Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Philippians Week 47-The Citizens of the Kingdom of Christ

-“Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.” (Isaiah 40:10)

Philippians 3:20-21

-In 168 B.C., the Romans brought Philippi under Roman rule. In the days of the New Testament, the former empire of Greece was divided into the northern Roman providence of Macedonia and the southern Roman providence of Achaia. After Philippi became a Roman colony, over 500 discharged military veterans received land allotments in Philippi. Being a Roman colony, Philippi was tax-exempt, self-governing, and enjoyed the rights and privileges of Rome itself, such as the dress, coinage, holidays, and language.

Verse 20
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
1. A Heavenly Citizenship

-“But” (γὰρ) contrasts the false teachers with true believers in Christ, just like Paul contrasted Judaizers and the Philippians in Philippians 3:2-3.
-“Our citizenship” (ἡμῶν πολίτευμα) can be translated many different ways, but the intended meaning is members of a commonwealth or state. The archaic translation “conversation” improperly represents this idea as “way of life.”
-Roman citizens enjoyed the right to legally marry, the right to vote, and the right to make commercial contracts. Roman citizens, except in Roman colonies like Philippi, were taxed. Someone could become a Roman citizen by birth if the child was born in legal wedlock, whereupon he/she assumed the social status of their father. If the child was born to parents not legally married under Roman law, the child took the status of the mother. If the mother was a Roman citizen, then the child would become a Roman citizen. However, Roman legionaries were forbidden by law to marry during their 20-year term of service, and any children born to soldiers in active military duty were not considered citizens.
-The Cives Romani were either non optimo iure who held property and marriage rights, or optimo iure who held these rights and the rights to vote and hold office.
-Roman citizens could not receive the death penalty (such as crucifixion), whipped, or tortured.
-Roman citizens could also be priests or magistrates, which at first was only a privilege granted to the Patricians. Later, however, the plebians also enjoyed this privilege. Free-born Roman women who were citizens could not hold civil office or vote.
-Paul was the only apostle with recorded Roman citizenship, and he had it by birth. (Acts 22:25-29) Tarsus, in the province of Cilicia (Acts 22:3), was a free city in the Roman Empire. Because he was a Roman citizen, he had the legal right to a fair trial in the Roman courts, and could appeal to Caesar himself as the highest standard of appeal.
-The Roman Republic lasted from 509 B.C. until 27 B.C., so the majority of Philippi’s history under Roman rule occurred during the commonwealth period. Beginning with Augustus Caesar in 27 B.C., however, the Roman Empire began. Augustus Caeser, Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius all ruled prior to Nero, who was currently the emperor when Paul was in prison.
-“is” (ὑπάρχει) is present active indicative, specifying we have a present citizenship already in place.
-“heaven” (οὐρανοῖς) is the present realm of God, Christ, the angels, and those awaiting their resurrection bodies. Our citizenship finds its location in Heaven.
-To be a citizenship meant that one was an inhabitant of a city or country. (Luke 15:15; Luke 19:14).
-To be a citizen in some contexts meant that one was part of the same ethnic nation as other “citizens”. (Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8:11)
-To be a citizen means that we are part of the holy nation of believers. (1 Peter 2:9)
-To be a citizen means that our inheritance is in heaven. (Matthew 5:12; 1 Peter 1:3-5)
-To be a citizen means that we enjoy the privileges of being sons of God. (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1)
-To be a citizen means that we enjoy the privileges of having full access to the King. (Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12)
-To be a citizen means that we enjoy the protection and privilege of being known by God. (2 Timothy 2:19)
2. An Anticipated Savior
-“await” (ἀπεκδεχόμεθα) means to eagerly await and look forward to something.
