Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
In these difficult times, we are prone to worry about basic necessities. Some of us have lost their jobs, our businesses have closed down, our income has taken a huge hit. And we ask: Will we go hungry or will we be provided for?
Continue reading “God Our Provider”
Philippians 4:10-13 ESV
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.  Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
In times like the one we presently face, we are prone to be discontented. Our circumstances are not only unacceptable, they are intolerable. Our inability to be content serves only to exacerbate our misery.
Continue reading “Contentment”
Philippians 4:8, 9
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
So much of our lack of peace is the result of wrong thinking. We focus our minds on the things that discourage us instead of the things that encourage us. We think of things that lead us away from God instead of things that draw us nearer to him. Continue reading “Thinking and Doing”
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Because of the present pandemic, we need peace more than ever. The troubles we face – physical, financial, emotional – are beyond our control. We are prone to worry. What shall we do? The Bible wants us to realize these three things. Continue reading “The Peace of God”
 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.  For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (ESV)
While there are those who faithfully serve Christ and persevere in righteousness (whose example we ought to imitate), there are those who oppose him, especially his work on the cross. These are the enemies of Christ’s cross.
(a) They oppose Christ’s righteousness (Gal. 2:21).
Instead of proclaiming the good news that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, they teach that we can be saved by our own strength and good works, contrary to what Paul teaches in Ephesians 2:8-10. In effect, they devalue what Christ did on the cross for us. On the cross, Jesus cried, “It is paid in full!” There is nothing more we can add to the work of salvation which he accomplished for us. Ours is simply to receive by faith the free gift of salvation. Continue reading “Enemies of the Cross”
 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.  Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (ESV)
Receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior is just the beginning of the Christian life. We still have a lot of growing up to do (Eph. 4:11-14). We should not be content to remain spiritual infants (Heb. 5:12-14).
Here are the steps we need to take in order to make progress in the Christian life.
– We need to realize that we are not yet perfect.
– We must forget the past.
– We must press on. Continue reading “Christian Progress”
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
One of the chief characteristics of God’s children is their disposition to make peace. After all, the Holy Spirit lives in their hearts and the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc. Of course, this peace doesn’t mean “appeasement”. This isn’t “peace at all costs.” This peace is allied with divine love, which includes love for God, his kingdom, and his righteousness. Interestingly, Jesus also said he came not to bring peace but a sword (Matthew 10:34)! By that he means, devotion to him who is the Prince of Peace inevitably brings persecution from those who oppose his peaceful reign and his gospel of peace. Continue reading “Blessed are the Peacemakers”
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
The people referred to in the Beatitudes are blessed because they belong to the kingdom and they possess the traits that identify them as belonging to the kingdom.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “PURE IN HEART”?
A) “Clean on the inside”, not like white-washed tombs which are clean only on the outside.
B) “Sincere” or unadulterated like unmixed wine.
C) “Single-minded” like a faithful husband who has eyes only for his wife.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SEE GOD?
They are blessed because they will see God. In other words, they are those who will be saved because by the purity of their hearts they prove that they really have put their faith in Christ (1 John 3:1-3). Without holiness, no one will see God. The holy God is too pure for sinful hearts to see. To the pure all things are pure; to the impure, all things are impure.
HOW CAN WE BECOME PURE?
The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). But we can become pure –
(a) By God’s grace. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10) See also Ezekiel 36:25-27.
(b) By confessing our sins: 1 John 1:9
(c) By keeping God’s Word: Psalm 119:9, 11
(Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash)
TEXT: Philippians 3:1-11
INTRODUCTION (verses 1 to 3)
It is a good thing (safe) to review the basics of the Christian life, especially the doctrine of salvation. And it becomes more urgent to do this in the face of false teachers who distort the Bible’s teaching on salvation by telling us that it is by means of our personal spiritual achievements (confidence in the flesh) that we can be saved. These people focus so much on external righteousness that they miss the fact that if the heart remains unchanged, their efforts amount to nothing. On the other hand, those who put their faith in Christ instead of relying on themselves can rejoice because they have received true righteousness and have experienced as well the transforming work of the Spirit in their hearts. That is why to them Christ is precious and worth every sacrifice. How can we experience Christ’s preciousness in our lives? Continue reading “The Preciousness of Christ”
“Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
INTRODUCTION: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MERCY AND GRACE?
The previous beatitudes have to do with our attitude or relationship towards God. The beatitudes that follow have to do with our actions towards others resulting from our right attitudes towards God.
Mercy is compassion towards others who are in a miserable state. Grace, on the other hand, is generosity to the undeserving. Grace views the unworthiness of the recipient. Mercy views the misery of the recipient. Grace has to do with cleansing the guilt of the person. Mercy has to do with alleviating the miserable condition of the person. Continue reading “Blessed are the Merciful”