Sermons by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder

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FAREWELL

Gregory Magruder       Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL     08/16/20
 
"Farewell”
Philippians 4:20-23
 
INTRODUCTION: In August of 2000 I became the pastor of Parkview Baptist Church. Now today in August of 2020 I am preaching my final sermon as your pastor. My first sermon as your pastor twenty years ago had the following outline: First, let me do all I can for you. Second, do all you can for me. Third, let us do together all we can for the Lord. I can honestly say that we have accomplished those goals. In Philippians 4:20-23, the Apostle Paul said farewell to the church at Philippi. He stated two truths that I want to leave with you as I say farewell. You will do well as a church when you give glory to God and receive God’s grace.
 
GIVE GLORY TO GOD.
 
To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen
                                                                    (Philippians 4:20).
 
*How do you give glory to God?
 
  • Believe in Jesus and trust God’s Word.
Jesus prayed: “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent… I have given them your word… Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:1-17).
 
  • Follow God’s lead. Find out where God is at work and join him. So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing” (John 5:19-20).
 
*Parkview has a new time and a new situation. Parkview has new adventures ahead. Give glory to God. “Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes” (Philippians 4:20 Message).
 
RECEIVE GOD’S GRACE.
 
Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. “The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household.  The
grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Philippians 4:21-23).
 
*Preach Grace.
 
  • Preach the gospel of salvation. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
 
  • Preach the good news of compassion and mercy. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
 
“Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster” (Joel 2:13).
 
*Practice Grace.
 
  • Love one another. Love God, love others. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”(John 13:34-35).
 
  • Forgive as you have been forgiven. “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:12-14).
 
*I pray that Parkview will continue to be a place of grace and compassion, a safe place for all who are hurting and need God’s love. Preach grace. Practice grace. “Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves”(Philippians4:23 Message).
 
Parkview, give glory to God. Receive God’s grace.
“And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).
 
 

GIVING AND RECEIVING

Gregory Magruder       Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL     08/09/20
 
"Giving and Receiving”
Philippians 4:14-20
 
INTRODUCTION: The Lord Jesus said that It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).  The church at Philippi had demonstrated that in their support of the Apostle Paul.  Paul closes his letter with gratitude for their support and general instructions on giving and receiving. We read his comments in Philippians 4:14-20.
 
SHARE GENEROUSLY TO SUPPORT GOD’S WORK.
 
*Giving sustains the work and workers of Christian ministry. Paul describes giving as a fellowship. It is a partnership of sharing in God’s work. The Philippians had consistently participated in Paul’s ministry from the beginning. “Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.  And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again” (4:14-16).  
 
*The practice of giving is a spiritual investment with eternal dividends. Generosity is a Christian virtue and it increases love and compassion in the giver. "Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit” (4:17).
 
RECEIVE GRATEFULLY THE GIFTS OFFERED TO GOD.
 
*The recipient of the gift must recognize with gratitude the source of the gift. A gift given to God’s work and workers is really an offering to God. “I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God” (4:18).
 
TRUST GOD TO MEET YOUR EVERY NEED.
 
*The generous person opens the door to the riches of Heaven. God blesses those who love God and their fellow man. God will meet their every material and spiritual need. You can’t out-give God. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen” (4:19-20).
 

CONTENTMENT

Gregory Magruder        Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL      08/02/20
 
"Contentment”
Philippians 4:10-13
 
INTRODUCTION: We cultivate the presence, peace, and power of God through prayer. In Philippians 4:4-7, Paul says everything we do should be done in prayer. Relief from anxiety begins with prayer. We replace anxiety through meditation. Every Christian believer can practice biblical meditation and experience God’s peace (4:8-9). Prayer and meditation lead to contentment. We can learn how to be content in all circumstances. The Apostle Paul shares his journey to contentment in Philippians 4:10-13.
 
THE EVIDENCE OF CONTENTMENT IS JOY AND GRATITUDE.
 
*Paul was thankful for God’s provision and grateful for his Christian friends’ concern. He had joy in the Lord even though he was in prison chained to a guard. A contented person expresses joy and gratitude. “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no
opportunity” (4:10).
 
CONTENTMENT DOES NOT DEPEND ON CIRCUMSTANCES.
 
*The contented person has the perspective that God is in control no matter what my situation may be. This insight only comes through a steady, consistent walk with God through the ups and downs of life. Whether rich or poor, hungry, or full, we know and learn that God is for us and not against us. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (4:11-12).
 
THE SECRET OF CONTENTMENT IS CHRIST.
 
*”I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power” (LB). Christ lives in me and empowers me to do what he wants me to do. Paul could have joy and gratitude in prison and be content when he faced the extremes of life because Jesus gave him strength “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (4:13).
 
Are you relying on Christ or circumstances today?
 

