Christian Defined! Philippians 3:3–14
Christian can mean a lot of things to different people. The question is what does it mean to God? I believe through Paul we have...
Philippians 3:3-14 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. Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; 3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, 4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. 7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Phil 3:1 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
Rejoice - Notice where = IN HIM!
Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Trying to find joy anywhere else is like – Having a big date night out with your husband and he takes you to the wrestling matches! The world’s idea of “joy” is based on the moment; God’s is based on eternity!
Emotional joy (happiness) remains only as long as the good circumstances remain:
Consider: You win the lotto - YES! Moments later – Knock, knock…open the door and there stands the Taxman = Boo Hoo!
Paul also makes it clear that writing the same Truth over and over is worth it. Why? Nothing is more important than a solid foundation! Remember the two men that built houses - both had houses, but different foundations
When our faith is grounded in reminders of Truth, our foundation will be Rock, not Sand. A believer that will accomplish anything must have a solid foundation.
The word "safeguard" in the original means: Firm, sure, steady, immovable. It is used in Hebrews to describe the security of our hope.
Hebrews 6:19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,
Phil 3:2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision
How do we “beware”? Know the Truth! The more you know the real thing the easier it is to spot the counterfeit
One of my favorite Preachers once said that this next verse is the best definition of what it means to be a Christian. I would agree!
3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,
Let’s unpack it!
Why the “true circumcision?” Circumcision was a sign that you belonged to God’s people. But many who had the circumcision of the flesh were part of Israel, but had no relationship with God. Much like baptism today; many get baptized claiming to belong to the Church, yet they have no relationship with God. They do belong to a religious organization, but not to the Body of Christ. All they did in God’s eyes was get wet! Those that have had their hearts circumcised by the blood of Christ have received the “true” mark of belonging to God.
Worship in the Spirit of God – well I will just let the Lord speak:
John 4:21-24 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
Glory in Christ…what else is there to glory in. Our nature has been infected by sin, all of it. There is nothing we do that does not have the stain of sin on it…even our good works. So we find our boasting and joy in knowing what Christ has done in and through us. We feel good about ourselves, but take no credit for it. I am glad when I obey and feel good that I serve Him, yet I know it is because of His grace that I can do it.
Put no confidence in the flesh This is where the greatest difference in our thinking expresses itself in this world. We do not place our trust in governments, riches, programs or even our own selves. Yes we work with the system we live in and yes we have to make our own decisions, but we are guided by this Truth; only what God considers important...is, and that no matter the external circumstances are, God is ultimately in control.
What a great picture of what it means to be a Christian! Why not take a moment right now and evaluate your life based on this definition. I know I always need some readjustment just because I am a sinner.
Father, open our eyes to be honest with ourselves right now. Are we Your child? If not take that step right now. If you know you belong to Him, are you living like Phil 3:3 defines a believer? If not…just admit it and repent. Our Father in Heaven is very merciful and rejoices when we turn away from sin.
This passage is to rich…so I will be spending a few more days on it.