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October 24, 2020

 

Sermon Series on the NT book of Philippians - #12

 

“REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS”

 

Philippians 4:4

In the final chapter of Philippians, we find Paul giving exhortations that are both specific and general.  In verses 1-3, Paul gave specific exhortations to specific Christians at Philippi.

 

Now, in verse 4, we find the first of several general exhortations which all Christians need:

 

Philippians 4:4 (ESV)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

 

Do you remember that “JOY” is the keynote of this letter / epistle?  16 times in this letter, Paul uses the word rejoice - or a derivation of it - (1:4, 1:18 [twice]; 1:25; 2:2; 2:17 [twice]; 2:18 [twice]; 2:28; 2:29; 3:1; 4:1; 4:4 [twice]; and 4:10)!

 

 

Today, let’s look at a few observations about how we are to “Rejoice In The Lord Always!”

 

1. THIS JOY IS TO BE EXPERIENCED “ALWAYS”

 

1 Rejoice in the Lord always;

 

This joy is NOT just to be an occasional experience, and it is NOT just for exceptional people.  We are to live in joy during trials as well as during triumphs.

 

James 1:2-3 (ESV)

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

 

Romans 5:3-4 (ESV)

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

 

This joy is for all Christians.

 

1 Peter 4:12-13 (ESV)

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

 

CONSIDER THE EXAMPLE OF PAUL.  HE FOUND JOY “ALWAYS” . . .

In his prayers (1:4); in proclaiming the gospel in  adverse circumstances (1:18); in the unity of the saints (2:2); in the possibility of being a martyr for Jesus Christ (2:17); and in the love of this fellow Christians brethren (4:10).

 

Paul really did “rejoice always!”  But, what was his secret?  What was the source of this abiding joy?

 

2. THIS ABIDING JOY IS FOUND “IN THE LORD”

 

1 Rejoice in the Lord always;

 

Let’s be honest . . . there is temporary joy in drugs and alcohol, in sexual pleasures, in acquiring material things.  But, these are at best like great wealth, which, “make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:5).  At worst, temporary joys are, “the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25).

 

THE JOY THAT “ABIDES” ONLY COMES FROM A PERSONAL AND DAILY LIVING RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST.

        

 “IN THE LORD” we can enjoy:

 

Peace with God (Romans 5:2); Help in temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13 / Philippians 4:13); Assurance of God's help in time of trial (Hebrews 13:5-6).

 

These are the things which provide true and lasting joy!  Wouldn't it be wonderful to experience this “abiding joy?”  Why don't we?  Why do so many people who have a personal relationship with Jesus often lack joy in ALL circumstances?

 

Perhaps it is because . . .

 

3. THERE ARE OFTEN HINDRANCES TO “ABIDING JOY”

 

MEMORIES OF PAST FAILURES AND AWARENESS OF PRESENT FAULTS CAN LEAVE US DISCOURAGED OR DEPRESSED.

 

Paul, however, provides us the solution:

 

Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV)

12 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.  13 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, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

We MUST realize our imperfections, yet press on to better things!  We MUST forget our past failures, and reach forward to future successes!

 

OK.  Many people are naturally “melancholy” - with a genetic predisposition toward a negative attitude.  Others have been greatly influenced by their own environment, when growing up.

 

Still, in Christ, we can be transformed:

 

Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)

1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

AND, we can produce the “fruit of the Spirit” which includes JOY:

 

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

 

OK, LET’S BE REAL.  It is easy to be joyful when everything is going well.  But, when things go wrong, well . . . that’s another story.

 

However, we see from the scripture that even those times can be a time for rejoicing.

 

James 1:2-4 (ESV)

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

 

Also, a compassionate heart will be moved by the hardships of others:

 

Romans 12:15 (ESV)

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

 

And, properly spoken words of comfort and counsel can provide joy and relief from hardships:

 

Proverbs 16:24 (ESV)

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

 

“Rejoice in the Lord always” does NOT mean that we are to be insensitive to the harsh realities of life.  It means that we do not let the dark realities of life blind us to the bright joy that is found in the Lord!

