Philippians 3:17-21

The cross is intrinsic to the Gospel message. (We are not referring to the
lumber, but everything the cross represents). Take away the cross and we are
left in our sins. It was on the cross that Christ died for our sins. It is
though trusting Christ alone and His death for sins that Christians have eternal
life. THE MATHEMATICS OF

THE CROSS:

•It “adds” the righteousness of Christ.
•It “takes away” our sin and judgment.
•It “multiplies” many to the family of God.
•It “divides” the O.T. from the N.T. and the saint from the sinner.

Paul gloried in the cross (Gal. 6:14). But not every one embraces the cross.
There is much hostility towards the cross (“for MANY walk…”). This world has
contempt for the cross of Christ (1 Cor. 1:18—For the preaching of the cross
is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power
of God.
)

•Modernists cry, “Away with this slaughter house religion.”
•It is under attack from the cults (J.W.’s “torture stake” theory – cf. John
20:25).
•At Ground Zero on September 13, 2001, a broken 20’ steel I-beam in the form of
a cross was discovered among the rubble while looking for survivors. It has been
left standing ever since. Now an organization called American Atheists are doing
all they can to have this “cross” removed from Ground Zero. Thousands of
signatures on petitions have been collected to make the “cross” as a part of the
permanent Ground Zero Memorial.
•Kimberly Draper was fired from her job at the Logan Public Library because she
refused to remove a small cross pendant on a necklace. She has since got her job
back, but only after a major court battle.
•The National Endowment for the Arts has successfully fought for the opportunity
to use tax dollars to fund “so called art” such as a crucifix immersed in a
glass of urine.

I. A FRIEND of the cross of Christ.

A. EXEMPLARY in their conduct (v. 17).

1. It’s not enough to just read the Bible. We must also put it into practice.
How? Ken Blanchard says, most poor performance results because the employee does
not know what good performance looks like. Are you a good example of how a
Christian should walk?

2. Two examples we need to MARK (“mark” comes from the same word that we get the
word “scope” from).

•Mark to associate—Identify them so you can associate with them.
•Mark to avoid (Rom. 16:17).

B. EMOTIONAL in their concern towards the enemies of the cross (v. 18).

“Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.” (Ps
119:136)

1. Broken hearted over the lost. It hurts to see people reject Jesus.

2. We not only must play the part—We must feel the part. As we reflect on what
Christ’s death on the cross involved, you cannot help but get emotional: The
excruciating pain; the shame; the agony; the horror.

3. Paul could not help but get emotional about something that was very dear to
him, and should be dear to every Christian — THE CROSS! (Lyrics to “The Old
Rugged Cross”).

C. EXPECTANT in their conversation (vs. 20-21). Focused on heaven—Their eternal
home. Looking for the return of Christ. This world is not our home, and we must
continually remind ourselves of this fact.

1. When the Lord comes back He will bring everything under His rule—“subdue all
things unto himself.” That will be a wonderful thing! I can’t wait for that.

2. We will get a new body free of decay and depravity. I can’t wait for that
either.

II. A FOE of the cross of Christ.

•The cross stands for SALVATION BY GRACE—Anyone who adds works to the work of
Christ on the cross is an enemy of the cross. Jesus said, “It is FINISHED.”

•The cross stands for GOD’S HATRED FOR SIN—It displays Christ’s PAYMENT for sin.
The cross proves God judges sin. Anyone who habitually engages in sinful
activities is an enemy of the cross.

•The cross stands for DYING TO SELF—When we live selfishly we are at enmity with
the cross.

•The cross stands for GOD’S FORGIVENESS OF SIN— When we fail to forgive others
as Christ forgave us on the cross, we are enemies of the cross.

A. Their worldly DETERMINATION— “… mind earthly things…” Temporal minded.
They don’t care what God thinks.

1. “Here-and-now-only” type of thinking.

2. Fixation on the earthly—Obsessed with the physical.

3. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where
Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not
on things on the earth.”
(Col 3:1-2 cf. Phil. 3:20)

B. Their corrupt DEPRAVITY – “… glory is in their shame…”

1. They are proud of what they should be ashamed (Jer 6:15). They take pride in
things that are actually shameful (cf. 1 Cor. 5:1-2).

2. This world is getting more perverse with each passing day.

•Sodomites flaunt their sinfulness down main street!

•Abortionists hold their rallies.

•Atheists boost of the removal of religious symbols.

While all kinds of sinful acts are coming out of the closet, Christians are
retreating into the closet!

3. Some Christians boast in the fact they are under grace and have “liberty in
Christ,” so they can live in sin. This is shameful. It is turning the grace of
God into lasciviousness. Liberty is not a license to live anyway you want.

C. Their carnal DESIRES – “…God is their belly…” The belly is a reference
to the seat of carnal affections (cf. Rom. 16:18).

1. They make a god of their fleshly appetites. Self-indulgent. They deify their
love of sensual pleasure—Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.

2. To the “foes” of the cross, the cross does not represent a relationship, but
merely a “religion,” to benefit them personally (a “What’s-In-It-For-Me” Club).

3. They live for self and self only. They are enemies of the cross because they
refuse take up their cross and deny self.

D. Their coming DESTRUCTION… “…end is destruction….” Destruction of
their natural lives (cf. 1 Cor. 3:17; 5:5).

SUMMATION: Are you a Friend or Foe to the cross? How you answer the
following four questions will reveal if you are Friend or Foe:

1) Where is your mind?

2) What is your glory? (cf. Gal. 6:14; 1 Cor. 1:21; 10:31)

3) What is your God?

4) What is your end? (cf. Phil 1:21).
The inventor of dynamite was Alfred Nobel. He made a fortune from the
manufacture and sale of weapons. One morning in 1888 he awoke to read his own
obituary. The newspaper made an error. It was Alfred’s brother who had actually
died and a French journalist reported the death of the wrong brother. It was an
eye opener for Alfred because he saw himself as the world saw him—“the dynamite
King (the weapon maker), the great industrialist who had made an immense fortune
from explosives” (so said the obituary). This—as far as the general public was
concerned—was the entire purpose of his life. In the eyes of the public he was
only a merchant of death, and for that alone he would be remembered… As he read
his obituary he resolved to make clear to the world the true meaning and purpose
of his life. This could be done through the final disposition of his fortune.
His last will and testament would be the expression of his life’s ideals… And
the result was the most valued of prizes given to this day to those who have
done most for the cause of world peace—the Nobel Peace Prize. I’ve wondered how
it would read if my obituary suddenly appeared. How about you… What is your
life known for? What will you be remembered for?

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