Philippians 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
It is important to notice the warnings that God gives us of the many false teachers and false professors of salvation. The wise person cannot simply accept the “testimony” of an individual as good enough. We are not the final authority, God is. Jesus declared:
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Jesus warned of false prophets because they are dangerous. They are more dangerous than the present threat of nuclear war. We know there will be no nuclear war that will destroy the world. There could be a limited, localized nuclear attack. The bigger issue is where do people go when they die. Those that are dying from violence on the streets and those who are dying from the shots the government has mandated are going somewhere at death. Where are they going?
False prophets sensationalize events to get people’s attention. They want your money. They do not care about your soul. Jesus came to save sinners. He cares about your soul. Our text tells us there are many who walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Paul tells us further that these enemies of the cross of Christ are in it for themselves. Their God is their belly.
Kenneth Copeland and Joseph Prince, Joyce Myers and many others are not in it to help you to know the truth. They are in it to build their empire. They want to build a name for themselves. They are making a name for themselves on this earth, but their names are not written down in heaven. However, many people are blindly following these types of people.
Paul did not take pleasure in warning of these wicked people. He did not take pleasure in seeing people choose to follow a lie rather than following the truth. Paul has been addressing the saints at Philippi. He had been teaching them the truth. He had been helping them to be grounded in the Word of God. There were those who were listening to what Paul was saying. There were others who were not so sure they needed to listen to what Paul was saying.
The enemies of the cross of Christ mind earthly things. We mentioned that earlier. They buy jets and they build fancy houses, and they drive fancy cars, etc. They can impress the gullible. When Jesus was on this earth, He did not own a house. He did not ride on a camel. He borrowed a donkey to ride into Jerusalem at one point. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but He did not come to try to impress people with His wealth. He came to lay down His life for the sheep.
The apostles were not wealthy people either. In Acts 3 Peter talked of how void of cash both he and John were. They did not have any money to give the lame man. They had a treasure that was of much greater value than money. After they healed that man, they did not pass a hat around or a bucket or anything else, to try to make money off this event. They were hounded by false teachers who wanted to kill them. That is quite different than the Christ haters that Paul is writing about. Why is it that we are so easily distracted by someone who can flash a few dollar bills before our eyes, or can show us some fancy property they have for “the ministry”?
In verse 20 Paul reminded the saints where their focus needed to be. The word translated as “conversation” in that verse speaks of “community, or citizenship”. The true child of God is living for heaven, not for this earth. We need to be careful not to be pre-occupied with this world. During the summer months too many professing Christians are more concerned about going to the lake or camping somewhere else, rather than attending a good church where they can learn to know the true God.
Many professing Christians like to use one of the many perversions on the market because they like the way some particular one says things. There is no concern for accuracy. I do not think too many people would be happy with a contractor who had four or five different versions of the blueprint to build their house. Things would not be very square and sound if that were the case.
Christians live on this earth, but our hope is in heaven. We live with the expectation that we could be going home any moment. We live with the hope of seeing some lost sinner get saved so that they too can go to heaven. We live with the hope of helping some born again child of God to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul reminded us that Jesus Christ is in heaven now. He is coming back soon.
Verse 21 tells us that He will change our vile body. The word translated as “vile” means “lowness”. Some people spend an inordinate amount of time on their body. They cannot walk past a mirror without stopping to admire themselves. They need to get the right perfume and makeup to make sure they will be noticed. Paul was directed by God to speak of our vile bodies. These bodies are nothing special. They are all corrupted by our sin nature. Every human being has some type of deformity. Some are more noticeable than others. These bodies are going to rot in the ground one day. Worms are going to eat them. That does not sound very pleasant, but that is the reality.
Those who are saved will receive a glorified body one day. When we receive that body, we will not be seeking to lure others into noticing us. We will be more interested in worshipping our risen Saviour and Lord. Life will not be about us, and we need to learn that it is not about us now either.
Paul stated that our glorified bodies will be fashioned like Jesus Christ’s glorious body.
We will not need space suits to enter heaven. Our bodies will be changed. There will be no sickness or aging with those new bodies. Jesus has proved His ability to change our bodies. He has subdued all things to Himself. Everything is designed for God’s glory. The birds sing for God’s glory. We enjoy their songs as well, but they sing for God’s glory. The different colours on the trees are for God’s glory. We enjoy those colours as well, but they are for God’s glory. The animals are here at God’s command. Our governments want to get rid of certain animals. It is interesting that they have limits on man’s ability to hunt and kill certain animals. They are concerned that these animals will go extinct. Yet there are other animals that the governments and environmentalists wish would go extinct.
There is no rhyme or reason to these people’s demand. They are fools because they reject the true God. Those who are saved serve the true God. We live in anticipation of being in His presence one day soon.
Those who are saved need to be careful not to be drawn into the obsessions of this world. We need to be serving the true God. Don’t let the enemies of the cross of Christ draw you away from that which is true and right.
If you are not saved, listen to God’s Word! Your time on this earth is short. You will not take anything with you when you die. You can send precious jewels (a godly testimony) on before you, but you cannot take anything with you.
Jesus taught us that we need to lay up treasure in heaven. The souls of men are precious in God’s sight. It is a blessing to live for God so that others are not distracted by worldliness because of us.