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Aug 29, 2021

Patiently Progressing

Patiently Progressing

Passage: Philippians 3:7-14

Speaker: Nicholas Lee

Series: Joy

“Patiently Progressing” Philippians 3:1, 7-9, 12-14 The Joy of becoming more Christ-like supersedes all other joy or pain I may experience

For the last 2 weeks we have been talking about joy from the standpoint that God wants us to experience and practice Joy. Joy is different than happiness. Happiness tends to be flimsy and is based on things that are normally fleeting but Joy on the other hand is rooted in something deeper and greater. 

 We have been working our way through the book of Philippians written by Paul. This letter was written entirely from the jail cell that Paul found himself in and yet the letter has been coined the joy letters in part because of the many times that Paul references Joy.

 Paul employs two different metaphors throughout chapter 3 to explain his understanding of Joy and finding Jesus. The first is an accounting metaphor. The second is an athletic/race metaphor. 

 {How Jewish is Paul?}

If anyone has the right to boast in their Jewish heritage it is Paul. In verse 5 Paul lists for us all the qualifications that makes him Jewish through and through. 

  • Born of true Jewish Heritage
  • Circumcised on the 8th day (as according to the law)
  • Of the tribe of Benjamin
  • A Hebrew of Hebrews
  • A Pharisee
  • A zeal for prosecuting the church (putting down the rebellion)
  • As far as “legalistic Righteousness” Faultless

 N.T. Wright gives us the first metaphor in verses 7-9. Paul uses an accounting description of sorts. Credits and Debits. In the previous verses Paul gives us his balance sheet and describes what he used to count as profit. 

 In Paul’s accounting he has all credits and no debits. Essentially, Paul is telling the church that in his old life, and his old way of thinking he was in the black. His life was all profit. But in verse 7-9 Paul preforms what we would call “Creative Accounting.” Paul moves the demarcation line between credits and debits and places all the things he use to view as credits to the debit side. All that he once considered as profit he now views as loss. Now Paul considers Jesus his Profit! 

 Paul now turns his attention to a new metaphor. We are now transported to a race where the runners are “pressing” on towards the goal. The imagery paints a picture of a runner straining for the finish line. 

Paul is quick to tell the church that he has yet to obtain the goal in question. He knows that once someone believes that they have arrived at a point their will to continue pressing is greatly diminished. Paul knows that we have yet to arrive and it is necessary to keep pressing so his plea with the church is that they keep moving. 

 In the end Paul has shifted the normal human paradigm. We once (and still do) thought that accomplishments, accolades and even heritage was what we could derive status and Joy from, but in this new shift Paul says all of those things are not nearly as valuable as we thought. Instead the real goal and profit is Jesus. 

Here is what brings Paul Joy 

  • Knowing Jesus
  • Being known and embraced by him
  • Paul finds joy in pressing, moving more towards knowing Jesus