This is the sermon for Wednesday, June 30th, 1010.

Nothing compares to knowing Christ part 2

Philippians 3:12-4:1

Philippians 3:12-21 ESV – 12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16Only let us hold true to what we have attained. 17Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Philippians 4:1 ESV – Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

INTRODUCTION

This is the second sermon in our two part series, “Nothing compares to knowing Christ.”  Paul’s theme throughout this epistle is joy.  Joy in the midst of all that comes our way.

In fact, this epistle can be summed up fairly easily.

Themes found within Philippians:

  • Joy in suffering (1:1-26).
  • Joy in serving (1:27-2:30).
  • Joy in believing (3:1-4:1).
  • Joy in giving (4:2-23).

We are covering both last week and this week the “joy in believing” aspects.  Let’s look at last week’s main points before we begin unpacking the text.

Last time’s main points:

  • No matter the circumstance – rejoice in the Lord (verse 1).
  • While rejoicing, be careful of false doctrine and false teachers (verses 2-3).
  • Knowing Christ surpasses our culture, background, and pedigree (verses 4-11).

Now let’s unpack tonight’s Scripture text.

Pressing toward the goal.

Philippians 3:12-16 ESV – 12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Those who believe in perfectionism won’t like verse 12 too much, because the Apostle Paul admits to not having arrived there yet.  He still deals with every day struggles of life.  But he doesn’t use this as an excuse to do nothing in verses 13-14.  He says he forgets about the past, and presses on toward the prize – which is the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  What is the upward call – to stand in the presence of our Savior – the glories of complete salvation.

I want to remind all of us that we will have to endure the daily struggles of life.  But our goal is not complete perfectionism on this earth – but being in His completely perfect, glorious presence.

In verses 15-16 Paul is telling the Philippian believers to continue to endure in the faith and those who think otherwise – he prays that God will reveal this truth to them as well.

Weeping for the selfish.

Philippians 3:17-19 ESV – 17Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

Paul practiced what he preached.  His aim in life was to know Christ – whether through suffering or through abounding.  In verse 17 he calls on the Philippian believers to imitate him.  He is trying to illustrate what knowing Christ in life looks like, so that they might understand and put into practice.

Paul thought that imitation of faithful followers was important.  Let’s look at three other Scriptures indicating this.

1 Corinthians 4:6 ESV – I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.

1 Corinthians 11:1 ESV – Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 ESV – 7For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. 9It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.

I believe we need mentors in the Christian life.  Men and women who love Christ and are sold-out to Him.  Imitate and follow their example.  Also, ask the Lord to help you to be the type of person that can lead others by example as well.

In the midst of this letter concerning joy, Paul says he is writing it in tears about those who walk as, “enemies of the cross of Christ.” These are those inside the Philippian church, not outside.  They may confess that they are believers, but their actions speak otherwise.  Notice Paul’s strong words in verse 19, “Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” These are selfish people, wanting their agenda to rule and govern things.  In Paul’s day, these were the Judaizers.  In our day – every one who brings division, not on Biblical grounds, but personal grounds.  They will always be part of the church.  Pray for their salvation, and use Biblical discernment and discipline with these people.

Awaiting the Savior.

Philippians 3:20-21 ESV – 20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Philippians 4:1 ESV – Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

While these false believers have a future destruction, those who hope in Christ are citizens of heaven.  We are to hope and long for Christ’s second coming; where we will be transformed.

CONCLUSION

I can’t think of a better conclusion than what Paul said in 4:1, “stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.”

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