Thursday, May 29, 2008

Enemies of the Cross of Christ

Philippians 3:17-20 says:
"For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ... Their future is eternal destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and all they think about is life here on earth."

In Philippians 3:3-6 Paul tells us to put no confidence in human effort, but instead to boast about what Christ has done for us. He goes on to say that if anyone had reason to boast it would be him. He was circumcised at eight days old, born to a pure-blood Jewish family, from the tribe of Benjamin. He was a member of the Pharisees, who were the...

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...strictest when it came to the Jewish law. He obeyed the law so carefully that he was never accused of any fault.

And yet verse 7 tells us that even though at one time he thought all this was very important, he now considers it worthless because of what Christ did.

I am sure there are things that you could boast about. Don't be shy. Like the time you gave extra offering, cleaned up the kitchen after fellowship on Sunday night, and no one even thanked you. What about that time your friend needed 20 bucks and you stepped right in there.

While these are all wonderful things, they are nothing compared to knowing Christ.

Have we come to the place where we say (like in verse 8 of chapter 3) all these things that I have done, are nothing when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord.

Have we discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that we may trust and rest in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and righteousness and give Christ ALL of the glory for that righteousness, and become one with Him?

In Phil. 3:9 Paul says, "I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God's law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God's way of making us right with Himself depends on faith."

Your goodness is nothing, and you can never fully obey God's law. The Bible says in James 2:10 that if you stumble in one part of the law you are guilty of breaking the whole law.

Romans 4:13-16 "For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all"

So then it is not keeping the law that is the key, but faith is the key.

In verse 20-22, it tells us the kind of faith that Abraham had, and the result.

Romans 4:20-21 "He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness.

Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED that God was able to do anything he promised."

Do you have unwavering faith in God?

Does your faith grow stronger when circumstances around you seem impossible to overcome.

Abraham believed God's promises about his descendants even though he was 100 yrs old, and his wife 90. He couldn't see a way around his obstacles, but he knew God would keep His word no matter what the situation appeared to be.

What has God promised us?

Romans 4:22-25 "And because of Abraham's faith, God declared him to be righteous. Now this wonderful truth-that God declared him to be righteous-wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. It was for us, too, assuring us that God will also declare us to be righteous if we believe in God, who brought Jesus our Lord back from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised from the dead to make us right with God."

He has promised us salvation through faith in Christ. Do you have faith in God to keep his promise?

Galatians 3:10-13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When He was hung on the cross, He took upon Himself the curse for our wrong doing.

John 3:18 He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Our salvation isn't a result of our Godly conduct, our good deeds, or our love of others.

But instead, our Godly conduct, our good deeds, and our love of others are a result of our faith in Christ.

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Ephesians 4:25-32 Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another. "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

When Christ changes you into a new creature, you have His Spirit living in you. His desires become your desires. Your conduct becomes His.

So, does your conduct show that you are an enemy of the Cross of Christ, or that you are a friend of God?

There is nothing good in any of us to start with, we are all sinful creatures bound for an eternal separation from God. When we realize that we are nothing, and can do nothing for our spiritual state, then we can see that Christ is everything, and has done everything required to save us.

If you are trusting in your deeds for your righteousness, you are still an enemy of the cross.

If you are trusting in Christ alone for your salvation, your conduct will show it

Romans 5:10-11 "For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by His life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God-all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God."

So with the question , "Are we enemies of the cross?", we should first consider if we have truly been made a friend of God..

In Christ

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