Sunday, January 1, 2017

Paul's Epistles – Philippians - Part 6: Becoming Lights in the World

Paul's Epistles – Philippians - Part 6:
Becoming Lights in the World
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


Paul’s epistle (letter) to the Philippians is very important to the Gentiles. It was written to the first church founded in Europe (Acts 16:9-40).

Though not generally considered one of the most remarkable or deepest books of the bible, it is considered one of the sweetest of Paul’s writings.

It is more in the nature of a love letter to the Philippians, who had excelled all others in devoted attachment to Paul. Throughout this letter we get a glimpse into the apostle’s heart.

The Philippian church was noted for its generosity. It had repeatedly ministered to Paul (6:15 & 16).

Hearing Paul was imprisoned in Rome they sent help again by the hands of Epaphroditus (6:10 & 18), who, however, was struck down on his arrival by an almost fatal illness. Somehow news of this illness had reached Philippi, to their dismay, and on his recovery, Epaphroditus was anxious to reassure them in person (11:25-28), so Paul write this letter for him to take.

So this letter was written by Paul while in prison in Rome, and given to Epaphroditus to be taken back to the church in Philippi.


SCRIPTURE REFERENCE Philippians 2:1-11
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Paul opened his letter with a salutation to all, reminding the church they were not 2 factions, there was no “real” division, only a perceived one, created through sin.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
Christian unity to be maintained at all costs”.

Last week we looked at Paul’s explanation of how to obtain a life worthy of the gospel by living a humble life like Jesus Christ.

This week Paul explains how we are called to be lights in the world.

a. Therefore
                                                                                                               i. Previous verses explained

                                                                                                            ii. In your relationships with each other, have the same mind as
1. Christ, who made Himself nothing
2. Humbled Himself
3. So you too, be like minded
4. Have the same love
5. Be one in Spirit
6. Be one of mind
7. Do nothing out of selfish ambition
8. Do nothing out of vain conceit
9. Being humble, value others above yourself
10. Not looking to your own interests
11. But each of you, to the interests of the others

b. As you have always obeyed
                                                                                                               i. Not only in my presence
1. It is easy to obey when a teacher is standing right there

2. Paul is telling them as he did the church in Ephesus, it is time to grow up

3. Stop being Spiritually immature

4. You no longer need your hand held, you know what is right, so do it

                                                                                                            ii. But now much more in my absence
1. They will have to obey “much more” in his absence, because he is not standing there correcting them

2. They will also be held to a higher accountability now that they are no longer students

3. With Spiritual Maturity comes greater accountability and responsibility

                                                                                                         iii. Remember Paul condemned the leaders of the Corinthian church for not being mature

1. He said, I would tell you (the congregation) to act like the leaders, but they are as immature as you!

c. Continue to work out your salvation in fear and trembling
                                                                                                               i. This answers the false doctrine question that split the church on instant perfection of believers

                                                                                                            ii. True doctrine states this is a progressive perfection through the power of the Holy Spirit in direct relation to the submission of the follower to God

                                                                                                         iii. Remember Philippians 1:6 “He (Christ) who began a good work in you will carry it on (the good work) to completion, until the Day of Christ Jesus.”

                                                                                                           iv. Continue to work out your salvation in fear and trembling.

1. Salvation {So Tay Ree): rescue, deliverance

a. 1 Peter 1:9 “ for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

b. Hebrews 5:7-10 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he sufferedand, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”

2. Following verses also warn against “falling away”
a. Hebrews 5:11-14 “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

3. This, not to judge others salvation, but our own!
a. We must “work out” our salvation (progressive)

b. Working through, taking true pain, observing ourselves as we are, being diligent.

4. Fear {Fobos}: where we get phobia: fright / terror

5. Trembling {tromos}: where we get tremor: quake in fear
a. Quakers

6. Meaning, we take great care and to be unwilling to take risks
a. Trembling with fear we may miscarry and fall short

b. Doing our best not even to appear as if we live in sin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         i.      Hebrews 4:1since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.”

7. Fear is a great guard and preservation from evil!

a. The Spirit of Christ is raising you up
                                                                                                               i. If we submit to Him
                                                                                                            ii. If we are obedient to His Word
                                                                                                         iii. If we do not quench the Holy Spirit

b. God’s Will directing your life
                                                                                                               i. Will 1 – That you receive Salvation

                                                                                                            ii. Will 2 – That you receive the blessings from the Holy Spirit
1. Whole Armor of God
2. Spiritual Gifts
3. Spiritual Fruits

                                                                                                         iii. So you can accomplish Will 3 – Being a light, sharing Gospel message with those enslaved to sin

c. Act in HIS Will to fulfill HIS purpose
                                                                                                               i. Following Christ is not about us

                                                                                                            ii. If we make it about us, then we are trying to lead God, not follow

                                                                                                         iii. Everything we receive from God through Salvation and His Will, and everything we ever accomplish through Him, is to fulfill HIS PURPOSE!
1. What is God’s purpose?
a. To bring salvation to those enslaved to sin

b. Through the Body of Christ

c. Which MUST maintain UNITY above all things

d. So that they can be used by God

e. To fulfill HIS Will

a. So you may become blameless and pure

                                                                                                               i. May become – progressive perfection
1. You do not come to the Lord blameless and pure

2. This is part of the work of the Spirit of Christ in you

3. Grumbling and arguing caused the division in the Philippian church

b. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky
                                                                                                               i. When will you shine like stars among them?

                                                                                                            ii. When you stop grumbling and arguing and causing division in the Body

                                                                                                         iii. Then the Spirit of Christ will do a work in you, so that you may be blameless and pure

1. Blameless of what? Causing division

2. Pure, how? Because you have donned part of the Armor of God

3. Ephesians 6:15with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”

4. Bringing peace to the Body of Christ

c. Then I will be able to boast on the Day of Christ

                                                                                                               i. Paul saying, when you start acting Spiritually mature, and stop the divisions in your congregation, then I will be able to boast about you on the Day of Christ, and know I did not work in vain with you.

CONCLUSION – we are each called to work out our salvation

And others who have received the Gospel of Christ are called to work out theirs.

Though we are called to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are also warned not to get trapped in another’s sin.

Galatians 6:1
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

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