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Sunday, January 10, 2016

"Battle Plan" by Sergio Arguello


Philippians 3:1-2
Further, my brothers and sisters, 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. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh.

Paul knows, he understands that the Philippian church is in a battle for their souls and for those they are trying to reach in a majority Gentile location where Torah-obedient Jews sometimes traveled through (though not too often).
Paul still felt the need to warn them of the danger of their poisonous doctrine and heart.
Even some misguided Jewish Christians would teach that Gentiles should be circumcised to be saved—this was a difficult teaching as you could imagine-- (not to be compared to baptism—baptism is a method of receiving forgiveness of sin / receiving grace and salvation—not a way of earning it)

Why did he warn them about the teachings of Torah-obeying Jews?

There is an attraction to just doing (acting), leads to a checklist type Christianity.

·      We feel like: I can do that, that’s simple, we resort to a “minimal” mentality.
·      It keeps us from really dealing with the real issues in our hearts.
·      Dealing with real issues is scary!  We may actually have to bear our souls and let somebody really know us.  They might not like us.  Why do you think we hear of really serious sins coming out that no one knew about from people we thought were godly?  They were acting outwardly for people to see, for fear that someone may really know their heart (they want to be accepted).
·      These Torah abiding people that Paul had intense negative feeling towards were people whose hearts were from God as they tried to hold others to their minimalistic mentality and not help people change at a heart level.
·      Checklist Christianity leads to distancing our hearts from God and others and eventually separated completely.  It hardens the heart.

Righteous “acts” do not on their own confirm salvation, but the absence of them definitively expose perdition.  The key is understanding that as followers of Jesus we joyfully embrace righteous living not to be saved, but because we are saved.  It’s not about perfection, but about motivation.—Sergio Arguello

1.      Confidence in His Grace

Philippians 3:3-6
For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 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; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

·      We live not by performance, but by grace

So how do we live by grace?

·      Let me first say that our world confuses grace with disobedience to God’s commands
·      We cannot earn salvation, we simply receive it or accept it as God has ordained it (according to His plan of salvation—which is not a work but an act of faith and obedience on our part and an act of grace on His part)—We trust Him and not our acts.
·      This grace that we receive through obedience and faith does not come simply from outward acts, but our hearts must be engaged in the acts of faith and obedience that God calls us to.
·      EX: if it’s not your heart to love those who are hard to love, your outward actions are worthless (usually people know and God knows your heart)
·      EX: if it’s not your heart to be in the fellowship, even in your presence your absence will be felt.
·      EX: if it’s not in your heart to give generously to God your gift is unpleasing and your finances will display your true priorities (house, cars, kids, food, standard of life you want to live)—God has got to be first and it must be a joy to our hearts to give to Him this way.
·      Be encouraged that you cannot earn your salvation or act saved.  God is concerned with your heart.  He is not concerned with your “flesh” or rule following, He wants your heart.

If your heart is right before God, obedience and submission to His commands should be a natural byproduct.  Grace bears fruit.

2.      Objective: Lose All Things

Philippians 3:7-11
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
·      Worldly things and material things, the things once important to us should not be important—they are worthless!
·      Playing the religious game is worthless, true righteousness comes through faith in Christ.
·      Righteousness can never originate in us by our own will.  Righteousness comes from God on the basis of faith.
·      Knowing God and living according to His plan is not based on mere outward behavior, it stems from gratitude and love.
·      Those things are worthless (trash / basura), they should revolt us (make us nauseous)—lose them
·      Focus on the eternal
·      Victory is gained through a hunger to know Christ (time with Him, suffering for Him, willingness to die for righteousness, attaining the supernatural--HEAVEN)

List of things that matter to a true Christian:
1.  Knowing Christ
2.  Knowing Christ
3.  Knowing Christ
4.  Knowing Christ
5.  Everything else is garbage, throw it away

3.      Forgetters and Strainers

·      How do you make it to the end in a battle?
·      Imitate those who know what to do.
·      Paul was an expert and he gives some instructions even though he knows he hasn’t arrived (he is humble—something to imitate)—even as an apostle he’s not content with where he’s at, he wants to continue to grow in his relationship with God, not that he’s earning it but he’s grateful and awed (we’ve already attained it vs16).

Philippians 3:12-21
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, 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, then, 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.
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you 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 set on earthly things. 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.

·      Paul spent a lot of time and energy living a religious life, but he could not focus on the past and time wasted.  He had to forget that and strain towards what was ahead.
·      We have to stop mourning the past and live in the here and now and be motivated by what’s to come (the eternal).
·      If we don’t do that, we will find ourselves stuck
·      We can even try to recreate spiritual good times or relive spiritual victories. 

We need to create new memories and experience new victories!!  It will take out of the box thinking and effort.  Remember you are saved, you’ve come a long way, don’t give up now.  Let’s help others get there too.

4.       Identify The Enemy

Philippians 4
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
·      You cannot stand firm if you have attitudes
·      People in battle get injured, get hurt
·      Hurt people hurt others
·      Know that they are not the enemy
·      The enemy is Satan
·      Deal with hurt in a righteous way
·      Help those who are having problems resolving issues
·      Be willing to get help
·      Strive to be mature and don’t be a runner
·      We are not the enemy!!! Stop acting like children and resolve your issues, we should be working alongside each other not against one another.

If there is anyone you hold anything against, resolve your issues with them today.  Pull someone else in if you really need to. Be quick to forgive and ask for forgiveness.  They are not the enemy!

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