Philippians 2:25-30 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 26 for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.
As we read the Scriptures we find people who are examples of how Jesus has equipped us to live and commanded us to live. Epaphroditus is such a man, a man who used the resources he received from
Jesus in order to live and serve as Jesus commanded him.
First, how did Jesus command us to live as His disciple? Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Luke 14:26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (in other words, put Jesus above all other relationships). Luke 14:33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple" (we must be willing to give up everything to be Jesus’ disciple).
Epaphroditus put his life on the line to serve Paul, his God-given assignment. He almost died serving. He denied his own agenda in order to serve as the “helping hand” of the Philippian Church. The Bible gives us an example of how we should be daily living. How are you daily living? Compare your life with Epaphroditus’ life. Are there any changes or growth you need to make? List the changes. Begin trying to change expecting the Lord Jesus Christ to fulfill your act of faith with His power.
What would happen in your family if you began to live like Epaphroditus? What would happen in the church if the people of God imitated Epaphroditus? The church would begin to make a great impact in the communities we live in.
Philippians 2:19-24 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your
welfare. 21 They all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy's proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. 23 I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, 24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I
myself will come also.
Verse 19 Paul was very concerned about the spiritual well-being of those in his care. Are we concerned enough to find out about the well-being of those God has entrusted to your care? How would you prove
your concern? List ways:
Verses 20-21 Paul sent Timothy to find out about the Philippian Christians because Timothy was a man who was genuinely concerned for their welfare. Would people say we are genuinely concerned about other people, people God has called us to care for? - Or- Would people say of us that we seek only our own interests and not the interests of Jesus Christ? If we truly seek the interests of Christ, we will be concerned about other peoples’ interests.
Verse 22 Timothy had proved his worthiness to care for the Philippian Christians by serving Paul in the gospel. How can we prove our worthiness? We can faithfully serve those around us now. Luke 16:10 "One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.” By serving in small ways now, we can be seen as worthy to take on bigger assignments.
Verses 23-24 Notice Paul was waiting to see if he would live or die (see Philippians 1:19-26). He had hope and trust. He trusted his help was still needed and therefore hoped to send Timothy. Do we trust we are still needed? Do we live because we are needed or live to get our need met? The greater blessing is giving of ourselves.
Philippians 2:14-18 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 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, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
The Lord commanded us through Paul to live so we will shine as lights in the world. We do that by holding fast to the Word of life by faith in JesusChrist. Paul tells us in verse 16b that there is a Day of Christ. What is the Day of Christ? It is the return of Christ to establish His rule on earth. Paul lived and carried out his God-given assignment so that he could be proud that he did not run in vain or
labor in vain. Paul did his assignment wholeheartedly. He gave it everything he had. He didn’t want praise from man. He was content to be poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of the Philippians’ faith. He was not worried about getting credit from man, but solely satisfied that he pleased Jesus. He was able to rejoice with the Philippian Christians because of what Jesus was doing among them.
Are we living to please Jesus Christ alone? Are we doing everything we can so that we can be proud that we did not run or labor in vain? Are we willing to be content with Jesus’ “well-done” and not crave the praise of people? Are we rejoicing in the lives of the Christians around us for what Jesus is doing in their lives? If we are, we are living the abundant life. If we are not making every effort to carry out our God-given assignment in the home, neighborhood, workplace, community and church, then we are sinning. If we are desiring to get credit for what we did to help others, then we are sinning. If we are not content pleasing Jesus, but want the praise of people, then we are sinning. Sin robs us of abundant life. We deal with our sin by repenting of it, confessing it to the Lord and receiving His forgiveness. We then attempt by faith to do our assignment wholeheartedly in order to be proud in the Day of Christ that we did not run or labor in vain.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 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, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
A key verse for us to learn and live today is verse 16a “holding fast to the word of life.” This is the key to being blameless and innocent children without blemish in the midst of the crooked and
twisted (perverse) generation we live in. This is a key verse if we are going to shine as lights in the world to help people see and believe in Jesus. When we live as lights we live an abundant life in a world characterized by evil. How do we hold fast to the word of life?
We hold fast by learning God’s word. This happens over a life time. If we spend some time each day systematically reading the Bible we will know God’s word. Systematic means we read through the Bible in an ordered way. For example: Start at Matthew and read straight through Revelation over a period of time. Another way is to read through the Bible chronologically. If you struggle on how to read systematically – call Ray @715-340-0537.
