INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:
Background to Philippians…
The Apostle Paul wrote the epistle (personal letter) (1:1) to the Philippian church, probably during his imprisonment in Rome. The letter was written from a heart of love and concern for the Philippians. Due to Paul’s imprisonment, he could not personally visit with the church so he sent this letter with Timothy to encourage them and bring back news of their condition to Paul. (2:19).
Some of the main divisions of the book include:
1. Introduction to the book: 1:1-2
2. Paul’s thankfulness for the Philippians: 1:3-11
3. News of Paul’s imprisonment and dedication: 1:12-26
4. Following Christ’s example is our duty: 1:27-2:18
5. Paul’s representatives and the need to treat them kindly: 2:19-30
6. Paul’s example of living a joyous life: 3:1-11
7. The Christian’s heavenly calling: 3:12-21
8. The need for Godly living: 4:1-9
9. The love offerings of the Philippians: 4:10-20
10. Closing to the book of Philippians: 4:21-23
Php 3:2-3 – “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
Paul begins to warn the Philippians of those who would oppose the truths of God’s Word. In doing so, he repeatedly used the term “beware”.
This word comes from a Greek word that means “to look at” or “to perceive”. When using this term, Paul is encouraging the Philippians believers to closely examine these groups and perceive the great harm they were doing to the cause of Christ.
“Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
Paul warns the church at Philippi of three groups of people who opposed the cause of Christ…
1. “dogs” – false professors, hypocritical worshippers of Jehovah who were looked upon as spiritually unclean and rejected from genuine worship of the Lord (Mat 7:6, 2 Pet 2:22)
2. “evil workers” – those who were outwardly, blatantly wicked. Those we were proud of their sins calling evil good and good evil. (Isa 5:20, Luke 16:15, 2 Pet 2:18-19)
3. “concision” – “to cut down” or “to cut off”. This speaks of the physical Jews who were relying upon their physical circumcision as one necessity for salvation (Acts 15:1, Gals 5:2)
To this day, all three of these groups do great harm to the cause of Christ.
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
Paul now identifies himself and other true followers of Christ as “the circumcision”, not “the concision. In other words, Paul places the emphasis, not on his physical Jewish lineage, but his spiritual lineage as a member of the nation of God’s chosen people (Gals 3:7, Rom 9:6-8).
In comparison to the groups of lost individuals described in the prior verse, genuine Christians as those who…
1. “worship God in the spirit” or “worship God by the Spirit’ – true believers worship God sincerely, they worship God based upon the intervention of the indwelling Holy Spirit during their times of worship.
2. “rejoice in Christ Jesus” – their boasting, rejoicing and peace all stem from their recognition of Christ’s work on their behalf and their security that they possess through Christ.
3. “have no confidence in the flesh” – Because true believers recognize salvation is by Christ and Him alone. They do not rely on any aspect of their own works realizing their entire being is tainted by sin and unable to produce anything work that is pleasing to the Lord.
This is why true believers understand that they can place NO CONFIDENCE in any aspect of their sinful flesh, but must place their entire confidence in Christ and His work.
May we all “be on the lookout” for the false professors, the blatantly wicked and those who rely upon human lineage or works to attain salvation from Christ. May we see that all of these do tremendous harm to the cause of Christ.
May we also examine our lives to be sure that we see the fruits of a genuine salvation experience. These include a sincere worship of the Lord based upon His enabling in our lives; all of our boasting based upon Christ and His work on our behalf; and not relying on any aspect of our own works realizing our entire being is affected by sin.
When we see these attitudes prevailing in our lives, we can have a greater assurance that we are genuinely saved and eternally secure in Christ.
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