Summary: There are some things the believer must do as we live for Christ. First, we must guard ourselves in several ways and that’s what I want to look at today. Parts are adapted from the "Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible
This chapter is one that needs to be studied over and over. It includes the personal testimony and ambition of Paul. It also gives us some of the great principles that governed Paul's life.
There are some things the believer must do as we live for Christ. First, we must guard ourselves in several ways and that’s what I want to look at today.
1. Look at verse 1 Paul tells us to guard ourselves by rejoicing in the Lord.
If we are constantly rejoicing in the Lord it becomes awful hard to wander off.
As you walk through life, two things are always confronting you:
1. Circumstances and 2. False teaching.
No matter where you go, the trials of life, both minor and major will confront you. We have to stand face to face with the trials of life, some of which might be... temptations – financial stress - divisions -lust of the eyes – inhumane behavior - lust of the flesh - criminal acts - greed - death - selfishness - arguments… The list could go on and on. Not one of us is capable of escaping the trials of life
There is another very important fact as well. No matter where you walk, you will be confronted by the false teachers of this world. You will always be confronted with different ideas about how to handle life and the trials we face.
There is the teaching that says, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
In other words ignore the trials and problems of life. Life is to be enjoyed by those who have the health and money to enjoy it, so go for the gusto and do your own thing."
There is the teaching that says, "Discipline and control yourself. Take care of your body and mind.
Don't give in to the lusts and passions of this life.
The abuse of a mind and body is a waste. Live as long and contribute as much as you can by living a disciplined and controlled life."
There is the teaching that says, "Don't go overboard. Enjoy life, do what you want; but do it within reason. Don't overly abuse your mind and body. It's all right to indulge occasionally; just don't do it too often and hurt yourself."
There is the teaching that says religion is the answer to both life and death, "Join a religious group and follow its rituals, adopt its beliefs, and live the best you can. This will give you a strong self-image and the confidence that God will accept you.
Just be as good as you can and God will accept you, based on the goodness you build up."
The point is this: the believer is bombarded by both trials and false teachings every day of his/her life.
If you walk throughout the day rejoicing in the Lord, your mind will be focused on the Lord.
You might say: “Preacher, I don’t have a lot to rejoice over.”
You can rejoice over what Christ has done for you-- rejoice because the Lord has justified you…because He has secured righteousness for you… adopted you… He was willing to die for you… willing to bear your condemnation and judgment…He rose from the dead for you, giving you a new life…giving victory over sin and eternal hope and the confidence of eternal life.
Rejoicing in the Lord is one of the very best ways to guard against the trials of life and false teaching. When a person rejoices in the Lord, his/her mind is focused on the Lord and what the Lord has done.
2. Paul tells us to guard ourselves by following what is written, in the Scriptures.
Paul says that he is writing some things that he had apparently written before. What he is about to write is so important that it has to be repeated.
What was written in the Scriptures is to instruct us and to help us in living for Christ. Not one of us can grow without following/obeying the Scriptures. If we fail to study and obey the Word of God, we will fall or give in either to the trials of life or to false teaching.
Only as we obey the commandments of the Lord--can we show our love and loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ.
John.14:15 Jesus says “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
[In other words; obey, follow, heed My commandments]
3. Look at verse 2 Paul says to guard yourself by watching out for false teachers.
Paul was always facing false teachers who were savage in their attacks against him. He mentions three groups of false teachers in this verse.
1. Beware of false teachers who act like dogs.
It’s important to understand here that both Jew and Gentile called each other dogs as a term of hatred.