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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Tuesday-Enemies Within

 

For, as I have often told you before and now tell you 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 set on earthly things.

 

Philippians 3:18,19

 

It’s one thing to have enemies coming for you. Enemies from outside your country. Outside your community. Outside your home. When they’re on the outside, it’s easier to identify them. Point everyone at them. Rally the troops and fight them.

 

But it’s an entirely different thing when the enemy is on the inside. First of all, the very fact that they’re on the inside makes it harder to figure out who they are. They look like everyone else. Speak like everyone else. Know the lingo that makes us drop our guard and relax.

 

As Paul talks about these enemies within the church at Philippi, he weeps with deep sadness. They had listened to the Outback Steakhouse commercials and bought in on their “No Rules, Just Right” slogan. They could do anything they wanted. Nothing was wrong. Nothing was forbidden.

 

If you think I’m being too critical or harsh, don’t listen to me. Listen to the Apostle Paul and his four descriptions of them and where they’re headed.

 

  • Their destiny is destruction. Paul doesn’t wait till the end to say where these people are going to wind up. They want to receive the loving forgiveness of God and his sacrifice on the cross, but they want to keep on doing whatever they want. Instead of wanting to please the one who loves and saves us, they want to turn their freedom into an all-expense paid pass to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and with whoever they want[1].

  • Their god is their stomach. Worship is always tied to the one you give yourself to. It doesn’t matter who or what it is. That’s your god. The god you make. The god you choose. It could be money. It could be sex. It could be power. It could be just about anything. But for the people that secretly came into the Philippian church, one of their gods was their stomach. They wanted nothing more but to satisfy their hunger[2].

  • Their glory is in their shame. When you glorify someone or something, you shine a light on it. You want to draw everyone’s attention to it. You want to tell everyone how beautiful it is. You point out all the things that make it special to you. You want everyone else to feel the same way you do about it. You want to convince and covert them to feel the same way you do. That’s what these people wanted to do about the shameful things in their life[3].

  • Their mind is set on earthly things. This is a summary of their meaning and purpose in life. They’re focused only on the things that you can touch, taste, see and feel. To them, there’s nothing else. There’s no higher truth than what pleases them. It’s all about them and what happens during their life here on planet Earth. The idea of an eternal, afterlife is nonsense to them because there’s nothing after this life[4].

 

No wonder Paul was so upset and discouraged. Tears are the only right reaction to the downfall of these people that he loves so much. They had received complete forgiveness in Jesus but drifted back into their old way of thinking and living. They wanted to do nothing but satisfy themselves.

 

I don’t know about you, but the four things listed certainly sounded like life here in the 21st century. We live in a time when it’s all about what we want. Truth is thrown out the window in favor of things that support what we want. It doesn’t matter what’s right or wrong, it’s all about us and our Unholy Trinity. Me. Myself. And I.

 

Now, we can certainly fall down in despair, thinking that all is lost. And I get it. It’s easy to be discouraged in times like this. Feeling sad and discouraged is where I naturally and normally go when life doesn’t exactly go the way I want. But God is still God. He’s in control. He hasn’t lost any power. He’s not wringing his hands up in heaven, wondering what to do next. He’s not wondering to himself about how things got so mixed up.In some way, God is going to turn this awful mess into something good. For his glory and the good of his people.

 

And because of who God is, we can also have hope. We can rejoice about today and the future. It’s not out of control, but in the loving, gracious, controlling hands of God. He hasn’t lost a step due to old age. And he hasn’t ever lost a battle yet. And he isn’t about to start losing now.

 

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

 

Colossians 3:2

 

In the middle of all this, we have a job to do. We are to keep our head in the game. We are to deliberately think about things and life from Gods perspective. It will eliminate the enemy within that wants to discourage us. That will push aside our sadness and depression, replacing it with joy in who God is. So, let’s get going.

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • What are three enemies that are inside you? What makes them enemies?

  • Talk about how one of them started and then got stronger.

  • Describe a victory over an enemy in the last year. What motivated you?


[1] Jude 1”4

[2] Romans 16:18

[3] Ephesians 5:12, Romans 1:32

[4] Romans 8:5

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