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Gospel-Centered Example

Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  40:06
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Thank Dan for last week
Welcome new people
It has often been said you can learn as much from a bad leader as you can from a good one.
Two examples from my career
BMCS Bobby Mercer
BMCS Jim Bailey
Tonight we’re going to look at a passage that has been interpreted in many different ways throughout church history
There are those who have said that this passage really doesn’t fit in the book and was a later addition
along with the rest of
There are commentators who speculate that verses 20-21 are an early Christological hymn that Paul uses to close out the chapter
much like the hymn in
But what I think we’re going to find is that Paul is wrapping up several sections of the letter into a solid conclusion before moving on to the next part of the letter
We’re going to see him close up his argument from the entirety of chapter 3 where he has been comparing and contrasting different views of the faith
We’re also going to see him wrap up the whole portion of the letter from until now as he will return to the theme of our citizenship in the heavenly places
We’re going to see good examples and bad and then understand what the difference is
We’ll see good examples in
We’ll see bad examples in
And finally we’ll understand what the difference is in

Good Examples

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Example is the most powerful rhetoric; the highest and noblest example should be very quickening and provoking.
Thomas Brooks
Paul addresses the Philippians affectionately - calling them brothers (αδελπηοι) .
This is a common address for Paul to believers he is writing to
Galatians 6:1 NASB
Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.
1 Corinthians 15:58 NASB
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 13:11 NASB
When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
2 Corinthians 13:11 NASB
Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
76 times in his letters he refers to the church this way
He uses it three times in Philippians - every time to impart a deep point on his readers
Philippians 1:12 NASB
Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,
Philippians 3:1 NASB
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.
He is again about to tell the Philippians something important
It’s almost as if he’s calling them to attention - my brother’s listen up....
Join in following my example - is a curious way of telling this to them
1 Corinthians 4:16 NASB
I exhort you therefore, be imitators of me.
1 Corinthians 4:6 NASB
Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.
1 Corinthians 11:1 NASB
Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
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But these are exhortations to individual imitation of Paul
Here his exhortation to the Philippians is for a corporate effort to imitate him
Philippians 3:17 NASB
Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.
He tells them to join in following his example
The word for join here (συμμιμητης) carries with it the sense of “one who joins others as an imitator”
Paul is urging the Philippian believers to work together - to uphold one another, to encourage one another in their imitation of him.
Thomas Brooks
And not just of him but of others who walk according to the pattern...
Three possibilities for these people
Other itinerant preachers (i.e. Apollos) who were preaching the true Gospel
Epaphroditus - who Paul was sending back to the Philippians with this letter
Other people in the church who were setting the correct example
Good examples have a powerful influence upon us, for we are led more by pattern than by precept,

Bad Examples

especially the examples of those we love, for such we are prone to imitate; but more especially of those who are in nearest relation to us, for there nature sides with grace.
Thomas Manton
What example are you setting?
Someone is always watching (Rodney Atkins song “Watching You”)
Who are you watching?
Who is watching you?
Paul sets an example that we should seek to emulate - but he is not the source of that example
1 Corinthians 11:1 NASB
Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
This is the example that we should strive to follow - the example of Christ lived out through the Gospel
Not all examples in the church are good examples - Paul is going to give the Philippians some examples of those they should not be following

Bad Examples

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Philippians 3:18–19 NASB
For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ,whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
There has been much debate regarding who exactly Paul is referring to in these verses
It would seem that the context of the chapter would suggest that these are still the same people he warned the Philippians against in verse 2
Philippians 3:2 NASB
Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;
Paul betrays the emotion that all of us should have toward those who teach false Gospels or are unsaved
Surely we should mark them out - he calls them dogs, evil workers - and we should use equally harsh language
But it should also break our hearts that they are so lost
Charles Spurgeon - in his typical gruff manner - said

710If you can, without emotion, think of a soul being damned, I fear that it will be your own lot. If you can look on the ignorant and the perverse and the rebellious, and think of their destruction with complacency, you are no child of God. Your Savior wept over Jerusalem. Have you no tears? Then you are not a member of the family of which he is the head.

710If you can, without emotion, think of a soul being damned, I fear that it will be your own lot. If you can look on the ignorant and the perverse and the rebellious, and think of their destruction with complacency, you are no child of God. Your Savior wept over Jerusalem. Have you no tears? Then you are not a member of the family of which he is the head

It should break our hearts that anyone is lost - even false teachers - but we should also never shirk from calling them what they are
Paul calls them wolves
Acts 20:28–29 NASB
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
those who oppose truth
Acts 20:
2 Timothy 3:8 NASB
And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected as regards the faith.
Here he calls them enemies of the cross.
Those who would teach a different Gospel from what he had taught
Those who tried to include works intermixed with grace to provide salvation.