 

Are you going through life without the “abiding joy” that Paul is talking about?  If so, then make your relationship with the Lord what it ought to be.

 

First, by living in complete obedience to God’s will, and by letting the counsel of God’s Holy Word give you the perspectives in life necessary to . . . “Rejoice In The Lord Always!”

 

 

October 17, 2020

 

Sermon Series on the NT book of Philippians - #11

 

“THE ART OF MAKING PEACE”

 

Philippians 4:1-3

 

In most churches, you can find Christians who have strong differences of opinion with each other.  This was the case with the church at Philippi. As Paul continues writing this letter, he comments about a rift that apparently existed between two members in the church at Philipp.

 

Philippians 4:1-3 (ESV)

1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.  2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.  3 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.

 

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are to be known as “peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9)  The way that Paul approaches the sensitive task of trying to make peace between Euodia and Syntyche provides several lessons in The Art Of Making Peace.

 

The first lesson we learn is . . .

 

1. THE PEACEMAKER MUST LOVE THOSE ON BOTH SIDES

 

1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. 

 

PAUL STARTS OUT BY EXPRESSING HIS LOVE . . . “my brothers / “whom I love and long for” / “my joy and crown” / “my beloved.”  Paul truly loved the people at Philippi!

 

AS PEACEMAKERS, WE MUST DO THE SAME!

 

We must have sincere love for those on both sides of any issue.  We must be able and willing to express our love, as did Paul, or else we cannot be useful arbitrators in making peace.

 

Be careful!  Loving one side, and not the other, will make impartial evaluation of a conflict impossible.  A peacemaker's advice and counsel will be open to suspicion, if both parties are not genuinely loved.

 

But, with mutual love for those on both sides, a peacemaker is in a position to render a fair evaluation of the problem . . . and the solution.

 

The next lesson we see is that . . .

 

2. THE PEACEMAKER SHOULD TREAT BOTH SIDES TENDERLY AND EQUALLY

 

2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 

 

Note Paul’s use of the verb “entreat” (par-ak-al-eh'-o in the Greek)

 

This means to call for, to summon, to speak to - which may be done as exhortation, instruction, etc.  Rather than command them, Paul chooses to plead with them.  (Note the twice repeated, and equal use, of the verb “entreat” . . . I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.)  Rather than take sides, Paul treats them both tenderly and equally.

 

THERE IS A HUGE NEED FOR PEACEMAKERS LIKE THIS TODAY!  Christians who will use tenderness and fairness in working with those in a dispute.

 

 

The next lesson we learn from Paul is . . .

 

3. THE PEACEMAKER MUST SEEK FOR AGREEMENT IN THE LORD

 

2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to  agree in the Lord

 

PAUL'S OBJECTIVE IS FOR EUODIA AND SYNTYCHE “to agree in the Lord.”

 

This desire had already been expressed by Paul in this letter . . .

 

Philippians 1:27 (ESV)

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

 

Philippians 2:2 (ESV)

complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

 

NOW, Paul applies this especially to these two ladies!

 

IN MAKING PEACE, THERE MUST BE AGREEMENT IN THE LORD.

 

In many “peace agreements,” the participants have not truly reached agreement in the Lord / or oneness of mind . . . only compromise.  Such “agreements” are often only temporary, and are destroyed when the remaining differences eventually resurface.

 

For Christians, seeking “to agree the in the Lord” will become easy - if we all strive to have what Paul calls “the mind of Christ.” (Philippians 2:2-5)

 

A peacemaker should not be content with just a ceasing of hostilities.   We must go much further and deal with the divisiveness of mind that is the true cause of the problem.

Another lesson is that . . .

 

4. THE PEACEMAKER MUST USE ASSISTANCE WHEN AVAILABLE

 

3 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.

 

PAUL WAS NOT TOO PROUD TO ASK FOR HELP.  He sought out the assistance of a true companion to help these ladies out!

