Philippians 3:17-20 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul begins this section of his letter to the Philippians addressing them as “Brethren”, fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. He quickly makes a distinction between two types of people. There are those that follow his example and then there are those that don’t.
This is very challenging. It comes down to the simple fact there are those that will be saved and there are those that won’t. No second chances… No Purgatory… We live once and we die once and then the judgment (Hebrews 9:27, 4:13).
This makes it very clear what we are to look for as believers. We look for those that follow Paul’s example. He gives us a pattern, a way to live. We are to live like Paul. The Bible is to be our guide book. It gives us everything necessary for life and godly living. In addition we are to follow the example of those more mature believers and church leaders that set an example (Hebrews 13:17).
Today I want to focus on the second half of this verse.
This past week I had a wonderful text message conversation with a man that is struggling with sin. He’s claimed that Jesus Christ is his savior. I’ve asked him and challenged him if Jesus is his Lord?
Paul is telling us that we are to note those that follow their own ways. They are enemies of the cross. It doesn’t mean I won’t preach the gospel to this man. He doesn’t even realize he’s an enemy, but he is living in a self destructive manner. His “god” is his belly. He wants to fill himself up with the things that won’t last eternally.
“For a tiny drop of pleasure he’s willing to drink a sea of wrath” – Thomas Watson.
So, “what’s on your mind?”
Are the things of God on your mind or the things of the world? Here Paul is giving us a way to examine ourselves; to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Is your “christianity” on auto-pilot? Do you show up to church on a Sunday morning and go through the motions or are you out working for God’s kingdom? Have you considered why you were saved?
My friend is living a disobedient lifestyle, but yet wants to claim the privileges of being a child of the King. I know he doesn’t like the problems that his sin causes him, but at this point in time he seems to be unwilling to come to grips with how offensive this is to God. He doesn’t understand that rebellion is a heinous offense.
His sin will be paid for. The big question is who will pay for it? Will it be Christ at the cross or will he have to pay for it himself?
1 Samuel 15:22-23 So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices. As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”
I’m hopeful my friend will see that his sin is separating him from a Holy God and that he will understand the cost. I’m hopeful he will see that obeying God is the proof text of salvation and what’s on his mind will confirm or deny his claims. I’m hopeful his end won’t be destruction.