Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith. [NLT]
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you. [NASB]
When you hear a preacher say “finally,” you assume he is closing or wrapping things up. But to preachers the word finally does not always mean they are closing. I think that use the word as a teaser. In Philippians 3:1, the word is loipos and it is not an easy word to translate. According to Strong, it means the remaining, the res; the rest of any number or class under consideration, the rest, who are not of a specific class or number or the rest of the things that remain. So for Paul here is Philippians 3:1, it is a connecting word. Actually Paul digresses to some degree and goes back to repeat some of the basics. Paul said, To write the same things again is no trouble to me. NKJV reads, “To write the same things to you is not tedious.” The NRSV reads, “To write the same things to you is not troublesome to be but a safeguard to you.” So in Chapter 3-4, Paul is going to get into some of the basics that we learn by repetition.
Our granddaughter Chloe is two years old and she loves to watch video’s on the I-Pad. She has basically taken my I-Pad away from me. One of her favorite video’s is FIVE LITTLE MONKEY’S JUMPING ON THE BED. In a subtle way, the video teaches her to count. The key to Chloe learning to count from the video is to watch it over and over which she does. Repetition has always been the number one form of learning.
So Paul said, “We are going to repeat some basic truths that you need to know. These truths will safeguard you from error.” My dilemma is how to organize my thoughts and present them in such a way that you will be helped. I think there is too much in verse 1 to attack it to the next session but verse 1 is not easy to outline but I will try.
I. I SEE THE THEME OF THE LETTER “Rejoice in the LORD”
- There is joy in prayer: Philippians 1:3-4…Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy.
- There is joy in the gospel shared: Philippians 1:18…But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.
- There is joy in faith: Philippians 1:25…Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith.
- There is joy in unity: Philippians 2:2…Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
- There is joy in suffering for Christ: Philippians 2:17-18…But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.
- There is joy is Christian Relationships: Philippians 2:28…Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you.
- There is joy in Christian Hospitality: Philippians 2:29…Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard.
- There is joy in Christ: Philippians 3:1…Rejoice in the LORD.
- There is joy in Christian fellowship: Philippians 4:1…Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.
- There is joy in giving: Philippians 4:10…But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.
So there is no doubt, Paul repeats the Theme of the letter in 3:1.
II. I SEE THE HEART OF MESSENGER “To write the same things again is no trouble to me”
Paul modeled the joy that he spoke of; he loved to preach and teach the truth. He did not mind giving the Philippians instructions even if some were a repeat, He said “to write the same things I have written before is no trouble to me.” I like his spirit and his attitude.
- Teachers have a lot of responsibility…Don’t be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life. With increasing age and experience, I find myself very concerned about what I say and how I say it. I want to be like John the Baptist is that it was said of him, “Everything he said about Jesus was true.” There is no question that I have made mistakes and will be held accountable for them. Some things I have said in pride have already come back on my head. I approach the sacred desk with greater caution and hopefully greater humility than ever before. To believer error is bad, to teach it is much worse.
- Teachers have a lot of joy. I get blessed in my study and preparation and then blessed again when I share it from the pulpit and then blessed again occasionally by someone repenting in response to the message. The first church I served as pastor was during my college days back in the early 70’s. My chairman of deacons was a very educated man but very humble. He loved to smoke a pipe. I was green as green beans in those days but I preached a message on Temperance and he came to me after the service and said, “The LORD convicted me today, I am giving up my pipe.” I was shocked. That was 45 years ago and it has never happened since; not in regards to smoking anyway. I saw a woman a couple of months ago that I had not seen in 35 years. I preached at her church one time, and she quoted me word for word. The only reason I remembered was that I got the quote from Jack Taylor. What amazes me is how God works to plant a thought or truth in a mind while the preacher or teacher is speaking. I have been to huge conferences where the best of the best preached but one of the most significant moments of my life came at an Associational meeting in which an old country preacher spoke from Colossians 1. He pastored small rural churches all his life. Paul was not annoyed with Philippi, he was thrilled to get to instruct them. It is a huge responsibility to teach but also a joy, a great joy.
III. I SEE ALSO THE PURPOSE OF THE LETTER “and it is a safeguard for you.”
Paul has suffered for Christ sake but he is not discouraged by the suffering. I think Paul gloried in the suffering; it drove him deeper into the faith. The Philippian believers were in a position to similar to Paul: they were not in prison but they were being persecuted for their faith and there was a good chance the persecution was going to get worse. Paul wants to prepare them for the worse.
