1. Rejoice (verse 1)
2. Beware (verse 2)
3. Be Real (verse 3)

Let's read this mornings' text together:

Philippians 3:1-3
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. Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,

Now, as we dig into this text, the first thing that strikes us is the first word, "Finally." But, Paul is far from done. In fact, he is only about 60% of the way through the epistle.

I remember the story of the grandfather who brought his inquisitive grandson to church for the first time. As they walked in the building, everything was new to this little boy. The little boy sat down and began to look at everything. Questions filled his mind.

But, when the music leader stood and everyone stood with him, the grandson asked, "Grandpa, what does that mean?" "It means we're going to sing," his grandpa replied.

Midway thru the service, four men walked to the front. The little boy asked, "Grandpa, what does that mean?" "It means we're giving our offering."

The preacher got up from his chair, stood at the pulpit, and put on his glasses. The boy asked, "Grandpa, what does that mean?" "It means that the preacher is getting ready to read the Scripture."

The preacher preached along for a while then took off his coat. The question came, "Grandpa, what does that mean?" "It means that now the preacher is really, really preaching!"

About an hour later, the pastor took off his watch, placed it on the pulpit so that he could see the time, and said, "Finally, brethren." The little boy asked, "Grandpa, what does that mean?" "Not a thing, boy. Not a thing." [1]

In many ways, Paul is like this preacher. Paul didn't have a word processor, where he could easily back up and change words. Edit over and over and over and over again. After writing the entire letter, he couldn't go back and edit it. He couldn't go back and say, "I guess, 'finally,' wasn't really 'finally.' Perhaps I'll change it to, 'Further,'" like the NIV translators did. No, it was one time through.

You do this all the time with conversations. You are talking on the phone or you are visiting someone's home. "Hey, I really have to go. Oh, oh, wait. One more thing." And then you go on talking for a bit longer. And there are times when the conversation extends a bit more than expected. There are times when someone calls, and says, "Got a minute?" You know that it probably will go on longer than a minute! We had some guests at our home this past Friday and from the time they said, "We really should go," to the time of actual departure, it was close to an hour. I mention this, not to say that this was in any way a burden, but that it's how we often deal with finishing communication.

I know that this often happens to me when I write an email to someone, particularly if I have been asked a question that takes some thought in responding. And when I'm done, it's a lot longer than I really expected it to be. In such cases, I often find myself writing a "Whew," at the bottom of the email.

In some ways, I believe that this is what took place in the mind of Paul. I think that he thought that he was ready to wrap things up. Yet, the Spirit of God knew better.

Now, I don't know how exactly all of this worked in the miracle of inspiration, as Paul was "moved by the Holy Spirit" to speak from God (2 Peter 1:21). I don't know how the Holy Spirit used the mind of Paul and his personality to write a letter from God that was inerrant. But, I do believe that this text (as with the rest of the Bible) was inspiried by God and fully inerrant.

Now, this isn't the only place where Paul does this. First Thessalonians 4:1 begins with a, "Finally then, brethren." And then, he proceeds to carry on for two more chapters. And so, in this sense, the word, "finally" doesn't so much designate the coming to conclusion of the letter as much as it designates a change in subject.

And indeed, the epistle of Philippians takes a turn at this point. For the first two chapters, Paul had expressed his joy in the work of God among the church in Philippi. Paul had explained the circumstances surrounding his imprisonment. Paul had exhorted those in Philippi to "conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ" (1:27), which means unity through humility. Paul set forth Jesus, himself, Timothy, and Epaphroditus as examples of how to walk in humility.

And now, the direction changes a bit. Paul had spoken in this epistle many times about the gospel. But, now, in chapter 3, he begins to explain the gospel. Chapter 3 verse 9 explains it about as well as any verse in the entire Bible: "... and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith." That's the gospel. That's the good news.

It is the good news that by faith in Jesus Christ and in His atoning work on the cross for our sins, we can have a perfect righteousness. Not derived from the law. Not because of our good deeds. But solely because of our faith in Jesus Christ. And when we believe, God gives us righteousness.

