I hope you girls had a great weekend! And I hope you had a great time in last week’s study. I can’t help but wonder which lesson spoke to you most – Shining Lights, Joyfully Poured Out or A Tale of Two Men. Certainly, we were all challenged to be more like we were recreated to be. The Word of God has a way of doing that, doesn’t it! 🙂
As we dive into the Word today, we’re going to find a little word of warning from a man who had hazarded his life for the cause of Christ and for the sake of others. Let’s go ahead and read Philippians 3:1-3.
“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. Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. 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” Philippians 3:1-3 (NLT)
We could just park on the first sentence of our text today, couldn’t we! Whatever happens, rejoice in the Lord! Most of us are in the midst of a “whatever” moment of our own. Life is seldom easy. Some are facing difficult days or difficult people. Many are in the midst of making monumental decisions, some hearts are hurting, yet some are finding joy in their journey…even when it’s hard…because their joy is in the Lord.
That’s what Paul is telling us to do – to rejoice in the Lord.
1. Do you need to rejoice in your own “whatever” moment right now but are finding it difficult to do so? If so, write out your reflections about your circumstances and what you need to do to walk in joy in the midst of them.
As we continue in verse 1, we see Paul, like a mother who continually gives her child the same warning or the same admonition over and over again, is not worried about repeating himself nor is he concerned that his repeated warnings will not be well received. He loves the Philippian church and they know his warning stem from a heart of love. He was guarding their faith with his words of warning.
2. What spiritual warnings do you repeat to those you love?
In verse 2, Paul was calling people out by calling them what they were – dogs, evil doers and mutilators. In this world of politically correct words, it’s funny to see Paul calling people names – but they weren’t slanderous names – he was calling them what they were. He was giving the Philippian church a word of warning about false apostles, wicked workers and Judaizers, those who insisted that salvation necessitated circumcision.
You may remember in our study of Philippians 1:15-18, Paul mentioned those who were preaching Christ insincerely. He seemed to take their false motives lightly, but in reality, Paul was more than miffed by the way they handled the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. While he may have seemed unconcerned in Philippians 1:15-18, he was clearly dealing with them in Philippians 3:1-3.
As their spiritual father in the faith, Paul clearly sensed a responsibility to guard the faith of the Philippian church – to point out distortions of the Truth – to deal with false doctrine as well as those who were clearly adding works to the simplicity of salvation.
3. Do you guard the faith of others or do you weaken it by your words?
4. Are you able to clearly explain the message of the Gospel so that others aren’t confused by your presentation of it?
5. How do you deal with those who are giving mixed messages or declaring false doctrine to the body of Christ?
In Philippians 3:3, Paul reminds them that salvation is not of works…lest anyone should boast. He uses several phrases to drive home this vital truth. Let’s look at them:
Who worship by the Spirit of God – reminding them that true worshippers of God do so through the Holy Spirit. Paul pointed to the truth that when we are saved, we receive the Holy Spirit who enables us to worship God from a sincere heart.
“the ones who are truly circumcised” – Contrary to what the Judaizers were teaching, Paul declared the circumcision of the heart was what was truly an identifying mark of a believer. Dueteronomy 30:6, Romans 2:29.
“We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us” – Our salvation is based solely on the finished work of Christ – nothing more – nothing less!
“We put no confidence in human effort” – When it comes to our salvation, there is no room to boast. It is Christ and Christ alone who saves.Ephesians 2:8,9
Today, sweet friend, I want to warn you that there are those out there who try to redefine, devalue, discredit and diminish the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Be careful about who and what you listen to. Don’t allow anything to shake your faith.
As I look around at the world today, I see people calling wrong right, and right wrong. For the sake of political correctness, we are being deluged with false doctrine and condemned for having biblical convictions.
Be strong in your faith, dear one! Let the Word be your source of wisdom, not the nightly news – not the current trends – not even the laws of the land. Just because a law is passed making something sinful legal, doesn’t mean it’s right. God’s Word distinguishes what is right and what is wrong. Hold fast to it! Hold fast to Christ!
God is God. And He alone is worthy of all honor and praise – forever and ever! Worthy of all worship because He alone is the Great I AM!
“To keep all His precepts unsullied and flawless, irreproachable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Anointed One), Which [appearing] will be shown forth in His own proper time by the blessed, only Sovereign (Ruler), the King of kings and the Lord of lords, Who alone has immortality [in the sense of exemption from every kind of death] and lives in unapproachable light, Whom no man has ever seen or can see. Unto Him be honor and everlasting power and dominion. Amen (so be it).” 1 Timothy 6:14-16
I’d love to have you join us in our study of Philippians! You can receive your Bible study in your inbox by clicking this link. Or you can click on the Google or Networkedblog link to receive it in your feeder.
© Stephanie Shott, 2011