THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 5-18-03
LESSON TITLE: PAUL'S LETTER TO THE PHILIPPIANS: CHAPTER 4: "BEING STRONG THROUGH JESUS"
Thank you for joining us this morning, let me welcome you to the program. The Living Word is a work of our Lord, dedicated to doing God's Will in His Way! As always, it will be our privilege today to sing songs of praise and to study from His Word. In these acts of worship, may we all be encouraged, but ultimately may we each praise God according to the sacrifices to offer toward His Throne. It will also be our honor this morning to speak with God through prayer. Will you bow with me as we talk to our creator?
It's now time to start our songs of praise. We want to begin by singing a hymn that reminds of us the great guidance we have from our God. Oh, how wonderful it is to know that God is there and that He has promised to show me the way. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "He Leadeth Me!"
(SONG # 1)
Have you ever had one of those neighbors that are hard to get along with? I guess we all have at one time or another. However, what a truly sad thing it is to know how we often react to those who don't treat us like they should.
Of course I know we also have a good reason for why we don't like them. Maybe there kids play next to our property line and they actually get on our grass from time to time. Some might even have a piece of trash that blows over from the neighbors and messes up our flower bed. Or possibly it is something as unbelievable as a persons culture, background or race that makes you automatically dislike what you see.
Well, what does God say about all of this through His inspired writers. Read with me from Proverbs 14:21, there it says, "He who despises his neighbor sins; But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he." Did you know you were sinning when you think, act and say these types of things in relationship to your neighbor.
Of course, all of this would make perfect sense in consideration of what Jesus said of a similar nature in the New Testament. There we find verse after verse that reminds us of how we should treat our neighbor. Wasn't it Christ Himself who said that the second and greatest commanded was to, "love your neighbor as your self," Matthew 22:39? This same Jesus told the beautiful story of the great Samaritan, who was willing to step outside the barriers which society has set up and to show the true spirit of Christ.
A final familiar verse I would like to mention is found in Matthew 5:44, where Jesus even went so far as to say that we are to, "love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." Well, buy this time you might be thinking, but why, or you have got to be kidding. But the question I would like to answer is WHY!
Look at the same passage, Matthew 5, but now look at the next verse - 45, there we read, "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven...." Did you catch that? We treat others as we want to be treated because when we do we glorify the Father and hopefully they will see His Son in us.
So, how do you react to your neighbors in life. Do you say and do those things which cause them to see Christ? Are you willing to "go the extra mile," and "turn the other cheek?" The real question is can they see Jesus in you?
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. This morning, we will be concluding our study on "Paul's Letter To The Philippians." Our specific lesson of the morning will cover, "Chapter 4: Being Strong Through Jesus." So please stay with us and after our next song, I will be leading us in this important study from God's Word. Now let's again join in song together, in one of my favorites of all time. The name of this hymn, "Heavenly Sunlight."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us and now we have an opportunity to go to God's Word and to study more about what a child of God should be, what we should do and really how we should live everyday. We've been looking together at the book or Philippians for the past several weeks and have seen just so many great lessons as far as the example the child of God must have.
In fact in chapter 1 you might remember a very familiar verse that Paul wrote and really how we must live for Christ and really to die is gain. This reminds us certainly there is life and the things we do everyday, what we say is all about living for Christ and setting the example that will certainly let others know that we are His followers.
Then in chapter 2 we find really the same concept being exemplified over and over where there again Christ is spoken to be the Son of God and how that really as we follow the Son of God, everything we do needs to be in accordance to His Will but yet still showing our light to be all that He has asked us to be through His Word. In fact, we see that in that chapter everything is said to be for Christ, centered around Him, about Him and that as servers in His kingdom, we are certainly light-bearers. As people look at us, they see not only our light and the light that we exemplify as lovers of Christ, but they see also the light of Christ in us.
In chapter 3 last week as we studied together, we saw once again another very important topic, a concept once again that helps us to understand that there is a true hope in Jesus Christ and that as His servants, and as His children, we certainly do have hope when we are following the example that God has left us, when we are doing the things that He has asked us to do. When we are finding ourselves faithful according to His Will, that is the Word of God, by doing those things again He has asked. The great hope is mentioned there, especially about the things that Paul had done in his life. He talks about pressing on toward the goal and reaching towards the mark and always going to lay hold on those things that are according to the Will of Christ. But then at the end of that chapter, that is chapter 3, he again talks about the great citizenship, the reward of heaven that is ours if we will be the obedient children that God has asked us to be.
