Summary: FOLLOWING THE RIGHT EXAMPLES (THE WAY OF THE CROSS RATHER THAN THE WAY OF INDULGENCE) WILL KEEP US ON TRACK
FOLLOWING THE RIGHT EXAMPLES (THE WAY OF THE CROSS
RATHER THAN THE WAY OF INDULGENCE) WILL KEEP US ON TRACK IN THE RACE TO GLORY TO JOIN OUR SAVIOR, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
Gromacki: "In this section, the apostle challenged the believers to experience the joy of maturity."
I. (:15-16) BUILD ON THE PAST WHILE PRESSING ONWARD
A. Be Like-Minded in Your Perspective of Pressing Onward
"Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;"
B. Be Careful to Continue to Build on the Foundation of Past Maturity
"however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained."
We know what has been profitable in guiding us to our present level of maturity. It doesn’t make sense to switch horses in the middle of the race. Dance with who brought you.
Carson: "We are not to leave old truths and prior steps of holiness behind, but as new truths and applications of old truths open up before our eyes, they should shape our knowledge and our living so powerfully that others see the improvement… So look
around carefully, and emulate those who are continuing to grow spiritually, not those who are stagnating. Beware of those who project an image of smug self-satisfaction. Imitate those who keep on imitating Christ."
II. (:17-19) IMITATE ONLY THE RIGHT EXAMPLES
A. Right Example = Sacrificial Pattern of Life Demonstrated by the Apostle Paul
(and His faithful co-workers)
"Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us."
Quite a confident statement on Paul’s behalf. He must have lived with a clear conscience before his Lord.
B. Wrong Example = Indulgent Pattern of Life Demonstrated by the "enemies of the cross of Christ "
1. Their Description
"For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even.weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ"
2. Their Destiny -- "whose end is destruction"
3. Their Dependency -- "whose god is their appetite" -- they are addicted to the lusts of the flesh
4. Their Dishonor -- "whose glory is in their shame"
5. Their Delight
"who set their minds on earthly things"
III. (:20-21) FOCUS ON FUTURE GLORY
A. Future Glory Seen in Our Heavenly Citizenship
"For our citizenship is in heaven"
Gutzke: "For the believer heaven is his homeland. Although he lives in this world, he does not belong here. Scripture tells him he is here as a stranger and a pilgrim. He is journeying through this world to his eternal home."
B. Future Glory Seen in Our Coming Savior
"from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ"
C. Future Glory Seen in Our Resurrection Body
"who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of his glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things
Walvoord: "Our body needs to be changed by an act of God. This puts attaining perfection beyond the power of any Christian as long as he has his present body. Paul does not dwell here upon the sinfulness of the body, its mortality, or decay, but sums it all up as a body of humiliation suited for this life but not for glory."
* * * * * * * * * *
1) How is it possible for Christians to put such an emphasis on being "like-minded" without a cultic methodology of brainwashing and coercion and restriction of independent thinking? How does God make plain additional truth to believers today who are not as mature as they should be in the areas in which Paul is discussing?
2) Who are some spiritual leaders in our own Christian pilgrimage that have proved to be examples worth imitating in various areas of the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Try picking each character trait (love, joy, peace, etc.) and identifying one special fellow believer who has been a positive example to you in that area.
3) Who are some of the "enemies of the cross" in today’s world? How do we recognize them as false teachers?
4) How much attention do we give to looking forward to that blessed hope -- the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ? How can we improve in this area and
encourage one another?
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