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.
E. All that sounds really familiar, because we live in society that really says the same thing in a different way. We hear things to day like "if it feels good do it"and "don’t worry be happy", or what I am doing only affects me so what I think is ok.
F. Those are nothing more than cute ways to say what Epicurus said. And those are the things that Paul is warning us against.
G. Paul is telling us to beware of such people. Beware of people who try to twist truth of God’s word to fit a situation in a way that justifies their living how they want to or in a way that they say is best.
H. Paul says that people who do that, are enemies of the Cross. Their real God is their own desires, in other words they twist the absolute truth of God’s word to fit what they want instead of aligning what they want with the truth of God’s word.
I. Paul is telling us that their minds are so fixed on Earthly things, their own pleasure, and having things the way that they want them that they ignore what God has said the guidelines for living should be.
III. Paul is telling us that our walk with God should be a walk of watchfulness, he is saying that we should follow his example and not the example of the Judizers and Epicureans, and other teachers of false doctrine.