Sermons

Summary: Working through the book of Philippians using consecutive expository preaching. Philippians 3:17-4:1

Series: Philippians

Sermon: “Citizens of Heaven”

Philippians 3:17-4:1

Pastor John Bright

Philippians 3 “17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”

4 “1 Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.”

Why do I have the right to vote in the upcoming Presidential election? Because I am a citizen of the United States.

Why do I have the right to vote in the upcoming election for the US Senate? Because I am a citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia. (I hope everyone knows the difference between a state and a commonwealth.)

Why do I have the right to vote in the upcoming election for the 5th District Congressional seat? Because I am a citizen of Mecklenburg County.

Why do I have a responsibility to vote?

Why do I have a responsibility to vote for values, like life and liberty?

Why do I have a responsibility to vote for women and men who will continue uphold the freedom of religion?

Why? Because I am a Citizen of Heaven. That’s what I will talk about today because Paul is using political language to explain to the Philippian Believers that they have new citizenship – the same new citizenship as Paul. Here in these verses, we read that Paul – AGAIN – uses himself as an example.

Paul’s Example

“17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.”

I said “again” because we have already heard Paul doing the same thing in this letter several times:

They are both suffering for Christ – Phil. 1:29-30

They can both put the interest of others before self – 2:4

They can both reject confidence in the past – 3:1-11

They are both running the race with an eye on the finish line – 3:15

Now, in verse 17, Paul is specifically urging the Philippian Believers to look to him and to other Believers who walk as he walks. What is Paul NOT DOING HERE? Paul never tells them to do everything he does. He never tells them to travel and be arrested and incarcerated. That would be ridiculous! I have often told folks to never want to be where I am in your spiritual walk because I don’t want anybody to go through what I have been through – years of alcoholism and addiction – years of using others to get what I wanted in relationships – years of pain from being sexually abused by a friend of my older brother. Do you get the picture? I walk with Christ today as a Mature Believer in large part because of the freedom from bondage that I am offered and I have been willing to press into that freedom by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The only reason Paul can seek their willingness to follow his example is because his goal was to be like Christ – 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”

So far in Philippians, Paul has offered several measures of Maturity in Christ:

Knowing the difference between right and wrong then doing what is right – Philippians 3 “18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.”

Being weary of false teachings – Philippians 3:2 “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!”

False teachings can come from anywhere – handout on Critical Race Theory.

Seeking unity in the Church - Philippians 3 “15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.”

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