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Phil. 3:1-3 THE POSSESSIONS OF A COVENANT PEOPLE
Intro: Ill. The importance and significance that God attaches to a covenant. (Ill. Gen. 9:12-16; Ill. Gen. 13:15) A covenant is not a contract. A contract is an agreement that can be broken by either party. A covenant, on the other hand, is an agreement that is binding for as long as the initiator lives. Since all the covenants in the Bible originate with the Lord, then they are all forever! For centuries, the Jews were the covenant people of God. God isnt done with them yet. However, they felt as though they had a corner on religion. (Ill. This is the problem the Philippians were facing. It seems that certain Judaizers were trying to force these gentile Christians into a Jewish mold. That is the teaching that Paul is writing about here.) Yet, when their long awaited Messiah came to them, they rejected Him, John 1:11. As a result, the Lord initiated a new covenant. Those people who are partaker of that new covenant have certain possessions that mark them as being different from the rest of the religious world. Allow me to take a few minutes and share these possessions of a covenant people with you.
I. OUR STATUS AS BELIEVERS
A. Ill. The Judaizers and their attempts at forcing the Law. Theirs was a mixture of Law and grace that did nothing but confuse and enslave those deceived by it. (Ill. No difference between what they taught and what the religious world teaches today!)
B. Ill. "We are the circumcision." Paul says that those who have believed in Jesus, the author of the new covenant, are the true covenant people of the Lord! (Ill. Rom. 2:29; Col.2 :11-12) Ill. This was not a new idea Deut. 30:6.
C. As believers, we are free from the statutes of men, and the bondage of religious legalism! (Ill. Pauls contempt for these people Dogs, evil workers, mutilators!) Ill. If we are in Christ, then we are free John 8:36; Rom. 8:33-34. (Ill. Even God is not ashamed to be associated with us Heb. 11:16!
II. OUR STANDARD OF WORSHIP
A. Ours is not a worship based in fleshly ritual! (Sacrifices, ordinances, rituals, etc!) (Ill. The woman at the well John 4:19-24.)
B. Ours is a spiritual worship that flows forth from our hearts. As the Christian ponders the greatness of God, the blessings of the Lord, and the work God has done on his behalf, worship and praise are the natural results. (Ill. The Demoniac Mark 5:15-20)
C. Ill. All other forms of worship glorify the flesh! Genuine worship that exalts Jesus and honors God, worship that flows from a redeemed heart, glorifies the Lord in Heaven. (Ill. Instead of elevating the worshipping Christian, true worship will often belittle you in the eyes of others!)
III. OUR SOURCE OF REJOICING
A. Ill. "rejoicing" = to make a boast. Ill. The Jews were notorious for their boastfulness in their religious practices, Ill. Matt. 6:2, 5, 16; 23:5-7.
B. The only ground of boasting for the Christian is the name of Jesus Eph. 2:8-9. We were nothing when He found us, and every thing we are and hope to be, we owe to Him!
C. Our boasting is in Jesus and His finished and unfinished work on our behalf!
1. Finished Redemption, Salvation, Glorification, etc.
2. Unfinished Day by day provision, Grace, Heaven, etc.
D. Ill. There is no room for boasting in who we are and what we have done Ill. 2 Men in the Temple Luke 18:9-14.
IV. OUR SPHERE OF CONFIDENCE
A. Not in the flesh, religion, or what either can accomplish. (Ill. The religionist depends on his works and his system of belief to give him hope for the future.)
B. We are certainly not depending on the flesh! It can produce nothing of value!
1. It always seeks to destroy Gods ways Gen. 6:12
2. It can never help you in your spiritual walk John 6:63
3. There is absolutely no good in the flesh, at all Rom. 7:18
The flesh is capable of nothing but evil!
C. It isnt this way for the true Christian at all! His soul confidence is in the Lord Jesus and His finished work at Calvary. (Ill. Its all I have to cling to!) We are not struggling to enter in, we are resting in a secure thing Heb. 10:9-14!!
D. Faith that is in anything but Jesus, or anything plus Jesus is in the wrong place. Faith that resides in Christ alone is a faith that will endure, and that will secure a home in Heaven!
Conc: What a standing is the child of Gods! We have hope of a home in Heaven. Not because of who we are, but because of who Jesus is! We are a different people, praise God! Are these possessions yours? Where is your confidence this evening? Is it in yourself, in your works, your goodness, in your religion? If so, place it in Jesus alone and that will save. Anything else damns! If you faith is in Christ, then rejoice! For you are as sure for Heaven as if you were already standing there. What are you standing on this evening? A firm foundation or shifting sand?