Summary: This is an expository sermon on Philippians 3:1-11 and deals with the need for a relationship to Christ, rather than trusting our good works.
"Do You Have Works Or Relationship"
11:00 3/14/93 Text Philip3:1-11 OT Prov. 2:1-8 Luke 12:13-21
In our New Testament reading, we met a man who was greatly
blessed in terms of the material things. His work produced so
much wealth, he did not know where to store and invest all of it.
He had plans for great works that He was going to do with his
money. He was going to tear down some buildings and construct
larger ones. There is nothing in the passage to suggest that the
man was particularly evil, or greedy or immoral. The man could
probably point to a number of good works to demonstrate that he
was just as good as the next fellow. Yet God called him a fool
the day of the night that he was to die.
If someone said to you today, "Tell me, what proof is there
in your life that you are a Christian?", would you start telling
them about the good things that you do for others, or would you
start talking about a relationship you have with one called Jesus
Christ. Where is our hope for our salvation grounded today? We
will examine this as we continue our study in Philippians chapter
We find in verse 1 Philippians 3:1 "Finally, my brothers,
rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same
things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you." We know
from our earlier study that Paul was having a difficult time in
prison, and the Philippians themselves were having trials and
struggles in their lives. Having trials and struggles should
not be reasons to start feeling sorry for one’s self, being ready
to throw in the towel on the church, on God, and on life itself.
In the midst of suffering Paul says, "rejoice in the Lord." When
our hope is centered in Christ, we can always rejoice in God’s
love for us, God’s grace that He gives us, and the knowledge that
God is still in control of the circumstances of our lives. A
divine joy in the Lord in possible for believers in spite of
adversities, struggles of difficulties, because we know that this
too will past. It may shake us, but we don’t have to let it
defeat us. If we can thank God for whatever that happens to us,
we will discover that God can turn every blow and disappointment
that comes into our lives into a blessing for us. The ability
to do this comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ, not from
doing a lot of good things.
Paul tells them to rejoice again and again throughout this
book. God does not mind repeating himself again and again,
because it is a safety mechanism for our own behalf. He tells us
things to practice, and God also warns us again and again of
things that will destroy us.
Every congregation carries within it, the seeds for its own
destruction. The same is true for every family, and for every
individual. There are feelings and emotions in each of us that
can severely cripple our lives if they are not submitted to the
will of God. In the Philippian church there were false teachers
that sought only their own good, and wanted people to pay them
special attention. They were dangerous to the church, because
they wanted to take the focus off a relationship with Christ, and
put it on doing things their way.
Look at verse 2 Philippians 3:2 "Watch out for those dogs,
those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh." The word
watch out here, is a very strong one. Some translations use the
words "beware of " or "take heed" One of the things you need
to understand here is that our view of dog and their view of a
dog were two different things. The Jews considered the dog to be
the most despised, shameless and miserable of creatures." The
Jews considered all Gentiles to be dogs. There were a group of
Jews called the Judaizers who came into the church and accepted
Christ, but insisted one had to be circumcised in order to be
These people who considered others to be dogs, are being
called dogs themselves because of the viciousness they were doing
to the body of Christ. Paul saw this group like the herds of
dogs which prowled the Eastern cities without a home and without
an owner, and attacking those who passed by. Today circumcision
is not an issue for the Church but it was in the first century.
This group was saying, the proof that one was saved was not that
he or she had a relationship with Jesus Christ, but that he or
she had been circumcised and had a number of other good works