In our world, we see doctrinal differences among many who call themselves “Christians." Any of those say, They’re the only ones who are right. Religious differences have always existed. In Paul’s time, the Judaizers were the main problem. Thy taught that salvation in Christ was attained by: -strict obedience to law -being circumcised Problem is: Jesus didn’t teach that He taught: 1) Salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus In 1st Century, there was tremendous confusion. In Philippians 3, Paul battles the Judaizing teachers. 2) Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. Paul does mince his words. He calls them: -dogs -mutilators of the flesh Why the harsh words? INSTEAD OF CONFIDENCE IN CHRIST, THEY’RE CONFIDENT IN THEIR WORKS. Anytime someone replaces 3) Salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus THERE’S A PROBLEM Some people today say: -Salvation is by perfectly obeying the law -Salvation is by being good enough -Salvation is by baptism -Salvation is by going to church on Saturday Etc, etc, etc….. Salvation only comes one way Paul said: 4) Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Anytime we equate salvation to our works, We boast. Paul said: This didn’t have anything to do with you, It’s 100% Jesus. Although the Judaizers had circumcision as their key doctrine, Paul says: 5) 3 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— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. Paul isn’t talking about outward circumcision. He’s talking about inward circumcision. (Heart) 6) Rom 2:28 A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God. Although these words were written 2,000 years ago, Have we learned anything? Today, people go to church in their best Sunday clothes, But their lives are immoral & wicked. Today, people will sing songs, listen to sermons & publicly pray, But their hearts are full of anger & un-forgiveness. As was the case 2,000 years ago, Jesus needs circumcised hearts. Looking good on outside is easy. When you address the inside, it gets tough. Paul knew his words weren’t going to go over well. Next, he establishes his credentials. 7) 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. Paul’s credentials are impeccable. As a Pharisee, he had a good life. He was: -well educated -well respected -made a good living Then, Jesus came into his life & everything changed. The Pharisees didn’t like the new Paul. He was changed. The rottenness on the inside was cleaned up. 8) Phil 3:7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. We’ve lost sight of what it means to be a Christian. Jesus said: “Take up your cross & follow me.” Paul said: 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, We’ve dumbed down what it means to be a Christian. We say: “Say a little prayer & you’re there.” Jesus & Paul never mentioned a little prayer. 9) They talked about: "taking up your cross” “Dying to self” “Becoming like him in his death” The way of the cross isn’t easy. It’s hard. It’s a major life commitment that should: Transform your thinking Change the way you live There aren’t many children that understand that. I know these are hard words, but they’re true. 10) Phil 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Paul has a real clear message: 11) You’re Not There Yet! As mature as we think our faith is, We’ve still got lots of growing to do. Question: Are we sitting on our laurels? Are we pursuing growth? 12) But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, Forget what is behind. Strain towards what is ahead. He compares it to a runner. 13) 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. The race doesn’t end until you quit breathing. You’re not there yet. 14) 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Paul doesn’t leave room for disagreement. He says: “If you’re mature in Christ, This is the way it is…. Period!” I want you to pay attention to how he finishes. He’s addressing self-indulgent Christians: 15) Phil 3:17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. This earth is NOT their home. Their mind is on earthly things. Their god is their stomach. What they take pleasure in is shameful. Paul said: They live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Are we (in the church) making the same mistake today? 16) Phil 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!