Green Valley Sermons

The True Circumcision

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Philippians 3:1-11

1Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; 3 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, 4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. 7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. NASB

This passage reminds me of the encounter that a Samaritan woman had with Jesus. That passage is John 4:23-26 and says:

". . .an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." 25 The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us." 26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He." NASB

As we look at what Paul said to the church at Philippi in our passage for today, Paul describes who the true worshipers of God are. He tells us who the true circumcision is. True circumcision is not the circumcision of the flesh, but the circumcision of the heart. We who have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior are the true circumcision.

1 Worship in the Spirit of God

We who are of the true circumcision, worship God by the Spirit of God who lives within us. We acknowledge His right of ownership and Lordship in all we do and say. We confess when we fall short of this truth and return to it again and again and again. We love Him, for this is what it means to worship Him. We ascribe value to Him, we acknowledge that He means everything to us, without Him our lives are meaningless and of no value. However, in Him, we have eternal value and will be loved by the Creator for all eternity. It is as we Worship Him in spirit and in truth. It is as we love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. We worship in, or by, the Spirit of God. God leads us in this heart worship.

2 Glory in Christ Jesus

We who are of the true circumcision, that is, the circumcision of the heart, who allow Jesus to wash us and cleanse us of our sinful attitudes and actions; Jesus, who makes it possible for God to love us, who have so often failed to love Him and obey Him. We glory, not in our own goodness, but in the goodness that comes as we devote ourselves to the Living God, who was manifested to us through the work of the Holy Spirit and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Anointed One of God. We glory in Christ Jesus, not in any thing we do in our own strength and wisdom.

3 Put no confidence in the flesh.

We who are of the true circumcision put no confidence in the flesh. The flesh is not the physical body, although that is part of what Paul meant by the flesh. The flesh is the self life. The life we live apart from the connection with God. The flesh is when we have lapses in the awareness of God's presence in our lives. The flesh is the life lived apart from God. We who have acknowledged the Lordship of Christ, who have believed that God loves us and wants to be our Lord... We put no confidence in the self life. We put our confidence in the life that comes to and through us when we are depending totally on God to lead us and empower us to be what we were created to be. We have no faith in ourselves. But rather, we put our confidence in God, first to love us, and second to lead us.

4 Count all things to be as loss for the sake of Christ

We who are of the true circumcision count all things that we have ever put our faith in to be loss for the sake of Christ. We count them to be only worthy of casting out and putting them on the dung heap, to be flushed away with the refuse of life. Whatever we counted of value before learning of the value of Christ, we have come to understand that it is of no value when put up against the value of knowing, and being known by God. The LORD is our value. He is our treasure. Everything else we count it to be as loss for the sake of Christ.

5 That I may be found in Him

We who are of the true circumcision, who worship in spirit and truth, who glory in Christ Jesus, who put no confidence in the flesh and count everything else of no value... We want only to be found in Him. This is the desire of our life. This is what we live for. This is what we will die for. That we may be found in Him, attached to Him so that His life flows into and through us. Our goal in life is to be found in Him.

6 Having righteousness from God based on faith

We who are of the true circumcision have righteousness from God based on faith. We have faith that God loves us, that He sent His Son to die that we might have life. We have faith that He will forgive us as we walk in the Spirit, and crucify the self life. We have faith that we can walk with God. The book of Genesis says that God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. It says that Enoch walked with God and was not because God took him. It says that Noah walked with God, and God used him to build an ark to save mankind from extinction.

We have righteousness, not based on our own ability to obey the Law, but rather based on God's ability to save us, to forgive us, We have righteousness based on God's ability lead us through the Word and the Spirit.

Our righteousness is like the righteousness of Adam and Eve who walked with God without shame. We can do that, walk without shame because we have allowed God to come in and look at us and know our faults and failures, our sinfulness and our sins. We have allowed Him to judge us. We have heard his Spirit convict us of our sinfulness and our sins.

We also know that He loves us and forgives us. We know He has forgiven us because Jesus came and took upon Himself the death that we deserve. He took upon Himself the sin of all for all eternity.

Our righteousness is not based on us. It is based on our faith in God. Just as I am, I come to Thee O Lord. I stand before you declared to be clean by the blood of Jesus spilled on Calvary. I acknowledge your Lordship. I acknowledge Your Sovereignty. I acknowledge that my relationship with You is not based on my goodness but on Yours. I offer myself to you.

That brings us to the last point of my message today.

7 Conformed to His death

We who are the true circumcision are conformed to His death. I am nothing, Christ is everything. We are conformed to His death when we choose to lay down the flesh and live by the Spirit of God. Remove ourselves from our usurped position of being lord of our own lives and submit to allowing Him His rightful place as Lord.

God chose to become a man and submit to the humiliation of giving up His glory, His rightful place as Lord of lords. He submitted himself to be ruled by the choice of man, even to the point of death. He gave up His rightful Lordship so that we could see that we have fallen short of the glory we were created for. His submitted to death willingly.

Now He calls us to take up our cross daily, to crucify the flesh, the self life. He calls us to begin living out each day what it means to trust God as Savior and Lord. We lay down our lives. We are conformed to His death. We choose to freely submit to and be conformed to His death.

CH Spurgeon said this: “Death to the world, and burial with Christ, are experiences which carnal minds treat with ridicule, and hence the ordinance which sets them forth is almost universally neglected, and even contemned. Worldly wisdom recommends the path of compromise, and talks of moderation. According to this carnal policy, purity is admitted to be very desirable, but we are warned against being too precise; truth is of course to be followed, but error is not to be severely denounced. “Yes,” says the world, “be spiritually minded by all means, but do not deny yourself a little gay society, an occasional ball, and a Christmas visit to a theatre. What's the good of crying down a thing when it is so fashionable, and everybody does it?”... If we would follow the Lord wholly, we must go right away into the wilderness of separation, and leave the Egypt of the carnal world behind us... To all true believers let the trumpet – call be sounded, “Come ye out from among them, be ye separate.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, June 27, AM)

Brother Spurgeon wrote this many years ago when the theatre was not a movie or cinema and gay meant happy.

I do not often preach against things. I seek to present the truth that we must live for Jesus. He, by His Spirit and the word of God, will lead you to what you need to give up. But if He does, and you don't, Is He really your lord?

We do need to give up something if we are to be the true circumcision. We must be of the group who are following Christ with their whole heart. This is what it means to love Him with all the heart mind soul and strength. He must be Lord. He will not settle for less. He will keep gently calling you to walk in obedience to Him. This is what it means to have a right relationship with Him. This is why we are saved. We are not saved by good works, but we are saved for good works.

Jesus chose to give His life for us. He calls us to choose to give our life for Him. We who are of the true circumcision are called to be conformed to His death. We are called to die to what we want and to live for what He wants.

We who are the true circumcision:

1 Worship in the Spirit of God

2 Glory in Christ Jesus

3 Put no confidence in the flesh.

4 Count all things to be as loss for the sake of Christ

5 Are found in Him

6 Have righteousness from God based on faith

7 Are conformed to His death

We no longer live for ourselves, we live for Christ. He encourages us to make our requests known to Him, but then we are to trust Him to give us what He wants us to have.

First, He loves me.

Second, He is my Lord.

We have God's righteousness when we are living out these truths and we are doing more than giving lip service to His Lordship.

The name He told Moses to use, Yahweh, is usually translated Lord.

He is Lord, be conformed to the truth of His LORDship. Live out what it means to be the true circumcision.