St. Paul's Lutheran Church

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Scripture: “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.” – Philippians 3:17-18

Like a parent, Paul the Apostle is moved to offer admonition to the Philippian congregation, to hold fast to what they’ve been taught and not wander off believing in false teaching. In particular, he calls them to follow him and to mark and listen to those teachers who walk as he does and to shape their behavior and beliefs in accordance with the pattern they received from him.

Paul is not only interested in them following him, but also following those among them who also carry on faithfully and in accordance with Christ. Paul mentions some of these people in his letter.

And it wasn’t that they were fine speakers or preachers, had a great smile and a good laugh. Paul was admonishing the Philippian church to follow him and those whom he regards as faithful on account of the doctrine they taught because they exhibited a life and teaching in line with the cross of Christ. He even stresses the importance of this admonition by reminding them of the tears he’s shed over those who do not teach the truth.

There will always be people in the Christian church who will seek to distort the doctrine of Christ, who will lead people away from the assurance and hope of the cross and instead lure people to following strange doctrines. They will lead people to believe that they can be saved by their works, or they will convince people that they are free to sin and rebel because of grace. They will establish congregations built on the sands of human ideas and not on the solid rock of Christ and His Word.

As God’s holy church, we must always be watchful and diligent to keep false teaching far from us. We must not seek out or embrace those teachers who forsake the cross of Christ for the sake of earthly wisdom or the shifting sands of culture. And we must not be confident in our own wisdom or understanding, but we must conform our thoughts and lives to the Word of Christ.

Heavenly Father, distill my mind of the wisdom of men that in all things I may hold firmly to the teaching of Your Son and His apostles. In Jesus’ name, amen.