 

PEACEMAKERS WILL GLADLY USE THE HELP THAT OTHERS CAN GIVE.  Humble, peacemakers know that they do not have to do it all themselves.  When we are aware of others who may be in a position to provide counsel or other means of help, and we gladly utilize their help, then our goal is to make peace . . . NOT a reputation for ourselves!

 

Finally, we learn from Paul that . . .

 

5. THE PEACEMAKER MUST SEE THE GOOD AND GIVE CREDIT WHEN DUE

 

3 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.

 

PAUL DID NOT LOSE SIGHT OF WHOSE THESE WOMEN WERE.  They had labored with Paul in the gospel / they had labored with Clement / they had labored with Paul's other fellow-workers as well (who, though not mentioned by name, have their names in the “Book of Life.”)

 

SO, PEACEMAKERS MUST REMEMBER THE GOOD IN THOSE WE WORK WITH.  It is so easy to forget that those having problems likely have much good to their credit, also.  Recognizing this, and giving credit where it is due, increases the likelihood that a peacemaker's advice will be heeded.

 

In a world that is as divided as ours, there is a huge need for those who can serve as faithful and effective “peacemakers.”  Please, brothers & sisters is Jesus, apply these principles from Paul when called upon by the Lord to help bring divided people together!

 

 

October 10, 2020

 

Sermon Series on the NT book of Philippians - #10

 

“TWO WAYS TO WALK”

 

Philippians 3:17-21

As we continue our look Paul's “letter of joy,” we now see him discussing two different ways to walk in this life . . . We can walk as “a citizen of heaven” or we can walk as “an enemy of the cross of Jesus Christ.”  Let’s read chapter 3:17-21 . . .

 

Philippians 3:17-21 (ESV)

17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.  18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.  19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.  20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 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.

 

There’s NO question as to which way we should walk!

 

But to better understand why, let’s look closely at some reasons Paul gives us in this passage.

 

1. PAUL ADMONISHES US TO WALK LIKE HIMSELF AND OTHERS

 

17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 

 

Paul frequently encouraged others to follow his example (Philippians 4:9; 1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1), and some people did (1 Thessalonians 1:6-9)!  OK, so how were people to imitate Paul?  To the same degree that Paul tried to imitate Christ . . .

 

1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV)

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

 

Noticing the examples of how others walk as a citizen of heaven can be very beneficial.

 

Psalm 37:37 (NIV)

Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
    a future awaits those who seek peace.

 

Hebrews 13:7 (ESV)

 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

 

WE SHOULD NOT ONLY BE GOOD IMITATORS.  WE SHOULD BE GOOD EXAMPLES!

 

This is true for all Christians, and especially so for those who teach and preach God's Word - including those who serve as Elders.

 

2. A WARNING CONCERNING THOSE WHO WALK AS “ENEMIES OF THE CROSS”

 

18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.  19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 

 

Apparently, Paul found that repetition was valuable - “of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears.”  Note the compassion Paul has here (with tears),  even for those who are “enemies of the cross.”  He reminds us of the eternal destruction that awaits enemies of the cross.  They are set on satisfying only their fleshly appetites (their god is their belly).  They take pride in shameful things (they glory in their shame), and they set their minds “on earthly things.” 

 

Colossians 3:2 (ESV)

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

 

Where is your mindset?  How you answer may determine whether or not YOU are an “enemy of the cross of Christ!”

 

As an encouragement to NOT be “enemies of the cross,” Paul continues . . .

 

3. REASONS TO WALK LIKE PAUL & OTHERS

 

20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 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.

 

OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN!  So, all we can excitedly await our Savior “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.”

 

Jesus is in heaven now, but he is coming again for us one day! (Acts 1:9-11)  And when he does, what glory there will be for those of us who are “citizens of heaven!”

 

He will “transform our lowly body” and it will be “like his (Jesus’) glorious body"!  And Jesus will do this by the same POWER with which he subdues (makes subject to himself) all things.

Matthew 28:18 (ESV)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

 

These are all really good reasons to walk (live our spiritual life) like Paul!

