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May 26, 2019

Misplaced confidence

Passage: Philippians 3:1-9

Series: Philippians--Roots of Joy

Keywords: trust, christ, legalism, judaizers, flesh, confidence


It's all too easy to put our trust/confidence in the wrong things in life, especially in our spiritual lives. This message calls us to the only safe and satisfying ground of confidence in life.


Misplaced Confidence

Philippians 3:1-9

May 26, 2019

Mosaic Fellowship, Spokane, WA


  • The Maginot Line – set up along the France-Germany border after WW1 to stop future German invasion
    • So when Hitler invaded, he went through Belgium instead.
  • This was a classic case of MISPLACED CONFIDENCE.
  • Others:
    • Titanic – lifeboats
    • My kids’ ability to get up because I bought them an alarm clock
    • William Miller – 2nd coming prediction – October 22, 1844
  • In Phil. 3, Paul warns them against teachers who want them to put their confidence in the wrong place.


  • “Finally” – halfway through the book – so very “preacher”!
  • “it is safe for you” – first hints of danger… who are these people Paul warns us about?
    • There were some ethnic Jews in the church teaching that in order to be a true Christian, you had to follow the Jewish laws and rituals (kosher, circumcision, feasts, etc.)
    • They placed great confidence in their ability to follow the Jewish law
      • They practiced circumcision – the sign of the covenant
      • The ate kosher – dietary laws
      • They followed all the rules and regulations
    • “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh”
      • Dogs
        • A slur for Gentiles
        • But Paul calls these Jews “dogs” – they’re really the unclean ones!
      • Evildoers
        • You think you follow the law, but your works are evil!
      • Those who mutilate the flesh
        • Play on words – peritome vs katatome
        • Katatome – mutilation – I Kings 18 (LXX) – prophets of Baal cutting themselves
      • This sounds really harsh
        • Galatians vs. Corinthians – Paul’s tone
        • “The pastor ought to have two voices: one, for gathering the sheep; and another, for warding off and driving away wolves.” – John Calvin
      • Paul’s response to them : “You have it exactly backwards!”
      • “For we are the circumcision”
        • This is an AMAZING statement!
        • The Philippian congregation was mostly Gentile, not Jewish
        • Those who are in a true covenant with God are not those who keep the Jewish law, but those who are in the right relationship with God’s son!
      • “Who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh”
        • The Judaizers wanted them to put their trust in their own efforts – observing the law
        • But the real people of God do not put their confidence in the flesh
          • Physically, by circumcision
          • Or metaphorically, by our own efforts

Paul’s Resume

  • Go line by line through verses 4-6
  • Like the local high school football team going up against the Seattle Seahawks!

Where Is Your Confidence?

  • Pedigree/Ancestry
  • Education
  • Career achievements
  • Parenting
  • Possessions
    • House?
    • Car?
    • Bank account?
    • Retirement fund?
  • Political figures
    • Trump?
    • Democrats (all 23 of them, at last count)?
    • The Supreme Court
  • Service
    • A big danger for a church like Mosaic
  • Ministry
    • Danger for pastors
  • These are all good things

The switch (Read 7-9)

  • Part 1: Was I considered gain I now count as loss (past tense)
    • Why: For the sake of Christ
  • Part 2: I consider all things as loss (present tense – ongoing)
    • Why: Surpassing value of knowing Christ
    • Parable of the hidden treasure (Matthew 13:44)
  • Part 3: I have suffered the loss of all things, and consider them rubbish (dung!)
    • Why: That I may gain Christ
    • Why: And be found in Him with a righteousness that comes from faith
  • This is what we need – a righteousness = right standing before God
    • If you don’t know Christ, this is your biggest need – a right standing before God
      • And you can only receive it as a gift from God
      • Romans 3:23-24
      • Romans 4:4-5
      • NEWS. EVER!
    • So: where is your confidence today?
    • In practical terms, what do we do if our confidence is elsewhere?
      • Recognize the problem for what it is
        • There’s a name for trusting in something to do for you what only God can do: IDOLATRY
        • Confess your idolatry to God for what it is, and ask his help to turn from idols
        • Gaze upon Christ!
          • Not mystic – look at him in the Word of God!
          • Speak to him in prayer!
        • Look for small steps to begin to break the stranglehold of misplaced confidences
          • If your confidence is in your money, then give extra to help someone in need
          • If your confidence is in your education, volunteer in the nursery
          • If your confidence is in political figures, take a break from reading the news and posting on social media!
        • Don’t give up!
          • I haven’t gotten anywhere close to “arriving”
          • Neither had Paul! (verse 12)
        • Remember Christ’s parable of the two builders (Matthew 7)
        • We need a rock under our feet!
          • To navigate the trials of modern life
          • To withstand the storms of trials and suffering
          • To stand before God on the last day – our own righteousness won’t cut it!
        • Our goal is to be able to say, in the words of Psalm 75:25-26:

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

  • Close with “The Solid Rock”