Counting Everything As Loss

Counting Everything As Loss

Philippians 2:19-3:11
Jesus is the Lord over every aspect of Paul's life. Even in seemingly small matters like sending Timothy, Paul acknowledges his dependence on Christ. His joy is tied to the well-being of the Philippians and the progress of the gospel among them, rather than his own welfare. Paul states that he is sending Timothy to receive a report on their progress in the gospel, which brings him great joy (2:19). Paul confidently entrusts Timothy with this task because he knows that Timothy shares his passion and mindset. Unlike others who prioritize their own interests, Timothy has proven his worth and demonstrated a genuine concern for the Philippians. Paul has witnessed Timothy's character in action multiple times, and he testifies to Timothy's faithfulness to the gospel and alignment with the mind of Christ. The Philippians are already familiar with Timothy's character since he was part of the original church planting team in Philippi (Acts 16:1–40).

Paul also explains why Timothy shares his heart for the Philippians using the analogy of "like father, like son." This metaphor conveys not only intimacy and affection but also the idea of apprenticeship or discipleship. In the ancient world, a son would learn the family craft alongside his father. The Philippians should accept Timothy because he has been well-trained and tested under the guidance of his spiritual father in the cause of Christ. This verse also emphasizes an important principle for gospel partnership: Paul does not elevate himself above his coworkers. It is not about one gospel minister exerting control while others simply obey. Timothy serves "with" Paul, reflecting their shared heart for the Philippians. Paul eagerly desires to send Timothy to Philippi, but the only thing holding him back is the need for more information about his own circumstances. Whether Paul is released from prison or offered as a sacrifice, he places his trust in the Lord's sovereignty. He hopes to send Timothy and anticipates his own visit, knowing that all his plans are under the care and rule of Jesus.

Paul encourages the Philippians to see his decision to send Epaphroditus as an example of prioritizing others. Epaphroditus is described in five ways, connecting him to Paul and the Philippians. God spared Epaphroditus' life, relieving Paul of sorrow. Even when sick, Epaphroditus was concerned about the distress of the Philippians. Paul commands the Philippians to receive and honor Epaphroditus. Rejoicing is emphasized as a safeguard against false teaching. Paul uses irony to address the Jewish false teachers.

The false teachers claimed that physical circumcision was necessary for salvation, but Paul says it only promotes reliance on the flesh. These teachers are like "mutilators" because their requirement is similar to pagan rituals forbidden in the Old Testament. In contrast, true believers in Christ rely on internal circumcision of the heart, not physical circumcision. This heart change is part of the new covenant, along with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Christians worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus, putting no confidence in the flesh. Believing is boasting in Jesus, not in works of the flesh.

In Philippians 3, Paul shares his personal journey from being an unbeliever named Saul to becoming a Christian named Paul. He contrasts his former confidence in worldly achievements with his newfound faith in Christ. Paul lists the things he once relied on for self-assurance, such as his lineage and religious accomplishments. However, after his conversion, Paul considers all these things as losses compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. In light of this, Paul no longer puts his confidence in worldly achievements but solely in Christ. He emphasizes that Christ is in a league of His own, far surpassing anything else in value or worth.

The goodness of this world cannot compare to Christ, who is the source of all beauty and goodness. In comparison, the nations are insignificant, and all the good things in the world are nothing compared to Him. Paul considers everything as loss because knowing Christ personally is of surpassing worth. He values his relationship with Christ above all else. Paul's gain is now Christ, and he seeks to be found in Him. Paul embraces the righteousness of Jesus by faith, not relying on his own moral performance. Knowing Christ means experiencing the power of His resurrection and sharing in His sufferings. We are called to serve others in obedience to the Father, even if it means suffering. Our goal is to attain the resurrection from the dead, and we should diligently pursue Christlikeness.





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