A Testimony of Transformation
March 3, 1996
I. CONTRAST IN PURPOSE
A. Commitment to spiritual purpose
1* Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
B. Caution against merely religious purpose
2* Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.
II. CONTRAST IN TESTIMONY
A. Paul's spiritual testimony
3* For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh--
B. Paul's religious testimony
1. By his birth
4* though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:
5* circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews;
2. By his attainment
in regard to the law, a Pharisee;
6* as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
III. RENUNCIATION OF HIS RELIGIOUS TESTIMONY
A. Renunciation of profit
7* But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
B. Renunciation of loss
8* What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ
C. Renunciation of self-righteousness
9* and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
D. Renunciation of self-life
10* I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
11* and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
IV. RECOMMITMENT TO HIS SPIRITUAL TESTIMONY
A. Recommitment to glory in Christ's purpose, not his own
12* Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
B. Recommitment to the future, not the past
13* Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
C. Recommitment toward the calling of heavenly citizenship
14* I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
V. THE POWERFUL APPEAL OF PERSONAL TESTIMONY
A. The positive appeal of a changed life
1. Right thinking
15* All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
2. Right living
16* Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
3. Right example
17* Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
B. The negative appeal of an unchanged life
1. Wrong destination
18* For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
19* Their destiny is destruction,
2. Wrong god
their god is their stomach,
3. Wrong glory
and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
C. The heavenly appeal of a transformed life
1. Glorious destination
20* But our citizenship is in heaven.
2. Glorious God
And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
3. Glorious transformation
21* who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
1* Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!