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The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

Philippians 3:1 - (L 24)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net


Established November 2008                                             Published Weekly on Friday


For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).


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Welcome to HBS.


Introduction to Philippians 3


After considering a couple of different ways of introducing Philippians 3 to y’all, I
decided the best approach is to open with the gospel of grace for two reasons:
#1 Many people are not aware this is the gospel that saves in the Dispensation of Grace.
#2 It’s being attacked by law-abiding Pharisees in Philippi.


Below we have Paul’s gospel (not the gospel the twelve preached) in its clearest form:
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which
also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in
memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered
unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins
according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third
day according to the scriptures:
(1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 2:16).


These Jewish naysayers perverted this gospel by adding “works of the flesh” to it.
They basically said to be saved you must obey the entire Mosaic Law, and the Mishnah
known as the “Oral Torah.” But Paul received by revelation from the risen Lord a new
set of commands for the Body of Christ (Ephesians 3:1-7).  The Law or religion for that
matter could not keep the Israelites from committing sin.  There was no power in the
Law to save anyone. Paul informed us “by the law is knowledge of sin:”


Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by
the law is
the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).


In contrast, the gospel of grace is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that
believes:


For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Gentile)
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from (what) faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:16-17).


As I’ve said multiple times many people have no idea Paul’s gospel exists.  I know this
because I never heard it in any of the churches I attended.  Then one day I met a Bible
teacher who taught the Scriptures, rightly divided, and this truth came to light; the rest
is history as they say. Then there are people that reject the idea their salvation is of God
(alone) and to the glory of God (alone) -Ephesians 2:1-10.  I’m referring to those who
preach your salvation is directly linked to the good things you do for God.


Anyone who adds something to Paul’s gospel or takes away from it perverts the gospel
of grace, which is a “free gift” from God (Ephesians 2:8-10).  All the people I know
appreciate gifts; whatever the occasion.  But you must know when you contribute
anything to that gift, it is no longer free, and it is no longer a gift.  You earned it or
purchased it by doing something (Romans 6:23).


So then, Paul’s opening remarks addressed a common problem in the churches then
and now. In the Philippian’s case Judaizers entered their house church saying you must
obey the entire Law to be saved and Paul’s saying, “Not so much.”  I offer a scripture
passage from Galatians as an example of this teaching: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace (not law) of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ (Galatians 1:6-10).


Jewish Pharisees (Judaizers - a Koine Greek term used only once in the N.T. by Paul when he publicly challenged Peter for compelling Gentile converts in Antioch to ‘judaize’ or adopt Jewish customs and practices, especially those found in the Mosaic Law to be saved) entered this Galatian assembly, seeking to undermine Paul’s apostolic authority and the gospel that saves.  In this case, they added “good works” to it and in doing so corrupted the gospel (Romans 2:16; Galatians 2:16; 2 Timothy 2:8).  In verse 3:2, Paul told the Philippians to beware” of these men, but we’ll get to that in the next lesson.


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Please open your Bible at Philippians 3:1.



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.


As you can plainly read, Paul begins by writing “Finally.”  When I use the word finally
it means I’m about to wrap up my discussion with the following statement.  But that’s
not what Paul means to say.  We know this because this letter does not end here, and
what’s more there’s another “finally” coming up later at verse 4:8.  The word “Finally” means a continuation or “more needs to be said.”  Today a common substitute for this word is “furthermore” or “in addition…”  So, this verse could read: Furthermore, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.”


It may not be obvious to the casual Bible reader, so I point out our Apostle Paul is
commanding these Believers (and us) to “rejoice in the Lord.”  That’s right this is a
command.  Philippians is often referred to as the epistle of “joy,” but here for the first
time he commands the saints in Philippi “to rejoice (Chairo: to experience joy and
gladness in a high degree), in the Lord.”


Paul is moving on from his previous topic in 2:19-30 where he wrote about the future
visits of two faithful co-laborers namely Timothy and Epaphroditus.  Both these men
served God and Paul on the front lines of the faith and suffered for it.  Then, starting in
3:1 and continuing to 4:1 he takes on a new subject which is the Philippian’s religious
enemies (adversaries), introducing it with the command “Rejoice in the Lord.”  I tend
to think this command ends his previous discussion regarding Epaphroditus’s severe
illness and his restored health thanks to God’s intervention.  God is good, all the time!
But I see no problem in allowing it to introduce this next section of scripture; it works
both ways.