CHRISTIAN MEDITATION

Gregory Magruder        Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL      07/26/20
 
"Christian Meditation”
Philippians 4:8-9
 
INTRODUCTION: We cultivate the presence, peace, and power of God through prayer. In Philippians 4:4-7, Paul says everything we do should be done in prayer. Relief from anxiety begins with prayer. We replace anxiety through meditation. Different forms of meditation have become popular. Mindfulness is a buzz word now used in schools, businesses, and self-help books. Eastern meditation has been popularized in the media and biofeedback has been a staple of scientific research into relaxation techniques. Is there such a thing as Christian meditation? Christianity has a long tradition of Christian mystics who practice meditation. Current studies have shown that biblical meditation consisting of prayer and devotional study produces the same benefits and peaceful results as other forms of meditation. Every Christian believer can practice biblical meditation. So, what is Christian meditation? How do we meditate?  Paul gives us the answer in Philippians 4:8-9.
 
WHAT IS CHRISTIAN MEDITATION?
 
*Christian meditation is focusing on things that are good and godly. It is like the cow’s process of mastication, chewing the cud. The believer mulls over and reflects on God’s Word and truth until it is fully digested.  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (4:8).
 
*Christian meditation has content that becomes the focus of the thoughts. Eastern meditation and other secular forms of meditation aim to empty the mind. Christian meditation replaces the bad with the good, the impure with the pure, the lies with the truth, etc. - if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (4:8).
 
*The best resource for meditation is the Bible, God’s Word. The Psalms are good content for meditation. For example, Psalm 136 shows us how to dwell or think on good things using biblical content.
 
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever (136:1)


*Any subject matter that builds good character and promotes healthy thinking is good for meditation. Paul uses common moral virtues praised by the pagan philosophers of his day as worthy of meditation and reflection - whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable… think about these things (4:8).
 
HOW DO WE MEDITATE?
 
*Focus your mind on these virtues and God’s Word.
 
  • True – true to fact and reality. Thy word is truth (John 17:7).
  • Honorable – worthy of respect, has dignity and is seriously noble.
  • Just – right, righteous, in perfect harmony with God’s standards.
  • Pure – chaste, undefiled by sin, morally clean, stainless, innocent.
  • Lovely – winsome, endearing, gracious toward someone like Jesus.
  • Commendable – good repute, highly regarded, well thought of.
  • Excellence – the best, not the worst; superior quality, purposeful.
  • Worthy of praise – admirable, commendable, deserving applause.
 
*Follow biblical principles and godly examples. Hear, meditate, and put God’s Word and the good virtues into practice. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (4:9).
 
*As you meditate and apply the Word of God in your life, the God of Peace will be present and manifest his power - practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (4:9).
 
“When you have the secure mind, the peace of God guards you (v.7) and the God of peace guides you (v.9)” – Warren Wiersbe, Be Joyful, p.126.
 

EVERYTHING BY PRAYER

Gregory Magruder        Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL      07/19/20
 
"Everything by Prayer”
Philippians 4:4-7
 
INTRODUCTION: Paul encouraged the Philippians to persevere and stay on track in their faith in the Lord. They needed to stand firm in the face of all obstacles and opposition. They needed to work together in the Lord and help one another to live in harmony. They needed to let the joy of Christ rule their lives and be gracious, considerate, and unselfish in their interactions with others (Philippians 4:1-5). The only way we can do these things is when we are in constant connection with God through prayer. We cultivate the presence, peace, and power of God through prayer. In Philippians 4:4-7, Paul says everything we do should be done in prayer.
 
WHY SHOULD WE PRAY?
 
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer…let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God… will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (4:5-7)
 
  • We should pray because the Lord is near.
  • We should pray because life has worries and anxieties.
  • We should pray because we have needs.
  • We should pray because we need peace in our lives.
 
HOW SHOULD WE PRAY?
 
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice…But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (4:4-6).
 
  • Praise - Begin your prayer with praise to the Lord.
  • Prayer and Supplication - Turn to God in humble reverence and ask him to meet your personal needs.
  • Petition – Ask God to intervene in the lives of others and to answer specific, definite requests.
  • Thanksgiving – Pray with gratitude for all that God has done and with full assurance that your prayers will be answered.
 
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE PRAY?
 
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (4:6-7).
 
  • Anxiety is contrary to faith. Faith trusts that God is in control. The cure for worry is to turn to God in prayer.
  • God’s unfathomable peace mounts guard over your feelings (heart) and your thinking (mind) when you pray in the name of Jesus Christ.
 
 
We cultivate the presence, peace, and power of God through prayer. Let’s pray!
 