-Paul and the Philippians eagerly looked forward to meeting each other again. (Philippians 1:25-26; Philippians 2:24)
-The Philippians eagerly looked forward to seeing Epaphroditus again. (Philippians 2:25-30)
-To eagerly await something or someone gives someone hope. (Romans 15:13; Psalm 130:5)
-To eagerly await something or someone gives someone focus for the future. (Psalm 55:16-17)
-God calls us to eagerly await the fulfillment of His promises. (Psalm 37:34)
-God calls us to eagerly wait on Him in our lives as we think about the future. (Psalm 27:14; Isaiah 25:9)
-“a Savior” (σωτῆρα) means one who delivers from death.
-The author of Hebrews echoes this idea of Paul’s. (Hebrews 9:28)
-The primary influences in the world of Paul’s day were the Hebrews, the Greeks, and the Romans. The Hebrews had long thought of the idea of a Messiah, the Greeks would have considered it folly to look to a Hebrew teacher as a “savior”, and the Romans, particularly the legionaries, would have confessed Caesar to be the supreme lord and son of God.
-In secular Greek, men gave other men the term savior in order to laud them for noble actions. In the Roman Empire, the Roman emperors were termed “saviors”, with Julius Caesar being described, “First, then, they voted that he should always ride, even in the city itself, wearing the triumphal dress, and should sit in his chair of state everywhere except at the games; for at those he received the privilege of watching the contests from the tribunes’ benches in company with those who were tribunes at the time. And they gave him the right to offer spolia opima [the arms stripped from a slain enemy commander], as they are called, at the temple of Jupiter Feretrius, as if he had slain some hostile general with his own hand, and to have lictors [Roman civil servant] who always carried laurel, and after the Feriae Latinae [Latin Festival] to ride from the Alban Mount into the city on horseback. In addition to these remarkable privileges they named him father of his country, stamped this title on the coinage, voted to celebrate his birthday by public sacrifice, ordered that he should have a statue in the cities and in all the temples of Rome, 5and they set up two also on the rostra, one representing him as the saviour of the citizens and the other as the deliverer of the city from siege, and wearing the crowns customary for such achievements. They also resolved to build a temple of Concordia Nova, on the ground that it was through his efforts that they enjoyed peace, and to celebrate an annual festival in her honour.”—Roman History by Cassius Dio, circa. 220 A.D.
-Divi Filius, “Son of God”, was bestowed upon Julius Caesar posthumously by the Roman senate in order for Augustus to be known as the “son of god”. Caesar Augustus (Gaius Octavius) used this title for political advancement. Tiberius and Nero were both emperors known as “son of god.” Roman centurions had to confess that Caesar was the son of god, in contrast to the Roman centurion that confessed Jesus to be the Son of God. (Mark 15:39)
-The phrase “son of God” in the Hebrew (God-breathed) understanding can mean those who act like God, those who are redeemed by God, or those belonging to Israel. But for Jesus to be known as the Son of God, it means that He is the truest Israelite ever born, the divine Savior sent by God, and rightful Davidic King of Israel.
-Men need a savior in order to deliver them from the enemies of God’s people. (Judges 3:9; Judges 3:15)
-No one on earth can ever be our sufficient and everlasting savior. (Psalm 146:3; Matthew 19:25-26)
-God is the only Savior of men. (Isaiah 43:11; Hosea 13:4)
-Men need a Savior in order to redeem their souls. (Psalm 107:20; Psalm 130:8)
-Men need a Savior in order to usher them into the eternal Kingdom of God. (Colossians 1:11-14)
-Jesus Christ is the only Savior of men. (Acts 4:12; Acts 10:43) 
-“Lord Jesus Christ” (κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν) identifies our savior: the Lord Jesus. It is the same title used in Philippians 2:11. Paul again states that Jesus, not Nero, is the true Lord of all.
-As Lord, Jesus Christ is the sovereign Ruler of the cosmos. (Psalm 47:8)
-As Lord, Jesus Christ reigns over all the actions of men. (Psalm 22:28)
-Jesus Christ is the only Lord of men. (1 Corinthians 8:6)

