Series: Do we REALLY believe?
***Video is HERE***
In the Cares of this life, do I Worship or Worry?
We ended last week with one of the New Testament’s most famous passages, found in Philippians 3:7-11, let’s turnt here and just pick up where we left off.
Paul had just offered this church a warning to not be taken advantage of or derailed by the religious of his day – especially those of the law who sought to place them back in bondage to the Old Covenant of righteousness by works. He told them that WE, as New Covenant believers ARE the circumcision – showing the work of God in the heart – in removing our dead allegiances to the world and being awoken to love and fidelity to Christ.
He then told them NONE of us have any grounds for confidence based upon our flesh, or actions, our birthrights or even our accomplishments – even though Paul’s had been many before he came to Christ.
Then he said…
“(7) But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. (8) More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ–the righteousness from God based on faith.
(10) My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
(11) assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead. (12) Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.
“(13) Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, (14) I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. [Which is maturity or Christ in me]
(15) Therefore, all who are mature should think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this to you also.
(16) In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained.
(17) Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us.
(18) For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
(19) Their end is destruction;
their god is their stomach;
Regarding this statement, the word stomach is NOT being used metaphorically as might be assumed as if he were talking of all earthly appetites (and that would apply as well, but is NOT what is being said here.)
The individuals who were being spoken of here are most likely NOT Judaizers who were pressing hard regarding dietary laws and one might assume since this segment of the letter began with a warning of the influence of the judaizers in regard to circumcision. Most likely these were professed Christian Greeks of Epicurean tendencies.
Its interesting that just the other day I was telling Teri about a group whose been around since 1995 who do videos you can watch on YouTube who debut food – how to know which Olive Oil is best or how to tell the difference between good quality chocolate and cheap chocolate…and so on. That group is called epicurious – a deliberate play on the name of this group.
At any rate, the belly was the god of these people.
“The Epicureans represented a Greek school of philosophy which taught that the satisfaction of the physical appetites was the highest aim of man. They had allowed their Christian liberty to degenerate into license (Gal. 5:13). They did not understand God’s grace and thus thought lightly of continuing in sin (Rom. 6:1; Rom. 6:15). They were engrossed only in self-indulgence (Rom. 16:18). A swing away from legalism would land such a person into anti-nomianism, namely, lawlessness. Paul, acquainted with the Greek classics, writing to Greeks who knew their own literature speaks of these as having their belly as their God. He probably was thinking of the Cyclops in Euripedes who says, “My flocks which I sacrifice to no one but myself, and not to the gods, and to this my belly, the greatest of the gods: for to eat and drink each day, and to give one’s self no trouble, this is the god of wise men.”
their glory is in their shame. [a return to the fall]
The word glory here is the same as in other places but when used of man and his pursuits outside of God, it takes on a more base meaning – one of subjective opinion and praise. What a man may greatly value and esteem above other things and thus find his delight in. This is very similar in thought to the passage in 1 John where it told us to not love the world.
They are focused on earthly things,
The idea behind these words involves the will, affections, and conscience. It essentially means to be devoted to. Sometimes a persons actions may appear to be a type of devotion and in many cases it is – but this devotion includes a conscious choice as the warning did in 1 John. It is horrible for a child of God to get entangled in earthly affairs and if that is taken far enough without repentance (either once for all or regular) it can work towards the hardening of the entire heart. But in both this place and in 1 John, the devotion is accompanied with a conscious choosing of one thing above another.
Let me ask you – how many of you who have or have had a repetitive sin in your life…that sin that more easily tripped you up than others…how many times have you found yourself asking, “Why did I give into that again!” The last time I walked away hating it so much and desiring SO much to not place that before my commitment to Christ but here I am again, not really being fully awake to the terribleness of it until AFTER I committed it!
I would venture to say that in such cases this would not be speaking directly AT you, but it serves as a sobering warning of where that could lead. This is a deliberate choosing of earthly pleasures over honoring God while, as it were, in clear view of Him.
“This describes the focus of their life. It was not to please and worship God, but to get along in this world. Their attitude was the same as the rich fool in Luke12:16-21.”
(20) but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
(21) He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.”
“(1) So then, in this way, my dearly loved brothers, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord, dear friends. (2) I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to agree in the Lord. (3) Yes, I also ask you, true partner, to help (seize, clasp and hold close in order to aid their remedy) these women who have contended for the gospel at my side, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers whose names are in the book of life. (4)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (5) Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
(6) Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (7) And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(8) Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise–dwell on these things.
(9) Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
(10) I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last you have renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me, but lacked the opportunity to show it. (11) I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. (12) I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content–whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. (13) I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
This portion of Philippians stands in stark contrast to modern “grace movement” teachings which move and actually encourage people away from paying those wno minister the word. Paul acknowledges the history of giving this church has had in his ministry. Even when he was not being supported by the actual church he was ministering to (esp. Corinth) – he could nearly always count on support from this godly church! In fact, it was at least in part, this church in Philippi, Paul was referring to in Corinthians when he said, “Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? (8) I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.” – 2Cor. 11:7-8. While on the contrary Paul praises the Philippian church for giving and scoulds the church of Corinth for failing to. In the next section of these verses (below) Paul calls this giving to ministers a fragrant offering and a welcome sacrifice, which is pleasing to God. Such statements fly in the face of some grace teachings which are anything but gracious.
The last portion of this passage has traditionally been used by many in less than conservative Christian circles to encourage themselves in the “certainty” of God stepping in and causing the believer to avoid difficulties. In reality it is a promise which is repeated in 2Cor. 9:10-11, that God will supply our needs WHEN we are involved in ministering to the needs of others in the body – it is a conditional promise!
(14) Still, you did well by sharing with me in my hardship. (15) And you, Philippians, know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you alone. (16) For even in Thessalonica you sent gifts for my need several times. (17) Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that is increasing to your account. (18) But I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance. I am fully supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you provided–a fragrant offering, a welcome sacrifice, pleasing to God.
(19) And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (20) Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
(21) Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. Those brothers who are with me greet you. (22) All the saints greet you, but especially those from Caesar’s household. (23) The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.
We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.
You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!
If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.
If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.