 

STAND FIRM

Gregory Magruder       Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL     07/12/20
 
"Stand Firm”
Philippians 4:1-5
 
INTRODUCTION: Paul writes: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20). We represent the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth while we look for the soon return of Christ. Jesus will bring about a new Heaven and a new Earth. He will give us new bodies fit for eternity. Therefore, we need to live in such a way that we please the Lord and invite others to follow him. Paul expresses his love for the Philippians and urges them to “stand firm in the Lord” (Phil. 4:1). We must persevere in our faith and stay on track in the Lord. How do we do this?
 
WORK TOGETHER IN THE LORD.
 
*Settle your differences for Christ’s sake. Be in harmony and unity even if you disagree. “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord” (4:2).
 
HELP ONE ANOTHER IN THE LORD.
 
*Be a peacemaker for the sake of the body of Christ. “Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life” (4:3).
 
ALWAYS BE JOYFUL IN THE LORD.
 
*Let the joy of Christ rule in your life despite difficult and unsettling circumstances. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (4:4).
 
BE GENTLE TOWARD EVERYONE.
 
*Time is short. Stand firm and treat others well. Be gracious, considerate, and unselfish in your interactions with others. “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand” (4:5).
 

CITIZENS OF HEAVEN

Gregory Magruder        Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL      07/05/20
 
"Citizens of Heaven”
Philippians 3:17-21
 
INTRODUCTION: This is Independence Day weekend. We celebrated our nation’s birth on July 4th with fireworks, family outings, and good food. While America has many problems and people are protesting to correct those problems, we still have much to be thankful for living in a land that promotes “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Citizenship in the United States of America carries privileges and rights that few people experience anywhere else in the world. “Proud to be an American” is an apt phrase for this Independence Day weekend. But the Apostle Paul states that there is something even greater for Christians in any nation: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20). Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). We represent the Kingdom of Heaven. How are we to live as citizens of Heaven while we reside here on Earth? Paul explains this in Philippians 3:17-21.
 
FOLLOW THOSE WHO EXEMPLIFY CHRIST.
 
*All Christians are on a journey. We are in a race aiming for the finish line and the prize that awaits us. We are striving to be like Jesus and be with him forever. Paul says we need to imitate godly believers who set a good example for us. “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (3:17).
 
AVOID THOSE WHO EXPLOIT CHRIST.
 
*Paul had warned the Philippians of the legalists who demanded rituals instead of the freedom found in Christ (3:2-3). Now he warns them of libertines whose immoral lifestyles mock the name of Christ. They abuse the freedom in Christ to satisfy their personal desires. “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ (3:18).
 
*The libertines are sexually unrestrained, indulge their appetites, and celebrate shameful behaviors. Their destiny is eternal loss and separation from God.   Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things” (3:18-19).
 
LIVE AS THOSE WHO EXPECT CHRIST.

*Christians have a dual citizenship. We are citizens of this world and the nation we live in, but we are also citizens of heaven. We have all the rights and privileges of a child of the King. We represent the Kingdom of Heaven as we live in this world. Our conduct should match our heavenly citizenship. “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (3:20-21).
 
*We look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ to establish a new Heaven and a new Earth. He will transform our earthly bodies into immortal bodies fit for eternity. Until then we are to live as the people of God on this earth. “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (3:20-21).
 
*The Christian hope and motivation: “For there will be a trumpet blast from the sky, and all the Christians who have died will suddenly become alive, with new bodies that will never, never die; and then we who are still alive shall suddenly have new bodies too. For our earthly bodies, the ones we have now that can die, must be transformed into heavenly bodies that cannot perish but will live forever…
 
So, my dear brothers, since future victory is sure, be strong and steady, always abounding in the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted as it would be if there were no resurrection”
 
                                                1 Corinthians 15:52-58 TLB
 
 

PRESS ON

Gregory Magruder        Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL      06/28/20
 
"Press On”
Philippians 3:12-16
 
INTRODUCTION: Paul wrote “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (3:8). Paul’s goal was
to “know him and the power of his resurrection” (3:10). But Paul made it very clear that he had not yet achieved his goal: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (3:12). True spirituality does not rest on regulations, rituals, and creeds like the formalists practice and teach. True spirituality is an on-going walk with Christ that continues to strive to be like Jesus. Paul likens the Christian life to a runner in a race aiming for the finish line and the prize that awaits her. How are we to run that race?
 
FORGET THE PAST.
 
*Athletes have intense concentration. They cannot be swayed from the task. They cannot think back to past failures or victories. They must focus on the race or event at hand. “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” (3:13).
 
*Runners must strip off everything that will hinder them from running the race. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
 
MOVE FORWARD.
 
*The Christian life should always make progress There is no room to rest on our laurels or sit out the race. Christians are in an onward and upward race to the end. We must make every effort and exertion to strain and stretch beyond where we are spiritually.  “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” (3:13).
 
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE GOAL.
 
