Summary: Part of a series in Philippians, we’re warned to watch out for false teachers.
Aren’t you glad the political campaigns and phone calls are finally over?!
•Every candidate was telling us how great their agenda, their plan was.
•It made it almost impossible to know what they believed or promoted.
•You had to look very closely at the facts and their history to get the real truth.
Did you know Christianity is much the same way?
•There are lots of professing believers out there trying to convince us their way, their church, their doctrine is best.
•It makes it very difficult to discern the truth from the sweet lies.
Just as it’s imperative we sort out the truth concerning our elected officials, we need to sort out the truth concerning Christ.
•That’s what Paul addresses in Phil. 3:1-3. Turn there with me please.
Apparently, the Philippians were facing some so-called “Christian politicians” who were trying desperately to convince them to change their vote/beliefs.
•In reality, the Philippians were being persecuted and tested in their faith.
•They were being challenged to really know what they believed.
Paul has already encouraged them in Ch. 1 to stand strong in the midst of trials.
Here, he makes a direct attack, a negative campaign ad, against these false teachers.
Notice once again, even in the midst of persecution, he reminds them to rejoice!
3:1FINALLY, MY BROTHERS, REJOICE IN THE LORD!
Remember, one of Paul’s themes throughout this Book has been encouragement/joy.
•He mentions joy/rejoicing 13x in this Book. We’ll look more at this later in the series.
How does rejoicing in v. 1 relate to Paul’s warning in vv. 2-3?
He then makes three key points.
PAUL’S FIRST POINT: REMEMBER THE TRUE GOSPEL!
IT IS NO TROUBLE FOR ME TO WRITE THE SAME THINGS TO YOU AGAIN, AND IT IS A SAFEGUARD FOR YOU.
He needs to warn them again of false doctrines/teachers as well as the true Gospel.
•You can’t repeat that enough.
Gal. 1:9 AS WE HAVE ALREADY SAID, SO NOW I SAY AGAIN: IF ANYBODY IS PREACHING TO YOU A GOSPEL OTHER THAN WHAT YOU ACCEPTED, LET HIM BE ETERNALLY CONDEMNED!
It’s too easy for believers to get caught up in service and doctrine and church life and forget just why we’re here in the first place.
•We must never do that. Don’t forget the basics! Remember the True Gospel.
Contrary to all the campaign ads, we must never get tired of hearing the Gospel.
It is a safeguard for us. The word literally means “to keep from tripping”.
Illus. One requirement that public buildings have is that their steps are well marked.
•We have yellow paint along the front edge to tell you where the edge is.
•That yellow line is a safeguard to keep us from tripping/falling.
•The simple, true Gospel is a safeguard to keep us from tripping/falling spiritually.
Paul now changes his tone drastically in this letter in order to make a very serious point.
What is the true Gospel? How is it a safeguard?
PAUL’S SECOND POINT: BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS!
2WATCH OUT FOR THOSE DOGS, THOSE MEN WHO DO EVIL, THOSE MUTILATORS OF THE FLESH.
(NAS) BEWARE OF THE DOGS, BEWARE OF THE EVIL WORKERS, BEWARE OF THE FALSE CIRCUMCISION.
This is very harsh language. Paul doesn’t pull any punches here against his opponents.
Mt. 3:7 (John B. at the Pharisees/Sadducees) YOU BROOD OF VIPERS! WHO WARNED YOU TO FLEE FROM THE COMING WRATH?
Why is Paul so harsh in v. 2?
Paul becomes harsh because this is a very serious matter. Beware of false teachers!
There are three things we can learn about false teachers here.
1. False Teachers can destroy us.
Dogs in Bible times were often wild scavengers, like wolves and wild dogs.
They preyed upon the weak or injured. False teachers do the same thing today.
•They prey upon those weak in the faith/spiritually immature.
•Many cults today are highly successful because they target the immature/ignorant.
2. False Teachers are evil.
They come across as being good and righteous but their hidden heart is only evil.
2 Cor. 11:14 AND NO WONDER, FOR SATAN HIMSELF MASQUERADES AS AN ANGEL OF LIGHT.
People who do good things aren’t necessarily good people.
The reason false teachers are evil dogs is because…
3. False Teachers pervert the Gospel.
In this case, the false teachers are Judaizers who claim that the only way to be saved is to be circumcised and follow the Jewish Law.
Now let’s try to understand what circumcision is all about. (Turn to Gen. 17).
Circumcision was first of all instituted as a symbol of a covenant between God and man.
**Gen. 17:1-14 2“I WILL CONFIRM MY COVENANT BETWEEN ME AND YOU AND WILL GREATLY INCREASE YOUR NUMBERS… 7I WILL ESTABLISH MY COVENANT AS AN EVERLASTING COVENANT BETWEEN ME AND YOU AND YOUR DESCENDANTS AFTER YOU FOR THE GENERATIONS TO COME, TO BE YOUR GOD AND THE GOD OF YOUR DESCENDANTS AFTER YOU…. 10THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH YOU AND YOUR DESCENDANTS AFTER YOU, THE COVENANT YOU ARE TO KEEP: EVERY MALE AMONG YOU SHALL BE CIRCUMCISED…. 14ANY UNCIRCUMCISED MALE, WHO HAS NOT BEEN CIRCUMCISED IN THE FLESH, WILL BE CUT OFF FROM HIS PEOPLE; HE HAS BROKEN MY COVENANT.”