Sunday, January 15, 2017

Paul's Epistles – Philippians - Part 8: No Confidence in the Flesh

Paul's Epistles – Philippians - Part 8:
No Confidence in the Flesh
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


SERMON INTRODUCTION

Paul’s epistle (letter) to the Philippians is very important to the Gentiles. It was written to the first church founded in Europe (Acts 16:9-40).

Though not generally considered one of the most remarkable or deepest books of the bible, it is considered one of the sweetest of Paul’s writings.

It is more in the nature of a love letter to the Philippians, who had excelled all others in devoted attachment to Paul. Throughout this letter we get a glimpse into the apostle’s heart.

THE CHURCH
The Philippian church was noted for its generosity. It had repeatedly ministered to Paul (6:15 & 16).

Hearing Paul was imprisoned in Rome they sent help again by the hands of Epaphroditus (6:10 & 18), who, however, was struck down on his arrival by an almost fatal illness. Somehow news of this illness had reached Philippi, to their dismay, and on his recovery, Epaphroditus was anxious to reassure them in person (11:25-28), so Paul write this letter for him to take.

So this letter was written by Paul while in prison in Rome, and given to Epaphroditus to be taken back to the church in Philippi.

UP TO THIS POINT
Paul focuses his letter on Church unity
He thanks God for all of them as one body
He tells them not to worry about his being in prison for it advances the gospel
Paul tells the believer to live a life “worthy” of the gospel
Paul says we must live imitating Christ and His humility

TODAY’S SERMON
Paul reminds the church not to have confidence in the flesh, and to pres on towards Christ Jesus
  

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE Philippians 3:1-14
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


Paul opened his letter with a salutation to all, reminding the church they were not 2 factions, there was no “real” division, only a perceived one, created through sin.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
Christian unity to be maintained at all costs”.






    I.      ALTHOUGH FAITHFUL AND FLOURISHING, THE CHURCH WAS PLAGUED WITH JUDAIZING FALSE TEACHERS
a. It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again and again

                                                                                                               i. Paul had written these instructions and warnings before

                                                                                                            ii. And would gladly write them again and again for their benefit

                                                                                                         iii. Paul says, “It is a safeguard to you.”

                                                                                                           iv. Matthew Henry Commentary states, “Ministers must not think anything troublesome for themselves which they have reason to believe is safe and edifying for the people. It is good for us often to hear the same truths. It is a wanton curiosity to desire to always hear some new thing.”

                                                                                                              v. This is why cults, false teachings, manipulations, books on “secrets of the bible”, NEW teachings contrived of collapsing contexts of scripture to “prove” man’s ideas, such as prosperity preaching, grace allowing you to live in your sin, false prophets and in the case of the Philippian church, false teachings including “Instant Perfection”


b. Watch out for those dogs
                                                                                                               i. Dog’s being False Teachers

                                                                                                            ii. Dog’s have malice against the faithful confessors of the Gospel of Christ

                                                                                                         iii. Barking at them and biting them

                                                                                                           iv. The false teachers were proclaiming good works in opposition to faith

                                                                                                              v. Paul called them evil workers


c. We are the true circumcision
                                                                                                               i. They proclaimed they were the circumcision
                                                                                                            ii. Paul called them “the mutilators of the flesh”

                                                                                                         iii. The outward work of the flesh was symbolic and no longer required

1. Romans 2:29a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God.”

2. Is Paul correct in this Doctrine, that circumcision was an outward expression of a Spiritual Truth and no longer a requirement now that Christ has come?

3. True Doctrines will be taught throughout scripture!

a. Deuteronomy 10:16Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.”

b. Deuteronomy 30:6 “The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”

c. Jeremiah 4:4 “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.”

4. God has been telling man the True circumcision is inward from the beginning…the physical act was symbolic, and a work of the flesh which does not change a person’s heart.

5. Therefore, because they were false teachers, their hearts had not changed because of God’s Spirit, therefore the outward act was nothing more than a mutilation.

6. I repeat Paul in Romans 2:29a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God.”



II.      TRUST CHRIST ALONE, NEVER FLESH
a. If anyone thinks they have reason to put confidence in the flesh, I have more

                                                                                                               i. The false teachers trusted their “works” of the flesh including their circumcision

                                                                                                            ii. Paul had FAR more he “could” have had confidence in
1. Paul had “birth-right” privileges as a Jew by birth
a. He was not a convert
b. But a native Israelite
c. Of the people of Israel
d. Of the Tribe of Benjamin
e. A Hebrew of Hebrews
f. An Israelite on both sides
g. From generation to generation NONE of his ancestors married a Gentile

2. He could boast of his relations with the covenant, because he was circumcised on the eighth day

3. He could boast of his learning, he was a Pharisee
a. Brought up at the feet of Gamaliel
b. He was the son of a Pharisee as well

4. He had blameless conduct
5. He lived actively for his religion
6. He was a zealot
7. The list goes on!


b. All my gains I consider loss for the sake of Christ
                                                                                                               i. Everything he was known for, achieved, accomplished, became in his life, he gladly surrendered for the sake of Christ

                                                                                                            ii. All of his notable bragging rights were “of the flesh”

                                                                                                         iii. The Old Covenant is also “of the flesh” and cannot save, but only lead to destruction

                                                                                                           iv. It is only by surrendering the outward world, and devoting our inner being to Christ that we will truly be changed by God’s Spirit, and “be” anything


c. I want to know Christ
                                                                                                               i. Paul makes clear his reason, and goal, his target or mark he is pressing on towards.

                                                                                                            ii. The reason he surrendered all the world had to offer to try and obtain the one thing this world cannot give



III.      NOT THAT I HAVE ALREADY OBTAINED PERFECTION
a. Paul addressing once more the false teaching of “Instant Perfection”
                                                                                                               i. Paul again addressing the false teaching point
                                                                                                            ii. In fact, not only is “Instant Perfection” a false teaching, but also, any teaching that says we will ever achieve perfection in this fallen flesh.

                                                                                                         iii. Perfection cannot take place in this fallen flesh, and it is the reason we must “die”, so that we can once again be returned to a perfect state as in the Garden
1. I Corinthians 15:42-44Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies.
                                                                                                           iv. II Corinthians 5:2 “2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven,”

                                                                                                              v. I Corinthians 15:50-54  “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”


b. But I press on
                                                                                                               i. Towards what?
                                                                                                            ii. The Mark!  Knowing Christ


c. Forgetting what is behind and reaching out to what is before
                                                                                                               i. We sometimes hold our selves back, we need to forget the past, and it is done, and cannot be changed.

                                                                                                            ii. However, the future is ahead and holds all the promise.

                                                                                                         iii. Paul had made bad choices in his past, instead of dwelling on them, he moved forward, and changed man, a new man, a new creation in Christ.

CONCLUSION – I press toward the mark

V14 “For the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Whether our own minds, or the devils condemnation, the future is our aim, and knowing Christ must be our goal.

We are not perfect, nor will be until we stand with Christ Jesus


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