THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS
"For our Citizenship is in Heaven, from which Also We Eagerly Wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;"
J. Deering, AncientPath.net
Leave the past behind and follow our example
The Apostolic Example
17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.
Paul now encourages his readers to look-to and take-on the manner of life taught to them by the apostles - including Paul. Paul is using himself here as a representative of the teachings of all the apostles. He tells the Philippians that "the example of the apostolic life" is the correct example to follow. Don't follow after any other kind of example. Watch and pay attention to Paul's example!
As an aside here is a list of apostles and the major disciples that are examples to us in the Faith
James (brother of Jesus)
James (son of Alphaeus)
James (son of Zebedee)
John (son of Zebedee) (John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, The Revelation of Jesus
Judas (son of James)
Luke (Luke, Acts, Possibly Hebrews)
Paul (Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus)
Peter (1 Peter, 2 Peter)
Simon (the zealot)
Timothy (recipient of Paul's 1+2 Timothy)
Jude (book of Jude)
[Judas Iscariot ("the betrayer")]
Enemies of the Cross of Christ
18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
Paul introduces verse :18 with the word "For." He wants us to know that there are reasons why we need to pay attention to his teaching and the teaching of the Apostles; For there are ENEMIES! How is it that many who represent Christ are, in fact, enemies of the cross of Christ? We see it every day with the ever-present televangelists. "Christ is your opportunity to be wealthy - send us money." "Christ is your opportunity to be healed of physical and spiritual problems - give us your money and your property." And the list goes on.
"Many" - There are many, and the overriding theme of Philippians - "There are Enemies, walking among you - in the church - the local church. Way back in Chapter one Paul notes them and "allows them" because at least in part, they preach Christ, salvation, and testimony of Christ - which is more important than demanding that they see your point of view. BUT, by the time we finish Chapter three Paul is warning us of a greater danger - not just a difference if perspective or even doctrine, but ENEMIES OF THE CROSS.
Who exactly are these enemies of the Cross that Paul speaks of?
1. Those who preach another gospel (other than Paul and the Apostles).
2. Those that hold themselves as examples of another gospel
Those that have the "appetite of ME"
Look at ME
I know better
I have special gifts
I have special "spiritual knowledge"
I am godly
I am god
I'm sure Paul also has in mind the examples we could follow in the world. There are so many voices calling out to be followed. "Come, join us, give us your time, your money, your property, your very lives - but stay away from Christ, and don't listen to His call." "Come; set your citizenship upon the earth, and the things therein."
When I see Paul's words concerning "Enemies of the Cross" within the local body, I want Paul to instruct me to root them out and remove them from our midst - BUT, Paul does not say this.
Instead, Paul speaks of their "end, which is destruction." Paul immediately moves on to verse 20, "For our citizenship is in Heaven."
Elsewhere Paul never gives us instructions on how to deal with this problem, instead he leaves us with "there are Enemies... so beware of them!" Make sure you know who they are and keep a watchful eye on the body that you may know of their presence.
In 1 Timothy 4, Paul deals with apostasy, those who "fall away." These are those who seem to be believers but in truth - they are deceivers who have let their "believer's false face" fall away. Still, Paul offers no instructions to deal with them or retribution to offer them. So it is with his (and other's) other books. He warns us and leaves us with the warnings against such, but no direct action against them.
Jude spends his entire book on the subject of these Enemies who intrude upon the local church. He closes his epistle with this exhortation:
"But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh."
Transformation through Resurrection
20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 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.
Again Paul starts verse :20 with "For." There is a reason to know that your citizenship is in Heaven; there are ENEMIES!
If you were a traveler in Europe, let's say. While visiting a beautiful country you decide to stay a while. Would you consider paying taxes there? Would you try to vote there? Of course not, you citizenship is here, not there. Then why would you seek to live like they do while you are citizens of here?
Paul reminds the Philippian reader that their citizenship is in GOD'S HEAVEN, not here on earth.
He then reminds them of just who it is that our allegiance is tied to.
1. An eagerly awaited Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ
2. A glorious transformer, the Lord Jesus Christ
3. A powerful dictator, the Lord Jesus Christ
4. A jealous, subjecting God, the Lord Jesus Christ
And you're following the world as an example of "real" life?
Paul begs the question - "There are Enemies, do you allow/encourage them within the body because you desire the things of this world too? Do some flock to inferior, or even devious teaching, in order to justify our own worldly desires?"
Beware that you may fall into the trap and be led astray.
Christians, Citizens of Heaven, should not live or encourage each other to "live like Hell."
Live as a Citizen of Heaven for that is your REAL home. Live as if you were there, even though you are here. For your SAVIOR came down out of Heaven for the purpose of your salvation - in order to make you a bona fide citizen of Heaven. You belong in Heaven, not here, so don't act like you belong here!
The remember that in the mean time Christ will transforming your humble (human, infirm, shallow, insubstantial) body into a body of Glory - upon your resurrection from the dead into the presence of your eagerly awaited Lord, Jesus Christ.
But, much more than the transformation of our bodies at the resurrection of the dead. There is the transformation of every fiber of our being, starting with the "on earth" transformation of our minds (Romans 12:1-2), and the resulting transformation of all that we think, say, and do.
As a citizen of Heaven, a child of God, it is our responsibility to submit to, and be empowered by, the Holy Spirit of God. Why? The living Spirit of God is within (indwelling) to think, talk, sit, stand, and walk as maturing loyal citizens - "Until That Day," when we enter into His glorious Kingdom - finished and complete.
First, remember to live your lives in such a manner that you are participating in His resurrection
Second, remember that your arrival in Heaven is the consummation of living your lives in His resurrection power. It is there that you become complete and ready to enter into His eternity and beyond.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
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