THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 5-4-03
LESSON TITLE: PAUL'S LETTER TO THE PHILIPPIANS: CHAPTER 2: "USING OUR EXAMPLE TO REFLECT JESUS"
Let me welcome each of you to our program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. I hope all of you are well and that you are prospering greatly, in your physical lives according to what you are giving to God spiritually. It is wonderful to be a part of God's family and to have opportunities such as this to come before Him and learn more about what He wants of us, as well as praising His name through song. As we begin our homage to God this morning, won't you bow with me in prayer?
I've got to take just a moment again this morning and remind you about the television taping of song for the Living Word program, which will take place this afternoon beginning at 2:00. We hope to see many of your at our facility located at 2540 North Kansas Expressway in Springfield, Missouri. Don't forget that we will also be having morning worship and a potluck to follow for anyone who can come and spend this additional time with us. Brother Willie Franklin will be our speaker today at all services, so please make it a point to be with us, so that together we can grow in the things of God.
It's now time to join in with the brethren as we begin our songs of praise to God. Please participate with the congregation as we sing together our first hymn of the day, it's name, "Almost Persuaded!"
(SONG # 1)
In Psalms 50:15, David said, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me." What great words we have recorded here by the Psalmist. Think of all the encouragement we gain from this type of promise. What do we learn in this verse about our almighty God?
First, God said we can call upon Him when we are in trouble. How wonderful it is to know that our God is always there for us no matter what our need is. Even in trouble, as the verse says, we can call on Him and He is there. Now the only problem is, many of us are guilty of only calling on the Lord when the troubles come. We often forget God when things are going well.
Isn't it great to know that God is always there and He hears us as His followers. John understood this when He said, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us," 1 John 5:14. In the next verse, He goes on to say, "And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." Praise God for this promise - He hears us, and gives us what we ask for, according to His will.
So what else will God do when we call on Him. Well, the verse we read earlier from David goes on to say He will deliver us! This is the same lesson we find taught throughout the New Testament. In fact, Paul said, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10:13. Yes, our God is great!
Finally, notice what happens when we call on Him and He delivers us - We glorify Him! What a beautiful outcome to doing what God asks us to. When we rely on Him and receive His help it brings glory to Him, from us and those who see His wondrous power.
What about you this morning, do you depend on God when you need some help? Well, the good news is that you can and He will care for you as He has promised. And then, as we have seen, to God be the glory!
This morning, I will be leading our lesson thoughts as we continue our study together on, "Paul's Letter to the Philippians." Our specific lesson of the day is entitled, "Chapter 2: Using our Example to Reflect Jesus ." So stay with us and after our next song together we will return with this study from God's Word. Now let's return to our singing. The name of the next hymn, "Each Step I Take."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
I hope you have your Bibles because now it's time to go to God's Word and to look at another lesson in relationship to the life of the child of God, a Christian. As you know, we've been studying the book of Philippians. We began a new study last week in that book and looked at chapter 1 together. In chapter 1, we were basically able to see clearly that we must all make our lives more like Jesus. Paul there talks about his great love for the brethren at Philippi. He further mentions the great struggles and his chains and even how that many even guards that were over him and that were watching him certainly knew now that it was because of his faith that he was in prison, which shows us that even in sufferings that Paul was still proclaiming the Word of Christ. He encouraged the Philippians to remain faithful, strong and to keep preaching and teaching no matter what would come their way, and in fact, even in the latter part of chapter 1 he actually reminds them of the great sufferings that do come, the great problems and trials and tribulations that do come when we stand up for the Word of God. Basically his whole encouragement through chapter 1 is to live to be like Christ and to do all those things that God has asked them to and to do it for the right reason. There were several places you might remember that we have actually read that cautions, if you will, in verses 15 and 16, around in there that he actually gave cautions about not doing it for the wrong reason, even in the latter part of the chapter again that they not do things in any wrong way or for the wrong purpose or with the wrong motive, but again do it because of your love for Christ, your willingness to serve Him, because certainly that's the example that Paul was trying to set for them.
So then as we considered in chapter 1 that we should make our lives like Jesus. Now chapter 2 begins really along the same lines to try to help the readers, the hearers if you will, to understand even further that that example that we exemplify or that we put out needs to be able to reflect Jesus. So there is a bit of a difference there. What we're striving to do in chapter 2 it seems that Paul here indicates and encourages that when people look at me what do they see? What reflection do I give off? Do I give off the reflection of Christ, or of something else? Now if you think about it in chapter 1, it was saying that I need to be a good example and now in chapter 2, he's trying to say "what reflection is it that people are seeing? What's the reality?" Certainly as we've been talking about the Phillippians, they seemed to have been a faithful congregation, a strong church as he well said in chapter 1 and reiterated several times.