 

How are YOU walking in this life?  Are you walking as a “citizen of heaven?”  Or are you walking as an “enemy of the cross of Christ?”

 

The answer depends upon where you have set your MIND:

 

If it’s on EARTHLY things . . . you are an “enemy of the cross of Christ!”

 

But, if your mind is set on HEAVENLY things . . . you are a “citizen of heaven!”


 

 

 

 

 

October 3, 2020

 

Sermon Series on the NT book of Philippians - #9

 

“The Unity That Produces Joy”

 

Sermon Series on the NT book of Philippians - #9

 

Paul has been challenging the Christians in Philippi, with regards to daily living as a Christian.  In the last part of Philippians chapter 1, he encouraged them to display “Conduct Worthy Of The Gospel.”

 

In our text for today, Paul exhorts them to manifest a unity that produces joy!

 

Philippians 2:1-4 (ESV)

1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.  3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 

Paul describes 3 aspects of unity that produces joy:

  

1. THE MOTIVATION FOR HAVING UNITY THAT PRODUCES JOY (v. 1)

 

1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 

 

Paul is not doubting that there is encouragement in Christ.  This is a conditional “if . . . then” statement.  For example . . .

 

Galatians 3:29 (NLV)

 If you belong to Christ, then you have become the true children of Abraham.  What God promised to him is now yours.

 

The if” does not suggest doubt that they could be Christ's.  It means the same thing as since!”

     

1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 

 

We ARE free to enjoy the love that comes from God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit . . . and even from our brothers and sisters in Christ!

        

1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 

 

All who receive Jesus as their personal Savior, also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit!

Acts 2:38 (ESV)

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

 

And, we DO have both affection & sympathy (mercy) from both Jesus and fellow Christians!

 

1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy

 

2. THE NATURE OF THE UNITY THAT PRODUCES JOY (v.2)

 

2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 

 

A necessary quality of unity is thinking the same.   

 

2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 

 

This is natural, if we are first “like-minded.”  And, having the same love, we will love Christ and his Church, as well as one another.

 

2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 

 

This means - “having our souls joined together” / working together, for Jesus, in complete harmony.

 

2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind

 

This means that we are working together / with the same purpose and intentions.  When a congregation is like this, then “The Unity That Produces Joy” will be experienced!

 

OK.  So, what attitudes are required for having such this type of unity?

 

3. THE ATTITUDES REQUIRED FOR UNITY THAT PRODUCES JOY (vs. 3-4)

 

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 

These are attitudes that we should NOT have!  This is being self-centered rather than Christ-centered.

 

Instead . . .

 

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 

This attitude will effectively replace the problem of selfish ambition and conceit.  (Actually, humility is easy to maintain - if we remember our own faults.)

 

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 

We are aware of our own defects, but we do NOT have the same clear view of the defects of others.  We can only see their OUTWARD conduct.  But, we can look WITHIN ourselves - with all our faults.

 

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 

This attitude helps eliminate the problem of selfish ambition!  It should be the attitude of every Christian!

 

These attitudes are essential if we are going to have “The Unity That Produces Joy!”

 

We fulfill our joy by making sure that we manifest these attitudes - as we attempt to live our lives with the mind of Christ!

 

 

 

“The Mind Of Christ”

Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV)

 

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 

 

In verses 1-4, Paul wrote about “The Unity That Produces Joy.”  In verse 5, Paul continues to exhort them to have this mind (the attitudes of verses 3-4), pointing out that this is also the “mind of Christ.”

 

Verses 6-11 elaborates on the “mind (attitude) of Christ.”

 

THE MIND OF CHRIST HAS NO SELFISH AMBITION OR CONCEIT (v. 6)

 

6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 

 

Before his incarnation, Jesus existed as essentially one with God . . .

 

 

 

John 1:1-3 (ESV)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 He was in the beginning with God.  3 All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

 

Jesus was one, with God the Father . . . did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped (held onto jealously.  Jesus demonstrated a true lack of selfish ambition and conceit!

 

DO WE HAVE “THE MIND OF CHRIST?”

