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THE ENEMIES OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST

by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, December 1, 2013

“The enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:18-19).


Paul was preaching to the church at Philippi. It was filled with saved and lost people. That’s the way every Gospel church should be. And that’s the way that every Gospel church would be if they obeyed Christ in evangelism. Paul’s message contains both an encouragement to the saved and a rebuke to the lost. He tells those who love Christ and His cross to follow him. And he warns the enemies of the cross of Christ who are carnal and headed to Hell.

The Scripture describes only two classes of people – the saved and the lost, the sheep and the goats, the wheat and the chaff. And here we have another description – friends or enemies of the cross of Christ. Make no mistake about it. You are either a friend or an enemy of the cross of Christ. No one is neutral. Now consider which one you are.

The Apostle Paul said,

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2).

To say that Paul was a friend of the cross of Christ was a gross understatement. The cross of Christ was the one object that occupied his heart, mind, and life. Christ and His cross was all he spoke and preached about. And so, Paul declares boldly to the Philippians, “Be ye followers together of me” (Philippians 3:17).

And let us be clear what the cross of Christ is. The cross is the place where Christ died for our sins. The cross is the place where He shed His Blood to pay for our sins. His Blood also provided an atonement, a covering for our sins. That’s why the cross is the only true symbol of Christianity. Sinners are natural enemies of a holy God. But through faith in Christ’s Blood their sins are washed away. And then they are brought to God. The Bible says,

“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself” (Colossians 1:20).

The cross of Christ has another meaning to those whose sins have been washed by Christ’s Blood. The cross represents death to their former life of sin, and now their life is in Christ. The Bible says,

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3).

While we live on earth, the true Christian will set his affections, his heart on things “above.” These are the things of eternity, of God, of Christ, and Heaven. But these spiritual thoughts are completely absent from the earthly-minded enemy of the cross. The Bible says of him,

“He that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth”
       (John 3:31).

The Christian will have frequent thoughts of Heaven and things above. But earthly-minded enemies of the cross can only have worldly thoughts. The carnal enemy of the cross is completely locked into the things of this world. He cannot perceive spiritual things above. And except for the grace of God spiritual and eternal things above do not reach him below. The Bible says that these earthly thoughts are very sinful,

“This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish” (James 3:15).

Earthly and worldly thoughts come from your corrupted carnal nature. You who love the world are by nature enemies of God. The Bible says,

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).

But you are not convinced that you are an enemy of God, of Christ, and His cross. You may admit to yourself that you’re lost and not converted. But you don’t really believe you’re an enemy. You believe you are friendly to the cross of Christ. You believe that you really want to become a Christian. You believe that you already do everything that a Christian does. And soon “I’ll get it right” and be fully accepted in the fellowship of the church. But in truth, you are an unyielding enemy of Christ and His cross. Your life is wholly against the cross of Christ. This is “the offence of the cross” that Paul spoke of (Galatians 5:11). You find the cross offensive to your way of life so you will not come to Christ.

I. First, the enemies of the cross of Christ have their belly as their god.

“The enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly” (Philippians 3:18-19).

As an enemy of the cross your chief desire is to fulfill your carnal appetite for sin. That is why your god is your belly. You sin by instinct. You did not learn this. No one had to teach you to sin. This is part of your sinful nature. You are always hungry for sin, and you never quite get your fill of it.

But you have no real desire for Christ. You see no need for Him. You feel no need for Him. You see the cross of Christ as a threat to your life of sin. So you oppose Christ with all your heart. Your rejection of Christ and His cross perfectly pictures your total depravity.

Your god is your belly seen through your playing of endless video games. These games give you a thrill, a brain tickling high. You’ve become addicted to it. You don’t want to face the problems of life like loneliness. So you distract your mind by playing hours of mind-numbing video games. Instead of doing your homework you play video games. Your brain becomes responsive to little else. You live in an alternate reality much of the day with that junk filling your mind. You can no longer focus your mind. Your attention span is so short you can’t really listen to or read a sermon.