One other thing then before we begin in chapter 2 and the first verse is the fact again that Paul had said in chapter 1 the very familiar statement that many of us are familiar with is "for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." He certainly understood that life is all about serving God, that really living was only going to be something that would profit the service of God, the work of God, and even the Philippians that he might teach them more and spend more time with them. But he says, "Death really was far better, far greater because he knew he would go and be with God and receive the reward of promise that God had made to him as well as all those who were faithful to His calling. So with all of these things in mind now, the faithfulness required, the encouragement giving to the Philippians, the cautions that they should never fall but yet stand strong and to be careful in their stance that it might be according to the Will of God.
He begins in chapter 2 with reflecting Christ. What is it that people see? Well in verse 1, he basically begins by reiterating some things in Christ mentioning there the idea that if there really is any encouragement in Christ or comfort in Him or fellowship, he says that there is really something even in verse 2 that will bring Him the greatest joy, that will make Him joyful. Why? Because it is what we all must be in relationship to the Will of God. Let me remind you again that Paul was inspired of God when He wrote these things. But what did he say there in verse 2? What would bring Him the greatest joy, would confirm the concept of fellowship, would confirm the ideas of love and encourage the greatest in Christ? He says there that "they would be like-minded, having the same love, being with one accord," and once again "being of one mind." Here we have it again, the heart, the soul of the Philippian church, the concept of what they really should continue to strive for is unity. In other words, that they be one in Christ, and not just one because they compromised or that they say they'll get along regardless no matter what comes. But notice how he indicates here. He says, "By being like-minded." Not differences of mind or accepting differences of mind, but he says, "the thing that brings the greatest joy in that which is according to God, the love and the fellowship of Christ is that we are like-minded." Now that shouldn't be strange to us because obviously if we are to talk about Paul again, Paul was an imitator of Christ. Now if Christ were to say something obviously with the spirit, Paul was trying to do and to say the very same things and stand in the same places. So just as Paul in Christ would be like-minded, having the same mind, we must do the same.
Therefore, would our minds be different? Would we teach on doctrinal issues things that are different and get along any way and say it doesn't matter? Certainly not. The like-mindedness here, being like-minded means that we are one in Christ and we are doing it His way. I can't imagine in my Christian life wanting to preach or teach or say something that was the opposite or different from what Jesus said. Why? Because true love, true encouragement in Christ, true fellowship requires that I be like Him in mind, that when I speak, people know that what I say and what I do and every part of my life is all about Jesus and is the same as Jesus would have been. Why? Because I'm following His example. Not someone else's. Not even what I want or what someone else wants or some church wants, but doing what God wants. He also says there, "the same love, the same accord." Again he re-emphasizes the "same mind." Oneness, unity requires that we be one. It's the same idea we looked at back in the Ephesian letter if you'll recall in Ephesians chapter 4 where he talked about the ones of unity and how that we must have one faith. He says there aren't a lot of faiths. There's one faith, and that one faith that we study and understand allows us to be able to have one mind because there's one way that God has presented it and if we'll simply accept His way, then we'll be able to accept the right way.
Go on with me there in verses 3 and following where he says, "Furthermore, let nothing be done with selfish ambition or conceit or a lowliness of mind, but let each one really consider the other. Esteem one another. Let each one look out for each other's interests and really consider each other's needs. So he says that "when you are striving for that like-mindedness," he says, "do have humbleness and humility and do show care and love and do what you can to really let your brother know that you love him." Again that's one of the first things that he said, "let there be proper love." Here again, in these verses, verses 3 and 4, "let there be the right love," he says, "consider the other. Esteem others and exhort others and let others know how much you appreciate and you care for them and how much you like what they do and you're thankful for what they're able to say and the stance they have in Jesus Christ." Be like-minded, but still give every effort as best you can to get along and to honor those around you who certainly deserve that honor.
Then he goes into a concept of an example and says, "Here's why. Here's why you humble yourself and you exalt another and you try to say that others and to give them the credit and the glory. Here's why, because Christ did it." That's really what he goes on to say in verses 5-11. In fact, verse 5 actually says, "Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ." He says, "If you want to have the one-mindedness, the like-mindedness, then you need the mind that was in Christ." Where do we find the mind of Christ? We find it in His book the Bible. When I study the Bible, I find out what God wants of me, so if I want a like-mindedness to Christ, then I must study His Word and I must obey His Word. But then he goes on as I said and gives the example and says, "Christ did it."
