Phil. 3:1-3 THE
POSSESSIONS OF A COVENANT PEOPLE
Intro: Ill. The importance and significance
that God attaches to a covenant. (Ill. Gen. 9:12-16; Ill. Gen.
13:15) A covenant is not a contract. A contract is an agreement
that can be broken by either party. A covenant, on the other
hand, is an agreement that is binding for as long as the
initiator lives. Since all the covenants in the Bible originate
with the Lord, then they are all forever! For centuries, the Jews
were the covenant people of God. God isnt done with them
yet. However, they felt as though they had a corner on religion.
(Ill. This is the problem the Philippians were facing. It seems
that certain Judaizers were trying to force these gentile
Christians into a Jewish mold. That is the teaching that Paul is
writing about here.) Yet, when their long awaited Messiah came to
them, they rejected Him, John 1:11. As a result, the Lord
initiated a new covenant. Those people who are partaker of that
new covenant have certain possessions that mark them as being
different from the rest of the religious world. Allow me to take
a few minutes and share these possessions of a covenant people
I. OUR STATUS AS BELIEVERS
A. Ill. The Judaizers and their attempts at
forcing the Law. Theirs was a mixture of Law and grace that did
nothing but confuse and enslave those deceived by it. (Ill. No
difference between what they taught and what the religious world
B. Ill. "We are the circumcision."
Paul says that those who have believed in Jesus, the author of
the new covenant, are the true covenant people of the Lord! (Ill.
Rom. 2:29; Col.2 :11-12) Ill. This was not a new idea
C. As believers, we are free from the statutes
of men, and the bondage of religious legalism! (Ill. Pauls
contempt for these people Dogs, evil workers, mutilators!)
Ill. If we are in Christ, then we are free John 8:36; Rom.
8:33-34. (Ill. Even God is not ashamed to be associated with us
II. OUR STANDARD OF WORSHIP
A. Ours is not a worship based in fleshly
ritual! (Sacrifices, ordinances, rituals, etc!) (Ill. The woman
at the well John 4:19-24.)
(Ill. Lutheran church in Denmark!
Every time the worshippers would enter this
little Danish church, they would turn to the
right and bow to the wall. An observer asked why
this was done. The only answer he got was,
"We've always done it this way." After
researching the history of the church, he found
that it used to be a Catholic church and that a
painting of Mary used to adorn that wall. When
the reformation came, the painting was painted
over, but the people continued to bow to the
white wall. After many years, the reason for the
practice was forgotten, but the tradition
continued. It was nothing more than a religious
ritual.)(Ill. Other religions!)
B. Ours is a spiritual worship that flows forth
from our hearts. As the Christian ponders the greatness of God,
the blessings of the Lord, and the work God has done on his
behalf, worship and praise are the natural results. (Ill. The
Demoniac Mark 5:15-20)
C. Ill. All other forms of worship glorify the
flesh! Genuine worship that exalts Jesus and honors God, worship
that flows from a redeemed heart, glorifies the Lord in Heaven.
(Ill. Instead of elevating the worshipping Christian, true
worship will often belittle you in the eyes of others!)
III. OUR SOURCE OF REJOICING
A. Ill. "rejoicing" = to make a
boast. Ill. The Jews were notorious for their boastfulness in
their religious practices, Ill. Matt. 6:2, 5, 16; 23:5-7.
B. The only ground of boasting for the
Christian is the name of Jesus Eph. 2:8-9. We were nothing
when He found us, and every thing we are and hope to be, we owe
C. Our boasting is in Jesus and His finished
and unfinished work on our behalf!
1. Finished Redemption,
Salvation, Glorification, etc.
2. Unfinished Day by day
provision, Grace, Heaven, etc.
D. Ill. There is no room for boasting in who we
are and what we have done Ill. 2 Men in the Temple
IV. OUR SPHERE OF CONFIDENCE
A. Not in the flesh, religion, or what either
can accomplish. (Ill. The religionist depends on his works and
his system of belief to give him hope for the future.)
B. We are certainly not depending on the flesh!
It can produce nothing of value!
1. It always seeks to destroy Gods
ways Gen. 6:12
2. It can never help you in your spiritual
walk John 6:63
3. There is absolutely no good in the flesh,
at all Rom. 7:18
The flesh is capable of nothing but evil!
C. It isnt this way for the true
Christian at all! His soul confidence is in the Lord Jesus and
His finished work at Calvary. (Ill. Its all I have to cling
to!) We are not struggling to enter in, we are resting in a
secure thing Heb. 10:9-14!!
(Ill. There can be no mixture of grace and
works Ill. There was a lady who argued with her
Pastor that salvation was always a mixture of faith and
works. She said that it was like a row boat. One oar is
faith, and the other is works. If you row with them
together, you will make progress and reach the other
shore, if you use only one of them, then you will go
around in circles. Her Pastor said to her, "There is
only one problem with that illustration, nobody goes to
Heaven in a row boat!")
D. Faith that is in anything but Jesus, or
anything plus Jesus is in the wrong place. Faith that resides in
Christ alone is a faith that will endure, and that will secure a
home in Heaven!
Conc: What a standing is the child of Gods! We have hope
of a home in Heaven. Not because of who we are, but because of who Jesus
is! We are a different people, praise God! Are these possessions yours?
Where is your confidence this evening? Is it in yourself, in your works,
your goodness, in your religion? If so, place it in Jesus alone and that
will save. Anything else damns! If you faith is in Christ, then rejoice!
For you are as sure for Heaven as if you were already standing there.
What are you standing on this evening? A firm foundation or shifting sand?