Is Christ the Focus of Your Life?
Who you follow matters. Who you hang out with and surround yourself with matter. What you put in your mind matters. What you focus on matters. What is the focus of your life? What is the focus of those who you follow?
Paul tells us here in verses 17-21 that if we want Christ to be our focus then we need to be intentional to take these 3 steps. 1) Follow faithful examples 2) Avoid earthly minded people
3)Live as citizens of heaven.
1. FOLLOW FAITHFUL EXAMPLES
What are faithful examples? Do you have any in your life? Are you following them
WW “It is essential to receive sound teaching, but we also learn by observing the lives of people who illustrate that sound teaching.” Do you learn better by watching?
Christianity is not just taught, it is caught
- Have you heard the sayings I can show you better than I can tell you, actions speak louder than words, that person is all talk, etc.?
- How will you know how to pray if someone doesn’t show you?
- How will you know what a healthy marriage looks like if it is not modelled for you?
- How will you know how to share the gospel unless you watch someone do it?
- Find a faithful example and watch them, go with them, and ask them questions
When I was in the Army and we would deploy, we would do this thing we called right seat/left seat ride. The concept behind it was that the incoming unit would ride along with the unit that had been there for a year and observe them as they did their job. The incoming group observing would then take the reins and lead the next week with the outgoing unit observing them and making any corrections needed.
- This is a perfect illustration of how Christians should disciple and follow faithful examples. These faithful examples should rely on the Word of God to guide their lives.
2. AVOID EARTHLY MINDED PEOPLE
In verses 18-19 Paul reminds the Philippians that not everybody is setting the right example
- These people may have appeared to make some sort of profession of Christian faith, but in reality, they oppose the Gospel. They are deceivers and pretenders
Paul list 3 characteristics of these people and says, “Their end is destruction”
- a. “Their god is their stomach”- meaning they serve their lustful appetites. They seek to please self. They make up their own law and do as they please. Instead of living in grateful worship to God, they live as lazy gluttons, pleasing self.
- b. “Their glory is their shame”- They show off things that they should be ashamed of. They enjoy and celebrate what offends God and should be avoided. Don’t follow the examples of those who glory in things like sexual sin, greed, disrespect, and laziness.
Sex before marriage is prevalent and considered normal- it is still shameful. Even though a strip club is called a “Gentlemen’s club”- it is still shameful/ depraved
- c. “They focus on earthly things”- They just get excited about earthly things. They aren’t interested in Christ, His Cross, or His resurrection. They are the type who prefer everything over hearing from God’s Word. Christians must also fight this temptation to get laxed and start enjoying other things and push Christ aside.
Don’t set your mind on earthly things like these people and don’t follow these people.
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov. 13:20)
Don’t become a fool by observing and following the ways of foolish people. Find examples of those who are walking the way of the cross and finding a superior joy in knowing Christ more and more.
3. LIVE AS CITIZENS OF HEAVEN
Paul closes by reminding the church of the heavenly mind set we should possess. We should know that this world is not our home and we have so much more to look forward to.
Philippi was a Roman colony. It was “little Rome”. When people visited Philippi they said, “This reminds me of Rome.”
We remember Paul saying something similar in chapter 1. “Conduct yourselves as citizens of Heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ”, Paul is telling the Philippians that church is a little colony of the kingdom of heaven. When you are in the presence of God’s people, their values and their lives should point to heaven.
- You know what Christian means? “Little Christ”
- We are supposed to look like Christ to other people
People should look at the words and deeds of believers and say, “You aren’t from around here are you?” Our citizenship is in Heaven. We are just passing through
*C.S. Lewis said this, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next…. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”
*We should live with our focus on Christ and the cross