Contentment

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. [11] Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. [12] 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. [13] I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

INTRODUCTION

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”

Thinking and Doing

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”

The Peace of God

Phil. 4:6,7

“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”

Christian Progress

Philippians 3:12–16

[12] 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. [13] 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, [14] I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. [15] Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. [16] Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (ESV)

INTRODUCTION:

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”

The Preciousness of Christ

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”

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?

(Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash)

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.

(Photo by Marcus Wallis on Unsplash)

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)

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.

Continue reading “For me to live is Christ”

The Importance of the Gospel

“12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ. 14 Most of the brothers have gained confidence in the Lord from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the word fearlessly. 15 To be sure, some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of good will. 16 These preach out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment. 18 What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed, and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice . . .”

Philippians 1:12-18 (CSB)

Introduction:

What is the gospel? It is the good news of salvation: Christ died, was buried, and rose again for the forgiveness of our sins (1 Cor. 15:3-4).

Why is the gospel important? Because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16-17).

  1. The Advance of the Gospel (Phil. 1:12-14)

Paul was in prison, but what others saw as a misfortune, he saw as an opportunity to promote the gospel. Adverse circumstances may be blessings in disguise in that God allows them in order to spread the gospel. In this case, the finest soldiers of the Roman Army were exposed to the gospel by being chained to Paul. God is able to produce good out of evil (Rom. 8:28).

Another benefit that Paul saw in his situation was how his example was emboldening others to share the gospel. The lesson here is: Our courage in sharing the gospel in spite of persecution serves to encourage others to be courageous also.

If the gospel is all-important to us, it changes the way we see our circumstances: Instead of considering them as unfortunate events, we consider them as blessings or opportunities. Just like this pandemic. True, it is a tragedy. Nevertheless, because of it, more people not only have more time for the gospel, they also have greater willingness to engage with it.

  1. Abuse of the Gospel. (Phil. 1:15-17)

Unfortunately, there’s a wrong way to preach the gospel: One can do so out of a spirit of envy and rivalry. Some preachers were taking advantage of Paul’s imprisonment to increase their own importance and influence.

There should be no competition when it comes to the gospel. This is not about who’s the best preacher or whose church is the biggest. It’s about Jesus Christ and him alone (1 Cor. 3:5-9; 1 Cor. 2:1-5). “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30).

The right motive in sharing the gospel is love and compassion (2 Cor. 5:14; Mark 6:34). We share the gospel because, as Steve Green put it in his song, people need the Lord.

  1. Application of the Gospel (Phil. 1:18)

We should apply the gospel to our lives. One way to do so is to make it the basis of our joy. Our joy is not dependent on circumstances. Our joy depends on what we consider important. For Paul, what is important is that Christ is preached; what happened to him didn’t really matter as long as Christ is proclaimed. That’s what gave him joy (Phil. 1:21; 3:7-8).

Application:

  1. Do we share the gospel?
  2. Do we find our joy in circumstances or in the gospel?
  3. How do we make use of the opportunities in our circumstances to advance the gospel?

Prayer:

Lord, help us to find our joy in you and in your gospel. Amen.

Photo by Nycholas Benaia on Unsplash