Summary: Message 21 from Philippians exploring the admonition to stand firm. This message discussions the need to stand against the evil world system.
“Stand Firm Against the World”
Paul addresses the important things around which to align our life that enables us to find joy no matter what in a letter written to followers of Jesus living in the Greek city of Philippi. The letter organizes around four passions.
1. ADOPT THE RIGHT AXIS – A Passion to praise Christ
Exalt Christ in everything.
2. MAINTAIN THE RIGHT ATTITUDE – A Passion to please Christ
Please Christ through sacrificial service to others.
3. PURSUE THE RIGHT AIM – A Passion to pursue Christ
Pursue knowing Christ above all other things
4. PRACTICE THE RIGHT ACTIONS – A Passion to practice Christ
Practice Christ-like living
He specified several actions throughout chapter four.
A. Stand firm in the Lord 4:1
Therefore, my brothers, dearly loved and longed for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, dearly loved.
APPLYING STANDING FIRM IN THE LORD
Stand firm against persecution and false teaching
Stand firm in the storms of life.
Stand firm against the schemes of the Devil
Stand firm in The Faith.
Stand firm Against the Flesh.
The writers of the Bible used the word “flesh” in several ways. Context determines meaning.
It refers to the physical body. “flesh and blood”
It refers generally to mankind as in “all flesh (people) will see the glory of God.
It refers to a relative i.e. “my own flesh and blood”.
These all reference morally neutral uses of the term.
They bear no indication of good or evil.
Paul often used the term in a morally negative sense.
He identifies an inbred and imbedded bent toward rejection of God and exaltation of self.
We all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-3
This flesh identified by Paul exhibits passions, desires, longings programed in the body and mind. Until God implants new longings and desires at new birth there is no real conflict. Those who do not have Christ only find life by means of self-actualization. The Christian finds life and purpose in God glorification. We already observed the passion of Paul to exalt Christ in everything; to please Christ though serving others; to consider everything in this world as garbage compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ and to practice the life of Christ. After declaring that someone living in the flesh, Paul affirms the difference between living in the flesh and living in the Spirit.
You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. Rom 8:9-12
The difference come from the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life. Even though there is extreme conflict between the desires of the flesh imbedded in our body and brain and nervous system and the new desires flowing out of a newly created core, we are promised victory.
REALIZE WHO YOU ARE
We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
BE WILLING TO SUFFER
WALK BY THE SPIRIT
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
It doesn’t say, “don’t gratify the desires of the flesh to walk in the Spirit.”
It tells us to live our life by the direction and enabling grace of the Holy Spirit.
present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. Rom 6:11-13
RUTHLESSLY DEAL WITH THE FLESH
Just like denying a sugar addiction, we are to deny sinful passions any fulfilment.
Deny any request of the flesh cries for fulfilment and constant feeding.
Abstain from the passions of the flesh
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11
Consider yourselves dead to sin.
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. Colossians 3:5
You also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.