The Philippians were dealing with at least two things:  A pagan culture and a world view that was antichrist and  the false teacher who were Judaizes. Jews pretending to be Christians who taught that Salvation was by works and they especially emphasized circumcision. They basically undermined everything that Paul had taught.
The spiritual war we are in is a war between truth and error, light and darkness, good and evil. As the hymn says…
Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth;
Clad in salvation’s full armor,
Join in the battle for truth.
What is the true gospel. The Judaizers were teaching that it was Christ plus circumcision and obeying the law of Moses. Paul taught SALVATION BY GRACE and this was offensive to Jews. Paul’s gospel was good news that Christ had died for all and that salvation was a gift [Rom.6:23] that we receive by faith. It is all grace from start to finish. This gospel of grace is under attack today by a sect within the domination. It is a revival of Calvinism, also known as REFORM THEOLOGY, and it teaches Salvation by Election. It is a monoergistic salvation which simply means “God alone”. In other words, Salvation is not a gift and you cannot receive it. God chooses whom He will regenerate and the rest are firewood for hell. It is a heretical teaching that over emphases one truth to the neglect of the paradoxical truth on the other side. God is a God of LOVE and wrath. He is both. He would not love good if He did not hate evil. No believer questions the sovereignty of God but it is the sovereignty of God that allows Him to save us anyway that pleases Him. His way is repentance of sin and faith in the LORD Jesus Christ.
This is not new theology: this is basic stuff. Our culture is into the novel, the new, the sensational and our young people are not grounded in truth: plus these folks are subtle. Calvinist are like Judaizes, they can’t start new churches because they have gutted the gospel. They will however, come in to a fellowship by stealth and undermine what some orthodox pastor has taught for years. They are masters of spinning doubt and they will have you questioning everything.
Paul would have liked spending all his time evangelizing but he had to defend the faith from these false teachers. Folks I could write a book on the destructiveness of a lie. One reason I long for heaven is to get away from the lies. There are some who are filled with envy and jealously and they overtly lash out in violence. These are the minority: the majority handle envy and jealously in another way: they use gossip, innuendo, insinuation, suggestion, lies, slander…in other words, they use tongue or pen. Listen to what James said about the tongue…It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. Just recently, a heart broken woman came to me because someone had started a vicious rumor on her and she was defenseless to stop it…like one person fighting a raging grass fire. She had enough intelligence to know that I could not stop it either. People love gossip. People use lies to get even with people they don’t like. This is a sad truth.
People lied, gossiped and slandered Jesus because they didn’t like Him and it is going to happen no matter what kind of life you live but I am inclined to believe that I have brought some of this on myself. I will say this, you cannot underestimate the power of a lie nor the power of those who are willing to use them to get their way.
So what Paul is doing here is Suring up the Philippians faith. He wanted them to be grounded in truth so they can withstand the evil days that are inevitably coming. Yes, their faith must be in Christ. If they keep their faith in Christ, they will have joy no matter what the circumstances and will be able to stand against the lies of Satan.
I remember my first steak dinner. I was 17 years old and our football team ate at Gil-Mar in Athens, Alabama. I was seated there totally unaware that everyone else had been through this experience except me. They brought the salads in a wooden bowl and ask me what kind of dressing I wanted and I did not know how to respond. A buddy sitting beside me said, “Give him Thousand Island.” Thank God, they invented Ranch a few years later. I ate that salad like it was a piece of corn bread right out of the oven: it was gone in seconds. I looked at my friend and said, “I’m still hungry, is this all we get?” The entire table erupted in laughter. Then my friend explained what would happen. How was I to know, it was my first steak dinner. I have had a lot of steak dinners since and I don’t remember but one or two of them. I don’t remember what I had for lunch last week but I am getting my nourishment. I am healthy and ready to resist a virus or what have you. You may not remember my last sermon, you may not remember this one but God is using me to feed your soul and whether you remember or not, His plan is working. When the lies come, you will know the truth. The truth begins and ends with Jesus. You need to know HIM and know HIM intimately. Jesus will not make you arrogant or angry. He will make you humble and merciful.