Your god is your belly seen through your addiction to pornography. Looking at naked women in secret is what satisfies you. You are drawn to it. You are addicted to it. You make time to do it. You make an idol out of it. Your mind is frequently focused on pornography, but seldom or never on your sin. And you never have thoughts of the loving, bleeding Saviour hanging on the cross for you. The Bible says,

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5).

Your god is your belly seen through your desire for comfort. You find it too hard to press into the kingdom, be violent for your salvation, or to strive to enter Christ. You enjoy your rest. You find it a hardship to read the sermons daily. So you merely scan but do not really read the sermons. It is too unpleasant to think about your sins or Hell so you avoid it. You find it inconvenient to serve Christ by going out and getting names on evangelism. And if you do you get very few names.

Your god is your belly seen through your pride. You frequently think of your achievements and good looks. This gives you great satisfaction and pleasure. They make you feel important. One young lady said to a young man who was trying to help her, “I’m not stupid, you know. I graduated from UCLA!” Such selfish pride proves very clearly that that young lady is an enemy of the cross of Christ. The same young lady will say when counseled in the inquiry room, “I’m not convicted enough. I’m not desperate enough. I’m not convinced enough of my own depravity.” Yes, all that is true. But it is said glibly with no thought of its import. She guards her heart very strongly against any real conviction of sin. What a wicked game you play. To be cured of this, think of the disgusting wickedness of your sinful depravity. Consider the kind of heart you have that produced such prideful, self-deceiving words. What Paul said speaks directly to you,

“For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s”
      (Philippians 2:21).

This is not only true for this young lady but is true for all enemies of the cross of Christ. Everything is about you. Nothing is about Christ. You are guilty of such arrogant pride and selfishness. You have great love for yourself yet no real love for Christ and His cross. You are an enemy of the cross of Christ.

II. Second, the enemies of the cross of Christ are proud, not ashamed, of their sin.

“The enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame” (Philippians 3:18-19).

A true Christian will glory or boast in the cross of Christ and that alone. The Apostle Paul said,

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).

It was at the cross where Christ suffered shame, shed His Blood, and saved their souls from Hell. Their sins were a reproach, a curse, and a shame to them. The Apostle Paul speaking to the Christians at Rome said,

“What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death” (Romans 6:21).

A Christian will be ashamed of his past life of sin. He will renounce his former life. But the enemies of the cross are proud of many of their sins. That same young lady thinks that she is better than some who have been hopefully converted. She compares herself to them and proudly feels that she is better than they. She reasons that if they are converted, then I must be converted, too. She often pities herself in the inquiry room. When she cries tears of self-pity she is secretly proud over it, because she believes she is more broken and serious than others.

Others are proud in their accomplishments and in their riches. And they are not ashamed to boast over them. Your expensive houses, expensive cars, expensive clothes are all signs of worldliness. You’re proud in what you should be ashamed of. You may conform to all the outward trappings of Christianity. And you may be active in ministry in the church. But if you remain worldly and proud, you will die in your sins and go to Hell.

III. Third, the enemies of the cross of Christ dream of earthly things.

“The enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:18-19).

To some extent we have to mind earthly things. We have to go to school. We have to go to work. If you’re a student we tell you to study hard and do well in school. Be the best student you can. Get the best grades that you can. Get the best job that you can. But that should not be the most important thing in your life. This type of thought of earthly things is not what the text is referring to. It is the dreaming of worldly things that is sinful.

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I John 2:16).

Dreaming and fixing your mind on earthy things is your chief sin. For from it flows many other sins. And it is this lust and love for the world that makes you an enemy of God, Christ, and His cross. Paul said,

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14).

You remain an enemy of the cross, because you don’t want to be crucified, to die to the world. You know that coming to Christ would mean dying to the world. So you choose not to come to Him. You want to remain as you are. You want to continue to sin and enjoy all that the world offers.

You will remain lost if you continue to dream of earthly things and love the world. The next step is leaving our church. Paul wrote,

“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (II Timothy 4:10).

As Demas forsook Paul you will forsake your family and friends for the world.

