Tag Archives: Philippians

Just Do It!

Philippians 4:9

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

 

Now that Paul has done his best to get the congregation thinking the right way, he gives a final admonition on what they should do. It’s almost worth going back and looking at the different ways he tells them to think.  I know we spent a lot of time on this but there’s nothing more important than getting our thought life straight. So the things were going to think about are things that are true, honest, just,  pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. If you  missed the posts on each of these characteristics, please go back to the last 8 posts and enjoy them

With that in mind, let’s look at the things that Paul says here that they need to do now that he has them thinking the right way.  First, they need to do the things that they’ve learned. As we look back at the Philippian Church, they learned about salvation, they have learned about the Holy Ghost, they have learned about deliverance (remember Paul was delivered from prison in Philippi), they have learned how to pray, and the power of prayer, and they have learned humility. Now they need to do these things.

What have they received? They have received salvation. They have received the Holy Ghost. They received several of Paul’s co-workers to help minister the gospel. They most likely received immeasurable blessings from the Lord. So they need to do these things. How did they do these things? They share them with others. That’s how we do the things that we receive – we give them away. When was the last time you prayed for somebody to receive Christ.  I have to admit it’s been awhile for me. I need to give away some of the things that I’ve received.

And what if they heard?  They heard the gospel message. They’ve heard about humility. They’ve heard about their thought process. They’ve heard about sacrifice. They’ve heard about being like-minded. They’ve heard about deliverance from prison. They’ve heard about the power of prayer. Now they need to do these things. It’s not enough to just go to church and hear the sermon.  When we hear it, we should do it. When was the last time you acted upon a sermon that your pastor gave? You might say to me that he’s not a very inspiring speaker.  He hasn’t inspired me to go out and do things. I’ve heard it said that Jonathan Edwards was not a very fiery preacher either but people would feel like they were burning in hell as he sat in the chair and delivered his message.

When it comes to hearing and doing it’s up to you. The pastors job is to deliver the message God has given Him for that  day.  I am a firm believer that if I am sitting in that congregation, God has something for me in that sermon, and it’s my responsibly to listen and act upon it.  It’s not up to your pastor to put it in some dainty little package. It’s up to you to act on the word of God. So stop paying attention to how it’s delivered and pay attention to the word that’s given.

Lastly he says to do the things that they’ve seen in him. What have they seen Paul do?  They’ve seen him give his life for the gospel.  They’ve seen him worship and praise the Lord while he was in prison.  They’ve seen him traveling all over the place to minister the word.  They’ve seen him not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. These are the things I need to do.  And, as a side note, would I be comfortable telling people to do the things they have seen in me?  How about you? I’ll leave that as a rhetorical question.

Paul then leaves them with this thought: if they all do these things God will be with them and He will give them peace. I don’t want to be questioning whether I’m doing what God wants me to do or not. I can have peace with God by just doing the things that I’ve learned, received, heard and seen others do. I think I better get busy.

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The Attitude of Gratitude.

Philippians 4:8 Part 8

Finally, brethren,

whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue,

and if there be any praise,

think on these things.

 

 

How thankful are you?  Are you someone who rarely says thank you to those around you?  Do you tend to find fault everywhere you turn?  I bet if you’re not that person you know someone who is.  There are plenty of people who fit that description.

 

I bet there were the same type of people back in Paul’s day.  Ungrateful, not responsible, not accountable.  They refuse to acknowledge the good deeds of others, preferring instead to find the one thing that wasn’t done right.  The scribes and Pharisees in Jesus day are a perfect example.  Look at all the good Jesus was doing, yet all they could see was the people following Him instead of them.

 

If there be any praise, think on these things.  Now we start out by giving praise to God, of course.  And there is NEVER a time that He is not worthy of our praise – NEVER.  No matter what is going wrong in your life, there are a million things going right that you can praise Him for unless you are dead, and then hopefully you will be praising Him in heaven.  There is always reason to give Him praise!  Are you breathing?  Praise Him for the sair He supplies.  Can you see? Praise Him for the sunlight, even on the cloudy days it’s still there!  Are you sick?  Praise Him that your blood is still flowing through your body.  Do you have cancer (Yes, I do)?  Praise Him that your breathing, that He gave the doctors amazing knowledge, that you still have sight, hearing, taste, touch, the list is endless of things I can praise Him for, not matter what my situation.  Give Him praise.

 

But this verse goes beyond that.  If there be any praise!  What about that janitor in your church who does such a good job – doesn’t he deserve some praise?  How about the grocery clerk who helped you out with your groceries?  Or the bank teller who helps you with a transaction?  Or the convenience store clerk who assisted you today?  Don; these people deserved praise – in the way of a thank you?  A simple thank you is praise in it’s simplest form. And we as a church need to be doing more of it.  An attitude of gratitude is what it is often called.

 

Our world today has lost a lot in this area, and we need to show the way.  We as a church should be the most grateful people alive.  We should never have reason to gripe and complain.  So many blessings have been lavished upon us by our Heavenly Father.  Let’s let the world know that gratitude is he way to go!

A Soul Winning Proposition

 Philippians 4:5

 “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”

Typically, we see the word moderation and we think of avoiding excesses in our lives.  When something or someone is in the middle of two extremes, we say it is moderate.  In politics, a moderator is someone who is not completely in line with the agenda of his/her own party affiliation, but they tend to support policies on both sides.  If the weather man says temperatures will moderate in the next few days, that means temperatures have been above or below normal, and they are going to get back to the middle somewhere.  If I say I am a moderate drinker, I may have one or two drinks a day and not get drunk at all.

But Paul is not talking about moderation that way.  The word translated moderation here is the Greek word epieikes.  In every other instance this is used in the New Testament, it is translated “gentle”.  Other modern translations take this verse and come up with “Let your gentle spirit be known unto all men”.  We will use that translation for our study.

Paul is urging the Philippians to show their self-restraint and patience in their dealings with one another.  What a valuable lesson for all of us.  I believe they used the word moderation in the King James because to do what Paul is asking, they had to moderate from hard fast rules of the church too allow for new converts as they learned the right path.   Think about it for a minute.  When you first got saved, were you instantly free of all your sinful ways?  Did you take up all Christian values right away?  Not me!

I got saved in Iowa, and traveled back to my home state of Massachusetts a day after that took place.  I had no one to tell me what I should be doing now that I had accepted Christ.  I knew I should be going to church, so I went back to the Congregational Church (UCC) I grew up in.  My mom had been the church secretary for years, and everyone knew who I was.  But I was now a hippie – long hair, known around town for drugs and trouble.  When I walked in that church, heads turned for sure.

I started reading my bible because I heard on the 700 Club that you should read the Bible through in a year, so I set out to do that.  I started visiting with the Pastor once a week during lunch to discuss this new-found Christianity.  I went to church every Sunday, sang in the choir, got involved in some other things, and seemed to be doing good.  But on my own time, I was still drinking and doing drugs.  I had problems.

The point I am trying to make is that a new Christian must be given time to learn what a Christian should be in total.  We must allow them to grow at their own pace, with words of encouragement along the way.  Remember, they are mere babes in Christ.  Just because they don’t grow at the pace we would like them to does not mean that they are any less a Christian than we are.

And why should we be gentle with them?  Because the Lord is at hand!  We do not want them to turn back on their faith.  Our goal is to bring as many people into the kingdom as possible before the Lord returns.  If we are too demanding, we will lose the babes and frighten away anyone else who might be on the edge.  So le’s allow our moderation to be known – it’s a soul winning proposition.

Giving All of Myself

Philippians 2:28-30

 28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.  29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: 30 Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.”

We come to the end of chapter 2 with Paul finishing up his thoughts on Epaphroditus. It is obvious from the amount of time that he’s been telling them about why he sent Epaphroditus that he wanted them to understand the importance to Epaphroditus to this mission. He was very careful to pick up the young man to be his Messenger to Philippi and he was hoping that they would rejoice when they saw him. And I have no doubt they did since they were asking about him when they heard he was sick.

Paul also tells them that because they were rejoicing it would not bring him sorrow to send Epaphroditus. Paul enjoyed his company, and it was a hard thing for him to send his trusted friend. But he wanted to do what was best for the Philippines church. Paul always looked out for the church first.  So he asks the Philippians to receive him with great gladness and hold him up in a high reputation.

On occasion, people from our administering church fellowship come and visit us at our church. We are always very glad to see them and we certainly hold them in high reputation. We should all feel this way about people within our denomination or are fellowship of churches that come to minister or just a visit. Typically, they have labored long and hard for the Gospel, giving of themselves over and over again to achieve the honor of that position they hold.  We have no idea of the weight that is on their shoulders if they are serving in a capacity of authority.

Paul also reminds them that it was the work of Christ that caused him to be near death. Epaphroditus gave his all for the gospel. He gave everything he had to Paul and Paul was very grateful for that   It makes me ask myself how much am I willing to give for my Church? Would at I go to the extent that Epaphroditus did to back my pastor? To the point that my very life could be at stake?  Would I go that far for the leaders of my fellowship? To be honest I really can’t answer that question. It’s a very tough one. Back in those days the church was growing and they were sticking their necks out every time they ministered. Today the church is under a little bit of fire in the United States but we really don’t know persecution. What if someone came into the congregation and threatened the life of my pastor? Would I be willing to take his place? I have to honestly answer and I probably would not. Now I would stand up and say I believe in Jesus Christ if I was going to be shot but I’m not sure I would come to the point of giving up my life for my leader on this earth. That might be a terrible thing to say but I want to be honest.

This thought helps me to understand how much Paul loved Epaphroditus. He knew that Epaphroditus would give his very life to help out in any way he could. Oh, that I would have that kind of dedication myself.

