So, we’ve looked at the whole of Philippians – urge you to read it again.
Now we know why he wrote it – it’s a thank you note. (2 slides)
For: THE PHILIPPIANS’ GENEROSITY on-going support and concern for the apostle
they shared with him at Phillipi, they sent aid on several occasions and in jail in Rome, they sent a gift by the hands of Epaphroditus
WHAT A WONDERFUL PICTURE OF FELLOWSHIP BETWEEN A CHURCH AND A PREACHER!
For: PAUL’S CONTENTMENT His expression of thanks was not to hint that he was in great need but that this contentment was something he had learned – (for I have learned to be content with whatever I have) it involved strength given by the Lord (I can do all through Him who strengthens me)
Paul gives thanks that he has developed a proper perspective on life.
For CHRIST’S POWER THERE IS INDEED WONDERFUL POWER AVAILABLE FOR THE CHRISTIAN!
power used to raise Jesus from the dead, and to seat Him at the right hand of God!
power of the Holy Spirit, which is described as being able to accomplish great things
There is no excuse for not doing what God desires!
For Christians who sin knowingly, it is not that they CAN’T do the will of God, but they WON’T!
For: GOD’S RICHES These are riches in glory which God supplies by Jesus Christ and WITH RICHES LIKE THESE How can we not be content?
THE SIMPLE ACT OF GREETING (THEN, AND NOW) CAN SERVE AN IMPORTANT FUNCTION
love and appreciation for one another
nourishes the relationship we have as brethren in Christ
- Such are some the things we can glean from a simple thank-you note
- The Philippians’ generosity
- Paul’s contentment
- Christ’s power
- God’s riches
- The saints’ greetings
- What this reveals is the high quality of life experienced by those in Christ!(SLIDE)
- Who despite the sort of circumstances faced by Paul Could still feel and write such a letter as the epistle to the Philippians!
- As we close this study on this wonderful epistle, I leave with you two words: Glory and Grace (AND REJOICE!)
- “Now to our God and Father be GLORY forever and ever. Amen.” – Philippians 4:20
- “The GRACE of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” – Philippians 4:23
- Have you received the wonderful GRACE of our Lord in your life, by obeying His gospel? Are you living so as to offer GLORY to God, both in word and deed?(SLIDE)
- May such portions of God’s Word like the Epistle to the Philippians inspire you to do both! (FINAL SLIDE)
(SONG) Paul knew he was in the glory land way. Are we?
Are You Saved? . For Jesus’ sake, amen
Forbes magazine “Why, when we have it so good, do we feel so bad?”
- “It was terrible. It’s much better now. But we are not happier. I believe we are just cleaner, more attractive, sadder people than we used to be.”
- problem lies in the pervasive greed that is choking to death the joy that makes life worth living.
- seeking “bottled happiness,” “confuses the good with the Right to Shop”
focus on the external world for the source of their happiness.
- We may have a good job but we know a friend who has a better one.
- We may drive a new car but dream about driving a better one
- We may now finally have a stable marriage but our children cannot keep a steady job and is still living at home.
Rather than focus on what we have we worry, grumble and complain about what we do not have.
Rejoicing Paul tells them to work together to settle the conflict between Euodia and Snytche. Uses their conflict to illustrate to the people the theme unity. He then tells them to rejoice always He was ever able to look beyond his present discomfort and see the reward that awaited him he gives instruction to Philippi to rejoice
- The act of rejoicing is not natural for most of us.
When we are hurting we tend to focus on the pain.
When I catch a finger in a door, I cannot see beyond the throbbing of that finger.
To rejoice, requires us to look away from the pain and to focus on God and what God is doing. It requires us to walk by faith.
This would not have been easy for Philippi. They were constantly under the threat of persecution.
The act of rejoicing requires a choice. We can choose to remain glum. We may choose to worry or we may choose to rejoice. Paul says that his choice is to rejoice.
These are easy words that are difficult to implement.
What we are really worried about is ourselves!
We are the center of attention when we worry!
Some treat the Bible as if it were a therapeutic manual for solving all of life’s problems.
You remember Pollyanna – her silver lining approach is closer to Paul’s prescription than a gloom and doom viewpoint.
Paul emphatically states “do not be anxious about anything.” Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t worry be happy.” (Screen)
We do not have to worry. We can choose to be happy.
put things into their proper perspective by asking “Will
this problem prevent advancement of world civilization or
just a minor annoyance?” The Role of Prayer
“by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God.” Each person must take a different journey. We must present our prayers and petitions to God until we can finally arrive at the point of giving thanks. We can pay lip service to God but accomplish nothing in helping us understand God’s will and plan in our lives. Or we can choose to embrace each crisis, each inconvenience, each disappointment with a spirit of joy and thanksgiving. Paul’s choice (ours?) is to rejoice.
