to ask God for eye medicine so that we can see clearly. Revelation 3:17 – 20
See also, 1 Corinthians 12:17, Ephesians 4:11-12
13. There is something important that I do –forget the past and get ready for whatever God has ahead for me!
Do not focus on the past. See, I am about to do something new. Even now it is coming. Do you not see it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19
Some people are stuck in the past because their focus is not on what God can do, but instead they make their life decisions based on what men have done.
When we listen to the devil's torture about the past we are helping him do his work.
14. I want to win the high honor of receiving the reward that God has for those who are called to look upward in His world instead of downward at this world.
We been put on this earth so that we can be prepared to live in the next world. Christians know that they will someday be in heaven with the Lord (1 John 5:13).
“But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person's work has any value.” 1 Corinthians 3:13
It is a high honor to serve the Lord in every job He gives us to do. Sometimes He gives us the job of serving others, this is a high honor also!
15. Those who are no longer baby Christians will understand this. If someone does not think this way, I do not have to argue with them but God will show it to them.
When we read 2 Corinthians carefully we see how there was a rebellion against Paul. Paul was brought to the point of tears. He knew that there were groups in the church who had made up their minds to fight for control of the church. His answer was to write a letter which set the facts before them and then to stay away.
Remember that everything that we are tempted to say does not have to be said. Do not try to take the place of God in someone's life. It is always best to step aside and let God work before we try to convince people of what we think they should do. James 1:19-20
16. Let us not go backwards but forwards with what we have learned so far.
We have come this far together so let us not lose what we have. God is not pleased when someone turns back from what they already know to be true. Matthew 19:22
Stop me from sinning on purpose. Psalm 19:13
17. If you feel that you cannot live this way then do what you see me doing.
The apostle John was like a father to a young man named Polycarp. Polycarp wrote a letter to the Philippians where he said, “Walk worthy of His commandment and glory!”
We know Polycarp walked this way because he was given the death sentence and was told that he could be released if he would turn against Christ. He said, “He has done me only good for eighty-six years. How can I deny Him?”
It is interesting to see that the Jews had to walk to the Promised Land. Each step of the journey was a test to see if the people would trust God or not. We should walk as if there was a Pillar of Fire leading us.
… that I may test them, to see if they will walk in My law, or not. Exodus 16:4
The original language in Ephesians 5:15 reminds us that we need to walk carefully, as if we were in a minefield.
We need to be careful how we walk so that each choice we make is pleasing to God. Galatians 5:16
Walk as He walked. 1 John 2:6
There is a lie which some people teach that says the most important thing is for God to bless us. Some of these people even say that we should DEMAND a blessing! These people say that we only have trouble because we do not have enough faith.
The whole Christian life is based on the cross. Church history is a record of God's people suffering for Him in unspeakable ways. How can we say to these people that they should have had more faith and they would not have had to suffer?
For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him. Philippians 1:29
God blesses even when we do not deserve it. If we had to have enough faith before we could deserve God's goodness then everything would be about us instead of Him.
19. These people will have their lives destroyed by their own pride and greediness for the things of the world.
Romans 1:18 shows how men continue to ignore God's voice. They push down the truth so that they do not have to listen to it. They hide the truth from others so that nobody else can hear it. They become as animals.
20. But we live as a colony of heaven which has been set on the earth, waiting for Jesus.
Paul is saying, “Your city of Philippi is known for being honored as a colony of Rome. Instead, see yourselves as a colony of heaven. Show the world how a colony of the kingdom of heaven lives.”
21. He will change our humble body to be like His in a new glorious body by the same power that He has over all things.
Some older versions translate this as “our vile body” but the word here is a “humble” body. God does not want us to think of our bodies as something evil but as useful for His purpose. Psalm 139:14
The original words here give the idea of God using His creative energy to give us a new body someday. 2 Corinthians 5:2