Verse 21
who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

1. A Future Transformation

-“will transform” (μετασχηματίσει) is a future active indicative verb, meaning that this is an actual fact that will occur in the future. 
-Part of redemption is transformation. (Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 36:26)
-“our” (ἡμῶν) “lowly” (ταπεινώσεως) “body” (σῶμα) means that we have bodies that are humiliatingly lowly and base in comparison to what will follow.
-Back in Genesis, God cursed humanity with death as a result of human sin. (Genesis 3:17-19)
-Our bodies last for a very brief amount of time compared to the time span of redemptive history. (Psalm 144:4; James 4:14)
-Our bodies have no power compared to the power of God. (Jeremiah 17:5; Isaiah 2:22)
-Our bodies will deteriorate as a result of the Fall, as this is inevitable for everyone. (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7)
-Our bodies are not the bodies that we will inhabit for eternity. (1 Corinthians 15:53-54)
-Our bodies suffer greatly from the effects of the Fall. (Romans 8:23; 2 Corinthians 5:4)
-Our bodies will assuredly die. (Job 34:14-15; Psalm 104:29)
-“By this argument he stirs up the Philippians still farther to lift up their minds to heaven, and be wholly attached to Christ—because this body which we carry about with us is not an everlasting abode, but a frail tabernacle, which will in a short time be reduced to nothing. Besides, it is liable to so many miseries, and so many dishonourable infirmities, that it may justly be spoken of as vile and full of ignominy.—John Calvin, Commentary on Philippians
2. A Glorious Body
-“to be like” (σύμμορφον) means to conform an object to specifications.
-Christ is the standard of our conformity. (Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27)
-God has already predestined us to be conformed to Christ. (Romans 8:29)
-Christ Jesus stands perfect before the Father, interceding for us. (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25)
-Christ Jesus is sinless. (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22)
-Christ Jesus is risen from the grave. (Matthew 28:6; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
-The Holy Spirit is the divine agency of transforming power in our lives. (John 14:15-17; Romans 8:26)
-“his” (αὐτοῦ) “glorious body” (σώματι δόξης) contrasts our lowly bodies with Christ’s body of glory.
-God the Father raised Jesus Christ from the dead. (Acts 2:24; Acts 2:32)
-Jesus Christ Himself raised Himself from the dead. (John 2:19; John 10:17-18)
-The Holy Spirit’s power caused Christ to be raised from the dead. (Romans 8:11)
-John the apostle saw Jesus Christ in His glorified state after His resurrection. (Revelation 1:1-18)
-We will receive glorified bodies at the resurrection of the righteous. (Daniel 12:2; Ezekiel 37:12)
-The presence of sin will be removed when we are with our Lord. (Daniel 12:3)
3. A Supreme Power
-“power” (ἐνέργειαν) refers to working power and operational power.
-In the Gospels, the writers continuously present Jesus as possessing divine power that no mere mortal ever possessed in human history. (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 1:21-22)
-By the word of His power, God created the Heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
-Christ Jesus is the Creator of the universe. (Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:10-12)
-The Lord possess all royal and sovereign power over the universe. (Psalm 29:4-6; Jeremiah 51:15-16)
-God the Father works His great power in us like He worked in the life of His Son. (Ephesians 1:19-21)
4. A Total Subjection
-“that enables” (δύνασθαι) means that Christ possesses divine power.
-“him” (αὐτὸν) “to subject” (ὑποτάξαι) means that Jesus has power to subdue bring into submission.
-To subject means to cause the object to be submissive. (Luke 10:17)
-God subjected all things and gave them to Christ. (Ephesians 1:22)
-“all things” (πάντα) means that nothing is outside Jesus’ control.
-Christ Jesus possesses all power over heaven and earth. (Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:18-23)
-Christ Jesus possesses all power over spiritual forces, for Christ Jesus is God incarnate. (Mark 1:23-27)
-Christ Jesus possesses all power over all rulers, for He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Psalm 89:27; Revelation 19:16)
-Christ Jesus possesses all power over suffering, for He conquered death itself. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
-Christ Jesus possesses all power over our indwelling sin, for He paid the penalty at the Cross. (Colossians 2:13-15)
-Christ Jesus possesses all power the dead, for He will raise men from the dead at His second coming. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
-“to himself.” (αὑτῷ) means that Jesus Christ powerfully rules over everyone and everything in Creation.
-Christ is the One to whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2:9-11)
-No enemy will withstand Jesus Christ of Nazareth. (Psalm 17:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:8)
-Jesus Christ is worthy, and He is the conquering Lion of Judah and victorious Lamb of God. (Revelation 5:9-14)

-“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:12-13 ESV)



Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Throne of God and the Lion of Judah

Today, I finished up my 20th time reading through the Bible. Among the many benefits of reading the Bible in 90 days is the quarterly opportunity to read the book of Revelation in one sitting. When this is done, the clear, sequential, and astounding message of the book shines forth.

Interestingly, while all books of the New Testament are given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Revelation is the only New Testament book that Jesus personally commissioned an apostle to write. For John, now exiled on the Isle of Patmos and awaiting the return of the One who dearly loved Him, suddenly sees His risen Lord in His divine glory in Revelation 1. After the messages to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3, we see the glory of God the Father in the throne room of Heaven in Revelation 4. And when we come to Revelation 5, we see the supremacy of God’s Son as He stands before His Father seated on Heaven’s throne.

