Join with others in following my example, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For as as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:17-19
When I turn on the news and see those who rant against those who might want to cut back abortion rights or other “freedoms,” I start to wonder if they are ranting because they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. If someone stepped out of the crowd and asked the question, “What do you think of Jesus and the Bible?” I wonder what their answer would be.
For some, I fear that it would be that they are indeed enemies of the cross and of Christ. …I remember sitting across the table from an old friend from college. He happened to very involved in a gay lifestyle. He looked at me and said, “I’m all f—ed up. What can you tell me that could help me?” He seemed desperate for a turn around. I told him about Jesus and how He rescues sinners and changes lives. Jesus did it in my life, and He could do it in his.
This friend’s response was, “When I asked for your opinion, I wanted your personal opinion, not your religious opinion.” I explained that they were the same. He said that he didn’t want to have anything to do with Jesus.
…A co-worker was furious because her pastor had put crosses on the lawn of her church, dozens of them, to represent babies that had been killed from abortions. He then gave the children’s sermon about why life is precious and said that abortion is taking a life. She just couldn’t understand why he would bring up that topic in church. I asked what she thought the Bible had to say about abortion and if that had any play in the issue.
She stopped and thought, and basically said that she would have to decide whether the Bible had any authority over her life or not. She hasn’t been back to that church or any other church since then.
…In another situation, I was in graduate school for counseling and the requirement to finish was to write a position paper. There were specific questions to answer as guidelines for this paper. The professors said that they couldn’t ask us to change our position, but we had to be consistent in whatever position we stood on. The questions were ones like “What, in your opinion, is the problem of man?” and, “How are we different than animals?” It went on from there.
I couldn’t answer the questions any other way than from a Biblical point of view. It was back in the days before cell phones and emails. When I turned my paper in, there was a voicemail from one of the professors on my home phone by the time I got home. In a mean voice, she said: “In no uncertain terms, get God out of your paper.” I knew I couldn’t take God out of my paper, but I also knew I needed this to finish my Masters program. I prayed, changed the opening line to the middle of the paragraph and resubmitted it.
The interesting thing was that there was an attempt, it seemed on two professors parts, to then lose my paper. I had to have a showdown in one of their offices after his night class to retrieve it. He denied having it, although the other professor said he did. I said I couldn’t leave until I had it. He said, “I said I didn’t have your paper, I don’t have it.” He tried to shut the door, but I put my foot out to stop it. He had stuff piled everywhere. I looked down, and there was my paper on the top of the pile right in front of me.
“Oh, lookie there,” I said. “Just what I needed. Thanks a lot, and have a great night.”
***Colossians 1:21 states, Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. Some people know that they are God’s enemies, others don’t. In John 16:3 told the disciples that people would put them out of the synagogues thinking that they were doing God a favor. The Pharisees were God’s enemies, but they thought they were His representatives, speaking for Him and helping Him out.
Paul tells us in our power verses what the underlying motives of those who are enemies of the cross of Christ: their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. It is because they don’t know Jesus. Their eyes are blinded. They are pointed in a completely different direction than Jesus followers are. I think about the people that don’t know Jesus and I want to weep. I want them to know Jesus and not to perish. They need to hear there is another way.
Our citizenship is in Heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there. Paul started by saying, Join with others in following my example, and take note of those who follow the pattern we gave you. In other words, don’t look at the people who hate Jesus as your role models and examples. Spend your time around those who pattern their lives after Jesus. Copy them. Keep your eyes on the prize and run with others who have their eyes fixed there.
Fellow Jesus followers will encourage you when the times get tough, they will stand with you when the enemies of the cross close in, and run with you toward Jesus. What a day that will be when we see Him! Keep that picture in your mind. It is a glorious one.