Scripture: Philippians 3:1-3
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you. Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,
Insights: As we enter into this third chapter I want to remind you this book of Philippians was actually a letter; a letter that would have been read in its entirety to the church at one setting. Paul, like all of us, had some things about which he wanted to write to this church, but wrote some preliminary comments first. It would be like the way we talk about sports, weather or the health of a family before we engage into the serious matter at hand. That idea is what Paul has been doing in some ways. Chapter one he writes about the theoretical concepts of joy. Chapter two he writes about the practical examples of joyful living. And why is Paul writing so much about joy, because this church is facing issues that potentially could be stealing their joy. Knowing he is about to begin writing about what is really on his mind, he starts with verse one which is a reminder for them to live in joy. What is the first real issue Paul has wanted to talk with them about? The answer is religiously lost people, those on the outside of the body of Christ, who are attempting to muddy the waters for these new Christians in Philippi. Three times Paul uses the word beware in regards to these people. He calls them dogs, evil workers, and the false circumcision. For a fuller explanation as to how these religiously lost Judaizers were persecuting the church, I recommend you read the book of Galatians. Here is the point: we may be living in a society where Christian persecution is not really dangerous. There are countries in which one faces martyrdom for being a Christ-follower. The unfortunate reality is that day of religious persecution is quickly coming our way. After the election a few weeks back I quoted Kevin Castleberry and his thoughts regarding our country. His words regarding our post-heritage American culture is a precursor to the religious persecution that will come as a result of this culture change in America. Paul’s words for us to beware of such evil workers are just as true today. Beware, as you live in joy!
- In what ways can you prepare for the external persecutions that will arise as the days of evil increase?
- Are you already experiencing trials for your faith from external sources?
Prayer: Father, there is obviously a spiritual war going on around us. Open my eyes and equip me to be steadfast and true to the battles I am presently facing and the battles to come. Amen.