In verse 1, God the Father holds the title deed to the universe in the form of a scroll sealed with seven seals. A mighty angel shouts, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” These seals, as we see in chapters 6-8:5, contain the first round of God’s future judgments upon the earth. But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth can take the scroll, as no one is worthy. John, standing by, weeps loudly in distress, thinking that no one can open it. But one of the elders from the group of 24 elders in chapter 4 assures John, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals.” The description “Lion of Judah” harkens all the way back to Israel’s pronouncement of blessing on Judah in Genesis 49, declaring Jesus to be the rightful Monarch and Heir to the throne of David.

Suddenly, John sees the Lamb of God standing before the throne of God, with seven horns and seven eyes representing the omniscience of God Himself. He walks to the throne and takes it from the right hand of the Father, prompting the four living creatures and 24 elders to fall down before the Lamb. And they sing a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.” The tenses are important, for in these scene that Christ was slain, as His crucifixion and resurrection have already occurred, that even now we in the church age are already priests to god and the possessor of His Kingdom, and that one day in the future we will reign on earth when Christ returns.

Then John looks, in verse 11, and hears around the throne and the living creatures and 24 elders the sounds of “myriads of myriads and thousands and thousands” of angels. Now, the entire angelic assembly joins in with the four living creatures and 24 elders in praising the Lion of Judah for overcoming, for “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

Jesus Christ, the Root of David, the Lion of Judah, and the Lamb of God, is worthy. No angel, no Christian in Heaven, no man on earth, and no one in the realm of the dead is worthy, but the Lamb has overcome by His blood on the Cross. Earlier, in Revelation 1, we see the risen Lord in His glory declare to the fearful John, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:17b-18) Many men have striven to be worthy of absolute power and control over human history. Some have even tried to conquer death through various practices. But only Christ Jesus is the risen Alpha and Omega who is worthy to stand before God and take control of the final history of the cosmos and the human race.

We often subconsciously long for a man to be worthy to restore order and balance to the world, whether it be in our presidents, our kings, or our potentates. We want to look to ourselves to provide security in the present, and we often fret about how the future will work itself out. But God has never been up for election to be God, and no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth is worthy except for our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And while He first appeared as the Lamb of God to offer Himself as the once-for-all sacrifice for our sins, He will return as the Lion of Judah to usher in His eternal Kingdom reign. For elsewhere in Revelation, we read that one day the seventh trumpet of the seventh angel will be blown. “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.’ And the twenty-four elders fell on their faces and worshipped God, saying, ‘We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” (Revelation 11:15-18)

As we read in the book of Revelation in the New Testament and other books, such as Isaiah, Zechariah, Joel, Ezekiel, and Daniel, the future of the human race and the cosmos will not be a pleasant one. Indeed, the apostle Paul affirmed that the greatest human enemy ever seen in human history has not yet come, for the “Man of Lawlessness” has yet to be revealed. The final Antichrist, in the spirits of all the antichrists in human history, will have the power of Satan and a false prophet to wage tremendous war against the saints. But the saints of God have no need for fear, for we read that “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14-15)

We therefore can join in with the remainder of the global audience in Revelation 5:13 in declaring, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” The future of the world has been foretold. God the Father is seated on the throne. The Lion of Judah is worthy to exercise His powerful lordship over all creation in enacting the series of God’s seal judgments, trumpet judgments, and bowl judgments upon the world. He will defeat all His enemies and cast the devil into the lake of fire. And one day, these words in the final chapter of Revelation 22 will be fulfilled: “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” 

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Tools of Reformation, Part 2

In part 1, I wrote about the importance of Scriptural authority, multi-generational vision, and family discipleship as three principles of reformation. Now, in part 2, I write about two more significant areas whereby we can achieve reformation throughout the generations.

Gospel-Centered Churches
The modern age ushered in profound changes in the mainstream evangelical community. Many churches and teachers today voice the clear, authoritative teachings from God’s Word. Many churches and teachers, in contrast, teach for doctrines the commandments of men.

However, while many would look to government, education, careers, or human institutions upon which to bank their futures, only the God-ordained and Christ-bought institution of the church will last throughout time and eternity. Therefore, just as the Reformers in various countries devoted a great deal of attention to the local church, so must we all. When moving forward into history into the realm of the Puritans, we see the commitment that they shared to the importance of the local church. Therefore, we must remain steadfastly committed to being involved in a local church in order to serve the body of Christ and grow together in the knowledge of Him.