Olympics Paul must have been a sports fan. He speaks of wrestling, boxing, running, winning the race, winning the prize, and winning crowns. He talks about the discipline necessary to win and the danger of being disqualified. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Sport is the answer to all things. valuable traits discipline, training, perseverance, teamwork, It’s not enough to start well or to lead at the half. You’ve got to lead at the end of the game if you want to win.
Christian life is like that. It’s not enough to start with a bang. You’ve also got to end well. many people enter the Christian life with great enthusiasm only to disappear into mediocrity along the way. So many lack purpose in life. Following Jesus Christ is not a hobby—like collecting stamps Paul shares four principles for winning the prize when the game of life is over.
1: Check Your Direction. 12-14 Paul “I’m not there yet.” . He’s isn’t perfect yet and he knows it. True believers aren’t in heaven yet, but they aim their steps in that direction. Make sure you are moving in God’s direction. Everyone goes somewhere in life. Where will you be when you get where you are going?
2 : Follow Faithful Leaders. 15-17 six different times in the New Testament Paul says, “Follow me.” Did he think he was a perfect Christian? Not at all. What he meant was, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” A journey towards Christ. At the head of the line is Jesus Christ, . It’s a long road with many twists and turns we need folks in front of us who can keep us on track. 1) Who are you following? showing the way, pointing out the rough places and making sure you don’t make a wrong turn? We all need people like that in our lives.
2) Who is following you? Think again about the image of a great parade. Jesus stands at the front followed by a vast throng. Right now … someone is following you. Right now … someone looks to you to show them the way. Right now … someone prays because they heard you pray. Right now … someone is watching you fight your personal battles. Right now … someone wants to be like you.Right now … someone is cheering you on. Right now … someone sees Christ in your life. Right now … someone admires your strength. Right now … someone believes you are the best Christian they know. . Right now … someone is smiling when they think of you. Right now … someone thanks God for your friendship. . Right now … someone is following you. Keep on the path. Keep your eyes on the prize.
3: Know Your Enemies. 18-19 How do you spot them? They claim to be Christians Their lives betray them They drag others down with them They will destroy you if you let them God’s point is clear: if a relationship is pulling you away from Jesus Christ, you must break it off. Period. No ifs, ands or buts. Break it off. Do it now. Stop making excuses.
4: Remember Your True Identity. 20-21
The enemies of the cross live for earthly things … BUT our citizenship is in heaven. we live on earth but our hearts are in heaven. What do we know about our physical bodies? , from the dust. and we know they are constantly wearing out.
and, we know it will return to the earth from whence it came. we will be “raised and beautified.” I like the sound of that. I want to be raised and I definitely need to be beautified! Go for the Gold. You can win the prize if you will … (SLIDE)
In Paul’s time, people argued about whether or not a person was supposed to be circumcised in order to become a Christian.
Peter vs Paul (Jerusalem Synod) (BREAKING WITH…))
Some people believed that Christians should follow all the rules of Judaism, and some people argued that Christians should not have to. It was eventually agreed by the leaders of Christianity—the disciples of Jesus who were still alive, Paul, and others—that in order to become a Christian, you did not have to be circumcised.
They eventually agreed that All that you had to do to become a Christian was to believe in Jesus. .
If being a Christian depended on following laws, then people could boast and say that they are a better Christian than other people because they are better at following the laws than others are. This is what Paul means when he says, “confidence in the flesh.”- having a fall back position – a safety net
People who believe that they needed to earn their salvation by following the law put their confidence in themselves and what they do instead of putting their confidence in Jesus. If we could be saved by following the law, then Paul would have been the most amazing of Christians. (Next slide)
He was circumcised exactly like he was supposed to,
he was born into the right family,
he knew the law better than anyone,
and he was so zealous that he persecuted people who didn’t follow the law.
In short, Paul was the man. No one was better than him.
But that was before he actually became a Christian.
“I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ”(Slide)
Paul’s life instantly changed – Damascus.
Suddenly, the things that he thought were so important took a backseat. Paul now realized that the most important thing in the whole world was Jesus. He realized that all the things that he was doing trying to follow the law were worthless without know Christ. He even called them “garbage.” He came to realize that in order to be righteous, he needed to believe in Jesus, not trying to follow every law.
Paul’s life changed dramatically. Instead of studying the law to try to follow it better, he desired to know Jesus so he could follow Jesus better. He wanted to become more and more like Jesus every day. (Next slide)
The Things we trust in place of Jesus
Every one of us struggles with trusting in different thing rather than trusting in Jesus. It is good for us a Christians to realize what those things are and to confess them to God.
For some of us, we trust in the things that we do.
For some of us, we trust in our status or how people view us.
For some of us, we think the most important thing is the number of friends we have
For some of us we think the most important thing we have is possessions and wealth
For some the most important thing is to worship our own ego
And you could think of more…….
What do you trust in instead of Jesus? How easy will it be to confess that to God and place your trust in Jesus?
Paul warns the Philippians to be on their guard against people who put their trust in things other than Jesus. Paul encourages the Philippians to trust in Christ instead because everything else, (so much of what we hold dear) is garbage