[CF Devotionals] 2003-11-07 - Philippians

Part 30

  1. The Spiritual Mind - Cont'd.

    Verses 15-16: Now if you’re going to run a race you have to be focused, know the rules of the race to run it most effectively. Again, remember this isn’t talking about salvation; it’s talking about sanctification. We, if we are mature, will have this focus. Our relationship with the Lord must be the focus of our life. In fact, it is holding this view that is a sign of maturity. Again, this is process. This is why God provides us pastors, teachers, etc …

    “… until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

    Paul says, in all modesty, if you don’t agree with what he is saying, it’s only a matter of time until God brings you around to this way of thinking. We call ourselves believers, so it is only reasonable that we life up to that calling. And it is possible to do so, to the extent we are willing to let God live His life through us.

    Verse 17-19: Paul doesn’t leave the Philippians without help in this process. Keeping in mind these believers didn’t have a completed New Testament, they needed examples for their conduct. So Paul presents them with examples, himself and others who had been ministered to by him. And what pattern is he talking about? He wants them to follow the example of mature believers, focusing on the Lord. The result of modeling themselves after these people will be keeping perspective, pursuing the goal and not having their joy stolen by circumstances, people and things.

    The Philippians aren’t to be thrown or distracted from the race, by the attacks of the enemy. Who are these enemies? They are those who profess Christ, but don’t posses Him. Wiersbe believes they are the Judaizers we have already discussed. On the other hand, Kent seeing the thrust of the passage towards maturity and discipline, thinks the problem may have been more one of lack of these qualities in the enemies.

    “Others (commentators) view them as antinomians, who went to the opposite extreme from the Judaizers and threw off all restraints … By their lawless lives, they too were enemies of the Cross and the new life that should issue from it. Verse 19 is more readily understood of the antinomians. It is not likely that these men were simply pagans, of whom nothing much better was to be expected. In all probability, they were professing Christians, but ones whose lives were so profligate that it was clear to Paul that they had never been regenerated. Presumably, they were not actually members of the Philippian church (the character of the entire Epistle would have been different if “many” such people were in that congregation), but because there were such in the Christian world as a whole, they posed a danger to every church …” 3

    But please note how Paul reacts to his enemies. What is his reaction to them? He weeps for them. Why do you think this is the case? He know they are lost. He knows they are Christ’s enemies and therefore his. But, he also knows they are destined for destruction, and that is what he is weeping over -the destruction of professed Christians. Identified is the distinction between those who are committed to Christ and the lost, one of focus.

    Paul had been encouraging the Philippians to keep their focus on the goal, Christ. But what is the focus of the enemy? They are concerned about their physical comfort, here described as their stomach. And all they claim to their credit is success by the world’s standards. But these successes are, from God’s perspective, the only one that counts, shame.

    We don’t have to be concerned with all the things people around us have, because these things are empty. We don’t need to be concerned with the approval received by the lost, because it isn’t God’s approval.

  1. Ibid.

Questions or Comments?

[email geoff] gkragen@aol.com