Scripture: Philippians 3:1-3
I. You grow in joy through a relationship with Jesus.
A. Remember where Paul says that joy can be found in verse 1: Rejoice in the Lord. If you want to grow in joy, you have to know where to look for it. And joy is found in Jesus. All joy-seekers are seeking a closer relationship with Jesus because it is in Jesus that you find joy. Joy is not dependent on circumstances. Joy comes from knowing Jesus. Happiness leaves in hard times. Joy remains because Jesus remains.
B. Jesus wants you to share in His joy. John 15:11: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” Can you imagine a life of full joy? You can have that life as you grow in your relationship with Jesus. The more full you get of Jesus, the more full you get of joy, which is one of the fruits of the Spirit of Jesus. Are you growing in joy? Would the people who know you best say you are becoming a more joyful person?
II. You grow in joy by protecting yourself from false teaching about Jesus.
A. In verse 2 Paul warns us three times by saying “Look out!” Paul is angry with some false teachers called Judaizers who are threatening to pull the Philippian church away from their source of joy in Jesus. They taught the Gentiles that if they wanted to accept the Jewish Messiah, they had to become Jews first. They had to get circumcised like good Jews and follow the rest of the Law of Moses before they could become Christians.
B. The surprising truth is that it was the Gentile Christians who were the circumcision (vs. 3). Gentile Christians are the children of Abraham. They are the true people of God. In short, Paul says, Judaizers are the new Gentiles, while Christian believers have become the true Jews. You are one of God’s people if you believe what Paul writes in Romans 2:29: “But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.”
III. You grow in joy by bragging about Jesus and the Gospel.
A. Because our hearts have been circumcised, we Christians have changed. We now worship by the Spirit of God. Jesus said in John 4:24: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Another way that we change is in who we brag about. Paul says in vs. 3 that we glory in Christ Jesus. Literally, we boast about Jesus. We don’t brag anymore about if we’ve been circumcised. We don’t brag about all the good works we have supposedly done. We will not rely on self for our salvation. We will rely on Jesus alone to save us.
Nothing else brings lasting joy besides Jesus. Find your joy in him and him alone.
The letter to the Philippians
Commentaries on Philippians by Moises Silva, J.A. Motyer, D.A. Carson and Steven Lawson
Sermon Discussion Questions
1) Why is joy better than happiness? What is it about Jesus that brings joy to your soul today?
2) What false teaching have you come across in recent years? How does that false teaching take away your joy?
3) Do you ever catch yourself bragging about Jesus? Why is Jesus more worthy of your bragging than you yourself are?