*All Christians are in the race. We are at different stages of maturity. We are to maintain what we know, and we are to press on to gain more in our relationship with Christ. Our goal is to finish the race. A prize and reward await us. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained” (3:14-16).
 
*Our prize is Jesus Christ and eternal life. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus and keep on going until we cross the finish line. “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
 

One Father's Day: Worship That Pleases the Father

Gregory Magruder        Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL      06/21/20
 
"Worship That Pleases the Father”*
Amos 5:21-24
 
INTRODUCTION: Father’s Day is a good time to recognize godly fathers and godly men. Men play such an important role in the lives of their families, society, and the life of the church. The attributes of our Father in heaven should play out in the lives of his people. Men of God should look for ways to please the Father and offer a worship that God accepts. The Book of Amos was written by Amos. It was written sometime before 760 B.C. It was written to the Northern Kingdom of Israel and to Judah. It is written as a rebuke of the lack of justice and righteousness in the land. The people worshiped God, but their lives did not honor God or show concern for others. So, what kind of worship pleases the Father?
Amos 5:21-24 details godly worship and the lives that please the Father.
 
MOVE AWAY FROM WORSHIP THAT DEEPLY DISPLEASES THE FATHER.
 
*God is displeased with meaningless assemblies. “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies (5:21).
 
*God is displeased with worthless offerings.Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them” (5:22).
 
KNOW THAT THE FATHER REJECTS NOMINAL WORSHIP.
 
*God does not accept mindless worship.  “Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them” (5:22).
 
*Worship that only happens externally is not accepted.Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen” (5:23).
 
HEAR AND DO WORSHIP THAT PLEASES THE FATHER.
 
*Instead of looking religious and pious, let us do justly and rightly. “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (5:24).
 
*Let us lend our voice, support, and efforts to the eradication of injustice.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
 
 
CONCLUSION AND CURRENT APPLICATION:
 
  1. God does not accept their (Israel’s) worship, because it is not from the heart. They had grown complacent and comfortable with their wealth and status. They had begun drifting away from God and were becoming a more pagan nation. There are startling similarities between the church now and Israel then. We cannot be so comfortable in our own positions that we fail to honor God by loving our neighbors as ourselves.
 
  1. Let us practice being an advocate for the downtrodden and broken-hearted. Specifically, let’s speak out against overt, covert, and systematic racism and oppression aimed at African-Americans and people of color.
 
  1. Let us no longer be comfortable being indifferent and unbothered by the sin of racism and preferential treatment because God is not unbothered.
 
  1. Let us honor our One Father by honoring the Imago Dei in each one of us. Basic respect for the dignity and humanity of another is crucial for a follower of Christ.
*This message is part of a united effort on part of the clergy of Alachua County, Florida to preach on a common text dealing with racial reconciliation. This outline was prepared by Dr. Destin Williams of the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL. Any changes that detract from his original message are entirely my responsibility.
 
 

IN CHRIST ALONE

Gregory Magruder        Parkview Baptist     Gainesville, FL      06/14/20
 
"In Christ Alone”
Philippians 3:1-11
 
INTRODUCTION: Repetition is an effective teaching method. Paul again tells the Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord” (3:1) because it is a safeguard for their souls. Joy defeats the cynicism, depression, and negative circumstances of the world. Paul reminds them why they can have a joy that transcends life’s fears and anxieties: they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul warns them of alternative teachings that lead them away from Christ. Salvation is in Christ alone.  
 
The Jesus-Plus religion is the wrong way to heaven.
 
*Religion that requires Jesus plus something else will not get you into heaven. Formalism or legalism will not put you into a right relationship with God. Rituals, rites, or creeds and other external actions do not make you right with God. Only a spiritual heart change through faith in Jesus Christ will make you right with God. “For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (3:3).
 
*Paul warns against false teachers whose character, conduct, and teachings mislead people. The Judaizers required useless circumcision plus Jesus for salvation.  “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh” (3:2).
 
The Minus – Jesus religion is the wrong way to heaven.
 
*Personal morality or heritage or achievements will not put you in a right relationship with God. “I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless” (3:4-6).
 
*Any belief system and practice that leaves out Jesus will not meet God’s standard of salvation. “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (3:7-8).

The Jesus-Alone religion is the right way to heaven.
 
*Only Jesus measures up to God’s standard of righteousness and holiness. Christ alone makes us right with God. We must know him personally and accept his righteousness by faith. Faith means Forsaking All I Trust Him. “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (3:8-9).
 
*Paul’s driving desire was to know Jesus. He wanted to grow closer and closer to Jesus. He wanted to know Christ’s power and even share Christ’s pain until his dying breath. He wanted to experience the resurrection in Christ. “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (3:10-11).
 
There is only one way to heaven and right standing with God: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
 
 
 
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