Tag Archives: Accountability

What Have You Attained?

Philippians 3:15-16

15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.  16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing..”

 

Let’s not confuse the word perfect here with perfection.  It’s real meaning is mature.  So Paul s asking those that are mature in the faith to be of the same mind he is according to yesterday’s lesson – pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  He wants them to have that zeal that they had when they first got saved as well.  This has to be an essential element of our walk with the Lord.  How can we hope to be effective in ministry if we are not giving our all?  I know I can do better, bring more of myself to the table, give more of myself.  I will readily admit that I am not doing all I can.  How about you?

 

Then he tells those who fud themselves like I am –  not likeminded with him in pressing forward with all he’s got – that God will reveal that truth to them.  He has revealed it to me as I’ve been doing more bible study and praying lately.  Is He revealing this to you?

 

Then he switches gears a bit and talks about the condition they are currently in -that which they have already attained.  So it’s time to examine our own lives.  Where am I right now in my walk with the Lord?  Let’s see.

I am currently housebound due to my battle with cancer and the side effects that have close to crippled me.  So I am limited to what I can do from here.  I have been consistently writing three blogs.  Two are bible studies – this one in Philippians and another through the book of Psalms.  The third is poetry and songs.  My prayer life has increased as well as my devotional life.  So I am doing some things.  But I am also falling short.  I am not recording the tunes for the songs I have written.  My voice is back now, and this is something I need to do.   I have also not been as consistent as I should be in praying for the people I said I will pray for.  So on one hand, I am following through with those things I have already attained, and on the other I am not.  How about you?  Will you take inventory and see where you stand?  Today?

Watch Out For Dogs!

Philippians 3:1-2

“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.  Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.”

Paul starts chapter 3 telling the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord. What a great way to open a chapter. I just love to rejoice in the Lord   There is so much to be thankful for and so little to complain about. I’d rather not listen to the complaints of the world, which are many, but instead lift up the name of my Savior and my Lord and rejoice in His goodness, mercy and grace.  He then tells the church that they need to be aware a people among them who might be causing difficulties. Here we see a warning against dogs, evil workers and the concision. I’ve done a little research to find out exactly what these all mean so I’m giving my best attempt to narrow this down to what it means for us today.

The first warning is against dogs.  These were people that would come against the doctrine of the Gospel and against the teachers, ready to tear apart anybody they would argue with them. Today it is obvious that we have a growing number of people that are opposing not only the gospel but even symbols that show our Christian faith.  Some of these symbols have been standing for generations. Crosses in the middle of the desert, manger scenes on public property, the Ten Commandments in schools are just a few examples of ways the dogs are sneaking in and stealing the Christian identity from our country.

I blame the church for allowing this to happen. We have become so divided and so quiet. We take the verse that says blessed are the meek and we become so meek that we’re not speaking out for the rights of Christians in this country. I need to do a better job myself of standing up when these things happen. Most of the people and I know who don’t have a problem with what’s going on say that we are a diverse nation and we’ve always been dominated by Christianity. They say it’s time to become more diverse than our Christian symbols. I couldn’t disagree more. It is God, and our belief in God, that make this country great.  If we let that slide, the country will slide as well.  Let’s be aware of these dogs who want to come in and reshape our country into what it wasn’t meant to be

The evil workers in those days for the Judaizers who would sow seeds of discord and contention among the churches.  They were in direct opposition not only the Gospel but to the very nature of the message of Christ because they didn’t understand it. Today we see a very watered-down Christianity which applies a grace only message and leaves out the fact that there is judgement to come for those who are not walking in the ways of Our Lord. I believe we’re in an age of grace where many will be deceived.  Jesus said that even the very elect will be deceived in the last days (Matt 24:14). Are we in those days? Most would say we are. And the message of grace alone is a very deceiving message that mixers biblical truth with the doctrines of the world. Be careful of these evil workers

The concision in those days was were those who insisted circumcision had to still be observed in order to follow Christ. I hope we all know that the law was fulfilled by Christ and we no longer live under the law. However, there is still a law that we must follow and that is Christ. In many ways, He made what was written in the law more difficult. He made the law of adultery more difficult (Matt 5:28), he made the law of murder more difficult (Matt 5:22). Jesus did not negate the law – He fulfilled it and became our sacrifice for sin.  When we accept Him as our Lord and Savior we need to follow Him completely and not leave anything out.

Paul’s warning to the Philippians transcends time.  We need to be aware of these people still today. They are everywhere trying to rob the true gospel, soften it down, water it down and make it easy to get into the kingdom of heaven.  Even Jesus said the gate is narrow and many will miss it (Matt 7:13). I don’t plan to be one that misses it.  How about you?

 

Lord, keep me ever vigilant in following your word.  Help me to come against those who might try to enter my church with a false message.  Help me to always stand for the truth of the Gospel in it’s entirety, not just parts of it mixed with the message of the world.  Keep me wise so I can always see the difference.

Like Minded and Bringing God Glory

Philippians 2:20-21

” For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.

 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s”

As we discussed in the previous lesson, Paul mentored Timothy and trusted him implicitly to go back and minister to the Philippian Church. He says here that Timothy is the only one who is like minded with him and that Timothy will naturally care for the church.

Isn’t that what discipleship is all about? Jesus did everything He could to try to teach His disciples to be like minded with Him. Over and over again we see Him explaining the parables in detail to the disciples so they will understand the deeper meaning of the simple stories He was telling. We see Him take aside the disciples many times and teach them kingdom principles. And we see the final prayer in John where He instructs the disciples on what they need to be doing and what they will face.