We hold fast to God’s word by practicing what it says. Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed
to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” We test God’s word by practicing it. As we practice it we find it IS good, acceptable, and perfect. Philippians 4:9 “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me- practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Three questions help us to hold fast to God’s word. “How does the Bible say I am to daily live?” “How am I daily living?” After comparing our answers to the first two questions, we ask the third question, “What changes or growth do I need to make?” When we know what changes or growth we need to make, we attempt to make them expecting the Lord to help us – that is living by faith in Jesus.
We live a purposeful and abundant life as we holdfast to the word of life.
Philippians 2:14-16a Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 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, 16 holding fast to the word of life...
Verses 15-16a inform us why we are to do all things without grumbling or disputing. We are to be lights leading people out of darkness. Paul describes the condition of the world since sin entered the world - crooked and twisted. We see Moses in Deuteronomy 32:5, 20 calling the condition of the world crooked, twisted and perverse ("They are a crooked and twisted generation."; "For they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness.") Jesus called the condition of the world faithless and twisted in Matthew 17:17 ("O faithless and twisted generation") "Crooked" means to be morally bent or twisted, crooked, unscrupulous, dishonest; "twisted" or "perverse" means to cause to depart from an accepted standard of oral or spiritual values, make crooked, pervert; "faithless" means a person has no faith, that is, does not have the truth and live by it.
Think about what the condition of the world is. The world is twisted by sin to do the very things that destroy. The world's condition is described by darkness in Proverbs 4:19 "The way of the wicked (faithless) is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble". The way of the righteous (believers) is ever increasing light as described in Proverbs 4:18 "But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day."
Grumbling and disputing occur on the path of the faithless, crooked and twisted and cause ruin, destruction and death. The path of the faithful has no grumbling or disputing and causes life to be lived to the full, causes abundant life in increasing measure.
The big question: "What path are you on? You can tell. Is there grumbling and disputing to get your own way? You are on the path of the faithless, twisted, crooked and perverse. You can get off that destructive path by repenting of the sins of grumbling and disputing, confessing your sins to God and receiving forgiveness and cleansing from all unrighteousness. If you are not grumbling and disputing then you are on the path of righteousness lighting up a dark world and showing people the way to eternal and abundant life.
Tomorrow we will discover how to stay on the right path.
Philippians 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning.
"Do all things" This command from the Lord concerns everything we do in our family, work, play and school. There is nothing we do that is not covered in this command.
"Do all things without grumbling..." Grumbling is "utterance made in a low tone of voice" that is a complaint or expression of displeasure. This is not to be occurring in anything we do. Can you remember the last time you grumbled - it was a sin. It needs to be repented of and confessed to the Lord (1 John 1:9).
"Do all things without grumbling or questioning..." Questioning is a"verbal exchange that takes place when conflicting ideas are expressed.' The exchange is a negative complaint style of exchange that could be translated a dispute or argument. The purpose is not to resolve, but to merely get one's own way, not to get the truth acted on.
The Lord has a good reason for us not to live a lifestyle of grumbling and complaining or disputing. We will cover that tomorrow. Today we need to ask the questions, "How does God's Word say I am to daily live?" How am daily living? As we compare the answers to these two questions, then we need to ask a third question, "What changes or growth do I need to make?" When we know what we need to do to grow or change, then we attempt to grow or change expecting the Lord to help us. We make the changes in our life by exercising faith in Jesus.
Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as
in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with
fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good
What does the Lord call His people? (Beloved) vs 12a
What did the Paul command the Philippians to do?
How do you fulfill this command? (By living according to His will using the resources He has given us. Vs 12b (see 2 Peter 1:3-4)
Who is at work in us to cause us to desire to do His will? Note: “will” can be translated “desire”. Vs 13
Who is at work in us enableing us to do the work He has given us? Vs 13
Philippians 2:5-11 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even
death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above
every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Verse 5 is a command. What is being commanded? (we are to think like Christ.)
Read carefully vss 6-8 and list how we are to think and live like Christ.
What happens if we think and live like Christ? Vs 9
What will every human who ever lived do one day? Vs 10-11
Philippians 2:1-4 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 rivalry
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.
The "if"should be translate "since" to give us the correct meaning. “Since we have…” Jesus
first gives us everything we need to "be" and "do" and then He commands us
to "be" and "do". What do we have in verse 1 that enables us to do verses 2-4?
Paul has joy when the Philippians live according to the mind of Jesus Christ. Vs 2 (see 3 John 4)
How does vss 3a and 4a tell us not to live?
How does vss 3b abd 4b tell us to live?
Are you living this way? Think of examples that describe how we live?
Philippians 1:18-30 Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 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. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. 27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.