Lord, increase my boldness.  It’s not a matter of whether I would ever deny you – I would not.  But I want to be like Epaphroditus and be willing to defend my Pastor and those in authority within my fellowship, even to the point of death if necessary.  They labor hard for the gospel, and deserve my best.  They have always encouraged and loved me.  Help me to always hold them n the highest regard.

Don’t Wait – Go Today!

Philippians 2:22-24

22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For[a] I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.”

Paul once again returns to the fact it he is torn between two places: remaining here or the desire he has to go to be with Christ. Now that he has dispatched Timothy to the Philippian Church he is much more confident they will be well taken care of if he should depart. At the same time he knows that his guidance and direction is still thought after highly by the Philippians, and by the rest of the churches for that matter.

He also recognize the fact that his labor will produce more fruit if he remains here and that of course is a plus. Paul took pleasure in the fact that his labor was not in vain. He had worked hard and suffered much for the gospel and never complained about that suffering. You can see 2nd Corinthians 11 for a list of what Paul went through. I don’t think any of us would endure such tribulations and keep on plugging away.

When I read these statements by Paul I have to reflect back on what my ministry has accomplished. I know that there have been several people they have accepted Christ during services I have held and there’s no greater joy I have ever had then leading someone to the Lord. It’s an awesome feeling and I can’t wait till the day I can do that again.

I remember one particular gentleman who came to the altar weeping.  He had accepted Christ many years before and felt the call of God on his life to preach the gospel but he couldn’t quit smoking. The Lord told me to tell him to start preaching and He would take care of the smoking. This man ended up having a tremendous ministry and his smoking went away a few weeks after he started preaching.

You see, God will give us the words we need when it’s the right time. He will also work with us in our present condition if we will step out in faith to do what He asks us to do. He will make you fruitful but you need to do what He asked first. It can be a difficult thing to step out when we feel like we’re not worthy to be in that position. But God works miracles every single day.

I trust the Lord is working in your life today. What is keeping you from the labor that He has asked you to do? Whatever it is step out in faith and do what God has asked you to do today.

 

Lord, I thank you for all those who I have touched with the ministry you have blessed me with through the years.  From Sunday School teacher to Men’s Ministry, to Worship Leader, song writer and preacher, many lives have been moved.  Now I am going through my biggest battle ever, and I know that you are preparing me for a great time of ministry through the testimony that will come forth.  Keep me humble through all this Lord, and help me to recognize when it’s time to start sharing what you have done­­­­­. 

You First

Philippians 2:3

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves”

In his desire to see the church grow and truly become the loving church Christ had come to establish, Paul gives a teaching that rocks us all back on our heels.  I would say that if I could fulfill this one verse, I would be doing very well in serving Christ.  This verse is the essence of the golden rule, but it is taken one step further.

First, nothing should be done out of strife.  How many times have you done something just because someone pestered you so bad you finally gave in?  If that’s never happened to you, you’re a better person than I am.  Especially in my marriage, my wife often has to ask several times for some things she sees as important that I just don’t see the same need for.  Now maybe she hasn’t done a good enough job explaining why it is so necessary, or maybe I’m just too thick skilled to pay for what she wants (probably the latter).  By the time I end saying yes, there is strife, and she wonders why I just didn’t listen in the first place.

This happens in the church as well.  We hear of someone not happy about something, and we know this person just likes to complain, so we ignore it.  Before long, we find out there are several people who are not happy about the same thing, and now they are coming to us, and there is strife and anxiety about it.  It should never get this far.  It is up to me to make sure I am not causing people to get upset by ignoring their requests.  They deserve an answer.

The second one is a little easier I think.  Don’t do things out of vain glory.  I hope most who are reading this post understand that God deserves all the glory, and we should never seek to take t away from Him.   There is no place for self-promotion in the church.  Now, if you do something for the church, and people thank you, it’s OK to receive their thanks.  Just don’t let it go to your head.  It is important that God always receive the glory.  Any glory we receive is just vanity and will feed our pride, which is never a good thing.  I have been guilty of basking in vain glory before – I never want to do that again.

The last part is the hardest one.  Esteem others better than self.  Put others before yourself, put their needs before yours, put their lives in higher regard than your own.  Now Paul is not saying that we ignore ourselves – not at all.  He is merely saying we have an obligation to help others, and if that inconveniences us, too bad.

I like to think of myself as a giving person.  I try to help people out if they need a helping hand.   But I can’t say I have ever gone out on a limb and helped someone with my last dime, when I hadn’t eaten yet.  I haven’t given up my car to someone else could get to an important appointment when I needed to get some grocery shopping done.  Putting others first is a little foreign to me, and is an area of my life that needs a lot of work.  It is the essence of humility, and the opposite of pride.  That is why it is so critical for us to do – it will crush any pride in us (unless we go and boast about al we have done – vain glory).  We will explore this further tomorrow.

 

Lord, you know struggle with pride all the time.  Help me to be more cognizant of the needs of others, and put aside my thinking that I have to take care of my needs first.  You ask me to help others out before I help myself.  Teach me Lord, how to do that and speak to me clearly when it is time for me to do something for someone else.