In our churches today, our calling is clear: we must disciple the nations, teaching them the whole counsel of God. As described in A Battle for Hearts and Minds 1, 2, 3, and 4, such a focus necessitates true discipleship—not empty, emotionally-charged evangelism.

Obedient Dominion
“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:14-15 ESV) As Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 12, the Christian community exists of many members; each of which serves the Lord in a specific capacity.

As Christians, God commands us to exercise biblical dominion in the midst of a lost and dying world. Our efforts are based to serve the King of Kings, and He alone is the One who controls the destiny of the Kingdom of God. “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.” (Psalm 145:13 ESV)

God calls each of His children into different avenues of service. Not all are called to pastor a congregation, for instance. (James 3:1) Rather, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23 ESV) Our exercise of biblical dominion must never compromise this fact. We cannot abandon the authority of Scripture to achieve temporary victory over that which we are striving to subdue to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

In any area God has placed us in, our mission is clear. We must uphold the authority of the Word of God and serve Him only, striving to serve him in a manner which honors the principles of His Word. We must avoid the downfalls written about in previous posts; rather, we must unashamedly live the truth of God’s Word in the public and private spectrum. Following the principles of Scripture regarding every area of life, our highest aim should be to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ in word and deed.

While we are called to take dominion as a Creation ordinance from the dawn of time itself, there is only one Man who perfectly has dominion and perfectly fulfills the Dominion Mandate. In Psalm 8, a familiar hymn of praise to the Lord, we see the Psalmist express the following: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.” (Psalm 8:3-8 ESV)

No mere man, however, has ever exercised perfect dominion as God’s steward over the earth and its resources. The failure to obey the Dominion Mandate in Genesis has resulted in much chaos, loss, destruction, and death. But the author of Hebrews has this to say about how Jesus Christ, being made Man, is the perfect fulfillment of these words in Psalm 8: “It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:6-10 ESV)


Commitment to biblical principles does not always yield immediate results. Times and cultures change. The Word of the Lord endures forever, and so does the remnant saved by grace. Our call to biblical reformation motivates us to live devoted to the truth of Scripture. Our commitment to the authority of Scripture, family discipleship, gospel-centered churches, and Kingdom-oriented dominion must not waver as we await the return of our King who will make all things right.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 ESV)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Philippians Week 46-The Enemies of the Cross of Christ

-“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-20 ESV)

Philippians 3:18-19

-Philippians’ theme is that joy is found in the supremacy of Christ in the power of the Gospel in the midst of suffering. False teaching, which makes up a major theme in Philippians 3, would rob the Philippians of their joy, and Paul earnestly wanted for them to be joyful in the Lord. (Philippians 3:1)

Verse 18
For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.

