Summary: What are the most tried and true teach methods? Imitation! Paul is a big advocate, if this passage is any indication. Let's use some children's games to help us learn how to live like Jesus--and cope with the consequences.
A. One of the more precious—and frustrating—parts of homeschooling (or educating young children in general) is teaching them how to write. Letter-forming does not come naturally to most of us, and it certainly doesn’t come by hearing a lecture on it. A child must see letters created, watching the teacher making the necessary shapes, then imitate what the teacher does. It takes some time—and usually lots and lots of practice—before he or she can turn those strange squiggles into discernible letter forms.??
And then they get a little older and start all over with CURSIVE.
B. Paul is making the point of imitation in today’s passage—rather than burden them with so much doctrine, he just says, “Join in imitating me”
1. This isn’t about pride, it’s about a teacher sharing what he knows with his students
2. You and I are all examples of grace to someone—but just what quality examples are we?
C. Today we’re going to use some children’s games to help us learn how to live like Jesus—and cope with the consequences
II. Telephone (v.17)
A. In “Telephone,” one child whispers a phrase to another, then that child whispers what they heard to the next child, and so on, until the last child states the message as they heard it—then a comparison is made between the first and last messages
1. Similarly, Paul is passing a message to us from Jesus, both in message and lifestyle
2. What is the message? Be faithful! (Remember last time?)
B. Someone has to “start” the call
1. When we were first believers, we relied on others who’d walked the path
2. Paul wasn’t the only example the Philippians had—they also had Timothy and Epaphroditus (ch.2)
3. 2 Timothy 2:1--"You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."
4. Just as important: make sure the message is consistent with what you were taught
III. Simon Says (vv.18-19)
A. Guard against bogus leaders—they are not your friends!
1. Not the first time Paul has given this warning; also warned the Ephesians:
2. Acts 20:28-30-"Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them."
3. This was serious business—Paul even wept with them on this matter
B. Who are “the enemies of the cross”? We don’t know, but they could be…
1. Judaizers—Paul says these are cursed because they are counting on their works to save them
a. “their god is their belly”—refers either to their fleshly “achievements” or they pride in keeping the dietary laws
b. “glory in their shame”—like Paul, their Pharisaical achievements are worthless, like filthy rags
c. “earthly things”—Jewish obsession dwells on the rituals, but miss the Savior they symbolize
d. Isaiah 64:6--"We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away."
2. Gnostics—Paul says these are cursed because they think they’re too smart/wise, and because they believe what’s done in the body doesn’t matter (anitnomianism), they deny the transforming power of the gospel
a. “their god is their belly”—Paul may be talking about fleshly desires and gluttony
b. “glory in their shame”—Gentiles who bragged about their “Christian liberty” to defend their sin
c. “earthly things”—basically, love of the world
d. 1 John 2:15--"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
IV. Red Rover (vv.20-21)
A. Waiting for our name to be called
1. “Citizenship”—a term referring to a colony of foreigners with a register of the names of its citizens
2. “heaven”—where God dwells and Christ is present and believers’ names are recorded
3. Luke 10:20b--“…rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
4. “eagerly await”—wait patiently, but with great anticipation (this word is often attached to Jesus’ Second Coming
B. Till we Reach the other side
1. “transform”—we will be physically changed in design (“schema”) to be like Jesus’ resurrected body and made “fit” for heaven
2. “Power”—this is resurrection power, as it’s what happened to Jesus’ body
3. “subdue”—or “subject”—to hold authority over: Jesus will reign over this universe as its King and God
A. We are all part of a story, a “metanarrative,” and will be blessed in our spirits most when we faithfully tell the story we’ve heard, just as we heard it