Sunday, November 30, 2014

Being Joyful: Special Friends

November 30, 2014

Being Joyful
Special Friends
Philippians 2:19-30

(Advance Slide #1)

When you think of Christians who comes to mind?

(Advance Slide #2)

  • Maybe it’s a good deed.
  • Maybe it s parent, grandparent, SS teacher.

Sadly, not everyone has fond memories such as these.
  • For many, their thoughts of Christians are those that have disappointed them in the past.
  • You find a contrast and the entire spectrum of Christians.
    • Those that never take hold of God’s work, those who are negative, maybe hypocritical!
    • On the other hand, there is those that love the Lord, work hard, do their best!

We are going to divide the text into two section this morning.
  • In each of these sections Paul will be focusing on two important individuals
  • What I hope we will do is see their relationship and the potential joy for having similar relationships in our lives!

(Advance Slide #3)

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. 23 I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, 24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.

What would bring Paul real joy?
  • For his letter to arrive to the Philippians and then for him to receive good news of their situation.

This group of verses has a theme.

(Advance Slide #4)

  • That theme is HOPE.
  • Paul hopes for two things:
  1. To send Timothy
  2. That they have a resolution

Paul HOPES to send a friend to them...Timothy.
  • He is described by Paul as being “genuinely concerned” vs. 20
    • This shows that Timothy truly cares about the welfare of the Philippians.

(Advance Slide #5)

  • Paul says, “I have no one like him…”
    • Paul was a unique friend of Paul, he had a great spirit and cared for his brothers and sisters.
    • “Other seek their own things, no the things of Jesus Christ. This is not so with Timothy.”

Paul HOPES that the problems that are causing division will be resolved by the time his letter is read.
  • He hopes that the false teachers will be dismissed.
  • He longs to hear good news about the church’s welfare.
    • Furthermore his hopes are that the divisions will stop and that there will be reconciliation.

Every Christian needs someone like Timothy...a kindred spirit.

(Advance Slide #6)

  • We all need someone who will understand our circumstances.

(Advance Slide #7)

  • We need someone for whom the same things, godly things, matter!

(Advance Slide #8)

25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 26 for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

(Advance Slide #9)

Epaphroditus is another friend of Paul’s that is central in this section.
  • Paul uses several phrases to describes his relationship with him:
  1. He was a brother
  2. He was a fellow worker
  3. He was a fellow soldier
  • Paul also explains Epaphroditus’ relationship to the church in Philippi.
  1. He is their messenger...their special emissary!
  2. He is their minister (to them and the needs of Paul)

News had arrived back to Philippi that he was ill.
  • His sickness was the point of death.
    • Despite the sickness Paul realized that God had mercy on Epaphroditus and himself.
      • NOTE - God is responsible for the good...Epaphroditus’ healing!
    • If God had not intervened he would have had “sorrow upon sorrow” - vs. 27

Paul wanted to send him back to the church at Philippi.
  • Epaphroditus would be encouraged, so would the church, and then so would Paul.

(Advance Slide #10)

NOTICE - vs. 29, Paul is encouraging the congregation to “honor such men.”
  • Hold men like him in high esteem! WHY?
    • Because of his sacrifice for the “work of the Lord.”
    • He did what you could not do!

Christians need to express gratitude for good people.

(Advance Slide #11)

  • We need to keep our focus positive!
    • More importantly, we need to find and form relationship like Paul and Timothy, Paul and Epaphroditus!
    • We need to have relationship like that!

As a congregation of believers we need to be people who are “like minded”...”kindred spirits.”
  • Be people who genuinely and seek not their own things but the Lord’s.
  • “Slaves” for the gospel!


(Advance Slide #12)

Is it possible to be a “good samaritan” today?
  • A reporter in San Bernardino , California, arranged for a man to lie in the gutter on a busy street.
    • Hundreds of people passed the man, but not one stopped to help him or even show sympathy.
  • Newspapers across the country have covered stories where people were attacked and all the bystanders don’t even picked up a phone to call the fact they laughingly film it!
  • In Detroit, two teenagers, discovered a woman who had suffered a heart attack.
    • They carried her to a nearby house and rang the bell, asking for help.
    • The only reply they received was, “Get off my porch— and take her with you!”

So I ask again, is it possible for someone to be a “good samaritan” today?
  • Most people have hardened their hearts to watch out for themselves!
  • Is it possible that sacrifice and service are just ancient things?

It is worth noting that even in Paul’s day mutual concern was not a popular virtue.
  • Christians in Rome were not too interested in the problems at Philippi.
  • Times have not changed too much.

Paul is continuing his lesson on obedience and submission.

(Advance Slide #13)

  • That is, following the example of Christ.
    • Paul knew that the Philippians, just like us would say, “Being like Jesus is impossible!”
      • So, instance he gives two examples of dynamic submission...maybe these would have hit a little closer to home.
      • These men were able to “good samaritans!”

Dynamic submission and obedience is not something for the “special chosen”
  • These ordinary men illustrate to us the same this life is necessary for joy.
  • Furthermore, it is an opportunity for all believers!

These men were balanced Christians...
They were burdened Christians…
They were blessed Christians…

We can a blessing to God and to his church, as He is a blessing to us today.
  • He proves to us the joyful life.
  • Through His Son we learn the life of sacrifice and service, that the submissive mind really does work.