1. The Proponents of Error

-“For” (γὰρ) indicates that Paul now specifies his reason for verse 17, and “many” (πολλοὶ) indicates that just as many walked uprightly, many did not.
-Christians need to walk with the godly; an isolated Christian is an anomaly in Scripture. (Ecclesiastes 4:8-10; Hebrews 10:25)
-“of whom” (οὓς) “I have often told you” (πολλάκις ἔλεγον ὑμῖν) indicates that Paul had already warned the Philippians many times about these false teachers.
-Paul first encountered the Philippians in Acts 16 on his second missionary journey circa A.D. 50, recorded from Acts 16:1-18:22.
-Paul also visited the Philippians again during his third missionary journey. He began his third missionary journey after the incident where he rebuked Peter and Barnabas for being influenced by false teaching. Shortly after, he wrote his letter to the Galatian churches, prompting him to visit them. (Acts 18:23) He then traveled to Ephesus and pastored it for three years. Afterwards, he travelled back to Macedonia where he would have visited the Philippians again. (Acts 20:1-2) Spending three months in Greece, he returned back to Philippi. (Acts 20:3-6) He concluded his third missionary journey in A.D. 58 by returning to Jerusalem. (Acts 21:17)
-Just like Paul warned Philippi (Philippians 3:1-3), Christians must actively guard against false teachers and false teaching. (Jude 1:3-4)
-Like the Philippians, Christians need to be in a local congregation that holds to the authority of Scripture. (Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 13:22)
-Christian leaders must repeatedly warn against false teaching. (Acts 20:28-31; 2 Timothy 4:1-5)
-The apostle Paul often warned against the heresies of his day. (Galatians 1:6-9; Galatians 3:10)
-The apostle John often warned against the heresies of his day. (1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:2-3)
-Jesus frequently warned against false teaching of His day. (Matthew 16:6; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1)
2. The Sorrow of Error
-“And” (δὲ) is not the word kai, but instead is an adversative conjunction and a logical contrastive. Adversative conjunctions contrast the current phrase with the phrase immediately before it, and logical contrastives compare two ideas by means of contrast.
-“now” (νῦν) indicates that Paul needed to warn the Philippians again about false teaching.
-We need constant reminders of the truth (Philippians 3:1) and constant warnings to stay away from error. (Jude 1:3)
-“tell you” (λέγω) is a present active indicative, meaning that Paul now presently tells them by writing them in his letter.
-Christian ministers must vocally and actively warn their flocks not to fall prey to false teaching. (1 Peter 5:8; 2 John 1:10-11)
-“even” (καὶ) here is not a normal conjunction, but is instead a logical ascensive and an emphatic conjunction. Logical ascensives add a final piece of information to a phrase to reach a climax, and emphatic conjunctions show forms of stress or intensify the force of words.
-“with tears” (κλαίων) indicates that, unlike other times, Paul now tells them with such force and concern that he weeps as he writes. This is the only time in Scripture that Paul describes himself as weeping when he writes in the present tense.
-Nothing appears to have moved Paul more than his agony over false teaching. (Acts 20:19; Acts 20:31)
-In the Bible, men wept when they experienced sorrow over error. (Psalm 119:136; Jeremiah 13:17)
-False teaching is very deceitful to human minds. (Jude 1:12-13)
-False teaching is very destructive to human souls. (1 Timothy 1:19; 2 Peter 2:17)
3. The Enemies of Error
-“walk” (περιπατοῦσιν) is the same idea as “walking” back in verse 17. Both godly men and ungodly men walk two different paths, and Paul urgently wanted the Philippians to walk after godly men on the right path.
-All men walk towards a final destination, but their paths will either lead them to life or to death. (Proverbs 4:18-19)
-Those who walk on ungodly paths are fools. (Ecclesiastes 10:3)
-Those who walk on ungodly paths look to themselves for their salvation. (Proverbs 18:2)
-Those who walk on ungodly paths are evil at heart. (Proverbs 18:3)
-“as enemies” (ἐχθροὺς) indicates that these false teachers are in no way friends. The Philippians would certainly have been familiar with military enemies.
-Many false teachers had stirred up enmity against Paul many times in His ministry. (Acts 17:1-15)
-False teachers crucified Christ—the very epitome of enmity. (Luke 23:13-25)
-“of the cross of Christ” (σταυροῦ Χριστοῦ) indicates that these false teachers denied and warred against the message of the cross of Christ.
-False teaching denies the message of the Cross. (1 Corinthians 1:17)
-False teaching views the message of the Cross as a fool’s tale. (1 Corinthians 1:18-21)
-False teaching stumbles over the message of the Cross. (Acts 4:1-13)
-False teaching subtracts from the atoning work of Christ on the Cross by adding human works, merits, or effort. (Galatians 5:1-6)

Verse 19
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
1. The End of Error

