17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
There are two schools of thought regarding the gluttony part of this passage. We’re going to lay down some background:
The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, “These verses give the reasons for the exhortations in verse 17: many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Believers should be able to determine truth from error. Paul was so concerned about the Philippians’ spiritual welfare that he warned them often and wept as he did so. As enemies of God these false teachers were destined for destruction. Those Paul warned against were perhaps profligates in incipient Gnosticism who trusted in their own attainments and not in the sufficiency of Christ alone. All who do so are not children of God, so they await destruction. This word does not mean annihilation but rather ruination by separation from the presence of God in eternal judgment. Three further descriptions of these false teachers follow. First, their god is their stomach. They had in mind only their own physical desires and unrestrained gluttony. Second, their glory is in their shame. Instead of giving glory to God these teachers heaped praise on themselves. Ironically they prided themselves in the things they should have been ashamed of. Third, their mind is on earthly things. It is certainly not wrong for God’s people to care about their earthly affairs. But those Paul warned against here were depending on earthly things to gain merit with God. The apostle frequently alerted the people of God against such a lifestyle.”
The Bible Exposition Commentary, “How strange in a letter filled with joy to find Paul weeping! Perhaps he is weeping over himself and his difficult situation! No, he is a man with a single mind, and his circumstances do not discourage him. Is he weeping because of what some of the Roman Christians are doing to him? No, he has the submissive mind and will not permit people to rob him of his joy. These tears are not for himself at all; they are shed because of others. Because Paul has the spiritual mind, he is heartbroken over the way some professed Christians are living, people who ‘mind earthly things.’ While we cannot be sure, it is likely that Philippians 3:18–19 describe the Judaizers and their followers. Certainly Paul is writing about professed Christians and not people outside the church. The Judaizers were the ‘enemies of the cross of Christ’ in that they added the Law of Moses to the work of redemption that Christ wrought on the cross. Their obedience to the Old Testament dietary laws would make a ‘god’ out of the belly; and their emphasis on circumcision would amount to glorying in that about which they ought to be ashamed. These men were not spiritually minded; they were earthly minded. They were holding on to earthly rituals and beliefs that God had given to Israel, and they were opposing the heavenly blessings that the Christian has in Christ.”
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines gluttony as excess in eating or drinking or greedy or excessive indulgence.
Many of us do not like hearing messages like this, but this particular series can not only change your life spiritually, but it can save your life physically.
According to the CDC, “Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.”
Gluttony is sin and all sin has consequences. In the verse that we have selected to begin this long-term discussion on gluttony, Paul says, “their end is destruction.” Who is he talking about? Well, in Philippians 3, Paul expresses his desire to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He says, “I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” Paul was not a lazy Christian. He was not content to remain where he was spiritually; he knew that God had better things for him.
In contrast, the “they” of verse 19 are those who are not willing to strive to achieve the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” These are the lazy Christians, and these are real people whom Paul is talking about. Among other things (which we will get into in the near future), Paul characterizes them as being slaves to their bellies. They are comfortable where they are. And that is what we must not be if we want to overcome the gluttony problem in our lives. We can no longer be comfortable with it. We must say with Paul, “I want to put this behind me, and press on to something better.”
PRACTICAL STEP: Here is what I am going to do going forward: I am going to drink a shake in the morning. I am going to eat a vegetarian meal for lunch every day except for Sunday. (Of course, the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s I won’t be doing that.) And for dinner, I am going to eat a salad. Friday, September 15th, was my birthday and the birthday of my two baby children, Danyel Ezekiel and Danyelle, so I did eat some meat then and we enjoyed ourselves in that celebration.
I will be sharing more practical things like this at the end of each message.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.