[CF Devotionals] 2003-10-10 - Philippians

Part 24

  1. The Spiritual Mind - Cont'd.

    Now the third thing that can steal our joy is things. And certainly living in the society we do, we can see things can really get in the way of life. Paul, in this chapter, shows how dependency on things is valueless. Now by things, he doesn't just mean "tangible things that we can see, but also the intangibles such as reputation, fame, achievement ." 1 And it is often the intangible that can be our downfall and can lead to the loss of joy. But here, just as in the areas we've already examined, the issue isn't the things themselves but our response to them.

    We will see it isn't wrong to have things, tangible or intangible. We will see the question is how we will respond to that which the Lord has given us. We will see we are not called to strive for things.

    1. The Spiritual Mind, Chapter 3
      (Key Verse--3:19-20)
      1. Paul's Past (the accountant--"I count") Chapter 3:1-11

    Verse 1: Paul calls the Philippians to rejoice. He knows they can, because the basis of their joy is to be the Lord. In spite of the fact he remains in jail, he has no compunction about calling them to rejoice. He wants them to know their joy isn't dependent on outside factors; it is only dependent on their relationship with the Lord!The quality of the Christian walk isn't dependent on things, that is works, or position within the church.

    Apparently, there were some who were demanding circumcision as a basis of being identified with the church. "You can't be saved if you aren't circumcised." You can't be saved if you aren't baptized, specifically by immersion. If you go to movies or wear makeup or dance, or imbibe alcohol, obviously you aren't saved, because Christians don't do these things. You are saved by what you do, or for that matter more frequently by what you don't do. But Paul calls those who call for circumcision as mutilators of the flesh.

    The problem here is people move their confidence from the Lord to the things of the flesh, in this case circumcision. The Philippians were dealing with a common problem of the early church, Judaizers. These were individuals who taught that one must follow the law, in effect become Jews to become Christians. The thing they focused on was the need for believers to be circumcised, even if they were gentiles. But Paul notes that as believers we are circumcised, we are circumcised in the heart.

    "In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men, but with the circumcision done by Christ,..." (Colossians 2:11).

    Verses 2-4a: Paul warns against the Judaizers by calling them dogs. Keep in mind, the Jews considered gentiles dogs. And it was in the context of considering gentiles unacceptable, that these men were calling for circumcision as the first necessary step in the salvation process.Paul said "You are the dogs, the gentiles, in reality are simply pagans." The Philippians were to stay away from these men and their works theology. They were to remember that Christ plus nothing is what saves.

  1. Wiersbe, Warren W., Be Joyful, Victor Books, Wheaton, IL, 1988, p. 90.

Questions or Comments?

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