He knew he would be leaving this world and wanted the disciples prepared for what was to come. Life would not be easy for them. He knew they would face scorn and ridicule and He wanted them to be strong in the face of it. He wanted them to be like minded with Him and to be able to trust them with the message that He left.

I find it fascinating that the one who denied him three times – Peter – is the one who became the greatest spokesman in the Jerusalem Church. He was also the first one to go to the Gentiles when he went to see Cornelius. It boggles the mind to see what the Holy Spirit can do to a man. Peter was just a fisherman and he became the Lord’s greatest spokesman.  He gave his life for his Savior. What an example for us to follow.

Paul then addresses a problem that is still in the church today. There are too many ministers and pastors that are only seeking their own and not seeking the things which are Christ. You might ask who are these? These are the ones refuse to teach the uncompromising word of God. They don’t have a problem compromising on abortion. They don’t have a problem compromising on gay and lesbian relationships. They don’t have a problem compromising on many issues that are very explicit in the Bible. They just want to be liked and don’t want to be controversial.

When you look at the teachings of Jesus, He was extremely controversial in His day. And He never backed down to the scribes and the Pharisees. He preached the uncompromising word because He was sent from His Father and He had to tell the truth. He was not here to seek His own glory but to bring glory to the Father. We need to be the same way. Never compromise what the word of God says. Now we need to love one another and all of our preaching needs to be done in love and with a heart to restore and to save the lost soul. We are not here to condemn anyone. It is also not our job to convince them that their sinners.  That is the Holy Spirit’s job (John 16:8-11). All we can do is present the gospel message and hope that they hear it.

So let’s be like Timothy. Let’s be like minded with Christ and care for the church enough to tell them the truth. We should never seek our own glory, but seek to glorify Jesus Christ in everything we do.

 

Lord, Help me never to seek any glory for myself.  I want to glorify you in all I say and do.  Help me preach the uncompromising Word of God, that sinners will come to repentance and be saved.

Philippians 1:28

without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved–and that by God.

The transition to Christianity would not be easy for the Philippians.  Their neighbors, family and friends would ridicule them, threaten them and mock them if they were not taking the journey with them.  These new converts would have to be strong and faithful, and hopefully Paul left behind good men and women to work with them in the church.  Paul tells them here not to be afraid of them.  This was a message to them that they would be destroyed in the end, but you will be saved by God.  They might not believe that, but it’s the truth anyway!

My Christian witness is identified by the way I live, and by the words I speak.  So I must conduct myself with the utmost regard for how it reflects on my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  At my workplace, do II give my all, as if I’m working for the Lord? Colossians 3:23 tells me “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,”  Do I accept the assignments given to me, and carry them out?  Colossians 3:22 tells me ”Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God”:

Several years ago, I had a great position with a company I had been with for 20 years.  They implicitly trusted me with keys to all their locations, and I floated between these locations, plus worked on the road with my sales staff.  I thought I was above the law.  But I abused my position and did things that I knew could get anyone else fired on the spot if it was found out.  One day, I was called into the office by my supervisor, and was told about a situation in one of the stores.  Not wanting to put any of the employees in jeopardy I confessed my transgression, and was immediately terminated.  This brought great dishonor to God, and caused me to take a deep look inside.  It ended up with me taking an 8-month sabbatical to a place in the hills of Kentucky to reevaluate where I was with God.  It was a life changing that I look back on and thank God for.

My Christian witness must be lived out everywhere, every day, in my actions and in my words.  I must not dishonor Him in anything.  This is my calling and my duty.  I have failed several times, and God has had mercy on me.  He is a wonderful God.  How is your conversation today?

 

Lord, you know how many times I have failed you, yet you continue to love me and have mercy on me.  I am so humbled by your awesome mercy.  Help me to move forward and walk as Christ would have walked.  Help me have His compassion, His boldness, His humility, and His desire to serve.  Help me to do the things in all areas that honor you, because that is the desire of my heart.

Philippians 1:26

” That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ

for me by my coming to you again.”

The last 7 verses have all been about Paul’s desire to see the gospel of Jesus Christ preached, no matter what happens to him.  He was ready for anything.  But as he closes this portion, we see him talking about going free and coming to see them.  What dedication!

Even as he was thinking this, he wanted to make sure that all his readers and the churches did not get into a position of lifting him up, but he wanted them to rejoice in Christ for the blessing of sending him.  I love the humility of this man!  He did not want to receive any glory – to Christ be all the glory.

I get invitations to revivals all the time from various ministries.  Many of them I love to receive because I recognize the preachers that are going to be present there, and know they truly have a love for the Lord, and are humble servants.  Two of those people are Bob Newton with Powerhouse Ministries and Sean Strong of Standing Strong ministries.  Both take their tent crusades all over the country, and are full Pentecostal revival preachers.  And both are humble men of God.  I know when they put on a revival, Jesus Christ will be glorified.

But sometimes it seems the speakers at these conventions and revivals just want to be heard, and they want to be lifted up.  It’s just the way the poster or invitation is worded or pictured that gives this impression.  If I ever sense that when looking at these things, no matter who the speaker is, I would never attend.

Our goal as Christians or as preachers is to lift Jesus Christ up.  He said if He is lifted up, He will draw men to himself (John 12:32).  Our place is to lift Him up, not to save them.  He will call them, and they will hear His voice in their hearts.  Just lift Jesus up!

 

I need to do a better job at lifting up your name, Jesus.  I like to teach the word, and I put together my messages very methodically and thoughtfully.  But I don’t always lift you up in every message, and that has to change.  You must be the centerpiece of every message.  Help me never to neglect that altar call at the end, allowing people to make a choice to accept you as lord and Savior of their lives.  Help me to always lift you up!