This message is about as old as the Bible itself. Remember way back in Genesis 15? The LORD appeared to Abraham and told him that he would have a son (Genesis 15:4). And to make his point, the LORD took him outside and said to him, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them. ... So shall your descendants be" (Genesis 15:5).

Do you remember Abraham's response? He believed. Do you remember what the LORD did with his faith? "He reckoned it to him as righteousness." That is, God counted Abraham's faith as righteousness. In other words, when Abraham believed, the LORDconsidered his faith to be righteousness.

That's the gospel. That's what Paul is saying in Philippians 3:9, "the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith." Like Abraham, we believe. Like God did with Abraham, He takes our faith and gives us His righteousness.

That's the gospel. This is great news. And this is what Paul is going to be expounding for us in chapter 3, which we will continue to look at over the next month or so.

In recent days I have really been thinking about this a lot. I just can't quite figure out why more don't believe. We speak to people how we are all sinners, destined to perish. We speak to them about the good news that Jesus came and died for our sins. We speak to them and tell them that they simply need to believe in Jesus and they can know and experience true forgiveness. Furthermore, when we believe, God brings us into His family. He unites us with Christ. And we can look forward to an eternity of joy in His presence.

It's like something that's way too good to be true. We simply denounce our sin and we trust in Christ, and He becomes ours! The God of the universe takes us and keeps us and protects us and gives us all that we ever need.

We speak this to people, and they don't believe! Here we are, offering them the best news in the world, and they refuse it! I guess in many ways, the clarity of the gospel and the joys and benefits we obtain from the gospel are becoming clearer and clearer in my mind. And I see what so many fail to believe. And I see how much joy they are missing by not being a part of a community of believers.

Now, I know enough theology to know that it's only because of their hardness of hearts that causes them not to believe. I also know enough that it's only the Lord who is going to change them. And so, I've been praying. I've been praying for the Lord to have mercy upon the hearts of those who hear the gospel.

Anyway, as we come this morning to chapter 3, the gospel will come to take center place in Paul's topic of conversation here in verse 3. My message this morning is entitled, "The Basics." Because, that's what Paul does in verses 1-3. Thinking he's going to end the letter soon, he goes over the most important, simple instructions he can give.

Our text today has three simple points of application, one point for each verse. Each of them come by way of command. Let's look at my first point.

1. Rejoice (verse 1)

Philippians 3:1
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord

The command is clear. We are to "rejoice in the Lord." We are to find happiness and contentment and pleasure and gladness and cheerfulness and satisfaction in the Lord.

Now, many people think that joy is an uncontrolled emotion. Something that comes upon you. Joy is the feeling you have when you are on a vacation, the feeling you have when your daughter comes home from college on a visit, the feeling you have when someone tells you, "well done" or the feeling you get when you get your tax refund in the mail. Note how in all of the instances, it seems as if the circumstances has brought about the feelings.

But, such is not the case in this verse. Here in verse 1 we are commaned to rejoice irregardless of circumstances (as in verse 1). That's why my first point is the command, "Rejoice." It comes from verse 1, "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord."

This isn't the only time in the Bible that we are commanded to rejoice. There are other places where this is commanded. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). Two times in one verse is the command to rejoice. And it's not just Paul.

Jesus gave us a similar command. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Rejoice and be glad" (Matthew 5:12). Do you remember the context? It's not when things are going well and all is good with your life. Listen to Matthew 5:11-12, ...

Matthew 5:11-12
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The only way that you can do this is if you follow Paul's counsel. "Rejoice in the Lord!" Philippians 3:1 isn't a call to rejoice in your circumstances, because, quite frankly, your circumstances can be pretty crummy at times. But, the only way that you will genuinely rejoice is when you rejoice in the Lord.

The command to rejoice in the LORD was also true in the days of the Old Testament as well. Psalm 37:4 commands to, "Delight yourself in the LORD." Notice again the emphasis upon "in the LORD." We are called to find joy and satisfaction in God and who He is.

When the Israelites didn't find their joy in the LORD, they faced the consequences of their sin. Listen to Deuteronomy 28:47-48

Deuteronomy 28:47-48
Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in the lack of all things; and He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you.

You remember what the Israelites did when they came into the land, right? They grumbled and complained, rather than rejoicing in all that the Lord had given to them. They grumbled! They grumbled at the Red Sea. They grumbled when the water was bitter. They grumbled when they were hungry. They grumbled when they were thirsty. They grumbled when Moses didn't come down from Mount Sinai quick enough for them. They grumbled at the manna they were given. They grumbled when they heard about how large the people were in the land of Canaan.

God hates it when people don't serve him with a joyful and glad heart. That's why he commands us to worship Him with joy in our hearts. Psalm 100 says, "Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing" (Psalm 100:1-2).

Paul models this so well throughout the entire book of Philippians. Now, I hardly need to remind you that the theme of the epistle to the Philippians is "Rejoice in the Gospel." Week in and week out, you see it there displayed on the overhead. "Rejoice in the gospel."

Indeed, this is the call of the book of Philippians. Because, this book is filled with rejoicing. And, this book is filled with the gospel. Fourteen times, either the word "joy" or "rejoice" is mentioned in the book of Philippians. This is in only four chapters! Both of these words, "joy" and "rejoice" are the same word in the Greek. For us, they translate differently. Joy is the noun form of the word. Rejoice is the verb form. But, for the original Greek hearers, the words are the same. This gospel is all about joy.

Many, many, many theologians and pastors have recognized this. In fact, Philippians is often called, "The Epistle of Joy." However, one of the things that is often missed is the centrality of the gospel in this epistle. Paul mentions the gospel nine times in four chapters. To give you some context, the book of Romans, which is all about the gospel, uses the word only ten times. But it is four times as long! [2]

When you work through the letter, you find that the gospel is often the reason for all of this rejoicing! It's not merely being happy. No, it's being happy in the work of Christ on our behalf. It's being happy when the gospel is bringing forth fruit in the lives of others.

Think about it. In chapter 1, Paul is joyfully offering his thankful prayer to the Lord because of how the gospel has taken root in the lives of the Philippians. In 1:18, Paul is rejoicing whenever and however the gospel is proclaimed, even if it is doing so because of his imprisonment. In 2:2, Paul mentions how his joy will be made complete when those in Philippi genuinely live out the gospel in unity. In chapter 2, verse 17, Paul finds joy in willingly pouring himself out for the growth of the gospel in the lives of the Philippians. And last week, we even saw that the sending back of Epaphroditus, the one who had risked his life for the gospel, was ultimately for the joy of those in Philippi.

And right here in chapter 3, we see the same theme. Rejoice. Only now, it's not rejoicing in the gospel, it's rejoicing in the Lord. Which in many ways, you can argue, is the same thing. The only way that we ever have reason to rejoice in the Lord is through the gospel. Apart from the gospel, the Lord is our terror and our dread. But, in the gospel, He is our joy and delight.

This isn't anything new. In fact, it's old. But, Paul will never tire of reminding them of these things.

Philippians 3:1
... To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.

After five months in the book of Philippians, you might be getting tired of this. You might be getting tired of looking at the same old teaching slide above me. But, it's no trouble to me. Because, this is the heart and soul of our faith, that we would "rejoice in the gospel."

We need reminders. In 2 Timothy 2:8, Paul is writing his last letter to Timothy, his disciple with a similar heart, wrote, "Remember Jesus Christ." What a strange thing to say of Timothy, who knew the gospel well and who knew that Jesus Christ was central to that gospel. Yet, we need to be reminded.

Now, when Paul said this--that it's no trouble for him to repeat himself--he may have been referring to the things already written in this letter. He may have been referring to some other letter that he had written them. He may have been referring to some previous visits. We don't know for sure. But, somehow, Paul feels as if he's repeating himself.

He's had some ongoing interaction with the church. He planted the church during his second missionary journey. During that same journey, the Philippians sent him at least two financial gifts (4:16). Paul may very well have responded with another "thank you note."

