- – This is a great passage of hope. We are told that God will not leave us unfinished. We will, however, be in a state of becoming until Christ comes and redeems us physically. The term here for day in Day of Jesus Christ is haymera and is used exclusively in the NT as a reference to the return of Christ. In fact, Peter makes this point emphatically when he declares in 2 Peter 3:10 – The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. We are a work in progress.
God begins the work in us and we cooperate with the Holy Spirit within us to continue the work of sanctification and transformation
MAY 27, 2015 -
- 9 – Paul is encouraging the Philippians to continue to grow in 3 specific areas
JUNE 3, 2015
- 12-13 – That Paul is imprisoned while writing this epistle is without doubt. Scholars differ as to where he is imprisoned. The three places that are posited are Rome, Ephesus, and Caesarea. There is only anecdotal evidence that Paul was imprisoned in Ephesus. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 is cited as possibly referring to an Ephesian imprisonment. It is probably safe to say we can rule out Ephesus.
- – As Paul recognized that his obedience encouraged others, we will see our obedience inspire others to be obedient as well. Our attitude in opposition will speak to others and encourage them in their walk.I remember a time in my early Christian walk when a guy moved his family across the country to serve at the church I was attending. Promises were made but not fulfilled yet this guy still showed up every week and served with vigor and joy. I saw his reaction to what I felt was a raw deal and was encouraged by his faithfulness to God in the midst of what looked like a punishment for trusting God.
- 18 - Even in this, Paul is able to rejoice because the Gospel is being proclaimed. We can see guys like Joel Osteen and his wife teaching nonsense about God wanting us to worship Him because worship makes us happy and God really just wants us to be happy, and we can know that though the Osteen's are getting rich promoting their form of faith, Christ is being proclaimed and people are getting saved. God will deal with those who teach out of impure motive.
- 19-20 – Paul is so sure of the reality of the sovereignty of God, that he is confident that whether he lives or dies, it will bring glory to God. Paul is not pleading with God to change his situation but accepts that God will use his situation for the Glory of Christ.
- 21 – This is a well known declaration by Paul, and seeing it here in the context in which it is written gives the statement much more impact and meaning. As Paul is facing a possible death sentence, he recognizes that living means total submission to Christ in the sense that he loses his very identity as an individual and to die is gain as he then goes to be in the presence of God and glory.
- 22-26 – As Paul contrasts his desire to die and be with Christ vs his role as shepherd to the people, he resigns himself to the fact that he will continue in life and service to God.
- – in light of all we gain from our great salvation, Paul encourages us to live lives that are worthy of our salvation.
- – even as Paul is facing the prospect of death at the hands of godless people, he has no fear of them because he understands that people can kill him, but not the work that has been done. Though Paul is killed, the work of the Body continues because God is doing the work through His chosen vessels and God will always have a chosen vessel to do His work.
- 29-30 - again we are reminded that as believers, we will suffer for Christ, we live in a world that is diametrically opposed to God and we are in opposition to the system of the world around us. Paul shows us how to respond to suffering and to maintain peace and joy in the midst of that suffering by remembering that we are God's and that God will have His way regardless of whether we live or die, and even if we should die, we will be with Christ.
JUNE 24, 2015
- 3 – imagine a world in which the church is obedient to this verse! Imagine the good we could accomplish if we were living up to this command. Imagine if we demanded this from our spiritual leaders. If we could remove the human factor from our service, we would be tremendously more effective in doing the Lord's work.
- 4 – We are not told to completely forsake ourselves, we are commanded to look to others interests as well as our own. We still need to maintain our health and provide for our families. We are not to forsake others in our pursuit of happiness.
- John 10:30 - “I and the Father are One.”
- John 14:9 - “...anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
- John 8:58 - “before Abraham was, I AM.”
- Mathew 21:9 shows Jesus accepting worship which would contradict His own words in Mathew 4:10 where He tells Satan that only God is to receive worship.
- 8 – In the past, we have asked the question, “what is a soul worth?” Here we see what our souls are worth to God. God was willing to suffer a very painful and humiliating death on a cross for our souls.Psalms 22:1-18 - My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.Proverbs 29:23
Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.Ezekiel 21:26
this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
- 14 – This verse may not be far easier said than done. Not grumbling is by far the easiest part of this verse to obey.