 

Do we consider ourselves better / more important than others . . . and think that distinction is something to hold on to at all costs? 

 

IF SO, THEN WE DO NOT HAVE “THE MIND OF CHRIST!”

 

THE MIND OF CHRIST LOOKS OUT FOR THE INTERESTS OF OTHERS (vs 7-8)

 

7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 

 

When Jesus became flesh, he “emptied himself” (he divested himself of the glory he had with the Father),  and he took on himself “the form of a servant.”

 

Jesus came into this world fully human - so that he experience our temptations and sufferings.  In other words, though he was completely God, he humbled himself and obediently suffered and died on a cross!

 

WHY DID JESUS DO ALL THIS?  He did it for the sake of all humankind . . . for our best interest!  His death (and resurrection) provides forgiveness for our sins - and the promise of hope for all eternity in heaven!

 

DO WE HAVE “THE MIND OF CHRIST?”  We do, if we are looking out for the interests of others, and if we are willing to humble ourselves, even sacrifice ourselves if it be in the best interests of others.  

         

THE MIND OF CHRIST IS HIGHLY EXALTED BY GOD (vs 9-11)

 

9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

Jesus is a good example of the Scriptural maxim:  “He that humbles himself shall be exalted.”

 

God has highly exalted Jesus in two ways:

 

1) In the PRESENT - by giving Him “the name that is above every name.”

 

Acts 4:12 (ESV)

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

 

2) In the FUTURE - that at his name “every knee should bow . . . and  every tongue confess.”

 

Jesus is Lord!  And we who possess “The Mind Of Christ” will participate in that great future exaltation of Christ!  Isn't that a wonderful motivation?

 

“The Mind Of Christ” includes . . . Humility / Obedience / Sacrifice / and Great Reward.

 

Do YOU have “The Mind Of Christ?”  You should!  It is the key to:  The unity that produces joy, and one day sharing in the glory of Jesus Christ and heaven!  You can begin possessing “The Mind of Christ,by following his example of humbly obeying the will of God!

 

 

September 25, 2020

 

Sermon Series on the NT book of Philippians - #8

 

“True Spiritual Circumcision”

 

 

Throughout his ministry as an apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul had to deal with certain Jewish Christians . . . known today as “Judaizers.” 

 

They were false teachers who often followed Paul wherever he went.  They would say that the act of circumcision and the Law of Moses were inseparable.  That is - they taught that “You couldn’t be a Christian unless you were circumcised!” 

 

 

Philippians 3:1-16 (NLT)

1 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.  2 Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.  3 For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised.  We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us.  We put no confidence in human effort,4 though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could.  Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!  5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old.  I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin - a real Hebrew if there ever was one!  I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law.  6 I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church.  And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.  7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.  8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him.  I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.  For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.  10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.  I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!  12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection.  But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing:  Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things.  If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.  16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

 

 

Even as he writes this epistle of joy, Paul finds it necessary to warn the Philippians of these false teachers:

 

1 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.  2 Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.  3 For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised.  We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us.  We put no confidence in human effort,

 

Paul calls the Judaizers dogs, evil people, and mutilators.  And he says that true Christians are “the true circumcision!”  True Christians worship God in the Spirit, rely on what Christ Jesus has done, and put no confidence in human effort.

 

Paul uses himself as an example and defines the attitudes and the characteristics of those who understand “True Spiritual Circumcision.”

 

4 though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could.  Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!  5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old.  I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin - a real Hebrew if there ever was one!  I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law.  6 I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church.  And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.  7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.  8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 

 

1. THEY HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH 

 

If anyone could boast about their situation in life, it was Paul!

 

He was circumcised when eight days old / he was a genuine Jew, pure blooded Jew descended from Jacob (of the tribe of Benjamin) / he was a real-deal Hebrew.

 

That means both his parents were Jews, and HE remained faithful to the customs of the Jews.  He was NOT a Grecian Jew or Hellenistic Jew.

 

Paul could have boasted about “RELIGIOUS” things:

 

5I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law.”

