Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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SCRIPTURE: Philippians 3:7-14
KEY VERSES: 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
FELLOWSHIP WITH JESUS
By Joe Stowell
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. – Philippians 3:8
· I’ll never forget the time I had the privilege of sitting next to Billy Graham at a dinner.
I was honored but also somewhat nervous about what would be appropriate to say. I thought it would be an interesting conversation starter to ask what he loved most about his years of ministry. Then I awkwardly started to suggest possible answers. Was it knowing presidents, kings, and queens? Or preaching the gospel to millions of people around the world?
· Before I had finished offering suggestions, Rev. Graham stopped me.
Without hesitation he said, “It has been my fellowship with Jesus. To sense His presence, to glean His wisdom, to have Him guide and direct me -- that has been my greatest joy.” I was instantly convicted and challenged. Convicted because I’m not sure that his answer would have been my answer, and challenged because I wanted it to be.
· That’s what Paul had in mind when he counted his greatest achievements to be of no worth compared to the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).
Think of how rich life would be if Jesus and our fellowship with Him was our highest pursuit.
Lord, forgive me for chasing after things that matter far
than my fellowship with You. Thank You that You stand
ready to enrich my life with Your presence and power.
-- Adapted from Joe Stowell, Our Daily Bread, June 22, 2018
INSIGHT: The Apostle Paul’s passion to know Christ and to make Him known to others should guide our lives as well. In Philippians 3:1–14, we see how growing in our knowledge of Christ is mixed with both joy and pain: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (vs. 10).
Jesus told us, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). As we grow in our relationship with Christ we can expect both joy and suffering. How has both joy and suffering deepened your fellowship with Christ? – By Dennis Fisher
INTRODUCTION: To know Christ was the apostle Paul’s determined purpose, not only for his own edification, but that he might make Him known to others also (Acts 16:10). It could not be otherwise, for to truly know the Lord in the intimate way expressed in these verses must inevitably lead to a deep seated purpose to make Him known to a needy world.
I. THE BEST LOSS EVER. (Philippians 3:7-11)
INSIGHT: There are some things that we must lose (give-up) if we are to be successful Christians. The Bible says that our trust must be ONLY in Jesus Christ!
A. Christ is our hope. (Philippians 3:7-8)
(Philippians 3:7-8) 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
INSIGHT: If anyone had a reason to hope they could make it based on their birth and their religious background, it was Paul! All of this Paul accounted to be a loss. The word “loss” means “damage or injury” In Paul's life, what he thought were assets were really liabilities! All those things worked against him to prevent him from trusting a source outside his religion or outside himself. That made them very dangerous!)
The same is true for you today! Just because you come from a Christian heritage does not buy you a ticket to Heaven. Being raised in the church and being a good person all your life will not save your soul! You still MUST be born again – John 3:3! Many times, what we consider to be assets in the religious realm are actually liabilities, hindering and preventing us from perusing a genuine, saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ!
1. Paul regarded his former accomplishments and elevated position in the Jewish community as a disadvantage to his current Christian walk.
2. Paul used words such as “loss” and “dung” (rubbish) (Phil. 3:8) to describe his former prestige and way of life.
3. If he let them, the things of his past life would keep him from getting to know the Lord.
B. Christ is our righteousness. (Philippians 3:9)
Philippians 3:9) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.
1. The righteousness that comes from worldly success, even if it is religious in nature, is utterly useless.
2. In order to be saved, one must possess the righteousness of God that every believer has because of his or her relationship with Christ.
C. Christ is our inspiration. (Philippians 3:10-11)
(Philippians 3:10-11) 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
1. When Paul expressed his desire to “know Christ”, he meant more than learning theological facts about Christ.
2. Paul desired to “know” Christ in a personal way, to have an ongoing relationship with Him through which he could experience Jesus Christ working in his life.
· Charles Blondin was born Jean-Francois Gravelet in 1824 France.
Spending a lifetime performing miraculous stunts on a tightrope, he is considered the world’s greatest funambulist -- tightrope walker -- of the 19th century.
· Beginning his career as an acrobat when he was just five years old, it took Blondin a mere six months to premiere as “The Boy Wonder.”
His skill at gymnastics and natural affinity for grace quickly propelled him into the spotlight. He became known as the Great Blondin for his signature blond hair. After a career in Europe, Blondin headed for North America to seek fame and fortune.