- 15-16 – By serving God without grumbling and fussing about our predicament, we are able to demonstrate our faith to others and allow them to see that we are different. By holding fast to the Word of life, we are able to accomplish this. In our flesh, we have expectations of how things should be. When things do not go according to our plan or as we expected, we have an opportunity to display our faith in the midst of our disappointment. If we commit a matter to prayer and truly seek God's will in a certain situation, and things do not work out like we expected or wanted, we have to remember that God is good, that God knows best and that He has a plan, and we need to be as grateful towards God as if He answered our prayer according to our will. .
- 19-22 – Paul is endorsing Timothy and hoping to send Timothy as his Representative. Timothy is Paul's main disciple, in the sense that Paul has invested his life in Timothy and invested time and effort to raise Timothy up as a man of God. Paul understood that the great commission was not just leading people to Christ but actually making disciples.
- 23-24 – Remember, Paul is in prison awaiting his fate. In verse 23, he is realistically waiting to see what God's will is in his situation, but in verse 24, we see hope.
“Headaches and bad faith Are all that I've got. First I misplaced the ending Then I lost the plot.
Out among the free-range sheep While the big birds sharpen their claws. For a time we stuck with the shepherd But you wouldn't play Santa Claus. Sigh Let's be blunt. We're a little distracted. What do you want? Once we could follow,Now we cannot. You would not fit our image So we lost the plot.”
- – Epaphroditus came from Ephesus to minister to Paul and became ill, so Paul is sending him back to Ephesus with the letter we are reading. Paul is happy to send him back to allay the concerns of the people who had heard he was sick. This is a good example of short term mission trips. Some are called to long term missions, some to short, and others to remain home and minister in their gifts.
- 1 – in transitioning from speaking of the godly to the ungodly, Paul takes a moment to remind us to his readers to rejoice. In the midst of imprisonment and uncertainty, Paul is able to rejoice in the Lord, who is good when we are happy and is good when we are not happy
- 2. - one of the biggest dangers the early church faced was false teaching by a group called the Judaisers. This group is mentioned sarcastically, in 2 Corinthians as “super apostles”. Apparently, these guys were very well spoken and very persuasive in their argument that the gentile believers were required to live according to the law and must submit to circumcision.
August 11, 2015
- Last week, we looked at false teachers with false motives entering the church. We looked at some specific false doctrines that have come to define certain denominations. Many of these false doctrines took hold because watchmen were not diligent to protect the flock from false teachers and these false teachers were able to gain positions of power within an organization or to create a split in an organization creating an offshoot with aberrant or heretical theology.Now we move on to look at what power we do have, vs. the false power we perceive that we have in the flesh.V. 3 As believers, we are not able to put any confidence in anything other than the redeeming work of Christ. No matter how smart we are, no matter how rich we are, no matter how popular we are has any bearing on our degree of rightness with God. We are either saved, or we are not, this is done by the work of Christ on the cross and our placing our faith in that work. Everything we do after that should be done because of our salvation, not done as unto our salvation.
We refer to baptism as an ordinance of the church, a command to be observed by a born again believer. The person observing this practice has already received all the saving grace needed to be considered righteous before God. Those who see baptism as a sacrament believe that there is grace unto salvation granted to the person being baptized. The same holds true for the Lord's Supper. Communion is for the born again believer who has already received all the grace needed unto salvation. Those who believe in sacraments believe that grace is given by receiving communion, that is why some churches offer communion every day of the week.Vv. 4-6 – Here Paul recounts all of his qualifications that would appear to make him right with God. Amazingly, all these things were worthless in the eyes of God when it comes to salvation. Paul had reached the pinnacle of Jewish piety, he had attained the epoch of Judaism, yet it was worthless when it came to salvation.Paul, himself, was indeed circumcised on the eight day of life,as was commanded in scriptures: Gen 17:12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring,It is on the eighth day after birth that a Jewish male is presented at the Temple and circumcised. Jesus was circumcised according to this command.: Luk 2:21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.Why the eighth day? Our bodies produce vitamin K, which in turn produces a compound called prothrombin. Prothrombin is a natural blood coagulant which prevents hemorrhaging. On the eighth day after birth, and only on the eighth day after birth, prothrombin levels are above 100% making the eighth day the safest day for a male baby to undergo a surgical procedure like circumcision. God knew the liver produced this chemical and which day it was in abundance in a time when mankind was barely aware that the liver actually existed, never mind had a function! This was God's design to protect His people, even in circumcision.Paul was trained under Gamaliel, the premier Rabbi of his time, this is equivalent to a Harvard law degree. On top of all that, Paul managed to live his life perfectly under the letter of the Law, although not by the spirit. It is possible to live according to the Law and yet sin as Paul persecuted the church because of his devotion to the Law.As I have been reading this passage for the last few months, I cannot help but wonder if Paul was the rich young ruler who Jesus sent away sad after commanding him to sell all he owned and give to the poor and then to follow Him. The passage states: And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” I have always found it interesting that the passage stated, specifically, that Jesus loved him. Paul seems to fit the description pretty well based on this passage.