A few years later, Paul travelled through Philippi during his third missionary journey. He certainly had more opportunities to teach them during these times. Certainly, his visits had some of the same flavor that his visit to Corinth. And to the Corinthians, he wrote, "I determined to know nothing among you except for Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). When Paul was in Corinth, he was all about the gospel. The message he delivered "as of first importance" was, "that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scripture, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day, according to the Scripture" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

At a later point in his ministry, Paul would write to the Romans, "Always in my prayers making request, if perhaps not at last by the will of God I may succeed coming to you. For I long to see you ... I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome" (Romans 1:10-11, 15). Paul longed to preach the gospel to the believers in Rome, because hearing it again is so crucial to our spiritual lives.

The gospel of the Lord Jesus was proclaimed over and over and over again by Paul. Always repeating it. Always applying it. Always giving reason to rejoice in it. So, do you rejoice in the Lord? Are you rejoicing in the gospel?

Let's move on to my second point. We have seen the call to Rejoice (verse 1). And now we see the call to ...

2. Beware (verse 2)

This comes in verse 2, ...

Philippians 3:2
Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;

I trust that you can see where I got my point. Three times in this one verse, Paul says, "beware!" Beware of the dogs. Beware of the evil workers. Beware of the false circumcision. He does this for emphasis! Three times he repeats the warning. "Beware, ... beware, ... beware." Or, if you have an ESV, "Look out, ... look out, ... look out." The repetition alerts us that this is serious business.

Suppose that you go to a home and see a little tiny sign in the window of the house that says, "Beware of dog," I don't think that you are frightened. But, if you see a few large signs plastered on the chain link fence outside the home, then I think that you will only open the gate with great caution. And that's what Paul is saying here: There is great danger ahead!

Now, until this point in the epistle, Paul has been very encouraging and positive. He's encouraged by the Philippians. He's encouraged by the way the gospel has worked in them. He's encouraged by the way the gospel has spread through them. He's encouraged by Timothy and Epaphroditus and their love for those in Philippi.

The only negative thing he mentioned was back in chapter 1, when he talked about those who were preaching Christ, "from envy and strife" (1:15). And yet, even there, Paul could find reasons to rejoice. "Whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice" (1:18).

But, now, we see the tables turned a bit. Paul is giving some solemn warnings to those in Philippi. Thus, I think that Paul is talking about some different folks here in chapter 3 than he did in chapter 1.

In chapter 1, they were preaching the right gospel with bad motives. Paul shows some degree of tolerance. But here in chapter 3, these guys were rotten to the core. Not only did they get their theology wrong, they got their life wrong as well. Paul shows no tolerance for these men.

The gospel makes all the difference. When it comes to the apostle Paul, if you get the gospel right, much grace will come. But if you get the gospel wrong, you will know much of his wrath.

Galatians 1:6-9
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

Those are some pretty harsh words. It's because the gospel is the main thing. And you cannot touch the main thing! In verse 2, Paul is describing those who have distorted the main thing. He uses three descriptions of those who got the gospel wrong. He calls them dogs. He calls them evil workers. He calls them false circumcision.

I believe that they are all referring to the same group of people. And as we go through these terms, I think that it will be helpful for us to take these terms in reverse order. This will be helpful because the last term helps to identify these men; because the second term exposes these men; and because the first term shows how much they are to be despised.

So, let's begin with ...

c. False Circumcision

First of all, you can see that these men are Jews. They have been circumcised, in accordance with the law of Moses. Only, their circumcision is a false circumcision. That's in contrast with what we will see in verse 3 of the "true circumcision."

There is a play on words in the Greek. If you have a New American Standard with marginal notes, you can see it in your notes. The word most commonly used for circumcision in the New Testament is the word, peritomh(peritome). Peri means "around." Tome means "to cut." Circumcision is literally, "a cutting around." And if you think about circumcision for a few seconds, you will understand how this fits.

But, of this false circumcision, Paul uses a different word. He uses the word, katatomh(katatome). Kata means "down" or "destruction" in this case. Tome, again, means "to cut." "Mutilation" might be a better translation. In fact, this word is used in the Greek translation of Leviticus 21:5, of the forbidden mutilations of the body.

