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Jun 02, 2019

What's Your Identity?

Passage: Philippians 3:15

Preacher: Arturo Morales

Series: Philippians--Roots of Joy

Keywords: identity, citizenship, life hope


This message focuses on the identity we have in Christ from Philippians 3.


What's Your Identity?

Philippians 3:15-22

Arturo Morales

June 2, 2019


There are many things that people think I am; to the Indian from India, I am Indian. To the Arabic, I am Arabic.

To the Caucasian I am Mexican, not even my Cuban brothers and sisters don’t think I am Cuban.

Having this in mind, I feel that I am a wanderer roaming the earth, or a gypsy that does not have a place to call home, no rich culture to take pride.

I am a man that lives in America who wants to be accepted.

On my first day of school of Moody Bible Institute, one of my roommates introduce me to a girl, I greeted her with a kiss on the cheek.

She did not like my greeting, and said to me, “What are you doing, are you flirting with me?”

I said to her, “No hablo Inglés,” which means I do not speak English. This incident that I experienced was a cultural shock, and I finally realize Dorothy is no longer in Kansas anymore.

Not only did people assume my nationality, but also people did not try to accept my culture.

In the Hispanic culture, there are friendships between opposite sex.

It is common for a male to ask a girl to drink coffee, or to ask her for dinner. This does not mean the man is interested in her, but wants to build a friendship with her. I had many friendships with the opposite sex, in which we would go on many dates as friends. In moody, this is not permitted to do. I would ask a girl to have a cup of coffee, but she would tell me that she was not interested in me. I would think to myself that I am not interested in her either, just wanted a cup of coffee, not marriage.

Have you ever felt unaccepted? Have you ever felt lost and no one will accept you? Don't you want to belong? I know sometimes I feel alone and unaccepted. Imagine yourself at work and your fellow-coworkers does not accept you, or not being accepted at school but being outcast and misunderstood. Imagine going home and your family does not accept you. Life would be very difficult and hard to bear.

But thank God our identity is in Christ. I know some of you don’t feel like you are apart of the church even though you are here every Sundays. Yet, there are some who believe they are Christians and their actions are far from the truth. The church of Philippians had similar struggle.

This is why Paul was trying to remind them of their identity.

Even though Paul did not ask a question in the text, I still believe Paul was trying to raise a question.

Is your identity in Christ?

  1. 17 Brothers, join in (imitating me), and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
    1. Brother/ the Greek word for affection.
    2. τυπον [MARK]   
      1. to strike
      2. beat
  • Print
  1. A figure formed by a blow or impression of a figure or image.
  2. Formed
    1. The teaching which embodies the sum and substance of
  3. Example
  4. follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ (1 Corinthian 10:32–11:1)
  5. who walk according: literally “mark those who so walk.” I believe Paul is using the term walking of life.
  6. ME to We= US

UNITY: Paul is imitating Christ to purse unity. Paul is not trying portray pride in this verse, rather he is giving an example that the church should purse Christ similarly to Paul for the sake of unity. Humility/ Paul sacrifice himself to have unity with Christ, Just like Christ sacrifice himself to show the unity he has with the father. Paul wants the church to have unity with each other and with Christ through sacrificing themselves for God.

Big brother, mentorship… Also understand following Christ means letting go of earthly material.

Example of Shane mentorship, relationship

  1. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.

Paul gave advice repeated, and hear Paul heart, and through that you will see why self proclaim Christians.

  1. I already told/mention/ talked about this issue
  2. Now tell even with tear, suggest Paul was hurt and down that these “Christians” are not actually walking with Christ, even though they call themselves Christian. The Greek meaning of tears was a loud expression of sorrow and pain. They are actually against God because they don't walk in truth.
  3. Enemies of the cross suggest people who call themselves Christian are actually not Christian, these are not Jews or Gentiles,
    1. Some scholar suggest the enemies of the cross did not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Gal 3:10)
  4. Charles Spurgeon: The worst enemies that cross of Christ has are the enemies inside the professing church of Christ.

