Summary: In this message you will be surprised to find out who are the enemies of the cross.
"Enemies of the Cross"
Text: Philippians 3:15-19
-When a Christian thinks about who would be categorized as an enemy of the cross of Christ, he probably thinks about one of the religious cults.
I.E. - Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Seventh Day Adventists, Roman Catholics, Church of Christ, etc.
-Christians would never believe that other Christians could be enemies of the cross. However, I believe this is who the Apostle Paul is describing here in our passage.
-Notice what Paul says in v. 16. In v. 16, Paul sets down the rule on how believers are to walk on this earth. Paul says, "let us walk by the same rule."
-In other words there are not different rules for believer to walk by.
-If that was the case, it would make it very difficult for a local church to be in unity and harmony of one spirit.
-It would bring confusion and God is not the author of confusion.
-Paul continues in v. 16 and gives the believer one simple rule to guide his walk with the Lord.
-Paul says, "let us mind the same thing" (To mind the same thing Christians have to be of the same mind).
-All through the New Testament the believer is exhorted to be of the same mind.
-Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:10, "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."
-2 Corinthians 13:11 - "be ye of one mind"
-Ephesians 4:3 - "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace"
-Paul tells the Philippians that their testimony should be regardless if he is present or absent - "ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." (Philippians 1:27)
-This is what the believer’s testimony always should be - striving together with other believers for the faith of the gospel.
-Not striving against one another for the destruction of the faith of the gospel.
-The Apostle Peter told believers - "Finally, be ye all of one mind" ( 1 Peter 3:8)
-So, we see the rule of "mind the same thing", is very important because of the emphasis the word of God places on it.
-Christians are capable of and have the power to "mind the same thing" because the word of God tells us that as believers "we have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16).
-Paul tells us in Philippians 2:5 - "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
-Paul is talking about the spiritual mind and not carnal or fleshly mind.
-In Philippians 3:17, Paul is telling the brethen to follow him - "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample."
-But we know that when Paul said this that he meant "follow me as I follow Christ"
-Paul goes to say "mark them which walk".
-In other words identify or point out.
-Paul continues, "so as ye have us for an ensample".
-What Paul is saying, "use us as an example or standard to go by (Remember at the time the cannon of scriptures had not been completed).
-To mark other professing believers’ walk.
-Why would the Philippian believers want to do this?
-Paul tells us in 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: "
-Paul says there are those that I have spoken to you about before, often, not just occasionally.
-So, these folks that Paul and the Philippian believers were very familiar with.
-Possibly, before these other folks appeared to be right with God, serving the Lord, etc.
-But in reality were playing a game.
-Just a bunch of carnal believers into the things of the flesh.
-This is indicated by Paul saying in v. 18 - "...and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ;".
-Obviously, Paul is heart broken, because he gives the news to Philippians "weeping".
-Paul is in prison, when he writes this epistle.
-So, probably he experienced first hand how these folks who by all outward appearance seemed to be serving the Lord were not.
-They were still saved but at the best just carnal or fleshy Christians.
-Possibly, some of these folks were responsible for Paul’s imprisonment.
-Paul spoke of certain ones who had become enemies of the cross.
-2 Timothy 4:10 - "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world".
-2 Timothy 4:14 - "Alexander, the coppersmith did me much evil:..."