October 26, 2014
Increasing in Joy
(Advance Slide #1)
An element to the joy that Paul expresses is that God is a ‘finisher’ as well as a ‘beginner.’
- The particular work which he has begun, and will finish, is the work of grace, through the gospel.
- Vs. 6 sums up an important motto of this letter,
(Advance Slide #2)
- “...he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
(Advance Slide #3)
Philippi was the first place in Europe that heard the ‘good news’ of Jesus Christ.
- Paul first met them in Acts 16.
- Of all the Christians, those in Philippi brought him the most joy!
- They even supported him in his imprisonment.
(Advance Slide #4)
Paul is all about his partnership with these believers.
- This word is often translated ‘fellowship.’
- We have developed a meaning for this word that includes: sharing of worship, prayer and mutual support and friendship.
- The term literally mean to ‘have something in common.’
- In Paul’s day fellowship was a business term....indicating a business partnership.
- The Philippians, then, are:
‘partners in the gospel’ (verse 5), ‘partners in grace’ (verse 7); they are in the gospel business, the grace business, along with Paul, and their gift proves it.
They are in the gospel business, the grace business, along with Paul.
- This gives God joy and confidence!
- Our partnership also brings us joy and confidence because we are in the gospel business together.
(Advance Slide #5)
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. Philippians 1:6, 7
Paul knows that when the gospel message of Jesus does its life-changing work in people’s hearts this isn’t something that might then fade away with the passing of time.
- If there is faith and loyalty in Jesus we have a joy and confidence that what God begins, he always finishes.
- But Paul remains confident in the grace of God, as should we.
When we have true Christian fellowship we experience true Christian joy because of our fellowship.
- Our partnership is in the gospel of Christ.
(Advance Slide #6)
- When we have Christian fellowship we keep one another in our minds, hearts and prayers.
In this fellowship, Paul prays for them.
- The opening of the letter looks ahead to what will come later.
- He does this with the content of his prayer for them.
(Advance Slide #7)
Love that overflows - vs. 9
(Advance Slide #8)
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,”
There is something specific that he wants them to overflow with...‘knowledge’ and ‘discernment/wisdom.’
- This is not how we think of love.
- For us, love has to do with an emotion, or affection not knowledge and wisdom!
For Paul, they are ‘bound together’ they have ‘fellowship.’
- We separate the heart and the head but Paul does not do this.
- If our love is to be authentic, true Christian love, it will be show is wisdom and knowledge.
- Different than what we might consider ‘book learning.’
This kind of knowledge is a deep insight into the way God’s world truly is...
- It is a knowledge open to everyone who is prepared to submit themselves wholeheartedly (mind and heart).
- To God through Jesus
- Single minded, Submissive mind
(Advance Slide #9)
Love that will have results - vs. 10
(Advance Slide #10)
“so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,”
The results that Paul writes about is moral discernment.
- The Philippians live in a world very much like our own.
- The lines between what was moral and what was not was often blurred and confused.
- This makes it difficult to know right from wrong!
- This makes our ‘walk’ difficult.
Paul wants them to know the difference between the two.
- If they know the difference then they will approach the coming “Day of the Lord” with great confidence.
- This letter has a lot to say about this coming day.
- Christians should approach this day with confidence and joy!
(Advance Slide #11)
Overflow with fruits - vs. 11
(Advance Slide #12)
“ filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
Paul prays that their lives be filled with the fruits of right living.
- In this verse we find another big word for Paul.
- ‘Right living’ is translated ‘righteousness.’
- It sometimes means God’s own faithfulness, and sometimes the status of membership in God’s family.
- As a member with all the privileges such as forgiveness of sins.
Here this word emphasises more the behaviour which results from both God’s faithfulness and the status of being a forgiven family members.
- Through every stage of the process: hearing the gospel, believing it, obeying it, and living by it…
- NOTHING is done for the glory of the person.
- As he says here everything is done “through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
(Advance Slide #13)
Paul’s prayer for the church is a prayer that every church leader might wish to use for the people in their care.
- It’s also a prayer that every Christian might use for himself or herself.
- And remember, as we pray.
- The reason we’re praying is that God has begun His good work in you all.
- And what God begins, he completes.
We too can experience joy through true fellowship.
- True Christian fellowship— a having-in-common that is much deeper than mere friendship.
(Advance Slide #14)
- “I have you in my mind … I have you in my heart … I have you in my prayers.”
This is the kind of fellowship that produces joy, and it is the single mind that produces this kind of fellowship.