The "false circumcision" here have tried to do their religious thing. But, they have done it all wrong. Not that they have done anything wrong physically, but everything has been done wrong spiritually. They have added circumcision to the requirements for salvation. This was a common heresy of the New Testament times. And Paul attacked it head on.

In Galatians 5:2, he wrote, "If you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you." In the next verse, he explains, "I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole law" (Galatians 5:3). Now, he's not talking about whether or not you are physically circumcised. He is talking about whether or not you believe that your circumcision in any way contributes to your salvation. That's what he means by "receiving circumcision." Because if you do believe that your circumcision contributes to your salvation, then you have just set yourself under the law of God again. And by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified (Romans 3:20). You will be condemned!

That's the, false circumcision, those who have mingled the law with the gospel. Beware of those who would add anything to the gospel.

Today the danger isn't circumcision. Today the danger is baptism. Today the danger is confirmation. Today the danger is a whole code of legal ethics that bring you up to some sort of standing before the Lord. Don't add anything to the glorious gospel!

The term "false circumcision" identifies these men. Well, the next term exposes these men.

b. Evil Workers

Now, it's not that their evil is readily apparent. With any evil worker, they try really hard at putting a veneer of nobility on the outside. "Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14). Abortion clinics are called "Women's health centers." Corrupt politicians will be seen kissing babies and helping the children.

These workers may look good on the outside, but like the Pharisees of old, they are rotten to the core. Jesus said of them, ...

Matthew 23:27-28
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Jesus had no time for those sorts of people. Paul had no time for these sorts of people. You should have no time for these sorts of people.

But, I am amazed, how many times the corruption of false teachers has been clearly exposed, and the multitudes continue to follow after them. Leaders whose marriages are a wreck. Leaders who live extravagantly, while their people are in poverty. Leaders who have faced tax scandals. Leaders who "tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger" (Matthew 23:4). And people still follow after them.

I am amazed how I have personally warned people of how these false teachers don't preach a Biblical gospel, and those people will still go on reading them. Paul says to have nothing to do with these men.

So, "false circumcision" identifies these men. They are exposed by the term, "evil workers." Now, let's look at the first term which instructs us as to how we are to think of these men.

a. Dogs

Now, when we think of "dogs," we think of something different than they did in the first century. When we think of dogs, there are lots of things that we think of. We think of cute, adorable playthings; dogs who can to "tricks" for food. Or we think of highly trained strong and ferocious German shepherds, who help police enforcement. Or we think of them providing sight to the blind. We think of them providing emotional help to senior citizens. We think of them protecting a home with their bark and bite.

But, not so in the ancient world. When we think of dogs, we think of "watchdogs," a noble thing. When they thought of dogs, they thought of "scavenger dogs," a nuisance.

In the ancient world, there was very little pest control. They didn't have dog catchers driving the streets, picking up strays. They didn't have animal shelters, to give shelter to the unwanted dogs. No, in those days, they had the nuisance of dogs roaming the streets. Sometimes, these dogs were savage, and sometimes they weren't. But, they were generally despised.. When Goliath saw that little David had come to fight against him, he said, "Am I a dog, that you have come to me with sticks?" (1 Sam. 17:43).

The Jews viewed dogs as unclean. You threw your unwanted scraps of meat to the dogs (Exodus 22:31). To identify yourself with the dogs was a sign of humility (2 Samuel 9:8), as they were the lowest of creatures. When his enemies surrounded David, he wrote, "For dogs have surrounded me" (Psalm 22:16), foreshadowing the day when the crowds around Jesus would laugh and mock and scorn, Indeed, the scum of the earth.

One commentator said it this way, "For the Jews the term had a distinctively religious sense: it referred to the Gentiles, those people who being outside the covenant community, were considered ritually unclean. Paul, therefore, is making a startling point: the great reversal brought in by Christ means that it is the Judaizers who must be regarded as gentiles." [3]

My admonition to you is this, Beware (verse 2), and stay away from such men. Danger lurks, and your eternity is at stake.