In fact, verse 6 says, "He did not consider it robbery because He was equal to God." John chapter 1 tells us clearly in the first several verses that the Word was in the beginning and He was God and He was with God." Verse 14 tells us "the Word became flesh, Jesus Christ, and dwelt among men." Well here, he again says that "Jesus was equal in many ways to God." Why? Because He was God. He was the Son of God, God Himself in the flesh, in the form of a man. That's what he goes on to say here in verses 7 and following. " He put away His reputation and didn't consider his reputation and became in the likeness of a man. Although God, He became in the likeness of man and took on an appearance, a humble appearance," verse 8, "humbled Himself as a simple man even to die on the cross." There again we have it, the great humility that we need to get along and to do the things of God but yet still be one-minded and like-minded is founded in Jesus Christ Himself, the one who we know is God because verses 10 and 11 say, "That one day every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess." In verse 11 again, "Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to glorify the Father." So the very Son of God was equal with God but became man, humbled Himself.
You and I need to learn the same lesson of humility in what we do. And why? So that we might bear the light, so that we might be able to reflect Christ and that's where we are now in verse 12. "Those who obey God present His presence before all." In verse 12, he says, "Even in my absence make sure that people know that you're of Christ. Don't make me be around for you to do what you need to do. Do what you need to do because you need to do it whenever you can because that's God's Will and it's God's good pleasure," verse 13. When we do what's right, God is pleased and God is happy and God is satisfied. He says, "Do these things because of the right reason not because of complaining," verse 14, "not because of disputing and squabbling and arguing or doing it because of things that really you feel an obligation or requirement," but he says again, "do it because you're blameless. Do it because you're a child of God." Because in verse 15, "Because you're walking as a light in the world. You're shining," as Jesus said in the book of Matthew in even there in the great Sermon on the Mount, "a light that is like a city on a hill that cannot be hid." That's the type of light that we need to be. And Paul said here that "yes, I was that light and you must remain to be that light, being one-minded, like-minded, equal with Christ and striving to exemplify those things that you should." And why? Because Paul said, "I don't know how much longer even though it would be good for me to be with you, I don't know how much longer that I'll be around to keep encouraging you. Your faith must be your own." I believe is what he's saying here. Don't place your faith or dependence of your faith on someone else. Make it your own because of what you know and because of what you believe.
"Yes," he says there in verse 17, "I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and the service of your faith. I am glad and rejoice with you all for the same reason you also are glad and rejoicing with me." He says, "I'll use myself as best I can. I'll give you every effort I can. I'll come and see you again if I can." But he says, "you've still got to stand strong no matter what." You've got to be strong.
Then he ends this chapter, chapter 2, by saying, "Look, I want to help you to be strong because right now I can't come. I'm still under chains. I'm still under bondage in my home." But in verse 19, he says, "I trust in the Lord Jesus that I'm going to send Timothy to you shortly." Remember in the chapter 1 and verse 1 he says, "Paul and Timothy..." He says Timothy was with him. He says, "I will send Timothy." And he says something great about Timothy. He says that "he might encourage you in your state."
Notice in verse 17, or verse 20, why he says he believes he can trust Timothy. He goes on to say there, "For I have no one like-minded who will sincerely care for your state like I would." In other words, he's saying, "there's no one else other than Timothy I know who would do a better job and so I'm going to send Timothy and I'm going to make sure that he's there to help you to know all that you need to know further about Christ, to be able to ask the questions that you have," and he says, "Lord willing, I'm going to send him but then I'm going to come to you shortly," verse 24.
Then he even mentions a man named Epaphroditus and he says there that this man evidently had been sent by the Philippians to help Paul and to help him in his ministry and to give him assistance and when he came evidently, it shows us here that he was a good worker, a fellow brother. In fact, in verse 25, it says he was a messenger from them, a good fellow soldier, a good fellow worker in Jesus. But yet, he also came sick and evidently in verses 26 and 27 and even 28, it talks about how that they had been worried about him, the Philippian church, because he was even to the point of death. But God had spared him. He had saved him and because of this, Epaphroditus was being sent back with Timothy and he would be again with the brethren. And why? So that they might again, verse 29, "receive him with gladness and esteemed God and be thankful to God." Because although he was close to death, God had given him his health back. He was a worker. He was a good worker in God.
So here again, as Paul showed, he was willing to reflect Christ, that he was willing to be one with Christ and like-minded with Christ. He encouraged the Philippians to do the very same thing. In doing this, he says, "My desire is that I'll be able to come back and be with you and teach you even more and encourage you even more, but just in case I can't in my chains, then I'm going to send Timothy and your own, Epaphroditus back, those who are faithful, good workers who are strong who are already like-minded with Christ who can teach you all things that you need to follow.
Brethren, why not in our lives set the same example and live the same life?
(SONG # 3 - "Christ, We Do All Adore Thee!")
Thanks for putting God first and choosing to be with us this morning. I hope you have benefited from our time together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God.
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I pray that we all realize more every day that we are truly known by our example. Because of this, may we each strive to set an example that is worthy of Christ before this lost and dying world.