Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— ~Philippians 3:1-3
Last Sunday at church our pastor preached on Philippians 3:1-3. He outlined 5 distinctive qualities of genuine faith. It was a great sermon, these are my notes, or you can listen to it here.
1. Joy - Our joy is in the Lord. The more we grow in the Lord, the more joy we should have. This doesn't mean you will always be happy, but you place your joy not in this earthly life, but in the knowledge of the life to come.
*See also: John 5:39; Matthew 7:23; 1 John 1:6; 2 Corinthians 13:5 and 6:10; Isaiah 12:3; Romans 14:17 and 5:3; 1 Peter 1:8
2. Discernment - Just like our joy, as we grow in the Lord our discernment should continue to grow and increase as we learn more about our Lord. While we know the truth, we know that we still need to grow in our knowledge of Him. We should know that sin is sin, and just because we call it something different, doesn't change the fact that it's sin, it only makes it more dangerous because it doesn't sound as bad.
*See also: Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 13:6; 1 John 2:20; Philippians 1:9; Psalm 119:66, 98; 1 Thessalonians 5:21
3. Righteousness - True righteousness comes from trusting and faith in Christ, and Christ alone. It doesn't come from trusting in ourselves. Righteousness doesn't come from any ritual, those only bring a false righteousness.
*See also: Genesis 17:10; Deuteronomy 30:6; Philippians 3:9; Colossians 2:17
4. Worship - True believers enjoy praising God. They desire to serve Him, and boast in Him.
*See also: Matthew 6:1-18 and 7:21-23; John 4:23; Psalm 43:4
5. Humility - Put NO confidence in the flesh. When we stand before God will our confidence be in ourselves or in Christ? Will we list off our good works, or will we confess our unworthiness and place our hope in Christ?
*See also: Romans 7:18; Jeremiah 9:23-24; Ephesians 2:8-9; James 4:10
Do you possess these qualities? Do you have joy in the Lord? Are you discerning? Does your righteousness come from Christ, or are you trying to be righteous on your own? Do you desire to worship and praise God? Where is your confidence? Is your trust in the flesh, or in Christ?
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? ~ 2 Corinthians 13:5