That's where chapter 4 picks up, our topic this morning, in understanding that as Christians we must be strong and can be strong through Jesus Christ. Just after he had introduced just at the end of chapter 3, those things that we would talk about at the beginning of chapter 1 or chapter 4 in verse 1, we see there that he talks about the great blessed hope and promise of heaven. Then in verse 1 talks about the great longing and love and care that really in his heart was for each of those at Philippi. Here we see really the very personal nature of this letter that Paul had wrote, the very endearing terms that he used and the great care and concern and desire to help and guide and protect those individuals of Philippi to be really all the things that God had asked them to be. He desired that their crown would be strong and mighty in the Lord and that truly the things that he had done would be able to help them to be stronger and more mighty in His service.
Verse 2 there talks about again the need, a similar theme that we saw in chapter 2 where it talks about being of the same mind, that he encouraged some there who evidently maybe were having some disagreements. Eudias as well as Syntyche, were having a disagreement or having some problems and it says there that "they needed to be of the same mind." The same lesson there that is given back in chapter 2 and verse 2 where it says that "we must be like-minded," that we must have the same mind and as he also says, "being of one accord as we have the one mind." So again, one-mindedness is what the service of the child of God is all about . And what must our mind be like? Like Christ first and therefore once we have fellowship with Christ because we are like Him and like-minded with Him, then we have fellowship one with another. Isn't it beautiful to know that even John confirmed this in 1 John chapter 1 when he said, "If I have fellowship with the light (that is God) and you have fellowship with the light (that again is God) then you and I as well have fellowship." Why? Because "I have a like-mindedness with God. You have a like-mindedness with God. And when God is the foundation of both, then certainly you and I are going to have the same precious like faith and fellowship in Christ Jesus." So here he says, "Have the same mind. I urge you to have the same mind, to understand what you have in God, the promises that I've talked about, the ability to live the life that He has asked you to live."
Then in verse 3, he goes on to say, "I urge you to be helpers in the gospel." He mentions here some specific women who are laboring with him. He mentions also here, Clement, and he says, "the rest of my fellow workers whose names are in the book of life." He says here, "I urge you to be that true companion, that one with a like-mind, the one with a like fellowship because we all are one in Christ Jesus. We all are like-minded and working towards the same goal with the same foundation again, God, God and His Word, and therefore..." he says, "I urge you to welcome them, to help them, to show love one towards another, as fellow brethren to treat each other as you would like to be treated." As well he mentions there a very precious concept in verse 3 about how their names were in the Book of Life. If there was one thing that Paul or Peter or John or others in the New Testament as disciples of the Lord might say about us, that certainly would be a great commendation, if he were to say that my name were in the book of life. Well here he says those ladies that are being mentioned, Clement, and other fellow laborers are all in the Book of Life. The Book of Life is mentioned in the book of Revelation that certainly that day when the Lord comes again will be opened and then those whose names are there shall be saved.
So we must wonder is our name in the Book of Life? Why would it be? Well it would be if we are living the life of Christ. Why wouldn't it be? It would not be if we were not living the life of Christ, setting the example, showing forth the praises of Him who has sent us, and furthermore doing those things that God again has asked us to do, not just in a haphazard way, but as we find them in the Word and therefore he says, "as we have that fellowship," verse 4, "rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say rejoice."
The young people that go to the congregation where I am often sing a song "Rejoice in the Lord Always, Again I say Rejoice." How wonderful it is to rejoice in the Lord because of the many blessed and wondrous things that we have through Him, the great privilege to follow His Word that has been given and revealed to us completely through the Bible. Again to be able to know the great hope. Rejoice in the Lord. Rejoice in the Lord.
And then he mentions the need for prayer. After he talks about the great fellowship and communion that we share through Christ, he says that "prayer is essential." "It's important," he says in verse 6, "that we pray and that we're those who in everything five thanksgiving to God and make our requests even known to God." Why is it that we must pray? Because he says there in verse 7, "the peace of God which surpasses all understanding that it may guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Here he says that "if we are those who pray, if we ask for God's help as other men in the Bible asked for God's help and it was given, and we do that again which God has asked us to, being obedient, then when we pray and we ask these things and we thank our God, He hears us." The Bible here once again says that "He hears and answers our prayers and because we are doing what He has asked, we have the understandable peace, a peace that cannot be described with words, a peace that really is uncomprehendable to the mind of the human, the human mind that we have that really is far below that of God's. So that peace, that great comfort, solace and care in life that reminds us that we are not alone and that God is with us and that He shows us the way, that He loves us through thick and thin and that He will always help us and bring us through temptations and trials and problems and eventually as we've seen once again give us the promises of this life and the reward of heaven. So certainly again, prayer is important.
