Good Ministers

“But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will care truly for your state. For they all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a child serveth a father, so he served with me in furtherance of the gospel. Him therefore I hope to send forthwith, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me: but I trust in the Lord that I myself also shall come shortly. But I counted it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-worker and fellow-soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need; since he longed after you all, and was sore troubled, because ye had heard that he was sick: for indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, that I might not have sorrow upon sorrow. I have sent him therefore the more diligently, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all joy; and hold such in honor: because for the work of Christ he came nigh unto death, hazarding his life to supply that which was lacking in your service toward me.”

(Philippians 2:19-30)

INTRODUCTION:

Why do we need to study about good ministers even if we are only laypersons in our church?

Because all Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable (2 Tim. 3:16).

Because if it is the duty of Christian teachers to teach the whole counsel of God (Acts. 20:27), it is the corresponding duty of church members to learn the whole counsel of God.

Because we, in a sense, are all ministers; for example, like parents towards their children (Deut. 11:18-19).

Because sometimes we need to remind our ministers of their duty.

Because we need to know what we should be looking for in a minister if we are searching for one.

Because, who knows, we ourselves might be called to become ministers someday (1 Tim. 3:1).

  1. THE QUALITIES OF A GOOD MINISTER

A) He cares for people (Acts 20:28; John 21:15-17; 1 Thess. 2:7, 8).

B) He prioritizes the interests of Christ (Matt. 6:33; Matt. 6:24; 1 Tim. 2:4; Acts. 6:4).

C) He is of proven worth (1 Tim. 3:6, 10).

D) He risks his life for the work of Christ (Luke 9:23).

  1. OUR OBLIGATIONS TO GOOD MINISTERS

A) Appreciate them (Heb. 13:17).
B) Honor them (1 Tim. 5:17).

Do we appreciate our ministers? Do we honor them?

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Shining as Lights

TEXT: Philippians 2:12-18

“… that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” (verse 15)

INTRODUCTION

Jesus Christ is the original light. But if his light is in us because we are saved by grace through faith in him, then that light should shine in and through us so that people may be led out of darkness and to Christ. How?

  1. WE WORK OUT (NOT FOR) OUR SALVATION (Eph. 2:10; Matt. 5:16; Jas. 2:18).
  2. WE DEPEND ON GOD (John 15:4-5).
  3. WE DON’T GRUMBLE; INSTEAD WE GIVE THANKS (Jude 1:16; 1 Thess. 5:18).
  4. WE CLING TO GOD’S WORD (Ps. 119:105).

Don’t let go of God’s Word. Let its reality be seen in your life by your obedience to it because it’s the light which drives away the world’s darkness. It’s the food that souls need. It’s the standard by which we distinguish right from wrong.

  1. WE REJOICE WITH AND IN ONE ANOTHER (1 Thess. 2:19-20).

APPLICATION:

  1. In what specific way can I let my light shine?

PRAYER

Lord, help me to shine as a light in this world. Help me to contribute my share in driving out this world’s darkness. Amen.

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Hunger and Thirst

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.” (Matt. 5:6)

INTRODUCTION:

Our basic desires demand satisfaction. If we hunger and thirst and do not receive satisfaction, we will die. If we don’t desire what is good for us – if we don’t eat and drink – or if we desire the wrong things – like junk food instead of real nutrition – we will still die. This applies to the spiritual realm, as well. “Man shall not live by bread alone.” (Matt. 4:4)

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Blessed are the Meek

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)

INTRODUCTION.

We’re studying the characteristics of those who belong to the King and to his kingdom.

At the outset, meekness is the by-product of self-emptying (poverty of spirit) and self-humiliation (mourning or sorrow over one’s sinfulness). When you realize that you are not only nothing without God, but are also a sinner deserving of eternal punishment, the result will be a broken and contrite heart which can no longer afford to boast before God or to be arrogant towards others. You therefore don’t mind being last instead of being first; being the servant of all instead of being the ruler of all. In other words, the gospel makes you meek.