These people may have been, and probably were, very religious, honest, sincere Christians. But if their “goodness” and the religious acts that they faithfully performed in any way tended to keep them from casting themselves wholly upon God and asking for the righteousness that he supplies only through Jesus Christ, if their beliefs and practices set them in opposition to the gospel of salvation by Christ alone and its outworking in a life of obedience and earnest moral endeavor, if their doing the law threatened the exclusiveness of the forgiveness of sins by faith in Christ, then, for Paul, their conduct was indeed “evil” because it brought ultimate harm both to themselves and to others

These people may have been, and probably were, very religious, honest, sincere Christians.
But they had something off
as a result of that their end is their destruction
Philippians 1:28 NASB
in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.
Now as then it is faithfulness to the Gospel that spells life for the believers and anyone who opposes that is bound for destruction
Paul gives us three characteristics of the false teachers that mark them as such
Whose god is their appetite
Paul starts off with an interesting statement - that their god is their appetite
This is most likely a reference to the dietary laws kept as a part of the Law of Moses which would have been important to the Judaizers
The word used to translate appetite here refers to the desire for gratification in the body, physical desires of the body.
Romans 16:18 NASB
For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.
Romans 16:8 NASB
Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.
While this may apply to the food restrictions under the Old Covenant it can also apply to the unrestrained, instant gratification status of our culture today.
2 Timothy 3:2–5 NASB
For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God;holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.
2 Timothy 3:
Whose glory is their shame
The Judaizers relied on their circumcision as a sign of their submission to the Old Covenant and tried to add Christ to that as evidence of their salvation
They gloried in their heritage, their knowledge and their physical obedience
They gloried in their most abase, libertine practices
1 Corinthians 5:1–2 NASB
It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife.And you have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead, in order that the one who had done this deed might be removed from your midst.
They took grace to an extreme that said they could sin and still be saved - that they could be carnal in their lifestyle and yet remain in the body of Christ
Romans 6:1 NASB
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?
300 Quotations for Preachers from the Modern Church Church Leaders Can Be a Blessing or a Curse

As God can send a nation or people no greater blessing than to give them faithful, sincere, and upright ministers, so the greatest curse that God can possibly send upon a people in this world is to give them over to blind, unregenerate, carnal, lukewarm, and unskilled guides.


Paul has just finished demonstrating that while these teachers might have been accomplished and had much to boast in, he had more and yet he considers it all to be rubbish
Philippians 3:8 NASB
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ,
It’s all in where the mind is set
Who set their minds on earthly things
These teachers were focused on the here and now
This is the most stinging of Paul’s indictments on these teachers
They attempted to pass themselves off as the most pious of men
Pharisee and Tax Collector Parable
Luke 18:14 NASB
“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted.”
They thought (and taught) that it was keeping the standard and living up to the rituals of religion in the here and now that would ultimately lead to their salvation
The unfortunate thing is that these men Paul is talking about are men who passed themselves off as inside the camp of Christianity.
We are plagued with such men today
Bill Johnson and the New Apostolic Reformation out of places like Bethel in Redding California and International House of Prayer in Kansas City (Mike Bikel)
Joel Osteen and the self-help/self-esteem gospel
T.D. Jakes and modalists
Steven Furtick and the prosperity gospel (even went so far as to claim from the pulpit that God broke His own laws for love when He crucified Christ)
Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland
Matthew Vines - the author of God and the gay christian
These men, and many others like them, are a blight on the church and are the biggest threat to the church today
The world’s liberal agenda has always threatened the church - but it is attacks from with that weaken true Christianity.
Just like the Judaizers in Paul’s day, some of these teachers may not have gotten their noses through our door

Paul nevertheless considered it necessary to warn against them simply because he knew of their numbers (πολλοί, “many”) and the zeal with which they propagated their religion

And so do I - I warn not to be malicious towards these men because it breaks my heart that they are lost, but to warn you all lest you fall victim to their teachings
Paul is going to tell us the difference that marks a good example from a bad example

What’s the Difference?

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Philippians 3:20–21 NASB
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
Paul returns to the idea of the true citizenship of the Philippians
The Philippians were Roman citizens - but their citizenship had been transferred to heaven and they were to live out that citizenship with the higher calling that came with it
Paul only refers to Christ as Savior twice in his church epistles (although he does so frequently in the Pastoral epistles)
Ephesians 5:23 NASB
For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.
2 Timothy 1:10 NASB
but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
Titus 2:13 NASB
looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;
Paul is returning to the emphasis of the entire chapter - summarizing his whole argument
It is Christ who will transform our body - both in the here and now and the time to come.
It is Christ who provides the power for sanctification.
It is Christ who will provide the righteousness and power for our glorification.
It is now, always has been and, always will be Christ.
Ephesians 3:8 NASB
To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,
Philippians 3:8 NASB
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ,
Even our earthly citizenship is nothing for the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus.


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