(Advance Slide #14)

Will you permit the Spirit to reproduce “the mind of Christ” in you?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Being Joyful: Work Out!

November 23, 2014

Being Joyful
Work Out!
Philippians 2:12-18

(Advance Slide #1)

Sometimes we need a lesson in Christian conduct.

(Advance Slide #2)

  • Paul knows that when he writes the Philippians.
  • He wants to give them guidance in their Christian conduct.
    • That is what Paul does and he tells them about living the Christian life.
  • Paul has just finished presenting about the example of Christ.
    • How Jesus went from being clothed in all the Majesty of God then stooping down, taking on humanity...
    • He humbled Himself in obedience, even obedience to the point of death on a cross.

(Advance Slide #3)

The passage on the obedience of Christ, the great example of Christ is connected to this passage that we are study this morning.

(Advance Slide #4)

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

One of the best commentaries for these verses can be found in chapter 1:27
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

(Advance Slide #5)

  • “working out your own salvation” - what in the world is this?
    • I believe it is conducting yourself in a manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ.
    • Demonstrate a kind of behavior that is consistent.
  • He is not calling the Philippians to do some deed that will bring about their salvation.
    • Rather, he is saying “Bring your salvation to a logical conclusion!”
    • “Behave like a saved person!”
    • “Make your life match Jesus precious gift!”

“your salvation”
  • Notice what he says in vs. 12
“not only as in my presence but much more in my absence”
  • It was easy for them to obey when Jesus was around.
    • But now he is a prisoner in Rome...he cannot do it for them.
    • Do what?
      • They must allow their faith to produce good works in their lives.
    • vs. 13 indicates that it is God who “works in you.”
      • Furthermore these are the things that will bring God “good pleasure.”

(Advance Slide #6)

“with fear and trembling”
  • It may sound like Paul is calling his readers to respond out of fear.
  • Paul is not trying to get everyone worked up.
    • He is focusing on what motivates Christian living.
    • In chapt. 1 it was to be “living a life worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
  • I believe that Paul is talking about the intensity that is given to the task of living worth of the gospel.

Paul is challenging:
  1. Bring your faith to a logical conclusion.
  2. Take responsibility for your own life.
  3. Give your all to living like saved people.

(Advance Slide #7)

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

(Advance Slide #8)

There was apparently some “grumbling and disputing” going on there at the congregation in Philippi.
  • “disputing” - lit. means ‘evil reasoning’
  • Don’t act like this!
    • How are we suppose to act?
      • Paul is calling them to “blameless and innocent.”
    • You MUST live a life that is above approach.
      • Even “in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation.”

(Advance Slide #9)

      • With all the darkness of sin that surrounds them, they will “shine as lights in the world.”

(Advance Slide #10)

17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

The prospect of standing before Christ reminds Paul that it might be soon.
  • Paul uses, a favorite, metaphor of a drink being poured out before God.

(Advance Slide #11)

  • This is usually done to show appreciation for what God has done!
    • History behind this was a custom of Jewish and Greeks ceremonially pouring wine with certain sacrifices.
  • Paul was in a dangerous situation that could lead to his death.
    • If he dies, even his death would be an act of worship.
      • The very climax of his ministry and life would be a cause for rejoicing.
  • He was rejoicing and calling the Philippians to share his joy.

Display the same attitude as Paul!
  • Share the same attitude that he has for his circumstances in your own.


(Advance Slide #12)

The man was a of the best architects there was.
  • He was given a mission to help rebuild a building that once stood beautiful.
  • A plan is put into place that would recreate the building’s original splendor.
  • Sadly, the architect is diagnosed with a terminal illness and can no longer work.
  • While he can no longer work he can give instruction.
    • He said, “‘When people think of me, I want them to think of this beautiful building! You’ve got to make it so that it stands like a lighthouse in a dark storm, showing people that there is such a thing as beauty even if everything else around is ugliness. That will be my reward.’

(Advance Slide #13)

Paul in this passage is like that architect...he was looking forward to the “Day of the Lord”
  • The day when peace will be brought to this world through the return of the Lord.
  • Paul doesn’t even know if he will be able to see that day.

Look how he puts it in verse 15.
  • You are, he says, to shine like lights in the world, in the middle of a twisted and depraved generation.
    • You are to be the beacon of hope that they need, the sign of God’s beauty in a world that had all but defaced it.
  • What Paul is saying is not just that the Philippians are to be a sign of light and beauty in a world of darkness and ugliness.
    • They are to be a sign of God’s new life in a world that only knows the way to death.

(Advance Slide #14)

Now we can return to the earlier verses in the section and see how they fit in.
  • Paul is telling the Philippians that they must grow into maturity and take responsibility for themselves.
  • He may be absent, but this simply means that they will have to think through an independent and obedient mind what the gospel means for them.

“Your own salvation” isn’t meant to contrast this work of theirs with any work of God in salvation.
  • It is contrasting their own responsibility for their spiritual welfare with the responsibility that Paul would take if he was with them.
  • They therefore need to be obedient—to him, but much more to God.
    • this without complaining!



(Advance Slide #15)

This text makes me think about how Israel questioned God and Moses at every turn:
  • Often, Paul sees the church as the people of the new Exodus:
  • Brought out of our own ‘Egypt’ of sin and death.
  • Saved through the Passover action of God in Jesus, and now on the way home to the real promised land.

That remains the challenge before the church today just as in the first century.

(Advance Slide #16)