Here is the manuscript I used for my January 1 Sermon. Video will be attached once uploaded.
Are you Resolute?
You should seek to be mature Christians by resolving to follow these three principles, Put confidence in Christ, worship in the Spirit of God, and boast in Christ.
Scripture reading Phil 3:1-12
- Diet or eat healthier (71%)
- Exercise more (65%)
- Lose weight (54%)
- Save more and spend less–my personal favorite! (32%)
- Learn a new skill or hobby (26%)
- Quit smoking (21%)
- Read more (17%)
- Find another job (16%)
- Drink less alcohol (15%)
- Spend more time with family and friends (13%)
According to research on the topic, about 60% of us admit that we make New Year’s resolutions, but only about 8% are successful in achieving them. Regardless of the outcome a year ago, the majority of us go right ahead and make a new set of resolutions–hoping for the best.
In the words of Han Solo, “Never tell me the odds.”
Paul here is writing to the Philippians and trying to encourage them to be resolute, and the way he does that is by showing them THREE principles they can use to attain Christian maturity.
History of Philipi
The church of Philippi was mainly Roman using Greek as the common language, we can tell by the names of the people he mentions they are Greek names. Philippi is also a known Roman Colony established when the 28th Roman legion had been retired there. They were proud of their military heritage and their status as little Rome, they were given tax exempt status and lived as citizens of Rome and Italy.
We know from Acts that Paul met Lydia the purple dye merchant at a place of prayer and he also converted the jailer and his family. Paul is writing this letter with joy and we see that a lot of it echoes that emotion. But when we get down to chapter 3 we get a warning and a better way.
Paul uses a Greek rhetorical strategy to warn about the Judizers.
Titus 1:10 For there are also many rebellious people, full of empty talk and deception, especially those from Judaism.
1) the dogs, explain
2) the evildoers, explain
3) those that mutilate the flesh, explain
For we are the circumcision- the People of God
Rom 3:28 For we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God for Jews only? Is He not also for Gentiles? Yes, for Gentiles too, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
You should seek to be mature Christians by resolving to follow these three principles, put confidence in Christ, worship in the Spirit of God, and boast in Christ.
-Resolve to put confidence in Christ.
Paul uses his heritage to show that even the most devout Jew falls short apart from Jesus.
The Book of Hebrews paints this picture boldly.
Hebrews 10. 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh ), 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, 25 not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
-There is no earthly thing you can do to earn a right place before God.
Follow Paul’s train of thought here, after he talks about earthly accomplishments as nothing compared to knowing Christ. to be understood in light of the Old Testament “knowledge of God,” now applied to Christ. Seen this way, “knowledge” means “a personal response of faith and obedience to God’s self-revelation
Confidence in Christ is the very opposite of having confidence in the flesh. late Middle English: from Latin confidentia, from confidere ‘have full trust’ (see confident).
So we are clear we must have confidence in Christ not our flesh, we have confidence in Christ alone because Christ alone has saved us.
Paul described succinctly and successively what has come to be known in the topical arrangements of classical systematic theology as “justification” (v. 9), “sanctification” (v. 10), and “glorification” (v. 11).
The solution to having confidence in the flesh is Good Theology, how you see your spiritual growth is important.
Paul is expressing what is called justification, if we examine this from a Hebrew context like in the old testament people would go before a judge, that judge determines your standing so regardless of your actual behavior or morals this judge can decide if you are justified. Taking that image to God the Father as judge and Jesus the Son stands in our place and justifies us, we have faith in Him to do this. This is powerful stuff, to think that God Himself would condescend to our level to save us. This alone should be enough to make us hit our knees in worship of a holy God.
Self-made men often worship their creator. Bryant H. McGill
Parable Luke 12:16
Resolve to Worship by the Spirit of God
Have you ever received a gift so amazing you just don’t have the emotions to express it?
I enjoy watching videos of returning service members, surprising their family, their familyrun up and hug them, but the kids are priceless they are so surprised. Nothing can keep them from grabbing that parent nothing stops them from grabbing hold.
