Waking the Sleeping Giant #7

Time to Wake a Sleeping Giant

A Call to Heavenly Thinking

Philippians 3:17-21

Message #7


This morning we looked at how we must passionately pursue Jesus Christ and His purposes for us in this life. The 5 Important Things to remember and apply so that you can passionately pursue Jesus Christ and His purposes are: (1) Be humble; (2) Be determined; (3) Be future-minded; (4) Be focused; (5) Be wise. This kind of living really calls for sacrifice and determination. It calls for a real desire to know God and live for Him. Can it be done? The Word of God says, not only can it be done, it must be done for the glory of God! It is time to live a life of Passionate Pursuit!

– Paul encourages the Philippians to follow his example so that they will live in a way that is heavenly-minded. What is heavenly thinking? Does it mean that you sit around and meditate all day long?

– In this passage we are going to see that there are 4 things that you need to be aware of so that you can become a person who thinks in a heavenly way.

1) Follow the example of godly people (17)

People who live according to the BiblePaul has already given the Philippians the example of his pursuit of Christ- likeness, and now he exhorts them to imitate the things that he is doing in his pursuit of Christ, obviously Paul has admitted to being capable of sin so he doesn’t want them to imitate every single thing that he does, but he does exhort them to imitate his living a life of reckless abandon for Christ, his passionate pursuit of Christ and His purposes – this evidences heavenly thinking

Find someone who is living the way Paul talked about and ask if you can spend some time with them

Make sure that it is a true spirituality that they have, not just blowing smoke – an appearance of godliness but denying the power thereof

This is how discipleship happens

> Paul and the leaders (1:1), Timothy and Epaphroditus, were good models contrasted with their opponents. Paul exhorted the Philippians to join with one another in imitating him. – Tyndale Commentary

2) There are actually enemies of the gospel in the church (18-19)

Don’t follow after those who do evil because they are alot of them (18)

Their end is destruction does not mean annihilation but rather ruination by separation from the presence of God in eternal judgment.

They worship themselves They had in mind only their own physical desires and unrestrained gluttony

* The reference of the immediate context is to sensuality, and carnality in general. (19)

They love their sin Instead of giving glory to God these teachers heaped praise on themselves. Ironically they prided themselves in the things they should have been ashamed of.

They pursue earthly things It is certainly not wrong for God’s people to care about their earthly affairs. But those Paul warned against here were depending on earthly things to gain merit with God. The apostle frequently alerted the people of God against such a lifestyle

> It seems clear that it was in this second way that these people of whom Paul writes were enemies of the cross of Christ. Instead of accepting a self-denying way of discipleship, they had made their physical desires their god, boasted in what was in fact shameful, and set their minds on earthly things. This meant that instead of finding in the cross both their salvation and way of life, they were on a path that could lead only to destruction. – DA Carson

> Greco-Roman philosophers and non-Palestinian Jewish writers (especially Philo) repeatedly railed against those ruled by their passions, often remarking that they were ruled by their “belly” (KJV, NRSV) or their (sexual or culinary) “appetite” (NASB), disdaining their neglect of eternal things. Gluttony especially became part of Roman culture, and its practice by the aristocracy was a frequent butt of satirists’ humor. But being ruled by one’s “belly” meant more than gluttony; it was used to mean any fleshly indulgence (cf. “bodily desires”—TEV). This would be a serious insult to those who thought they were zealous for the Law; but Paul had already “shamed” their “glory” by his own example in 3:4–8. – Craig Keener

> The end of the enemies of the Cross (3:19) is contrasted with the end of the Christian (3:20–21). All believers share in Christ’s past humble state (3:21; 2:7–8) but will also share in his exalted state (3:21; 2:9). Tyndale Commentary

3) Christians are citizens of heaven (20a)

Their end is eternal life– They worship Jesus Christ

– They hate sin

– They pursue heavenly things

> If Roman citzenship was so highly valuable, how much more is the value of being a citizen of heaven? Citizens of Philippi, a Roman law, were automatically citizens of Rome, sharing all the rights and privileges of Roman citizens even though most of them had never been there. Paul’s readers in Philippi therefore understand quite well what it means to be citizens of the supreme city while not yet living there. (“Citizenship” is not “conversation,” as in the KJV.) Craig Keener> The people of Philippi were living there as colonists while their citizenship was in Rome. Similarly Christians, while living on earth, have their citizenship elsewhere—in heaven. This is a definite contrast with those in verse 19 who are described as being earthly minded.

The Christian looks with eager anticipation for the return of the Savior from heaven to take them to the true home – which is with Christ wherever He is.

> Many deities in Philippi were called “saviors,” as was the emperor; although this title for Jesus derives from OT language for God, it provides a stark contrast with the paganism Christians outside Palestine had to confront daily. – Craig Keener

> That He is “the Lord,” now exalted above every name, assures our expectation (Php 2:9–11). Our High Priest is gone up into the Holy of Holies not made with hands, there to atone for us; and as the Israelites stood outside the tabernacle, expecting Aaron’s return (compare Lu 1:21), so must we look unto the heavens expecting Christ there. – JFB

> Philippians could be proud of their citizenship in a Roman colony (see the Introduction), just as we all have an earthly citizenship which has its privileges and its obligations. But they, and we, have to value above all the gift of a heavenly life and citizenship, and we live in hope of our future inheritance that we will receive in its fulness in the future. Thus we eagerly await the reappearing from heaven of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ – DA Carson

4) Christians wait for Jesus to return for them (20b-21)

– He’ll make our bodies like His– He’ll do this with His amazing power, this same power will subject everything to Him

> Paul’s view of the resurrection is that it involves the body, but one distinct in nature from the current body (Greek culture considered the idea of a bodily resurrection vulgar superstition; see comment on 1 Cor 15). As in Judaism, the resurrection occurs at the time of the ultimate battle, when God subordinates all his enemies (cf. also 1 Cor 15:25–28).

Craig Keener

> Then every child of God will be made like the Son of God (1 John 3:2), that is, all Christians will receive glorified bodies like His. No more will they have the limitations they now experience in their “lowly” bodies, which are humbled by disease and sin. Their resurrected bodies will be like Christ’s, and their sanctification will be completed. – BKC


– We should be living in a way that is heavenly-minded. That starts with being aware of these 4 important things: (1) following the example of godly people; (2) many in the church are actually enemies of the gospel; (3) Christians are citizens of heaven; (4) Christians wait for Jesus to return for them.

– Are you living like a citizen of heaven? That means living a live that is completely centered on Jesus Christ. A life that is obedient to the teachings of the Word of God. This will lead to heavenly thinking.

– Don’t miss next Sunday morning in our series Waking the Sleeping Giant, we will explore A Call to Trust in Philippians


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