Dreaming of earthly things prevent you from you from listening to the sermons. You are a natural man. And your earthly thinking prevents you from receiving spiritual truths. You hear the sermon filtered through your fallen mind. Your mind twists and cheapens the message. And so you will believe a doctrine about Christ instead of Christ Himself. You look for a feeling instead of Christ Himself. You use psychological explanations or attempt logic to “get it right.” These mistakes have been corrected many times. Yet your mind is in a worldly dream. So you make the same mistake again and again.

Dreaming of earthly things prevent you from believing on Christ. You care very much what people think of you. Yet you have no thought at all of what God thinks of you. Christ Himself said,

“How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” (John 5:44).

As long as you seek honor and praise from men you cannot believe and trust Christ. You have chosen to receive honor from men over God. In judgment, God will not give you the grace and faith to believe on Christ. All your friends and associates also have their mind on earthly things. The Bible says,

“They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them” (I John 4:5).

You have your own community of friends outside of church or the lost within the church. And all speak of worldly things. You are all enemies of the cross of Christ. You may speak of your sins, Christ, His Blood, Heaven, and Hell in church. But you never speak of spiritual things outside of church, because only the world, not these unseen things are real to you. Only the things of the world charm you and get your attention. These spiritual things are only words and concepts to you that you cannot grasp. Paul said,

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness” (I Corinthians 1:18).

You dreamers of earthly things consider the preaching of the cross foolish. Admit it! You sense no relevance of it to you. You have heard it countless times, but it hasn’t meant anything to you. You sense no real need of Christ and His Cross.

The same young lady asked the young man, “How can you tell who is a real Christian?” The Bible gives us a clear answer. “If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him” (I John 2:15). Love of the world and dreaming of earthly things prove a person to be a lost, carnal enemy of the Cross of Christ.

“The enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:18,19).

The cross of Christ and the world are enemies of each other. They are in direct opposition. The cross will save you. The world will destroy you. It’s eternal life or eternal death in Hell. It is Christ or the world. It’s as simple as that. You cannot come to Christ unless in your heart you leave the world behind. As long as you desire the world, you will remain an enemy of the cross of Christ. You will then die in your sins and go to Hell.

You say, “Yes, it’s all true. I am an enemy of the cross. I live only for what pleases me. I have no shame for my sins. My mind is only on earthly things. I know I must be convinced of my sin, but I’m not. I know I must come to Christ but I can’t. I know I need the Blood of Christ but I don’t feel my need.” Oh, there may be hope for you yet. Paul felt some of this before his conversion. Oh, that you might feel and say with Paul,

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24).

You are a wretched sinner. You cannot change on your own. You are destined for Hell, and you cannot of yourself do anything about it. You must be delivered through the Christ of the cross. Christ died for your sins. On the third day he arose physically from the grave. He is now at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven. Come out from the world of sin, lust, and pride. Come to Christ for cleansing of your sin in His Blood.

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
   All its joys are but a name;
But His love abideth ever,
   Through eternal years the same.
Oh, the height and depth of mercy!
   Oh, the length and breadth of love!
Oh, the fullness of redemption,
   Pledge of endless life above!

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
   In His cross my trust shall be,
Till, with clearer, brighter vision,
   Face to face my Lord I see.
(“Take the World, But Give Me Jesus” by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).

If you would like to speak with us, please leave your seat and walk to the back of the auditorium now. Dr. Cagan will take you to a quiet place for prayer. Mr. Lee, please pray from someone who responded to trust Jesus and be saved.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Philippians 3:17-20.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Take the World, But Give Me Jesus” (by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE ENEMIES OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST

by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan

“The enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:18-19).

(I Corinthians 2:2; Philippians 3:17; Colossians 1:20; 3:2-3;
John 3:31; James 3:15; Romans 8:7; Galatians 5:11)

I.   First, the enemies of the cross of Christ have their belly as their
god, Romans 8:5; Philippians 2:21.

II.  Second, the enemies of the cross of Christ are proud, not ashamed,
of their sin, Galatians 6:14; Romans 6:21.

III. Third, the enemies of the cross of Christ dream of earthly
things, I John 2:16; Galatians 6:14; II Timothy 4:10; John 5:44;
I John 4:5; I Corinthians 1:18; I John 2:15; Romans 7:24.