Recap Notes: October 8, 2017
Teacher: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Has Your Joy Sprung a Leak?"
Text: Philippians 3:1-3Path
Pastor Skip stated, "I have a bicycle pump in my garage that stands constant guard to reinflate my tires. It seems that I have a slow leak in one of them. Perhaps from a very small thorn or a defect in the tube, the air slowly leaks out, leaving the ride spongy. Spiritual thorns that deflate joy can also threaten our Christian experience." In this message, Skip considered some simple principles that firm up our life journey and keep the joy of the Lord intact:
- Joy Must Be Guarded (v. 1)
- Legalism Must Be Avoided (v. 2)
- Identity Must Be Comprehended (v. 3)
Joy Must Be Guarded
- Famed evangelist Billy Sunday once said, "If you have no joy…there's a leak in your Christianity somewhere."
- Circumstances, people, everyday problems, overwork, sin, doubt, disease, and chronic pain can all cause leaks in our joy.
- Paul used strong language as he instructed us to guard our joy. Notice the word finally. It can better be understood as furthermore. Paul told the Philippians to constantly rejoice. The verb tense indicates that it's meant to be an ongoing activity.
- Joy has less to do with what is happening around you; it's what's inside you that brings joy.
- Joy is not automatic; it's a learned response, a choice to make.
- Joy was Paul's outlook because Jesus was his uplook. Joy centers on a spiritual reality: God is on His throne. Because of that truth, you can say, "I am joyful because I have a relationship with the Lord."
- Paul repeated himself in this passage to help us remember the importance of joy.
- Probe: The word guarded means to be cautious, to have reservations. Besides joy, what other characteristics must be guarded in a Christian's life? Here are some to think about: prayer, Bible reading, serving others, loving others, and life priorities.
Legalism Must Be Avoided
- Paul spoke against Judaizers, those who mixed the law and grace. Paul gave three warnings against legalism because being joyful means being careful.
- Legalists can be scavengers: "Beware of dogs" (v. 3)
- Legalists can be evil, but think they're doing good: "Beware of evil workers" (v. 3). Good works are a by-product of salvation, not its basis.
- Legalists can be destructive: "Beware of the mutilation" (v. 3). Legalists taught that circumcision, a work of the flesh, was vital to salvation. Legalism mutilates the grace of God and the work of Jesus Christ.
- Probe: Legalism is defined as excessive adherence to the law or formula. In what areas do you find you lean too much toward legalism? How can you learn to lean back toward joy? What would you share with a fellow Christian who leans too heavily toward legalism? What Scriptures would you share concerning our freedom in Christ?
Identity Must Be Comprehended
PracticeConnect Up: Jesus said that those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and truth (see John 4:24). Discuss what Jesus meant by spirit and truth. Would you agree with the following statement? "Unless there's a real passion for God, there is no worship in spirit. At the same time, worship must be ‘in truth,' that is, properly informed. Unless we have knowledge of the God we worship, there is no worship in truth."1
- In verse 1, Paul described a true Christian believer:
- True follower: "we are the [true] circumcision." Christians are those who have a true, inward cleansing, not a meaningless outward mark.
- True worshipers: "who worship God in the Spirit." Worship is an inward position of the heart, taking an outward form: singing, prayer, etc.
- True celebrators: "rejoice in Christ Jesus." This means to boast of or honor. Legalism boasts in its own works, minimizing the work of Jesus Christ.
- True believers: "have no confidence in the flesh." The humanist message is to pull yourself up. The legalist message is to work your way to heaven. But the biblical message is that Jesus paid it all and all credit is His.
- Probe: To comprehend is to grasp something mentally, to understand it and follow it.Look over Pastor Skip's four points. In what ways do you comprehend them, or follow them? In what ways do you not—and how can you improve your comprehension as a follower, worshiper, celebrator, and believer? Consider 1 Corinthians 13 and Colossians 3:5-13.
Connect In: Within any given church, you will find both legalists and antinomianists (those who think they are not obligated to follow any law). How are Bible-believing Christians to strike a balance between the two extremes within the church?
Connect Out: When sharing the gospel with an unbeliever, how would you respond to the following charge? "All Christianity is about are a bunch of dos and don'ts; it's all about following a set of rules."
1 "What does it mean to worship the Lord in spirit and truth?," https://www.gotquestions.org/worship-spirit-truth.html, accessed 10/8/2017.