-Paul states that “their” (ὧν) “end” (τέλος) is “destruction.” (ἀπώλεια)
-Satan, the first being to propagate false teaching, set himself above the level of God. (Isaiah 14:12-15; Luke 10:18)
-Satan’s present aim in this life is to destroy God’s truth. (2 Corinthians 2:10-11; 1 Peter 5:8)
-To willingly propagate false teaching is to set oneself above God’s self-revelation. (Psalm 14:1; Psalm 10:4)
-To willingly propagate false teaching is to ignore the words of God’s Son. (John 8:23-30)
-To willingly propagate false teaching is to be enslaved to sin. (John 8:31-38)
-To willingly propagate false teaching is to be the child of the devil. (John 8:44-47)
-The devil’s fate is sure: he will face eternal conscious torment and punishment in hellfire. (Revelation 20:7-10)
-The children of the devil have the same goal as their spiritual father: to destroy God’s truth. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
-The children of the devil will face the same fate as the devil himself. (Revelation 20:11-15)
2. The Worship of Error
-Paul states that their “god” (θεὸς) is their “belly.” (κοιλία) The semantic range of κοιλία is “stomach, belly, birth, have been from birth, fed, heart, appetite, before I was born.” Here, the category is “stomach”, with the sub-category of the physical abdominal region of the human body.
-Euripides, an ancient Greek playwright, lived in the Attic period of ancient Greece, during the 5th century B.C. His plays are the only surviving plays of ancient Greece, along with the plays of
Sophocles and Aeschylus. His plays are ascribed as being the most tragic of the playwrights. Of his many notable plays, Cyclops (Κύκλωψ) is the only surviving satyr play in complete form from antiquity. The character Cyclopes is a single-eyed giant living on an island that Odysseus and his sailors shipwreck upon after the Trojan War. In one scene in the story, as he responds to Odysseus as Odysseus pleas not to be eaten alive by Cyclops, Cyclops mocks Zeus, the god of the Olympians and the god of sky and thunder, by stating that he has no fear of him. He describes himself as a hedonist in these words: “The earth perforce, whether she like it or not, produces grass and fattens my flocks, which I sacrifice to no one save myself and this belly, the greatest of deities; but to the gods, not I! For surely to eat and drink one's fill from day to day and give oneself no grief at all, this is the king of gods for your wise man, but lawgivers go hang, chequering, as they do, the life of man!” Therefore, Paul’s phrase “god is their belly” could harken back to Euripides’ character Cyclops and his statements, as Euripides died in exile in Macedonia.
-The Jewish false teachers continued to advocate kosher food practices, even though God has made all foods clean. (Mark 7:19; Hebrews 13:9)
-By not obeying God’s revelation, men are idolaters at heart. (Psalm 97:6-7)
-Men worship lies instead of the living God when they worship idols. (Psalm 106:36; Jeremiah 10:14)
-To worship oneself is to worship the creature rather than the Creator. (Romans 1:25)
-To worship idols intrinsic or extrinsic to oneself is to end up ashamed. (Isaiah 42:17; Isaiah 44:11)
3. The Shame of Error
-Paul states that they “glory” (δόξα). Doxa, here a noun, is a common prefix used to denote praise, such as in doxology.
-Glory often occurs in positive contexts, such as when it refers to God’s glory. (Leviticus 9:23; Numbers 14:10)
-Men boast in what they worship. (Psalm 97:7; Jeremiah 9:23)
-Men rely on what they worship. (Job 31:24-28; 1 John 5:21)
-Men find their identity in what they glory. (Galatians 6:14; Galatians 2:20)
-Men place their trust in what they find glorious. (Psalm 62:10; Proverbs 11:28)
-“In their shame” (αἰσχύνῃ) indicates that these false teachers glory in indecency and shamefulness. But more specifically, it refers to the fact that these false teachers took pride in their circumcised genitalia, as these are Jewish false teachers in the immediate context of Philippians 3.
-Circumcision was not in itself shameful, but it was shameful to trust in that rather than the cross. (Galatians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 7:19)
-Boasting in anything other than Jesus Christ and Him crucified is indecent and shameful. (1 Corinthians 1:31; 2 Corinthians 10:17)
-Trusting in anyone other than Jesus Christ and Him crucified is indecent and shameful. (Psalm 118:3; Psalm 146:3)
-Finding this type of glory in anyone other than God and His Christ is indecent and shameful. (Revelation 13:4; Revelation 14:11)
-Relying on anyone other than the Lord for salvation is indecent and shameful. (Isaiah 33:22; James 4:12)
4. The Minds of Error
-Paul states that they have “minds set on earthly things.” (ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντες)
-False teachers use their minds to think on the level of fallen humanity. (Jeremiah 44:17; Romans 16:18)
-False teachers cannot accept the spiritual things of God, for they do not know God’s Son. (John 8:23-24; 1 Corinthians 2:14)
-False teachers cannot accept the spiritual things of God, for they do not have God’s Spirit. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
-Earthly things will pass away. (1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 John 2:17)
-Earthly things will disappoint. (Matthew 6:19)
-Setting one’s mind on earthly things will corrupt the mind. (2 Peter 2:20)
-Setting one’s mind on earthly things will turn one’s mind away from the Bride of Christ. (2 Peter 1:4-8)

-“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV)