Dec 20, 2020. Philippians 3:1-6

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ON GUARD!  Philippians 3:1-6. Dec. 20, 2020.  #13.

Philippians 3:1-6 [New King James Version]

1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship [a]God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

  • Ever vigilant
    • Believers tend to be trusting people
      • Not looking to be scammed, deceived, or manipulated = expected others to be honest & sincere
      • Even when violated believers assume that such cases are rare & untargeted
    • Paul states that treachery is common & must be guarded against (deceivers & persecutors are on the prowl)
      • I Peter 5:8 if Satan is on the prowl, so are his followers (2 Cor. 11:14-15)
      • Believers are particularly vulnerable to attack due to their beliefs & trusting nature
    • Paul states that we are to rejoice in the Lord, but we must still remember that we are in the world among evil people
    • Paul said that he is not annoyed, irked, or bothered by having to warn the church about the ensnarement of evil men in this world
      • Safety warnings need to repeated & heeded
      • The safety of the church is too important to take lightly or to put off (be lazy about)
      • Most tragedies happen when we let our guard down (Adam, Abraham, David…)
    • It is easy to ignore warnings, but hard to recover from failure
  • Paul lists the enemies of the saints
    • Dogs = the impure, irreverent, & impertinent
      • The image of vicious packs of dogs which roamed through cities & villages, attacking people & animals
      • Beware of those who actively seek to bring you down morally, spiritually, & mentally
      • Dogs = easier to recognize than subtler enemies
    • Evil workers = these could be either those who are false believers within the church body or those who try to manipulate or destroy from outside the body
      • II Timothy 4:14-15 Paul warned Timothy of Alexander the Coppersmith who strongly opposed the Gospel
      • Evil men are always nearby, opposing all that is godly: Abiram, Korah, & Dathan + Haman + Judas
    • The mutilated = the Jews who opposed Christians (much more prevalent in 1st century than today)
      • Christians have replaced the circumcised (Jews)
      • Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the Law
  • Pedigree, position, & power mean nothing in eternity
    • Paul tells the Phil. to have no confidence in the flesh
      • Heritage & celebrity status or reputation are not to be trusted (no man is infallible)
      • Too many believers trust everything their favorite famous TV preacher says
    • Paul states that if anyone could have confidence in the flesh, he could
      • A Jew circumcised on the 8th day, from the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee, zealous to point of persecuting the church, & the very model of a faithful Hebrew
      • Paul followed the letter of the law perfectly
    • Romans 7 only after Paul came to Christ did he realize that all his works were based upon arrogant self-righteousness
      • Isaiah 64:5-9 when we compare ourselves with others, we may seem righteous & pure by our own standards
      • Isaiah 6 compared to holiness of God, we are evil
    • If Paul can’t claim holiness ŵ his credentials, no one could

Key verse:  Isaiah 64:5-9 [New King James Version]

5 You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness,

Who remembers You in Your ways.

You are indeed angry, for we have sinned—

In these ways we continue;

And we need to be saved.

6 But we are all like an unclean thing,

And all our righteousnesses are like [a]filthy rags;

We all fade as a leaf,

And our iniquities, like the wind,

Have taken us away.

7 And there is no one who calls on Your name,

Who stirs himself up to take hold of You;

For You have hidden Your face from us,

And have [b]consumed us because of our iniquities.

8 But now, O Lord,

You are our Father;

We are the clay, and You our potter;

And all we are the work of Your hand.

9 Do not be furious, O Lord,

Nor remember iniquity forever;

Indeed, please look—we all are Your people!