Let's turn to my third and final point this morning.

3. Be Real (verse 3)

Philippians 3:3
for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,

Now, when I say, "be real," I get this from the first phrase, "we are the true circumcision." In other words, we are the real deal. Those who would add works to the gospel are false. But, we, who believe in the true gospel are real.

So, you say, what constitutes being real? Again, we have three characteristics.

a. Worship in the Spirit of God
b. Glory in Christ Jesus
c. Put no confidence in the flesh

As we work through each of these characteristics, I would simply have you put up your own life to these things, and measure yourself. Where do you stand? How do you stand?

a. Do you worship in the Spirit of God?
b. Do you glory in Christ Jesus?
c. Do you put no confidence in the flesh?

Let's look at them one by one.

a. Worship in the Spirit of God

The contrast here is not worshiping according to human traditions or worshiping according to some external rite. [4] Instead, Paul is describing authentic worship, worship that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and worship that is engaged in your inner spirit.

This is the essence of New Testament worship. It's not the external rituals. It's not the traditions. It's the heart that has been transformed by the Spirit of God that worships in spirit and in truth.

Jesus prophesied of such worship. Perhaps you remember the time when he met the woman at the well. The story is told in John 4. She was a Samaritan, who had five husbands. Currently, she was living with another man, not her husband.

When Jesus began to put his finger on her sin, she changed the subject to worship, and Jesus went right along with her. The Samaritans maintained that proper worship took place on Mount Gerazim. While the Jews maintained that proper worship took place in Jerusalem.

Jesus said to her, "Genuine worship isn't so much about location. Genuine worship is much more about the heart." Jesus said, ...

John 4:21-24
Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Jesus' words capture the heart of Paul here with this first phrase. The genuine believer, the true circumcision as Paul calls him, will worship the Lord in spirit and will worship the Lord according to truth.

As you come to Rock Valley Bible Church, are you coming as a worshiper?

This leads nicely into the next phrase, ...

b. Glory in Christ Jesus

Literally, Paul says that we "boast" in Jesus Christ. In other words, "Jesus has become everything to them.

Who boasts today? Professors boast of their great learning. Athletes boast of their athletic ability. Businessmen boast of their financial portfolios. But, such is not the boast of the godly man.

Long ago, Jeremiah the prophet said, "Thus says the Lord, 'Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,' declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 9:23-24). Our boast is in the Lord. And when comes to believe in Jesus and all that He has accomplished, we find our boast in Him!

Our boast is not not our circumcision. It's not our keeping of the Mosaic law. It's not our participation in the mass. It's not our perfect attendance in Sunday School. It's not our works.

It is all of what Jesus has accomplished on the cross. Through His death, Jesus did for us what the law could never do. He has redeemed us with His blood. He has reconciled us to the Father. He has adopted us as His children. He has given us of His Spirit. He has promised to keep us forever. Who are we to boast in anything of ourselves?

Paul even went so far as to say this, "May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14). Do you lift Jesus high? Do you want to see Him exalted? That's what it means to Glory in Christ Jesus.

Last, ...

c. Put no confidence in the flesh

The best illustration of this is next week's sermon, which I plan to entitle, "No confidence in the flesh." This is why Paul didn't end his epistle here. There was too much to tell in explaining the gospel. Paul writes, ...

Philippians 3:4-11
although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 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 so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Is this your heart? Rejoice (verse 1). Beware (verse 2). Be Real (verse 3).

This sermon was delivered to Rock Valley Bible Church on February 23, 2014 by Steve Brandon.
For more information see www.rvbc.cc.

[1] Adapted from http://sbcvoices.com/open-mic-night-share-the-punny/ and http://www.sermonsearch.com/sermon-outlines/25946/do-the-math-14-of-21/.

[2] There are about 10,000 words in Romans, as compared to about 2,500 in Philippians.

[3] Moisés Silva, Philippians: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, p. 169.

[4] Expositor's Bible Commentary, p. 139.