Put No Confidence in the Flesh

New Philly Hongdae (video streamed to Sillim, Busan)
Preached by Christian Lee on April 25, 2016, Sunday.
Duration: 57 minutes (audio)

Preached at NP Hongdae-Alpha


Paul is reminding the Philippian believers to watch out for the false teachers of the circumcision party, also known as the Judaizers. They are so called because they were trying to Judaize people or to make people Jewish in the sense of following Jewish customs and religious rites, the most significant of which was circumcision. Their basic message was: “If you want to be accepted by God, you need to do this, this, and this (including circumcision).” Paul strictly refutes their teaching, insisting that righteousness only comes through faith in Christ, and that all other grounds for boasting are rubbish.

Discussion Questions

CG questions written by Paul Yoo.

  1. Paul is saying a true Christian is one who glories in Christ Jesus and puts no confidence in the flesh. What are some ways you put confidence in your flesh rather than in Christ?
    Examples include: Academic achievement (school you went to, grades/marks), how smart you are, how much knowledge you have, athletic ability and achievement, spiritual gifts: how prophetic you are, how much bible knowledge you have, how good of a preacher you are, how anointed you are as a worship leader, status (how much money you make, how prestigious your job is), family, where you grew up, where you currently live, physical (attractiveness, sex appeal, being thin), racial identity, cultural identity (e.g. even how different and unique you are, not like those typical Koreans or typical Korean-Americans or typical Asian Christians), social: Being a creative-type or artist, political: Paul was an activist, a persecutor of the church; being an activist, being politically-aware, being socially conscious, personality (how likeable you are, how socially adept), natural gifts.
  2. Do you have confidence in your standing with God? If so, in what do you place your confidence? If you lack assurance and confidence before God, what does that say about what you are placing your confidence in? What are some of the dangers and weaknesses of placing our confidence in the flesh as the basis of our standing with God?
  3. Read vv. 7-8. Some people think Christianity is a little something you add to your life – a little forgiveness when you sin, a little comfort when you feel weak, a little power when you need to overcome some obstacle and reach your goals. For Paul, becoming a Christian meant a complete change in the way he saw everything about life. Everything he used to esteem, he now saw in a completely different light. What are some of the things Paul used to boast in and consider important in his life? What two words does Paul use to describe how he now sees these things? What changed? What was the object of “surpassing worth” that completely reoriented everything Paul loved and valued?
  4. Have you experienced this life-transforming reorientation of values and loves since you met Christ? Would you say that Christ is of “surpassing worth” to you and that everything else is “loss” and “rubbish” in comparison? What are some of the changes you’ve seen in your life in this regard? What are some things you used to hold dear as central to your life and identity, and which has since changed after encountering Christ?
  5. Pastor Christian said, “The result of putting your confidence in the flesh is to be known. The result of putting your confidence in the gospel is knowing Christ personally.” Share your thoughts on this statement.
  6. Read 2 Corinthians 5:16. What does it mean to put no confidence in the flesh in how we regard others? What are some ways that you regard others according to the flesh? Do you feel superior or inferior around anyone based on external characteristics of the flesh? Do you limit your fellowship and association with anyone based on the flesh?
  • Homework: Memorize Philippians 3:7-11.

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