 

Paul was a very religious, conservative, & loyal person. He persecuted those nasty “Christ followers” / he fulfilled EVERY requirement of the Law

        

HOWEVER, PAUL CONSIDERED THESE THINGS AS “WORTHLESS” - COMPARED TO CHRIST!

 

7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.  8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 

All these things which could have provided Paul with prestige and social standing, he counted as “loss.”  In fact, he lost many things when he chose to follow Christ (see 1 Corinthians 4:11-13).  Yet, compared to the value of knowing of Christ Jesus, they were to Paul nothing more than garbage (literally, “dung”)!

 

WHAT ABOUT US?

 

Do we place confidence in fleshly accomplishments?  Do we take pride in our racial background, or our religious heritage, etc.?

 

Or do we consider such things as “crap” - compared to personally knowing Jesus as MY Savior and Lord?

 

How you honestly answer those questions helps to determine whether we are part of “True Spiritual Circumcision.”

 

Besides having no confidence in the flesh, those who are living “True Spiritual Circumcision” also . . . REJOICE IN CHRIST JESUS

 

9 and become one with him.  I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.  For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.  10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.  I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! 

 

Their joy is NOT in material or fleshy things, but in Jesus Christ!  Just like Paul, our compelling desire must be to “gain Christ.” (v.8)   

 

Verse 9-11 explains what it means to “gain Christ.”

 

To have the same attitude & obedience as Jesus / not trying to just DO righteous in my strength, but to BE righteous through “faith in Christ” - which saves me / having a daily burning desire “to know Christ” . . . personally, with his “power” working in us / being willing to possibly “suffer” as a Christian

 

Gaining Christ literally means to turn away from our sin, Jesus living within me, and one day enjoying eternity in heaven with him! 

 

“True Spiritual Circumcision” is a personal and  experiential knowledge of the power of Jesus’ resurrection!

 

SO, WHAT ABOUT US?

 

This goal of Paul's life was the source of his true joy!  Is the same true for us?  Is your goal in life to truly “know Christ?”  If it is, then what Paul continues to say will be our attitude also.  For those who are a part of “True Spiritual Circumcision” are also those who . . . WORSHIP GOD IN THE SPIRIT.

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection.  But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing:  Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things.  If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.  16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

 

Jesus was the first to define “true worship” as spiritual worship . . . in his discussion with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:23-24).  Since God is Spirit, our worship must be of the spirit as well and not just limited to particular times and locations.

 

PAUL DESCRIBES THE ATTITUDES OF THOSE WHO WORSHIP GOD IN THE SPIRIT:

 

They are never satisfied with their current / spiritual condition / they look ahead, forget the past, and grow forward / with perseverance, they press on in their faith journey.

 

Do these attitudes characterize our devotion to God the Father and to his Son, Jesus?

 

Do we worship God by allowing his Spirit and the Spirit-inspired Word to rule over our complete lives?

 

Do we consider the relationship we’re developing with Christ to be our primary joy and focus in life?

 

Do we place no confidence in our flesh?

 

If your answers are YES . . . then you ARE part of “True Spiritual Circumcision!”

 

Let’s follow Paul’s example, just as he invites us to do in verse 17 . . .

 

Philippians 2:17 (NLT)

Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine,

and learn from those who follow our example.

 

“True Spiritual Circumcision” from God begins when, in faith, we submit to the working of God in us to circumcise our heart (when we ask him to forgive our sins).  HAVE YOU DONE THAT? 

 

 

September 12, 2020

 

Sermon Series on the NT book of Philippians - #7

 

“Conduct Worthy Of The Gospel”

 

Up to this point in his epistle, Paul has been informing the church at Philippi about his current situation.  Even though he was in jail, Paul’s attitude was one of joy and confidence!

 

Starting in verse 27, Paul gives a series of practical exhortations concerning the Christian life.  The first exhortation is found in verses 27-30 . . . and it is all about:  Conduct Worthy Of The Gospel.

 

 

Philippians 1:27-30 (ESV)

27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one sp

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