The True Christian
A Sermon on Philippians 3:3
3for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and take pride in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh,
3For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
What does it mean to be a Christian? People who have been in church for any length of time may believe this question is something that doesn’t need to be addressed. But even Paul writes about this, saying that it is good for Christians to be reminded of the core truths of the gospel. In this sermon on Philippians 3:3 titled “The True Christian,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reviews one of the most central parts of Scripture—what it means to be a follower of Christ. First, to be a Christian, one must believe in God. This, too, can seem like an obvious statement, yet according to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, it must be said. One can worship religion without worshipping God. True worship is worship in the Spirit. Second, the true Christian has no confidence in human effort, experience, or heritage in order to find justification before God. In and of themselves, they are hopeless to earn their way to a right relationship with God. All are entirely dependent on God’s free gift of salvation to be made right with God. Third, the true Christian rejoices. Dr. Lloyd-Jones presses the urgency that no one rejoice in Christ unless they believe in the Scriptural account of Jesus and trust His salvation.
- The passage under consideration is Philippians 3:3.
- Paul gives a definition of what it means to be a Christian in this verse.
Paul lists three characteristics of a Christian:
Worship God in the spirit: This means worship is not merely formal or external. It is personal, based on a desire for God, thoughtful, and vital.
- Have no confidence in the flesh: This means not relying on one's nationality, birth, church membership, good deeds, or morality for salvation. Salvation is through faith in Christ alone.
Rejoice in Christ Jesus: This means believing in Christ, trusting in his atoning work, boasting in Christ's work rather than one's own merit, and proclaiming Christ to others.
Many today believe one can be a Christian without believing in God or Christ. But Christianity must be defined, and according to the Bible, belief in and worship of God and faith in Christ are essential.
- Mere formal religion or good deeds are not enough. One must worship God sincerely and trust in Christ's atoning work alone for salvation.
- Rejoicing in Christ means boasting in him, not in one's own merit or good works. It means proclaiming the gospel to others.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.