Read Philippians 3:18-4:1
In verse 19, Paul gives four very specific statements that explain the theology and practices of these false teachers who are enemies of the gospel.
First of all, their eternal end is destruction. This does not mean that they will cease to exist in hell, but that they would bear the consequences of their sin in eternal conscious torment.
Read 2 Peter 2:17 and Jude12-13, which describe the future of those who are false teachers.
Secondly, their god is their belly.
In essence, they worship food. They are gluttons!
Thirdly, they glory in their shame.
This is pretty difficult to understand at first glance. In consulting commentaries, Paul is addressing the Jewish legalists who were glorying in their circumcision. “Their shame” referred to their “private parts”. In other words, these Jewish false teachers were making a big deal about circumcision as the “be all, end all” of their spirituality.
Read Galatians 6:13-14
Fourthly, their minds are set on earthly things. They were so preoccupied with status, their circumcision, their legalistic regulations, and trying to look good to others, that they had no mind for eternal and heavenly things.
Read Colossians 3:2
Legalism is such a killer to true spiritual maturity and growth because it takes our focus off of Christ and the gospel and puts it on outward behavior modification that doesn’t impact the heart.
In verses 20-21, Paul again makes a striking contrast between these false teachers and true believers.
He says “BUT our citizenship is in heaven”. This issue of citizenship would have been a big deal to the Philippians who were very proud of their Roman citizenship.
St. Augustine was one of the first theologians to promote this idea of the “City of Man” and the “City of God”. As Americans, we are in the city of man. We are under the federal laws and Constitution of the United States and we are citizens of a government that God has ordained. Yet, while we have one foot in this city of Man, our real citizenship is the city of God. We are strangers and aliens here on earth awaiting our true home in heaven.
In light of what is going on in our nation right now it has made many people think about how they relate to the president and our government. Christians are wondering how we can live under a government or with a president with whom we may disagree strongly.
Read the following Scriptures that remind us how we are to act in the city of Man.
1 Timothy 2:1-2
1 Peter 2:13-17
As we live in the city of man, we are in the world, but not of the world and we await the return of Jesus our Savior.
The wonderful thing about the Second Coming of Christ is that he will transform our bodies and we will receive our resurrected, glorified bodies to be able to live with Him forever in our true home of citizenship—the new heavens and new earth.
The second half of verse 21 speaks of the power and authority of Christ.
Read Ephesians 1:21-22 and Colossians 1:15-20
Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-58
Philippians 4:1 is actually included as the end of that section in the Greek New Testament and concludes Paul’s thought process in chapter 3.
Paul uses the term “stand firm” in the Lord. Philippi was a military city with many military families. Again, Paul uses military imagery to connect to his audience. Earlier they were to march in step as they walked in a manner worthy of the gospel (1:27 and 3:16). The Roman armies were known for standing unmoved against an enemy. The church was to stand in the same way in the face of those who were enemies of the cross and false teachers.
It’s amazing how everything goes back to 1:27 in Philippians. In 1:27and 4:1 Paul calls us to stand firm.
Read Ephesians 6:11-13
1 Peter 5:8-9
It is more crucial now than ever to be a united family at Emmanuel who stands together as one side by side unmoved against the enemy as we advance the gospel. We are in this together. As the onslaughts of the word, the flesh, and the devil try to ravish our souls, we will need the encouragement and mutual care that comes from being together as body of believers.
Let us stand firm Emmanuel!!!
I want to stand firm in the gospel as I labor side by side with my brothers and sisters in Christ. The world, my flesh, and the devil are sometimes so powerful that I cannot do this alone. I need the other believers you’ve blessed me with here at Emmanuel. Help me to be an encouragement to others. Help me to exhort us to stand firm for the glory of Christ and the advancement of His gospel! Help me to remember that my citizenship is not here on this earth, but ultimately is in heaven!
For His Glory,