Summary: This sermon encourages Christians to be wachful in their relationship with God, so they can live in compliance with God’s comaands and recieve their full inheritance as children of God
Claiming Your Inheritance
July 8, 2004
I. So far in Philippians 3 we have heard Paul say that we are to Rejoice in the Lord, and that we are not to put any confidence in our own abilities to make ourselves right with God.
A. He has said that we are to make our relationship with God and our service to God, our top priority in life, and not give our devotion to things that don’t have the lasting value that our relationship with God does.
B. He has told us that our walk in the Lord is to be a walk of maturity and it is vital that we grow up in our relationship with God.
C. There is no doubt the greatest need among Gods people is to live up to what they already have in Christ. Most of us live far below our exalted position in Christ. Paul’s plea to the Philippians was that they live up to what they had already attained, namely a righteous position in Christ.
D. Now Paul moves on to the next point in what he is saying and that is in addition to a walk of maturity, we are to walk a walk of watchfulness.
(Phil 3:17 - 19 NIV) Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
II. There were then and have always been those who teach false doctrine. In the first part of this chapter Paul was dealing with the Judizers. These were people who were saying that you had to be circumcised according to the Jewish law to be a Christian. It is possible that he is still referring to them, but it is more likely that he is talking about a group of people here who were called Epicureans.
A. The Epicureans were followers of the Greek Philosopher Epicurus, who lived in Athens. Paul had dealt with some of his followers when he was in Athens.
(Acts 17:18 NIV) A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.
B. Epicurus taught that the aim of philosophy should be happiness and pleasure, not absolute truth. He said that experience, or our perceptions, general notions, and passions or affections were the test of what was right and wrong, not reason or absolute truth. In other words he said that right or wrong was only in found in our own desires.
C. Epicurus considered ethics to be based on what would bring lasting pleasure.
D. The basic guidelines for the these people was, be a glutton if you want, be sexually immoral if you want, steal if you want, because the only thing that governs right and wrong is what brings you the most pleasure or what makes things the easiest on you.