This sermon was based on Philippians 3:1-11.
Righteousness Through Faith in Christ
1Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
2Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Rejoicing in the Lord
- Rejoicing, in every circumstance, is a big theme in Philippians.
- FB Meyer – “This [rejoicing] differs from the overflowing good spirits of perfect health, for it persists amid weakness and pain, it differs from mirthful merriment, with its happiness, for it persists amid the loss of all things. Those who have seen it reflected in the face of God’s children will bear witness to the unearthly beauty of expression which it generates”
- Paul was probably in prison when he wrote this letter. It is therefore full of integrity from someone who was practicing what he preached.
The Indwelling Spirit
- Paul changed his town as he addressed the issue that the Gentile believers are being asked to conform to the external physical act of circumcision to be recognised as true worshippers. He was so incensed by the idea, that he uses strong language here.
- By saying worship by the spirit of God, Paul makes clear the intensely spiritual character of Christian worship. Whatever outward forms, places or ceremonies may be used, nothing can detract from the indispensable qualification, ‘in Spirit and truth’ which should be the dominating feature of true worship.
- It is the Holy Spirit of God who alone can inspire such worship; every time we gather for the greatest of all occupations, the worship of the lord our God, we ought to prayerfully acknowledge this and remind ourselves of our complete dependence upon him.
The Liberating Gospel
- If our worship is based on our attainment and right living we will be up and down. In fact, for so many of us, that is often how we are affected and it affects our ability to worship in freedom from guilt and shame.
- Paul shows that if anyone could put human birth and achievements as a basis for true worship he could.
- However he points out that all of this is worthless compared to knowing Jesus and that this is where our worship comes from.
- Tim Keller ‘Paul has explained how he built his house (life) the wrong way. He didn’t just need a few modern upgrades. He needed an entire renovation’