The True circumcision
Text: Philippians 3:3
Preached in Quabbin Valley on 1/4/09
In the early church there were people who were going around saying that a person in order to be saved needed to be circumcised and some were even saying that people needed to keep the laws of Moses as well. These people were trying to gain favor with the people in different churches and were trying to show that people should listen to them because of their qualifications. They claimed to be Jews of certain reputation or some other special qualifications that made them people of importance.
Paul cuts through all of this and tells us who the circumcision are, that is who the true people of God are. These people were obviously saying that they were the circumcision, the people of God because they had outward signs and credentials. But here in Philippians chapter 3 verse 3 Paul, the inspired apostle tells us just who the true people of God are. He mentions three things. Let’s read the text and think about what Paul says.
1) Worship by the Spirit of God
a. Who are the true people of God? Paul says those who worship by the Spirit of God.
b. What does it mean to worship by the Spirit of God? What are you saying Paul? Turn with me to Acts chapter 2 verse 38. And let’s read.
i. Acts 2:38(Pg. 811) And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
ii. Romans 5:5 tells us that the Spirit has been given to us
iii. 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? …
iv. A person repents of their sins and is immersed into Christ receives the forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit to indwell them. How can a person worship by the Spirit of God unless the Spirit of God indwells that person? They can’t. Paul is saying we who have been born again who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, who have been filled with the Holy Spirit, are the true people of God.
c. But it’s more than just that. We must be listening to the Spirit of God.
i. Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
ii. Listen, God works in mysterious ways and it may be that God speaks to us in that still small voice in our heads and hearts but how do we know when that’s God. Is that God speaking to us or not? The only way we can know for certain what God’s will is and hear him speak is if we read his word the Bible.
iii. There are people who say things like “God gave me this word” or “God gave me this song to sing” and sometimes you think “No, that ain’t right. Just because someone says it’s from God doesn’t mean it is. Only by reading the word can we ultimately know what God wants and what his will is.
iv. 1 John 4:1 ¶ Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
v. And how do we test them? By the word of God.
d. Those who have the Spirit in them and follow the word of the Spirit, the word of God, worship by the Spirit of God.
2) Glory in Christ
a. Paul goes on to say those who glory in Christ are the true circumcision. What does it mean to glory in Christ?
i. The word for glory here means to boast in, put one’s confidence in, to exult. Those who are the true circumcision boast in, glory in Christ alone.
ii. 2 Corinthians 10:17 "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."
iii. Galatians 6:14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
iv. We don’t glory in ourselves or in other people as:
v. 1 Corinthians 3:21 So let no one boast in men….
vi. We don’t glory in preachers, teachers, or anyone else. Not doctors or lawyers and we certainly don’t boast in our works. We boast in the Lord. We glory in him and in what he has done.
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.”
vii. You see every person in this world that you or I could glory in is a sinner, not perfect and they will let us down. But the sinless son of God has never and will never let us down that’s why we boast in him. We boast or glory in him because while we were sinners and enemies of God Christ died for us. Our boasting in him shows us to be the true circumcision
3) Put no confidence in the flesh
a. Paul goes on to say that we are the true circumcision who put no confidence in the flesh. We put no confidence in ourselves to save ourselves, to live good enough lives to be saved of ourselves. No, we put confidence in Christ.
i. Ephesians 2:1 (Pg. 869) And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
ii. We don’t put confidence in ourselves in our ability to do enough good works to save ourselves, we put our confidence in Christ to save and we follow him. There are good works that God has prepared for us to do but we put no confidence in those works to save us, we put our confidence in Christ alone.
Do you want to know who the true people of God are? Colossians 2:11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, We are the true circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, those who have the Spirit and follow the word of the Spirit, the Bible. Those who glory in Christ, who boast in him and those who put no confidence in themselves or their good works to save themselves.
We are about to participate in the supper that is a proclamation of the power of Christ over the world, sin, Satan, and death and I ask you to examine yourselves and to glory in Christ, as we worship by the Spirit of God this morning.