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Philippians 3:1-3

Talks for Growing Christians

A Warning Against the False Teachers

Philippians 3:1-3

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Lesson Number 13

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The Bible describes legalistic false teachers as a. dogs. b. evil workers c. the mutilation.
  2. The Bible describes liberated Christians as those who a. worship God in the Spirit. b. rejoice in Jesus Christ. c. who have no confidence in the flesh.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t get turned off by repetition.

Questions

  1. How do each of these descriptions characterize the legalistic false teachers? a. dogs b. evil workers c. the mutilation
  2. How is the true believer described in contrast to the legalistic false teacher?

Answers

  1. a. The Judaizers referred to the Gentiles as dogs, and now Paul turns the tables, using the same term. Scavenger dogs of the cities were always yelping and fighting and attacking the passers-by. That’s the way the legalistic teachers are, both yesterday and today.

    b. The Judaizers of the first century worked hard to gain proselytes, but their work was evil, taking away from a Christ-centered faith. Legalism appears more spiritual because rules are kept, but the legalistic Pharisees of Jesus’ day were denounced as white-washed tombs because they looked good on the outside, but were full of dead bones within. They were hypocrites, leading people away from the truth.

    c. Paul is playing on the word “circumcision,” which means “cut around.” Here he says “mutilation,” or literally “cut off.” Paul likened the Judaizers to the pagans of heathen religions who cut and mutilated themselves during religious rites.

  2. God intends the true believer not to be a legalist, but a liberated Christian. Liberated Christians know how to use their liberty properly.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Discuss each aspect of the liberated Christian: those who worship God in the Spirit, those who rejoice in Jesus Christ, and those who have no confidence in the flesh.
  2. What does it mean, “Don’t get turned off by repetition?”

Challenge

  1. Are you a liberated Christian in every positive sense of the term? Consider where you stand right now, and how you could attain a higher standard.

Key Verses

  • “…worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3

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