Summary: Sermon on truth
THE REAL THING (PART 1)
Before I became a pastor I was very much involved in a Ministry called C.A.R.E.S, which stood for Christian Apologetic Research and Education Service. The goal of this ministry was to reach out with the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those involved in various cults. Our main outreach was to Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons.
While a part of this ministry I was exposed to many different believes of many different groups. Most of these people sincerely believed that they had the "true gospel". But when I examined their "gospel" in light of the Scriptures, it became clear that it was not the gospel of Jesus Christ, but a man made gospel, a gospel that did not bring freedom as does the true gospel, but one that bring bondage.
In almost every case these man-made gospels burdened the people who were in them with some sort of requirement for salvation. Something which they themselves had to do. Or someone other the Jesus Christ that they had to believe in. In most every case these burdens were so heavy that not one of the persons I meant could measure up to the point were they could say with certainly, I know I will go to heaven. This again was because of they were never quite sure of themselves.
Now with the true gospel one can say that yes I KNOW for certain that I will have eternal life, that I will go to heaven. Not because I am trusting in myself to do something, but because I trust in the work already done on my behalf by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now today we are going to see what Paul as to say the area of Christianity, and false teachings. Teaching which add burdens on people that God never intended. If you open up your pew Bible to page 1018, we will be reading Philippians chapter 3 verses 1-3.
Philippians 3:1-2 "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!"
Now in this verse we see Paul responding to the false teachers that apparently were trying to lead the Philippians astray. In this passage he gives the marks of these false teachers. In two weeks we will take a closer look at the marks of the true believer, but for now;
Notice that he begins by telling the people to "rejoice in the Lord!". Now I have mentioned in past sermons that joy is a reoccurring theme in this letter. Paul wishes the people of Philippi and us, to understand the great joy there is in having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When one has the proper relationship with Jesus there is much joy in our lives. We will discuss this a length in a later sermon, but for know Paul says rejoice in the Lord, and he states this write before he goes into a warning concerning these false teachers.
I believe he does this as a way of saying there is joy in the Lord, but if you listen to these false teachers, if you accept the gospel that they are preaching they will steal that joy from you. They will rob you of the joy the Lord wants you to have when you have a loving relationship with Him.
I also want you to notice the seriousness of the warning Paul gives concerning these false teachers. He states "beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation". He repeats that word beware three time. Beware! Beware! Beware!. He is trying to stress the danger that comes with this false teaching, not because they may cause one to be burdening for life, but they can cause one to miss eternal life. So Paul’s warning concerning these teachers needs to be taken very very seriously.
So let us take a look at these teachers and what kind of teachers that they were. And the seriousness of their error. These were a group of people known as Judaizers And they are called this because of there teaching that it was not enough to simply have Jesus as your saviour, but you also had to obey the Mosaic Law.
Basically what they had was group of people whose old habits were hard to break. These people had been raised in the Jewish faith, and it was difficult for them to break with those traditions and laws. So they came up with their own religion, follow the law, and accept Jesus as the Christ. This group that Paul mentions was laying extra emphasis on the rite of circumcision.
To them if you were not circumcised you could not be saved. You had to have the external mark of circumcision for you to be righteous before God.