Devotions

Resist Legalism

Great service at Belgrave South Baptist Church today looking at the subject of Joy and having a Winning Attitude in Philippians 3: Thank you Pastor Robert for your message.

The first point of which was:

Resist Legalism – Philippians 3:2-4 

As I considered these verses I thought of a lady who worked for me whilst I was the State Manager of Red Shield Family Stores in South Australia. This lady was very legalistic and obeyed the ‘Policy and Procedure Manual’ like it was her Bible. If it wasn’t in ‘the manual’ it didn’t happen.

Whilst is this is good in a sense to obey the rules as set out by your leaders it can also be an issue when it comes to things like ‘servicing welfare vouchers’ ‘helping those who could not help themselves’ etc.

In this passage by trying to make Gentiles submit to Torah observance, Judaizers (and their contemporary counterparts, the legalists) do not work “righteousness” at all but evil. As Christians we to are in trouble if we believe Christianity is all about going to church, reading the Bible, Prayer and attendance at a small group. Christianity is about personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Paul asserts in this reading: “For we [not they] are the circumcision [hence you do not need literal circumcision], who serve by the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh.”

As Christians we tend to stick to our own and sadly see the marginalized around us as inferior or somehow incomplete. Philippians 3:16 says “let us live up to what we have already attained” Jesus came to save sinners. When we arrived in Church congregations we were no different to the marginalized people we today might walk around and ignore because they are not like us! Who should no better…

The Christian Church hasn’t had a perfect record throughout history. If you listen to how many in our society describe the church, the list will include things like, racist, judgmental, narrow, divided, stuck up.

The church we attend today falls far short of  the ideals Christ entrusted to us – so far short that we sometimes forget what the church should look like and what our mission is. To develop a winning attitude in 2001 all of us need to focus on Jesus and on those less fortunate than ourselves.