The values of the Kingdom are the opposite of the world’s. The world says, “Be aggressive, fulfill yourself, look out for number one, and you will be successful.” Christ says, “Be meek, deny yourself, be the servant of all, and you will inherit the earth. The last shall be the first.

1. WHAT MEEKNESS ISN’T

(A) It isn’t weakness. It doesn’t mean you’ll simply be a doormat to be trampled upon by others. Jesus Christ was meek and lowly in heart, but he drove the moneychangers out of his Father’s house.

(B) It isn’t softness. It doesn’t mean you’ll just keep quiet and won’t stand up to wrongdoers. Jesus was meek but he wasn’t spineless. He had the moral backbone to stand up for truth and rebuke wrongdoers.

2. WHAT MEEKNESS IS.

(A) It is strength under control.

The Greek word for meek is used for animals that have been domesticated, e.g., a horse that has been broken (Prov. 16:32; Prov. 19:11; Prov. 16:32). So a meek person is strong but he knows how to submit to God’s control.

(B) It is submission to God’s will (James 1:19-21).

“The meek are those who humble themselves before God, because they acknowledge their utter dependence upon Him. In consequence, they are gentle in their dealings with others.” (R.V.G. Tasker)

(C) It is gentleness to others (Prov. 15:1; Gal. 6:1-2).

(D) Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23)

3. EXAMPLES OF MEEKNESS

(A) Moses (Numbers 12:3). When Aaron and Miriam confronted him, instead of being angry he allowed the Lord to vindicate him.

(B) Jesus (Matt. 11:29; 1 Peter 2:23; Luke 22:42).

4. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO INHERIT THE EARTH.

(A) It means satisfaction and contentment with what we have at present (Ps. 37:11) (Ps. 22:26 KJV). You only truly possess what you are satisfied with. Because their spirits are subdued before God, they are contented with what they have (Heb. 13:5). They know that God will provide for all their needs (Phil. 4:19). And because they belong to God who owns everything, everything belongs to them. Therefore, they trust him to give them their portion in due time (Ps. 145:15, 16; 1 Cor 3:21-22; 2 Cor. 6:10).

(B) It means reigning in the world to come (Rev. 22:3-5; Matt. 19:28)

PRAYER

Lord, instead of always asserting myself, help me to be meek and lowly and self-denying like you because only then will I possess the things that truly matter: love, joy, peace, contentment in you! Amen.

Blessed are those who mourn (2)

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

Who else are those who mourn?

Those who suffer for Jesus’ sake (John 16:20, 22, 33). For now we weep because in this world we will have tribulation (Rom. 8:36; 1 Pet. 4:12)

And what is their comfort?

The promises of Christ (John 16:20, 22, 33; Heb. 13:5, 6).

The presence of the peace-giving Spirit (John 14:26, 27).

The participation of the brethren (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

The parousia (Second Coming) of Christ (Rev. 21:4).

Let us not be overwhelmed by sorrow because we not only have spiritual comforts now, we have eternal comfort ahead of us.

(1 Thess. 4:13-18)

Audio Link: https://youtu.be/n4yRjYMw7Uo

Blessed are those who mourn (part 1)

“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

INTRODUCTION

We continue to study the characteristics of those people who belong to the kingdom, one of which is their spiritual mourning, because they are a people whose hearts have been broken by a recognition of their sinfulness before God and have therefore become contrite (humble, repentant). It is comforting to know that God takes account of our tears (Psalm 56:8).

  1. WHO ARE THESE WHO MOURN?

They are those who sorrow over their sins and who suffer for Jesus’ sake. For now, we take up only the first one.

A) They realize how much they’ve grieved God by their sins (Psalm 51:4).

B) They feel the pain they’ve inflicted upon themselves (and others) as a result of their sins (Psalm 32:3-4; Jeremiah 2:19).

C) They also weep tears of conviction because of God’s love for them in Christ in spite of their sins. It was my sins that nailed Christ to the cross and I grieve at the sight of him on the cross, but at the same time I rejoice that he loves me so much so as to die for the forgiveness of my sins (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 5:8).