Since this is a command from God, we ought to understand what it means.  We recently
studied the messenger for the Philippian church Epaphroditus.  He carried their
monetary gift to Paul who was imprisoned in Rome.  Along the way he became
seriously ill and almost died.  I’ll take the time here to remind y’all of a biblical truth.
Every true Believer will suffer for the sake of Christ Jesus:


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; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 2 Timothy 3:12).


The Lord Jesus Christ was ridiculed, scorned, and persecuted unto death on the cross.
Paul experienced more suffering than any other apostle (2 Corinthians 11:16-33).  So, I
ask you, what makes us think we’ll live the utopian life?  Paul clearly teaches conflict
(persecution) is coming our way.  I hold up Paul’s right behavior while visiting
Philippi.  He and Silas were falsely accused, arrested, beaten with rods, and imprisoned.
What was their reaction to this persecution? Anyone remember?  There was no
complaining or disgruntled behavior.  Instead, they sang hymns of praise unto God and
prayed aloud, in effect, rejoicing in the Lord (Acts 16:16-40).  These godly men were
not caught up in their persecution and suffering, instead their focus was on the
glorification of God and openly expressing thanksgiving for all the things His Son
accomplished for them on the cross.


If you recall, Paul’s prison letters have been referred to as “the deep end of the pool,”
meaning they contain deeper spiritual truth for the Body of Christ.  In this letter Paul
emphasizes the true joy (gladness) that comes from knowing the Lord Jesus Christ
personally.  So, when he wrote: “rejoice in the Lord,” in effect, he’s saying God the
Father has provided wonderful and glorious spiritual blessings to the one who has put
his or her faith in Christ.  He has given all these spiritual blessings to us because he
loves us (Romans 5:8-9).


We find Paul proclaiming many of these blessings in the opening verses of Ephesians.  I
point out to y’all these blessings are to the praise of the glory of God’s grace:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all
spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest (down payment) of our inheritance until (denotes a future time, specifically) the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of (whose glory) his glory (Ephesians 1:3-6).


These blessings are often referred to as a “spiritual package.”  When a person believes
the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), he or she enters a new relationship with God.  The
Believer is no longer God’s enemy they are now an adopted son or daughter of God.  That change alone should elicit joyful praise from us from sunup to sundown, But there’s more. The individual now stands in an unending stream of God’s grace from which all blessings flow.  These blessings, though real, must be appropriated by faith before the person can experience them.  The Scriptures declare what God said about these present possessions for those who have placed their faith in His Son and left it there.  Believe them!  Thus, the path to salvation in the Believer’s life is through faith (alone) apart from works of any kind or believing God’s “good news” in the dispensation of grace.


It needs to be said or reaffirmed this “spiritual package” of blessings from God the Father are for those who have placed their faith in the gospel of grace.  For those who reject Christ’s love and redemption, only judgment and condemnation awaits.  In other words, God doesn’t send people to Hell and then the Lake of Fire; it’s the path they chose for themselves because of their unbelief. God merely accommodates their choice. So, let’s be clear, Jesus came to save all lost mankind.  He desires all to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1Timothy 2:3-4).  His death, burial, and resurrection solved humanity’s sin and death problem; all we need do is believe it.  I know that sounds too simple, but it’s the truth.


There’s always a flipside and here it is.  Jesus warned judgment awaits those who refuse
God’s love and “free gift” of grace: We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (1 Thessalonians 1:3-9).


I don’t think this scripture passage needs explaining.  I chose it because its message is
abundantly clear.  Choose God and receive eternal life.  Choose any other path and
you’ll receive His eternal condemnation, so don’t blame God for a decision you made.
For those willing to put their faith in Christ, God has provided incomprehensible
blessings.  We are rich beyond our wildest imagination.  I’ve placed some of the specific
blessings below.  I won’t take the time to define each one; I leave that to the dedicated
Bible student:


Justification
Redemption
Regeneration
Sonship
Joint-Heirs
Reconciliation
Forgiveness
Eternal Life
Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
Resurrection


So, Paul is telling us we can “Rejoice in the Lord” or experience “gladness” because
this emotion stems from our eternal relationship with God the Father through faith in
the shed blood of His Son.  Furthermore, God won’t ever “unfriend” us for something
we said, something we did, or didn’t do.  If you believed the gospel of grace, then all
your sins, past, present, and future have been erased.  There’s no need to ask God to
forgive you; your sin is covered by the blood of Jesus Christ:  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it (Colossians 2:13-14).