Example: Think of raising a child, from birth that you love… this child. You taught him right and wrong. Ethics and morals to practice, yet, your child to refuse to listen to you, to the point of becoming your enemy. Your child does not call, but talks horrible things about you, and reality, the child despise you.

Example: Et tu, Brute, then fall, Caesar…

Clearly, the people who are enemies of the cross of Christ identity themselves Christian, but was not Christian.

  • 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
    1. Charles Spurgeon: “They call themselves spiritual”
    2. End is destruction
      1. εις (το) τελος which means for ever
      2. τελος can also mean end,
  • the enemies of the cross will end in destruction.
  1. their god is their belly
    1. Similar to Romans 16:18- people who act on their appetite that leads to evil deeds
    2. Paul is referring to “Christians” who worship/glorified their sensual nature.
  • Following their own fleshly impulse/compulsion/urge…
  1. Glory in their shame
    1. Δοχα
      1. Is glory, but can also be taken as pride, boast.
      2. Glory is often used in the Old Testament regarding the people exchange the glory of God for exchange of image/idols. Ps 106:20
      3. The enemies of the cross boast about freedom and liberty to worship their fleshy desires.
    2. Mind set on earthly things
      1.    επιγεια: is define as earthly things, which has a negative notion in Jewish tradition.
      2. Roman 8:5-6.

Example: People who set their hope and desire on earthly things is temporal pursuit that will pass way. Paul was trying to the light that Christianity is not pursing earthly desire, but giving our whole heart, body, and mind for the cross. These enemies of the cross of Christ only wanted to take the title of Christian, without blood and sweat for the cross. Christianity is not pursing our pleasure, but following the cross.  

  1. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
    1. citizenship is in heaven
      1. ήμεις γαρ: for us
      2. πολιτευμα: commonwealth
  • (Philippi, being a Roman colony, in fact, ESV study Bible believes Philippians prided themselves that they held Roman citizenship. Paul wanted Philippi to take pride in Jesus, not Caesar.
  1. we await a Savior
    1. expectation to receive the fullness of Jesus Christ. Israelite awaited for the Messiah, they took years and years for the Messiah to come. Paul wanted Christians to have that same expectation and determination to wait for Jesus Christ.
  2. the Lord Christ

Example: Is our citizenship on heaven or on earth? Be honest with yourself. Is our citizenship/ our passport is on heaven? I remember going to Cuban for ministry purposes, a Cuban militant saw me walking around the airport, he asked for my passport. I hand over my passport to his hand. He looked at it, and said, “adios,” which means goodbye. He saw my American passport; he saw that was nothing he could do. The best feeling I ever experienced, to go home to the united state, and he could not do anything to stop me from going home. Is our passport heavenly or earthly?  

  1. 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
    1. Transform our lowly body
      1. Μετασχηματισει: to change the form of, transform, change
    2. Be like his glorious body
      1. This is referring when Jesus appearing to the disciples after his death on the cross.
    3. By the power enable him Subject all things to himself
      1. Psalm 8:6

Example: The disciples saw Jesus in the flesh after his crucifixion and barrel. Can you imagine that? They saw Jesus beaten to the point of death, torture that no man should never experienced. Can you imagine the amount of blood Jesus lost, and the disciples saw it all. Yet, Jesus was living and breathing after a horrible torture, hung on the cross, put inside the tomb, yet still appear to the disciples. Not even death could stop Jesus, and Paul understands the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the importance of that Jesus live.

Yes, Paul understand that there is a afterlife because Jesus appear on the way to Damascus. 

There citizenship is in heaven,


  1. 2:5-11,17
  2. 3:8-11


There are times when taking the identity of Christ can cause trouble for us. Example: In counseling, it is unethical to preach the gospel to my clients because I have to respect other people religions.

For me to stand for Christ, I must have a deeper relationship with Christ. I must read and pray to be one with Christ. I must take actions to truly identify myself to Jesus Christ. In other words, are we reading the text and praying to the point that we take Christ’ identity. 

  1. 4:1 Therefore, my brothers,[a] whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
    1. Therefore
    2. My brother
    3. I love and long for
    4. My joy and crown
    5. Stand firm thus in the lord
    6. My beloved