In this case, Paul is referring specifically to circumcision and making the case that the truly circumcised are those who have placed faith in Christ and the circumcision is of the heart, not the type commanded in the OT.We can do nothing to increase our grace, there are no degrees of salvation. This is the difference between sacrament and ordinance. A sacrament is a religious observance meant to infer grace to the person who practices it.
V. 7 Paul recognized that all these things did not amount to anything in light of his salvation through faith in Christ. These things did not help his faith, they did not bring him closer to God, they did not make him more saveable or more righteous, in fact, many of these things were the very things that were keeping him from God. Paul was self sufficient and self righteous. Even if he were not the rich young ruler, he still relied on the things that the young man in the gospel accounts relied on for righteousness.Paul counts it as loss and the word for loss zemiah has a connotation of violence to it, in the sense of damaging. Paul recognized that all his human achievements were damaging to his spiritual life. These were things that any religious person would commend, would look to and laud, but in reality, religiosity harms our spirituality and damages our chances of true righteousness.We have a culture in which we live, we have culture in which we identify and want to fit into so we do not seem weird. Many of the cultural things church members struggle to identify with in order to fit in with society are the very things that are hindering their relationship with Christ. How many believers will never reach their full potential because they are too concerned with how others will perceive them or are too concerned with maintaining a certain image or persona.Even in the church, we create codes of conduct which are a litmus test for spirituality and as long as we can maintain a certain level of outward piety, we are good.Paul understands and demonstrates that the kingdom of God is not rules and regulations, nor is it an appearance of religiosity but a deep relationship with Christ.Notice verse 9 – Paul realizes that the only true righteousness comes from knowing and trusting Christ, not in following religion. The fact that righteousness of God comes from faith cannot be disputed as Paul specifically states that in this verse.Dale Thomas, of the Christian band Bride, made this statement: “You can be clothed by the righteousness of God or the corruptness of this world, and when Jesus comes back, he better see himself standing there, because if he sees you … trying to make it all by yourself, you're not going to make it.”Paul understood this.
Vv. 10-11 Paul values knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection as worth any suffering he may endure in this life. Paul is not saying that suffering is necessary for salvation, but he is saying that we identify with Christ through suffering for the Gospel. As we identify with Christ in His suffering, we have assurance that we will be identified whit Christ in His resurrection! We have been predestined to be transformed into the image of Christ so when we do stand before God in the last day, He will see Christ and usher us into eternity and glory.
We have a culture in which we live, we have culture in which we identify and want to fit into so we do not seem weird. Many of the cultural things church members struggle to identify with in order to fit in with society are the very things that are hindering their relationship with Christ. How many believers will never reach their full potential because they are too concerned with how others will perceive them or are too concerned with maintaining a certain image or persona.Even in the church, we create codes of conduct which are a litmus test for spirituality and as long as we can maintain a certain level of outward piety, we are good.Paul understands and demonstrates that the kingdom of God is not rules and regulations, nor is it an appearance of religiosity but a deep relationship with Christ.Notice verse 9 – Paul realizes that the only true righteousness comes from knowing and trusting Christ, not in following religion. The fact that righteousness of God comes from faith cannot be disputed as Paul specifically states that in this verse.Dale Thomas, of the Christian band Bride, made this statement: “You can be clothed by the righteousness of God or the corruptness of this world, and when Jesus comes back, he better see himself standing there, because if he sees you … trying to make it all by yourself, you're not going to make it.”Paul understood this.Vv. 10-11 Paul values knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection as worth any suffering he may endure in this life. Paul is not saying that suffering is necessary for salvation, but he is saying that we identify with Christ through suffering for the Gospel. As we identify with Christ in His suffering, we have assurance that we will be identified whit Christ in His resurrection! We have been predestined to be transformed into the image of Christ so when we do stand before God in the last day, He will see Christ and usher us into eternity and glory.
