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Friday, July 22, 2016

Sermon Leftovers: Philippians 3:16

Because our time was cut short on Sunday, I’m giving you the remainder of the message in a couple of chunks on the blog yesterday and today.  That will allow us to continue on with the next passage this Sunday.
If you missed the message on Sunday, you can find it here. 

…only let us hold true to what we have attained. (Phil 3:16)
Another way of saying this is, let’s walk in conformity to the standard we’ve been given.  A number of commentators believe that Paul is once again calling the Philippians to walk in a manner consistent with the gospel.  I agree with them.
The gospel is what we have attained.  And the gospel is something that is to be believed.  And as we’ve seen numerous times in our study of this letter, if we believe the gospel, our lives will exhibit certain characteristics. 
The gospel teaches that the holy God of the universe created all things for His own glory, including the pinnacle of His creation, man.  He gave man His law to abide by and He commissioned man to be His representative in the world.  But the first man rebelled against God and his sin tainted the whole world, including all those who would come after him.
So everyone born since then, including you and I, has come into this world with a heart bent against God and His righteous standard.  And for our sin we all deserve eternity in hell.  There is nothing that we can do to change our own hearts or to get out of receiving that penalty.
But the creator God is gracious and merciful and loving, so He sent His Son to come to earth to live sinlessly in our place and to die on the cross for our sins.  Jesus Christ was the perfect substitute for us.  He lived and died in the place of sinners.  Three days later the Father raised Him from the dead so that now anyone who repents and trusts in Christ is joined to Him so that they share in His righteousness and their sins are removed and forgiven and they become heirs with Him of all the blessings in the heavenly places.
In that union with Christ, the believer receives a new heart that wants to serve God.  The Holy Spirit comes to live inside the believer to continually testify to Christ and to empower them to live for Him.  And the believer is slowly conformed to the likeness of Jesus in his character and conduct.  The gospel is all about what God has done in Christ to transform sinners who hated God and one another into saints who love God and one another.
So if someone has repented and believed in Christ and has received a new heart and has the Holy Spirit living in side of them, they should live in a manner consistent with the gospel.  They should be growing in Christlikeness.  They should have hope.  They should have faith.  They should desire Jesus more and more all the time.
Paul is simply saying here, let’s not forget what we’ve received – the gospel and all that it means, including the call to live a lifestyle consistent with it.
I’m very excited to open the Word with you this Sunday to Philippians 3:17-21.  See you then, Lord willing!

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