Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
PHILIPPIANS 3:17-21 FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE
Philippians 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame--who set their mind on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (NKJV)
We can go back and read the same things over and over about Paul as reminders of how I'm to respond, how I'm to live, how I'm to act, how I'm to order my priorities, how I'm to deal with trials and suffering and trouble. He is a constant pattern for me.
The goal of my life is not to make sure I'm satisfied but to make sure God is satisfied, that's the goal of my life.
Tozier said, "Faith looks out instead of in and the whole of life falls into line," end quote.
It is not a matter of assessing me, it is a matter of knowing Him deeply. And the more I know Him and the more I am focused on Him and the more I am in communion with Him, the more the Spirit makes me like Him. The more I focus on myself, the more distracted I am from the proper path.
1 Timothy 1:15 he said, "I am foremost of sinners," not I was, but I am.
1John 1:7 and 9 that if you say you have no sin you make God a liar. So Paul is not sinless. He has not reached perfection. He has not had his sin nature eradicated. There's no second work of grace here that's put him in a different category from all the rest of the folks. He is saying I am sinner, I have problems with my flesh but I am pursuing the goal, follow my example.
2Corinthians 3:18 says that as we gaze at the glory that is revealed, the glory of our Lord, the Spirit changes us into His image.
Colossians 2:3 says that in Christ, are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge? The more I know about Christ, the more I know about wisdom and knowledge. That is why verse 6 says, "As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him." Pattern your life after Him. Verse 9, "For in Him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form and in Him you have been made complete." Paul understood it. It's all in Christ.
1Thessalonians 1:6, And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit
1Th 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;
Walk means daily conduct, the way you live
1Co 4:16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
1Co 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
Heb 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
3Jo 1:11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.
Galatians 4:19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,
1 John 2:6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Christian church should mortify (or crush) the desires of the flesh, on crucifying the needs of the self in pursuit of Christ's likeness
Paul is not saying, "Imitate my gifts." He's not saying, "Imitate my calling, my privileges, my achievements." No. He's saying, "Imitate and others who also are imitating mine, virtues, our humility, our unselfish service, our willingness to suffer, our devotion to Christ, our courage, our effort in spiritual growth," that's what he wants us to imitate.
Paul says, Follow the proper examples. Find those godly pastors and leaders who are above reproach, whose lives are blameless, who are walking the way a believer should walk, who are being obedient. They're not perfect, but the direction of their life is right. They're pursuing the prize, follow them."
To sum it up, the idea here would be this, Christ is the goal, Christ is the standard, Christ is the model, and we are to be like Christ. In order to know how Christ is, we study the Word of God. We study it until the Word about Christ dwells in us deeply, then we have a deep understanding of Christ so we know what He's like so we know what we're to be like. Secondly, we yield to the Spirit of God who keeps molding us into that likeness which we understand.
2. Flee from enemies v18-19
1John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Mt 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Later on in Matthew 23 He described them again. He was concerned about the false teachers, the false leaders, the antichrists in chapter 24:4-5, 11, 15, and 24. You find it all through the book of Acts. The false as against the true...the Simon Maguses, the false claiming in the name of God to cast out demons later on in the book of Acts. You find it in Paul's epistles as he warns, for example, stay away from endless genealogies, stay away from speculations, stay away from false teachers, know sound doctrine, pure doctrine, avoid those who are not true teachers. Peter gives an entire epistle, 2 Peter, to the unmasking of false teachers. Jude is concerned about it. John is concerned about it in his three epistles. It is all through the Scripture. We must beware of the enemies who masquerade as friends. That's the idea here. He has to tell the Philippians that they are enemies of the cross of Christ because they're very subtle.
Acts 20:31, to the Ephesian elders, "Be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I didn't cease to warn each one with tears." And then he says, "The only thing I can do is commend you to His Word which will build you up." You're protected by the Word. If you don't know the Word, you're not protected.
2Co 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Heb 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Angels can come in human form.
Tell you weeping …The Philippian church was the first church in Europe, a sort of beachhead for another world to reach. And it was so important that they stay pure and not get messed up.
Enemies of the Cross….the concept of the cross of Christ means all the atoning work accomplished on the cross. It's not just the wood. It's not just the death, it's the cross work of Christ. It signifies the whole of what He did there as the sacrifice for sin who alone could provide salvation for sinful men. That is the heart of our faith.
The phrase "the enemies of the cross of Christ" repulse those who love the Lord Jesus. The "enemy" opposes the cross. The cross is God's work. It stands in contradiction to human merit. People adverse to God's glory hate the cross, "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Rom. 5:10). Before we came to know Christ we were the "enemies" of God. "And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled" (Col 1:21). Our works alienate us from God, even good works, if they are done in the flesh. "Because the carnal mind (the unbeliever) is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God (the Bible), nor indeed can be (does not have the capacity)" (Rom. 8:7).