- 8-11 – Paul gladly gave up all that he had and all that identified him with his culture and religion in order to gain Christ. That which his culture valued above all things, Paul saw as garbage, because it kept him from true relationship with God.
August 19 Vv.12-15
Last week we saw, in verse 11, that Paul spoke about attaining resurrection from the dead. That is the goal for all men, to have a good resurrection and the only way to accomplish this is through faith in Christ. Paul wrote about his past and how all his perceived accomplishments kept him from attaining perfection. Now we are going to see Paul looking ahead, and not allowing the past to hinder his spiritual growth.
this does not mean that we will, or even can, attain perfection in this life, but we have assurance that we will one day attain perfection in glory and that takes the futility out of living right.We may ask ourselves, what's the point of doing right, of standing for truth, of being alone in the battle of morality and the answer is that one day we will be able to attain all we are striving for now and every doubt we have as to the relevance of our obedience will be erased when we stand in the presence of God and see His victory over sin and death.One thing the enemy uses to neutralize us is the past – V.13-14 – people often speak of fearing the future and being intimidated by the unknown, but I think one of the biggest detriments to our spiritual lives is the past. We look back with shame, we look back with guilt and we forget that all those things are forgiven and cast into the deepest sea by God.Micah 7:19 tells us - He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. This verse is speaking of the future state of Israel when Christ returns and restores His people, but it also pertains to us as we have been forgiven through the blood of Christ. The point of this verse in Malachi is that when God forgives, He keeps no record. I Corinthians 13 tells us that “love keeps no record of wrong” and we know that God is love and we can experience that love through forgiveness and we can be assured that God is not holding onto our old sin, nor is He bringing it to our attention.We tend to think of past failures and allow them to discourage us from moving forward. Imagine if everything you ever did was victorious, what would you be afraid to do if all of your past experiences were successful? We are successful in Christ. Job 42:2 says - I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. If none of God's purposes can be thwarted and we know that God wants to accomplish His work through us, we have the history of God's victories to spur us on, to encourage us in His work.In a few weeks, we will look more closely at verse 4:13 which says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Our past is debilitating, but God's past record is victorious and we are working under His power.V.15 – Paul also recognizes that these things come with spiritual maturity. As we grow in the Lord, we will begin to overcome many strongholds in our lives, whether it be blatant sinful behavior or negative attitudes. One sign of spiritual health is spiritual maturity and this should be recognizable. If you are the same person you were 6 months ago and you are still struggling with the same things that you always have, you have probably reached a point of spiritual stagnation and need to reevaluate your plan for spiritual growthWe have all heard the definition of insanity, according to Albert Einstein, “doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.” I like the way he put it that is a little less well known, “If yo always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” If you have been implementing a plan for spiritual growth and have not seen any real growth, then God is giving you a signal that you need a new plan.
V12 – Paul knows that he is not perfect and he knows that he has yet to be transformed into glory, but he lives his life in the knowledge that he will attain these things because Christ has made him whole. We can have victory over sin in our lives when we recognize that we are bought for freedom. The more we keep our eyes on Christ and His work on our behalf, the less we will be inclined to sin
Last week, we looked at spiritual maturity leading to our understanding greater truth and our ability to accept and apply deeper truth to our lives. I remember a time when a newcomer to church introduced himself to me as an alcoholic in a 12 step program. I responded to him that God is not in the recovery business but the healing business and that eventually he could be free from the 12 step program. This man was disturbed by what I told him and he went to the pastor about the matter, the pastor agreed that the goal was to be set free, not recovering. The man was not yet at a place of spiritual maturity to accept this truth of I Corinthians 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.Even as Paul calls us to maturity and he recognizes that some are not yet mature enough to accept deeper truth, he encourages us to hold on to the truth and growth that we have attained.
- V.16 – Sometimes, God reveals truth to us that is difficult for us to understand or accept, especially truth about ourselves. It is dangerous for us to be confronted with truth and to reject that truth, and sometimes when we are confronted with truth that we reject, it causes us to reevaluate things we have already accepted as truth in the past. Part of our spiritual growth is seeking truth and acting on it. Paul concedes that there are things which we will find difficult to accept at first but that will come with maturity, and he is encouraging us with that knowledge in V.15 but also warning us in V.16 to hold on to the truth that we have already accepted. Don't backslide just because the next step is too hard.
