New Confidence – Phil 3:1-11

These notes are for the sermon from Sunday, 12th July.

Think of one or two people who you would describe as confident. Where do you think their confidence comes from? 

In this passage St Paul reveals his own story of being taken on a journey from false to true confidence. By sharing it he is wanting the believers in Philippi to ensure they learn where their real source of confidence lies. 

NB. He is speaking here about having confidence before God rather than being, for example, a confident speaker or tennis player etc.

Warning – don’t be deceived!

There were a group in the church who were wanting to mislead people into thinking they needed to be circumcised to be right (confident) before God. Paul had taught them that it was faith in Christ alone that counted. He lists from v4 his own experience of having confidence from attributes that he was born with and things he has done which he could claim to be grounds for having confidence in his right standing before the Lord. But he now sees them as rubbish/worthless compared to the new reason he has for confidence since he came to know Christ v 7, 8

Could you write a similar list of ways we seek to ‘impress’ God or others by the things we have done or achieved over the years? 

Warning – don’t miss the gift!

Paul is rejoicing in the grace which has made us right with God through Jesus, a gift that is received by faith vs 8, 9. This has been made possible by what Jesus did on the cross (Romans 3: 21-26). As with all gifts it needs to be received  and unwrapped then enjoyed with ongoing gratitude. This is what Paul proclaimed everywhere eg Ephesians 3:12. The knowledge of this caused him to rejoice always in the Lord (v1).

Spend time in thanksgiving prayer reflecting on the gift of ‘righteousness’ that the Lord offers to all i.e. being in a right relationship with God. Keep receiving that gift in your own life and watch your confidence grow!