Philippians 3 Study Sheet

1. As Paul begins the third chapter of this letter, he turns his attention toward a group of false teachers. He uses strong terms, “______” and “____________” to describe them (Philippians 3:2). Although he does not describe their doctrine in this letter, he does in the book of Galatians. Called “the circumcision party” (Galatians 2:12), their basic teaching was that even though one follows Christ, he must also keep parts of the Law of Moses, to be specific, the law of circumcision. Much of Paul’s letter to the Galatians presents a detailed argument about this subject. To understand Paul’s feelings about it, one only has to read Galatians 5:12 which says, “I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!”

2. While Paul does not spend much time describing a teaching that the Philippians were thoroughly familiar with, he does assure them that “the __________ circumcision” group does not spend its time putting confidence in the flesh (that is, circumcision of the human body) but rather in their “______________ by the Spirit of God and glory in ___________ ______________” (Philippians 3:3-4). His contention is that if anyone would have a right to glory in the flesh, it would be him. He enumerates his credentials in Philippians 3:5-6:

* ________________ the eighth day

* Of the people of __________

* Of the tribe of ________________

* A “____________ of Hebrews”

* A Pharisee

* A _________________ of the church

* __________________ as relates to the law

3. With the above being the case, one would have to say that if a person could make it to heaven based on human bragging rights, Paul ought to lead the way. However, he is quick to say that he didn’t believe that such connections would get one anywhere with God. Concerning his list of bragging rights he said, “Whatever gain I had, I counted as _______ for the sake of _______________ (Philippians 3:7). For emphasis, he repeats and expands the statement by saying, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing __________ __________ my ___________” (Philippians 3:8a). For Paul, the worth of all his credentials paled by comparison to knowing Jesus Christ!

4. In verses 3:8b-11, Paul draws a comparison. He states that he would be willing to suffer “the loss of _____ _________ and count them as ___________” (Philippians 3:8) in order that he could “gain _________ and be found in him” (Philippians 3:8-9). He offers a second comparison: a ________________ of his ______ that comes through law vs. that which comes through ________ in Christ and depends on faith (Philippians 3:9). In both comparisons, self comes up woefully short compared to what Christ has to offer. What is important is to “_________ him and the power of his ________________, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his _________” (Philippians 3:10). The reason for this is that Paul wants to “by any means possible … _________ the __________________ from the dead” (Philippians 3:11). For a Christian, the resurrection of Christ proved ultimately that Jesus had conquered death and his/her greatest accomplishment is attaining that same resurrection for him/herself (see I Corinthians 15:1-4, 17-20, 42-44, and 50-58; Romans 1:4 and Romans 6:5).

5. For Paul, one thing was of utmost importance: “I ________ on toward the goal for the ________ of the upward call of ______ in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). He accomplished this by “forgetting what lies _________ [i.e. the former life based on the confidence in the flesh talked about in Philippians 3:4-6] and straining forward to what lies _________” (Philippians 3:13b) [i.e. the righteousness from God that depends on faith; cf. Philippians 3:9]. Paul assures them that he had not “already obtained this or am already ______________” (Philippians 3:12) and that “I do not consider that I have made it my own” (Philippians 3:13a). Paul understood that perfection is not obtained in this life, but rather at Christ’s coming (see I Corinthians 15:50-57, II Corinthians 5:10, Hebrews 9:27, and Revelation 20:11-21:4). His encouragement is, “let those who are _____________ think this way” (Philippians 3:15) and “Only let us hold true to what we have attained” (Philippians 3:16).

6. Based upon his goal statement (Philippians 3:14), Paul enters into a series of exhortations. He begins by encouraging them to “join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (Philippians 3:17). He will end this section by saying, “What you have ___________ and ____________ and __________ and _________ in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9). This is in contrast to those living a lifestyle of being “____________ of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18). They are the ones who have their “minds set on __________ ___________” (Philippians 3:19) while Paul reminds them that “our citizenship is in ___________” (Philippians 3:20). Those who are a part of that citizenship “await a ____________, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). The promise is that he “will transform our lowly body to be like his ___________ body” (Philippians 3:21a; see also I Corinthians 15:23-26 and I John 3:2). This will happen “by the power that enables him even to subject _____ ___________ to himself” (Philippians 3:21b; see also Matthew 28:18).

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