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (I Co. 1:18). The cross is offensive to those who have not embraced its message, "And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased" (Gal. 5:11).
V19 Their end is destruction Rev 20:12-14
When it says "Whose God is their appetite," it means that they really worship their flesh, they worship their fleshly accomplishments, they worship all of the fleshly religious works that they do. They're very sensual in a religious sense
"Their glory is in their shame," it means they boast in the very works of which they should be ashamed.
In verse 19, "Whose God is their appetite." The word "appetite" is koilia, the word colitis comes from it. It has to do with the mid-section, particularly the stomach. It's the...their God is their stomach, their appetite. It simply means their sensual desires, they're driven by their desires, their drives, they're sensual. They live off of unrestrained sensual pleasure. They're driven by their sensual desire.
1Corinthians 5:2 where the Apostle Paul says to the church, "Not only do you have someone in incest, but you have someone in incest, who is proud about it."
Watch out for the people who come along and are the legalists who add all the stuff. Watch out for the people who come along and are the libertines who subtract the virtue.
"They set their minds on earthly things." The Judaizers, they're into the earthly ceremonies, rituals, and stuff that is nothing more than earthly symbol. In the case of the libertines (Gnostics), "They love the world and enmity with God is the result of friendship with the world," says James. "And if you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you," says John. They are what Paul Reese calls "thing minded." Have you read John Bunyan? Remember the man with the rake who was raking the muck, the manure? John Bunyan in his incredible way shows this guy who is totally unconscious that there's a heavenly messenger right above him with a crown, a golden crown, because his eyes are constantly on the ground where he's raking up the manure. Well that's these people. The gospel offers them a golden crown and they're raking the muck, obsessed with stuff in the world...houses and cars and money and bank accounts and trips and self-aggrandizement and wardrobes and accumulating stuff.
And so we are really laying up treasure on earth where moth and rust corrupts, where thieves break through and steal.
Well, if you're going to pursue the goal, you've got to follow the right example, avoid the wrong example
3. Focus on expectations.
Do you remember in John 14 He said, "I'm going away and if I go I will come again to receive you unto Myself that where I am you may be also," John 14:2 and 3? "I am the way, the truth and the life," passage. So Jesus said I'm going away, in My Father's house there are many rooms, I'm going to prepare them for you, I'm going to come back, I'm going to get you, I'm going to take you to be with Me, so we're waiting for Christ. We're not waiting for an event, we're waiting for a person...we're waiting for a person.
Canada permits citizenship in two countries simultaneously. The Christian has dual citizenship as well. The seat of a Christian's citizenship is in heaven. . The Christian has citizenship both here and there. Philippi was a Roman colony. Many in the church were Roman citizens. They lived in Greece but their citizenship was in Rome. They immediately understood Paul's analogy. They have a citizenship on earth but they have another in heaven. They were never to forget they were citizens of heaven. Their conduct was to match their citizenship.
Speaking of Abraham the author of Hebrews says, "For he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11:10).
2 Peter 3, "Looking for and hasting under the day of God which causes us to be found blameless and in peace, looking for the Savior." John says if we have this hope in us, we purify ourselves. You're to be looking for Christ. That is the greatest point of spiritual motivation on the one hand, it is the greatest point of spiritual accountability on the other hand, and it is the greatest point of spiritual security.
You say, "What do you mean by that?" Well, if I know Jesus is coming, that's motivation...that's motivation. I want to be ready when He comes. I want to be faithful when He comes. I want to show Him that I've served Him. Paul says that when He comes, 1Corinthians 3:5, He's going to look at your work, it's going to be tested by fire, and you're going to receive an eternal reward. It's going to be determined whether your works are wood, hay, stubble or gold, silver, precious stones. That's motivation. I want to receive the reward, I want to receive the prize. I want to receive the well-done, good and faithful servant. I want to enter the joy of the Lord. That's motivation to me. I am motivated at that point because I love Christ and because I know that there are eternal rewards tied to my faithfulness here. So I am motivated by the fact that He's coming, that I'll have to face Him, that there is a judgment seat of Christ where I will have to face the things that I have done and be rewarded as He would reward me.
2John 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.
1 Corinthians 4 Paul says, "Look, we have to wait unto the day when the secret things are revealed, then shall every man have praise from God." God's going to open the secret things of your heart and find out what's worthy of praise.
You see, we've already been made a new creation in the inner man. But the inner man is incarcerated in unredeemed flesh. We're a prisoner locked in unredeemed flesh. And that's not just epidermis and tissue, that's the mind of the flesh and the flesh's lusts.
First John 3:2 says we'll be like Him for we'll see Him as He is.
1Cor 16:23 "If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O LORD, come!"
Revelation 22 Even so Come Lord Jesus
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