Permit me to illustrate: Superhydrophobic coating repels any liquid.  It’s amazing stuff!
I witnessed a test trial.  Buckets of mud were thrown at two men in suits.  The treated
man was left untouched, while the other gentleman was completely covered in grime.
No matter what material they coated, liquids ran right off, even if it was a sticky
substance.  This illustration serves to teach this biblical truth: Jesus’ sacrificial death of
the cross for all may be likened to Superhydrophobic coating.  When a person receives
God’s gift of forgiveness, condemnation for all sin simply rolls right off, past, present,
and future.  It has nothing to do with the material of the person who is coated in Jesus’
forgiveness but has everything to do with the perfection of what they are coated with,
specifically, the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ.  The perfection that comes
from faith in Jesus’ sacrifice has no end, even though those who have been made perfect
are still in the process of present sanctification or “being made holy.”  What makes us
perfect in the eyes of God is not what we do or don’t do, but what God’s Son did on our
behalf – it truly “is finished.”  Therefore, we can “Rejoice in the Lord” for all He has
done for us!


Let’s look at verse 3:1b.


…To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.


I’ll begin by saying I’ve heard a few people teach this statement implies Paul wrote more than one letter to the Philippians and he’s repeating himself here.  I don’t know if this is true or not.  I do know people are undecided about whether there was a “lost letter,” often referred to as “the sorrowful letter” in between 1 and 2 Corinthians.  Here’s the Bible verse: For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season (2 Corinthians 7:8).


The thing I’m sure of is the Bible is a progressive revelation.  God does not reveal all His
truths to us in the book of Genesis, instead we collect them as we move along, line-byline, verse-by-verse.  The other thing I’m certain of is the Bible is repetitious; it says the same thing or close to the same thing again and again.  Paul was repetitious in his preaching and I follow that entrenched program for the gospel’s sake, as well as yours.  Years ago, I began a house-to-house Bible study.  We’d move from one person’s living-room to another twice a month.  There were as many as six married couples, not including myself and my ex-spouse, and two single people.  I wanted more people to be invited, but that idea was shot down repeatedly.  I taught these people the scriptures, rightly divided, for more than 7 years, one-on-one, in some cases.  I provided hand-outs of the lesson each week, I had visual aids when possible, and had them read the Bible passages under study.  After all the years of repetitious, in-depth, Bible study, I had one of my students approach me with the question, “What is Pauline Doctrine?"  Another individual asked me in a round-about-way "You mean, if it were not for the apostle Paul, we would not have Christianity today?"
Some others wouldn’t even ask me a question during the class or afterwards for fear of being recognized as “lost in space…”  So, I’m not surprised to find Paul telling the Philippians “To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.



Every Believer in Christ is not the same.  Each one is at a different place on their spiritual walk with the Lord.  Some have a better understanding of the Scriptures than others and I recognize the fact we must allow the Holy Spirit to bring them along.  The things they do not understand today will someday come to light, as they spend more time in God’s Word.  So, we need to be patient when we share the Word of Truth with others, especially the unsaved.  I heard it said more than once the gospel that saves today must be heard seven times before it is acted upon.


Here’s my teaching point: Some folks are simply unwilling to learn despite your best efforts. They choose to remain “ignorant.”  Some of these folks, not all, had been denominationally indoctrinated and they refuse to learn anything new.  This was one of the difficulties I faced month-after-month.  My students would identify themselves as “a Baptist,” “a Methodist,” or some other church denomination.  Only two people in attendance said they were a “diligent student of God’s Word.”  Most of them chose to follow the “teachings of men,” rather than the commandments of God.  Paul addressed this concern in 1 Corinthians 14:37-38: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be (what) ignorant, let him be ignorant.”


I pointed out in the introduction of this lesson God wants all men to come to the
knowledge of the truth and be saved.  So, is the passage above a contradiction?  Hardly.
If God the Father wanted people to remain ignorant of the Truth, we would not have the Bible.  Fact of the matter is people choose to remain in the dark rather than enlightened by the Word of truth.  Again, men and women choose this path it’s not in accordance with God’s will (Ephesians 1:8-9).


In keeping with the context of this Bible passage, Paul’s referring to those folks who may or may not be aware of his God-given apostolic authority.  If someone prefers to believe Paul’s writings are only the teaching of men, and not the Lord’s commandments, then he or she is to remain ignorant.  The Creator God values free will.  We know this because every person born into this world possesses the ability to make choices.  No one is commanded to take God’s truths to heart, and those who opt to go this way obviously choose ignorance over knowledge of the truth:  

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).



(To be continued)



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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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