This blog post is from Sunday 7/19/20. You can listen to the sermon here. I normally have this up before now, but I’m just now feeling like I’m ready to tackle this one. I wasn’t able to be at church, so this is from the video version of the sermon for Milan Christian Church and The Story in Greensburg, IN. Any way, here goes. My take…
The scripture for this sermon is Philippians 3:1-11. Paul writes to the church in Philippi about legalism and legalists and how they can stress rules that must be followed. Unfortunately, these rules of the church that the priests and Pharisees insist must be followed, only serve to separate people from the Lord they so desperately are searching for.
Paul writes this letter from Rome where he is in prison, awaiting his fate of either exoneration or execution. But even in the circumstances that he finds himself, Paul is able to be joyful. He wants the church in Philippi to realize that whatever circumstances they find themselves in, they can rejoice in the Lord. He reminds them of this because it’s important for them to remember this. It’s worth him repeating to them.
In verse 2, he says, “Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.” He’s warning them of the legalists, who are holding back the people of Philippi, comparing them to the dogs who roam the streets, bickering and fighting among themselves. He goes on to warn of the evil they will do.
The legalists insisted that righteousness with God comes from what you do. The laws had to be followed and that told the Gentiles that in order to follow Jesus, they had to meet the old laws of the Jews, including circumcision. Paul says this is nothing that needs to be followed and called it mutilation.
In verse 3, Paul says, “For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh- “. The true mark of a Christian is by worshiping God in the Spirit, not in fads or gimmicks. We worship from the inside out. Don’t put on a show for someone else to see, but find their joy in Christ Jesus and Jesus alone.
They don’t trust to stand on their own by what they have done. Their only confidence is in Jesus. Paul had lived that legalistic life before. He followed the law to the letter, but when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, it changed everything for him. All that he once took pride in, he took all of that as loss. Paul says, “I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ,” in verse 8. “Rubbish” is a pretty strong term here, that we could equate with the word “crap”.
The legalists wanted to make the Gentiles jump through all sorts of hoops and then just maybe they would consider them to join in their “club”. But that’s not what it’s about. Now, a relationship with Jesus Christ was available to Jew and Gentile alike. They could obtain the righteousness of God by faith. For Paul, it wasn’t about jumping through the hoops and fulfilling the laws. It was about building a relationship with Jesus Christ through faith.
What we see as works to flaunt, God sees as crap. There is nothing that we can do that makes us good enough. We are nothing outside of God’s righteousness. Jesus paid the price for us. We just have to learn to accept it and glorify him!
Why do we go to church? Okay, this is the one that got me, Jon. For community, support, to be with like-minded people, to teach our children. Yes, noble, but …”is that why Jesus went to the cross? Why he died? “
Worship is inside out, be authentic, be real, be present…
Don’t worry about what you look like during a church service, the audience of one is what matters…
Jesus has paid the cost, but you have to accept it. It’s finished. There’s nothing you can add to it.
We have this gift of grace that we don’t deserve. Humble yourself and accept it.
Be sure to listen to Jon’s sermon. Having these sermons available online is such a blessing when we aren’t able to attend church. I even listen to the online version when I do go to church. I feel like I get even more out of it when I listen more than once. I guess that’s one reason I never mind hearing a piece of scripture preached about again. The Word of God is made available to each of us to study for ourselves. But, I get even more out of it when I can hear another’s thoughts and possibly even discuss with a friend. I know we’re living in questionable times, but that doesn’t give us an excuse to forget about the one who died so that we could have the opportunity at the gift of eternal life.