Summary: Paul admonishes the Philippian church to keep a watchful eye out for those seeking to destroy. Paul describes three such people in this passage...
Date Written: August 25, 2011
Date Preached: August 28, 2011
Where Preached: OPBC (AM)
Series Title: A Series from Philippians
Sermon Title: An Admonition to the Faithful
Sermon Text: Philippians 3:1-3 [ESV]
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—
As we have come thru the book of Philippians to this point, we have seen how Paul has been focusing on the church itself and challenging them to live a life that is worthy of their calling in Christ Jesus. He has challenged them to Walk the Talk, and he has given them four examples of how… Epaphroditus, Timothy, himself and Jesus Christ!
His focus in on this church being the church that God has called them to be… to NOT be distracted by the world… to not be intimidated by the world… to NOT allow their own selfish desires to rule their hearts… but to be faithful and submit to the calling of Christ in their lives and Walk the Talk…live their faith out loud!
As we end chapter 2 and begin chapter 3 we find Paul shifting gears just a bit, as he transitions in 3:1 by encouraging the believers in Philippi to REJOICE… I have just given you four great examples of how to walk the talk and live out your faith… and I would write these things to you over and over again if I had to… it is WORTH my efforts…
Paul then shifts the focus of his comment away from the examples of how to Walk the Talk… and he reveals 3 examples of what all believers MUST avoid, so that their life will shine out in a world of darkness! Paul’s desire is to point these believers toward the truth and away from evil…
But before Paul gets to that subject, he wants these believers to REJOICE in what they have in Christ! They have salvation and many examples to look to for inspiration to serve and live out their faith! Let’s look at v.1
1Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you…
Paul wanted these Philippian believers to know that his encouragement and challenge to them was not something he regretted OR something he was angry in doing, actually it was quite the opposite! Paul felt compelled to challenge them to be fully willing in their spirit and submissive in their walk with Christ…
Paul was not upset or bothered about seemingly having to tell them and challenge them in this manner, here Paul reflects that he would do it again and again, and he would never grow tired of doing it… if it would help them to live the life God has called them to live… living their faith out loud!
At this point in the letter Paul has laid out the challenge of living out our lives FOR Christ and now these believers had to make the choice… they could choose to live out their faith and be true to their calling in Christ… or they could choose to be selfish and self-centered.
So as we move forward we find Paul warning these believers in v.2-3 and basically what Paul is saying here is that when they DO choose to live out their faith and WALK the TALK… that is when the enemy will come against them the hardest, and that the enemy will come against them in many forms! Let’s look at v.2 to see just what enemies Paul is speaking about…
2Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh…
Let’s take this verse in segments… the 1st segment is Paul’s challenge for the people to ‘…look out for the dogs…’
I mentioned this several weeks ago, but I want to refresh your memories about how significant this statement is for the believers of Philippi, and ultimately for all believers today.
First, we need to understand that the ‘dog’ of the 1st century was not the domesticated animal what we know dogs as today. In the 1st century dogs ran in packs just like wolves, and they were scavengers and attacked what was weak enough for them to kill. They were hated by the Jewish community… hated because of their vicious nature, but also hated because they were considered to be ‘unclean’!
Paul is using the most heinous example here to describe those who are coming against the Christian faith. For those who do not see Jesus as Savior or those who believe Jesus was only PART of the solution, but that there was MORE to salvation than just Jesus.