Summary: 1. Where are you drawing your strength from? 2. Are you relying on tradition, law, race, rank, religion, or sincerity? 3. Do you expect recognition when helping out someone in need?
The Source of Our Strength- Philippians 3:1-11
Introduction: We all fall into the trap of comparing ourselves with others around us. For some reason we think we are better than those to whom we are comparing ourselves with and we think that makes us right with God. We find ourselves picking at the church, other believers, and even the Pastor. Many Pastors get burnt out every day and after about three years they leave the ministry or switch churches. Christianity Today reports that 1500 Pastors leave the ministry every month in the United States because of conflict, burnout, or moral failure. If you are getting burned out you are drawing off of the wrong strength. You are drawing off your own strength. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 4:11, “Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, le him do so from the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever, Amen.” If you are getting burned out you are relying on yourself. We need to draw our strength from God’s grace though faith. If I show up to work relying on myself to get all I need to done than I expect everyone to be appreciative of my work. I expect them to notice me and what I’ve done to help. If I show up to work relying on God to get me through the day I’m basically saying, “Use me to glorify You, I want people to look at me and not even see me. I want people to look at me and see You.” Remember that Paul is writing this letter from prison to a church that he loves dearly.
If you like an outline to keep you on track, the Title of this message is “The Source of Our Strength” and I have broken it up into three points. The first six verses Paul is telling the gentiles to watch out for “grace killers”.
(v.1-3) Paul is giving the gentiles encouragement.
(v.4-6) Paul gives an example. He uses a biography of himself as the example.
(v.7-11) Cling to grace through faith.
Encouragement. (v.1) Paul is talking to the gentiles in the church at Philippi. Paul is telling them that it’s not a problem that he is writing to them about the same thing again. It isn’t any trouble to him. He wants to write to them again to forewarn (as a protection) them. Paul says, “…it is no trouble to me, and is a safeguard for you.”
What is Paul warning the Gentiles about?
(v.2) “Beware of the dogs…” Paul is talking about the Jewish leaders teaching them how to be righteous with God. Why is Paul warning the Gentiles about the Jewish leaders in Philippi? (v.2) “…watch out for the evil workers…” Paul is now warning them against the evil workers. This is still referring to the Jewish leaders in Philippi doing work in vain. These Jewish leaders were religious. They fasted, gave to the poor, shaved in the right places, prayed three times a day, but they weren’t right with God. Their outward appearance would make you say, “Man, these guys are religious.” Paul is telling the Gentiles to watch out for that. (v.2) “…watch out for those who mutilate the flesh.” What is Paul saying here? Watch out for dogs, evil workers, and mutilators of flesh! This sounds gross. At this time the Jewish leaders were telling the Gentile people that they had to be circumcised to get right with God. If they were not circumcised there was no possible way to be right with God. Paul is warning the Gentiles and saying, “You don’t need to do that! They are doing that in vain. They are “mutilators of the flesh.” Paul is using a play on words here. Let’s go on to see what he says. (v.3) “For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh…” Paul is using a play on words here. Listen, Paul is saying even those of you who are not circumcised yet, we are the true circumcision. We are right with God. In other words, circumcision doesn’t make you right with God. That is just something God gave to His people. Paul is saying it is those of us who worship in spirit and truth who are right with God. You have to have both of those in the church. If a church has truth, but no spirit, the church is usually dead. If the church has spirit, but no truth, the church is usually weird if you know what I’m talking about. Paul is telling these Gentile people that circumcision to gain divine favor is futile; it is simply mutilation. The flesh does not make us right with God. These Jewish leaders were the Pharisees. They were proud in the flesh. They made sure everyone knew they were religious. They were teaching that these religious practices and rituals of tradition would make them right with God. Paul tells us in Romans 3:20, “…by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.”