· Many people have heard of the outstanding exploits of Blondin.
In 1859, he walked a tightrope spanning the Niagara Gorge and became the first successful tightrope walker to accomplish the stunt. Blondin amused and amazed thousands of people as he made his way over Niagara Falls on a slender rope stretched from shore to shore. He never faltered or failed.
· But Blondin had a secret. As he made his way over the rope, he would keep his eyes fixed on a large silver star which he had erected at the far end.
The star was the center of his attention and guided him to the other side. -- Adapted, author Unknown
INSIGHT: In running the heavenly race the believer must look to his Star -- the bright and morning Star, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST! He has run the race and now bids his followers to run the race, keeping their eyes fixed on Him as their goal.
II. PRESSING TOWARD THE PRIZE. (Philippians 3:12-14)
A. Paul acknowledged the fact that he was not perfect. (Philippians 3:12-13a)
(Philippians 3:12-13a) 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13a Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:…
1. Paul did not want the Philippians to mistake his zeal for perfectionism.
2. He clearly stated that he was not perfect; he had not yet arrived at his goal.
3. But like a runner in a race, he reached for the prize of standing in the presence of His Lord and Savior.
4. The apostle was committed to not let past achievements or present distractions subtract from his reward at Christ’s return.
B. Paul was determined to leave his past behind and reach toward that which is ahead. (Philippians 3:13-14)
(Philippians 3:13-16) 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
1. A good runner knows that looking backward costs valuable time. In the same way, Paul kept reaching forward to maturity while “forgetting” the things of the past (Phil. 3:13).
2. This does not refer to a clearing of the memory but to a conscious effort to not let past gains or trials entangle and impede progress toward the prize.
3. Believers should NOT be satisfied with their current spiritual maturity because there is always room for growth in the Christian life.
4. Thinking that we have “arrived” at full maturity is already a step backward. The Apostle urged all believers to take a goal-oriented approach to life and always look for more growth.
· Ardent baseball fans will remember Kirby Puckett, who died suddenly in 2006.
He had led the Minnesota Twins to championship victories in 1987 and 1991. Even though he was offered larger contracts by other teams, he stayed with the Twins for his entire career. When Puckett was diagnosed with glaucoma in 1996, his career ended abruptly.
· During Puckett’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001, he recalled the difficulties he had faced when growing up.
His passion to become a professional baseball player was subject to temptation many times. Drug dealers and gang members repeatedly invited him to join in their destructive lifestyle. But whenever temptation enticed him, Kirby remembered that he had a higher calling -- baseball.
· Though we are urged to "walk worthy of the calling with which [we] were called" (Eph. 4:1), we live in a world where we face distracting enticements.
Maybe we’re offered a job that pays well but requires that we compromise biblical principles. Our calling is always to do God’s will.
· When we are confronted with a temptation to stray from God’s way for our life, we must remember that we have a higher calling as servants of Jesus.
– Adapted from Dr. Vernon C Grounds, Our Daily Bread, March 6, 2007
· In light of these verses, would you have to say that your Christian life is normal or abnormal?
1. The church and the world have seen enough abnormal Christians to last for many life times.
2. Don't you think it's time that people like you and I showed this world what Christianity is all about?
3. That it isn't about church buildings and denominations; that it isn't about offerings, rules and regulations; but that it is about a life changing encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. We need to get real before the world and show them the difference Jesus makes!
· Perhaps you do not even know Jesus Christ today.
1. Like Paul, you are religious, but you are LOST.
2. I would like to invite you to COME TO JESUS CHRIST TODAY and lose your religion.
3. Please received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior – do it NOW!
INSIGHT: The Bible pictures humanity as wayward and wandering “sheep. It says,…
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isa. 53:6). In fact, this wayward condition is so deeply rooted in us that the apostle Paul said: “10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Rom. 3:10-12).
That is why Jesus came. We would never seek Him, so He came seeking us. Jesus declared His mission with the words, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Amazing grace -- how sweet the sound -- that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.” -- John Newton
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network (www.ttb.org), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: (http://www.intouch.org/), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: (http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook (www.sermonnotebook.org), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries (http://rbc.org/), selected illustrations, and other references.
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E-mail: Ronald Purkey