Then he again mentions in verse 8 really where all of these things I believe come from, a foundation, again if you will, in Christ Jesus and really here he says that our minds have to be right, our hearts have to be right. Earlier we said that we have to have the same mind, the same heart. We talk about the need for prayer, the great promise. We mentioned all of these things. But really what has to be inside a man for him to be God-like? Well here he begins I believe to give some answers about that, "that our hearts and minds be in Christ Jesus and our focus on Him." Why? "Because the foundation of Christ that is laid in our hearts and minds is filled with certain types of things." What are those types of things? Well verse 8 says, "those things that are true." Those things here that he mentions "that are noble, that are just, those things that are pure, that are lovely, those things that are of good report." Then he says, "And if there is any virtue and there is anything praiseworthy," he says, "think or meditate on these things." To be like God, we have to strive to think like God. Can you imagine God thinking of bad or ugly or evil or things that are contrary to His Will? Well certainly not. Well here then we find that the recipe for following God is to have a mind like God. There again if we have a mind like God and we commune with Him and you do the same, then we have like-mindedness because we're basing our understanding and knowledge on the same complete and perfect revelation, the Bible again. So here he says, "Put your mind on those good and wholesome things."
Then I like the next verse, verse 9, because there he says, "And do it because you know it's right and because you saw me doing it." He says, "Just don't do it because I preached it and I didn't practice it." He says, "Practice what you preach." And he says, "Now that you see it in me, then certainly you must also do these things because that's what God wants." Verse 9 then says, "The things which you have learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do and the God of Peace will be with you." There it is again. "Be imitators of me as I am of Christ," 1 Corinthians 11:1. There again Paul said to the Ephesians in chapter 5 that "they must be the children of God as His children imitating God," and here again he says similarly the same thing. The things that you saw and heard in me, those things imitate. Why? Because they are striving to imitate God. What I do is Godlike. Again, we ask the question in chapters 1 and 2, are we that type of example? Where someone could look at my life and say, "If I do what Ray does then certainly God will be pleased." Well not only that but Paul here himself was able to say, "you can imitate me." Now how many of us are that bold in Christ Jesus where we can say, "Just do what I'm doing and God will be pleased." Well that would be a difficult thing for me to say and probably for many of you because we feel like maybe we have those things in our lives and those mistakes that shouldn't be there. Well we need to come to that confidence where we know we're living the life that surely can and must be imitated according to the Will of God.
Then he begins to go on near the end of the chapter talking about the great love once again of the brethren in relationship to their care and concern for him. In fact, verse 10 says, "they cared enough for him in order that they had flourished once again. They had assisted him." And it seems to be very clearly here a type of financial or monetary help that the brethren at Philippi had given him. In fact, if you go on down to about verse 15, it says there "in the past that from the beginning had helped in the gospel." Then it says, "Even many had forgotten him, even in Thessalonica once again that they had remembered him and they had sent help." Then in verse 17 he says, "The gift that you have given is really a great benefit to me and a great help." So they were wanting to assist him in his missionary journeys. They were sending him help by individuals and trying to give him what he needed of a physical nature to be able to do the spiritual things that he was doing.
Then I want you to notice also the part that he clarifies in verses 11 through 13 as he says, "Really I appreciate your help and it's good and it helps me to do what I need to do," and he is very gracious and thankful for this and he thanks God for it, but then he says, "but I have learned to be content." Paul, in all of this, even though he was thinking them and was glad that they had done what they had done, he reminded them that that's not what it's about. It's about God. "Therefore I want to be content. I want to realize," as he says here, "even in maybe want and in having much that I can be happy." That's what he says in verse 12. "No matter what I have whether it's a lot of food or a little food, I'm going to be happy." Why? "Because in all things," he says, "I've learned to be content." Now let me ask you, why is it that Paul could have such an attitude of contentment? Even though some churches were forgetting him and not assisting him. Then when Philippi did he was so happy. But why is it that he could have such contentment? Because of God.
There in verse 13 one of my favorite, possibly and the most probably the favorite in my life is where he says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." There it is. Why can he have such confidence in heaven? Why can he have such confidence in what he needs in this life being provided and given? Why is everything possible and is he accepting of every situation no matter how bad, how good, no matter how little or how much. It's all about God and God will provide.
Do you believe that? Do you believe that you can be strong and know that God is going to provide no matter what comes your way? Do you really believe that understanding that if we live the life that He has asked us and be the example that surely God is going to provide and give us all those things that we have need of in this life physically and spiritually and ultimately will reward us with the promise of heaven? I hope you understand that and I hope that as you stand for your God that you'll understand that "He is going to provide all those riches that we need through Him," as it says in verse 19. And He is going to give us all that we need so that we might be strong and able to live the life that He has asked us to live and that we have confirmed to us in His Word.
(SONG # 3 - "I Need Thee Every Hour!")
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!
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How wonderful it is to find strength through Jesus Christ, and to know that through Him truly all things are possible!