V.18-19 – We will come across people, both in and out of the church, who are enemies of the cross. What better way to destroy something than to get on the inside and work against it. We could name denomination after denomination that has become spiritually irrelevant, even as they have become socially relevant, due to bad practices that have led to bad doctrine. A church will practice sin for a long time before it becomes a doctrine. Right now, the only thing keeping the American Methodist church from embracing gay marriage is the Methodists of Africa. Those who work against God are motivated by desire and emotion. Emotionally, we can be lured into accepting lies because our emotions lie to us and are not based on truth, but feelings.This type of behavior is what led to the destruction of Jerusalem during the days of Ezekiel and Jeremiah – Ezekiel 13 recounts how false prophets came to the people and lied in the name of God saying there would be peace and safety, even as God was pronouncing destruction through Ezekiel. These false prophets may have had the best of intentions and “felt” that what they were saying and doing was right, but because they were influenced by their feelings and emotions, and not God, they prophesied falsely and led many to destruction.This is why it is so dangerous for churches to allow nonspiritual and untested people into positions of leadership, though they may have the best of intentions, they will ultimately be influenced by the flesh, whether it be greed or emotion, and lead many to false hope in something other than the blood of Christ.
V.20-21 + 4:1 – the good news is what we touched on last week, we will attain perfection one day in the presence of God, we will be glorified and we will transformed into something so amazing, we cannot even imagine it! For this reason, we battle against discouragement and we stand firm in Christ, knowing we will not be put to shame.
- 2 – We do not have any real background into why Paul is calling Euodia and Syntyche (soon too khay) be in agreement. We do have the experience of having lived among other people and having had an occasional disagreement from time to time.
- 3 – sometimes, people need a little help getting to common ground and as brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to actively try to heal rifts and disagreements. If you know that two people in the congregation are having a disagreement and you have a relationship with them, try to get them together and resolve their differences, and if not, at least help them find common ground so that they do not have animosity with one another. It is ok for us to disagree on minor things, but we need unity on essentials and we need to do all things in love.
- 4 – Again, Paul calls us to rejoice, in the midst of disagreements, we can all agree on the fact that God is good and worthy of our praise.
- 5 – When I was going through training to become a mediator, they told us that our primary job I dispute resolution was to bring people back to reasonableness. If we behave reasonably, if we do not allow our emotions run away with our minds, we can overcome division.
- 6-7 – Most of what causes us to behave unreasonably is fear or anxiousness. We fear the future, we fear out present situation will lead to bad things, we become anxious about things over which we have no control. Here, Paul is telling us that we need to bring our troubles to God and, in the midst of making our requests, to remember to give thanks. Giving thanks helps us remember God's goodness and provision in the past and allows us to rest in the goodness of God and His promise to never leave us nor forsake us.
- 8 – This verse is especially meaningful to me – After having tried for 5 years to have children, we had reached a point where we needed some spiritual counsel. We met with our pastor and he quoted this verse to us and it has always stuck with me. These are the things that we are to be focused on.
- – Paul is thanking them for sending a care package to him while he is in prison. Paul is wanting to show gratitude, but at the same time, he does not want to seem desperate for their giving, rather, he is demonstrating his reliance on God
- 11- Paul understands that his provision does not depend on man, but on God. We have all heard guys on TV or radio pitch for funds, and use guilt or coercion to get donations.
- 14-18 – Paul then recounts the kindness of the Philippians, and letting them know that he is grateful for their support and kindness. It is important for us to show gratitude to God and to those through whom His blessings come.Verse 17 demonstrates the difference between Paul and his receiving gifts for his ministry and guys like Creflo Dollar who is currently raising money buy a $65million Gulfstream airplane. Paul is not looking to enrich himself or to make his life easy, he is looking for support so his ministry can continue to produce fruit. Paul was not looking for a new chariot or a faster horse, he was wanting to spend the time he would have spent earning money, ministering to people and sharing Christ.V. 19 – I believe this passage applies to us as well as the Philippians. Throughout the Bible, we see God telling us that He will provide for us when we place our trust in Him. Notice that the key word is needs, not wants...
John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
- 20 – the last nugget of wisdom that Paul wants to impart is that we are to glorify God. That is our ultimate purpose and we do that by living obediently to His word and plan for our lives. Paul does this by leading people to Christ and then declaring truth in his teachings and writings. We can do this by submitting ourselves to God and seeking first His kingdom.Vv. 21-23 – simple greetings and blessings as is typical in any letter.