I see worship that way I am so humbled and surprised that the God of the universe saved me, nothing will stop me from worshiping Him.
Paul uses a term that often in reference to temple service (latreuō) a form of doing God’s will, Paul identified inward, spiritual worship in contrast to the legalism of outward conformity to the law.
Spirit and truth John 4, we must worship as prescribed. We are told how to worship.
Lev 10:1 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu each took his own fire pan, put fire in it, placed incense on it, and presented unauthorized fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them to do. 2 Then fire came from the Lord and burned them to death before the Lord.
We must worship with sincerity, Isa 29:13
13 The Lord said: Because these people approach Me with their mouths
to honor Me with lip-service —
yet their hearts are far from Me,
and their worship consists of man-made rules
learned by rote—
God wants this Deu 6
4 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. d 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Worship involves our whole life not just formal acts of worship.
We must supply an antithesis, for he censures, on the other hand, legal worship, which was exclusively pressed upon them by the false Apostles. “They command that God should be worshipped with outward observances, and because they observe the ceremonies of the law, they boast on false grounds that they are the people of God; but we are the truly circumcised, who worship God in spirit and in truth.”
So we must live our lives in worship and conformity to scriptures. As living sacrifices.
Resolve to boast in Christ Jesus
– What does Paul mean by boasting in Christ? The GK term is to boast sometimes translated as glory (kauchaomai), and Paul consciously contrasted the boasting of good works with boasting that is in the work of Christ.
My assertion is that anything less than boasting in Christ alone cheapens the cross of Christ.
Anything that we place above knowing Christ Jesus is an assault on the very work of Jesus Himself, it is offensive. Paul is offended by these Judizers because they are cheapening Christ by trying to force the law on them.
I find two propositions in this.
1) By worshiping outward symbols, any item that becomes more important than Christ, you limit yourself from being mature and conformed to Christ.
2) By worshiping outward symbols you express to the world that Jesus is not enough for you.
For the first proposition.
Those that seek the outward symbols of worship are happy with the shadow, the symbols that are meant to be a foretaste of Jesus.
-Cat story, chasing a laser pointer or batting at a tv trying to get the items off of it. It wastes time and in the end they get nothing for their troubles.
When we get so enamored with “spirituality” Or how Christian we are, we become our own idols. You are wasting your time. There is a way to become mature and this is not it!
For the second proposition.
When you are more concerned with sports, movies, video games, even trying to appear as a good Christian so others can see how pious you are, you show the world that Christ is unimportant.
This second one is hard for me too. I am preaching to myself just as much as to you.
The world sees us, they see how we succumb to all the fads and cultural shifts of the day.
There is plenty of television. There are plenty of talk shows. There are plenty of comedians. But there is not plenty of worship of the true and living God. Charles R. Swindoll
– Paul’s preoccupation with boasting in Christ Jesus exemplifies the words of Jeremiah 9:24: “Let those who boast boast in the Lord” (1 Cor 1:31).
Paul also shows us that we should become like Christ VS 10. We must so identify with Christ, that means that we follow Christ’s commandments. 1 John 2:3-6.
What does this look like today?
-We follow the commands of Jesus
-We seek holiness, 1 Corinthians 10:21, Colossians 3:1–5
-We seek to know Him, experientially, relationally. John 15:4
This year let us boast in Jesus alone.
Conclusion: Paul paints a picture of growth in Jesus Christ, that not even Paul has achieved perfection. We do not have to do this on our own. In fact, if we try to do this on our we will be glorifying ourselves over Christ. Let us close by reading this beautiful statement about Christ that Paul gives us. This statement says what our attitude should be the best. Phil 2:5-11
So I ask you today,
Are you resolute?
You should seek to be mature Christians by resolving to follow these three principles, Put your confidence in Christ, worship in the Spirit of God, and boast in Christ.
If you have never made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ that is step one for this journey. God desires that you Grow. If you do not have a church home or have been looking for quite a while maybe God is saying put down roots and grow with this congregation by becoming members. So as we close today I invite you to come forward if you feel God is telling you to have faith in Him, or to join the church family. We would love to welcome you to our family.