  1. HOW ARE THEY COMFORTED?

They are comforted by a sense of God’s grace and forgiveness (Psalm 30:5, 11; Psalm 32:1, 5; Luke 15:7, 10).

PRAYER: Lord, we are sorry for our many sins. Thank you for your forgiveness which you’ve given us in Christ Jesus. In him we have the comfort of complete pardon and eternal life. Amen.

What Does Humility Look Like?

Philippians 2:5-11

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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Christian Unity

Philippians 2:1–4

[1] So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, [2] complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. [3] Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. [4] Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (ESV)

INTRODUCTION:

If we really want to advance the gospel, we must be united (Phil. 1:5). Division harms the body of Christ and hinders the gospel (1 Cor. 3:3). However, unity cannot be imposed from the outside; it must come from within. That is why Paul appeals to the heart.

1. MOTIVES TO UNITY

A) Consolation in Christ (John 17:21)
B) Comfort of love (John 13:34-35)
C) Fellowship of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13)
D) Affection and Mercy (Luke 6:36)
E) The joy of our ministers

2. MEANS TO UNITY

A) We have to renew our minds. Unity of mind, purpose, and love. (Rom. 12:2; Amos 3:3) Renewal of the mind leads to transformation of life. We all have to become spiritually minded if we are to be united in love and purpose (1 Cor. 2:14-3:3).

B) We have to avoid selfish ambition. Jesus Christ himself did not hang on to his privileges as God, but humbled himself. He was born in a manger, he worked as a humble carpenter, he ministered as an itinerant preacher who was dependent on others for support (Luke 8:1-3), and he died on a cross intended for criminals.

C) We have to consider others better than ourselves. Jesus himself – the Master! – washed his disciples’ feet.

D) We have to be interested in other people’s concerns. Such was Jesus. He was interested in all kinds of people.

APPLICATION

  1. In what ways have I been selfish recently?
  2. What steps should I take in order to become more interested in others rather than just in myself?

PRAYER

Lord, please forgive me for the many times I’ve been selfish and divisive. Help me to love people, especially my fellow Christians, and to be interested in them. Amen

(Photo by Wylly Suhendra on Unsplash)

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

TEXT:

Matthew 6:13

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

INTRODUCTION

Sin is the Christian’s greatest grief. Christians can still sin and this happens when we succumb to temptation. Temptation isn’t sin, but giving in to temptation is. We need to be prepared for temptation when it strikes. We should prepare ahead of time how we may avoid it.

EXPLANATION

Temptation is common to man (1 Cor. 10:13). It is part of human experience. Christians are not exempt from temptation. Even the Lord Jesus Christ himself was tempted in the wilderness.

God is not the author of temptation (James 1:13, 15), but he is the governor of it. He does not directly tempt anyone, but he does allow it in accordance with his own wise and good purposes. Thus, he allowed Satan to sift Peter like wheat (Luke 22:31-32). And Joseph could say to his brothers who did a lot of evil towards him, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20).

We need God’s help to avoid and overcome temptation (Hebrews 2:18). We can’t do in in our own strength.

But although God provides the strength and the wisdom, we are to also exercise responsibility in the matter. We are to watch and pray that we may not enter into temptation (Matthew 26:41). And we are to resist the devil, so that he may flee from us (James 4:7). We should also plan ahead to avoid circumstances that unnecessarily expose us to temptations. Ironically, we sometimes tempt the devil to tempt us!

APPLICATION

Do we regularly pray to be preserved from temptation and delivered from the evil one?

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For me to live is Christ

TEXT:

Philippians 1:19-30

INTRODUCTION:

Probably the most important question in life is: What is the meaning of my life? How should I live my life? Paul answers this question in a very straightforward manner: To live is Christ. And why not? After all, he gave his life for us!

2 Corinthians 5:15 ESV
[15] and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Philippians 1:20
as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

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