40 Days in Philippians DAY SEVEN

Happy Resurrection Sunday!!!!

Read Philippians 1:12-18

 

Paul is probably in jail in Rome as he is writing back to this church he deeply loves in Philippi. His imprisonment has been used by God to advance the gospel—the word “advance” means to blaze a trail before an army. It has paved the way for his ministry.

 

Remember the theme of our stewardship campaign as we pray about committing financially over the next three years to give to the Lord above and beyond our tithe.

 

Our theme is “Advancing the Gospel…Trusting His Provision.”

 

As a church we are called to blaze a trail or pave a way through our declaration of the gospel.  The gospel has the inherent power to save sinners and to sanctify saints.

 

And yet the ironic thing in Paul’s situation is that his imprisonment was actually a good thing in that it was used by God to blaze a trail to advance the gospel.

 

How? Paul has been able to personally share the gospel so that the entire prison guard has heard! That’s just like Paul isn’t it. He has a captive audience and he’s not going to squander any opportunity to testify about Jesus.

 

In addition, this boldness by Paul has encouraged and emboldened the Philippian church to be bolder itself!

 

Why is it so hard at times to be bold in our witness?  We are afraid of rejection! We are afraid we won’t know what to say! We’re afraid that we will offend someone and possibly lose a friend or strain a relationship!

 

The bottom line is that we are AFRAID!
And I totally understand this fear! I’m not the world’s greatest evangelist, but we need to remember something about the gospel.

 

Read Romans 1:16

 

Boldness is something we need to pray for.  Even Paul himself asked people to pray for him to be bold! Can you imagine the apostle Paul praying for boldness.

 

Read Ephesians 6:18-20

 

Read Colossians 4:1-4

 

As a church, let us make a solid commitment that we will be bold in advancing the gospel. Let us believe in the reality of a literal hell and the urgency of evangelism.

Let us have the bold passion like Charles Spurgeon who said these words: “If sinners will be damned at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”

 

Are you willing to be used by God to “blaze a trail” by advancing the gospel? Are you humbly asking God in His sovereign grace to use us as Emmanuel to advance His gospel?  Do you believe in the power of the gospel? Are you willing to pray for boldness to declare this glorious gospel?

 

St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel always, and use words if necessary”. That’s about as helpful as saying, “Make a free throw, but use a basketball if necessary!”  “Buy a Big Mac at McDonalds for lunch, and use money if necessary!”

 

There is no sharing the gospel unless we use words. We have to open our mouths in boldness and share the life-changing message of Jesus! In the proverbial words of Nike: “Just do it!”

 

Dear Jesus,

I know that your gospel has amazing power! And yet I am so afraid at times to share it with boldness. Please take away my fear and let me be obedient to advancing your gospel. Let me pray for lost people. Let me be passionate about testifying to You and your grace! Regardless of how difficult things may get in the future in regards to restrictions placed upon us to share, let me be a light that shines your glory through both my words and my life.

For Your Glory Jesus,

Amen!

 

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40 Days in Philippians DAY SIX

Read Philippians 1:9-11

 

In these passages, we see an actual prayer by Paul to the heavenly Father and he offers up two requests. First of all, he prays that their love would abound. How does this love abound? With knowledge and discernment.

 

Is your love for others in our church family abounding more and more? Is your love for Jesus abounding more and more?

 

The more you grow in your knowledge of the Scriptures, the more you grow in your love for Jesus. The more you learn about Him, the more you love Him.  There is a direct correlation between knowledge of Christ in the Scriptures and experiential love for Him in daily intimacy.
What if I told Dawn that I loved her and yet for the next 6 months, I lived in a hotel, never came home for dinner, didn’t call her, and didn’t ask about what was going on in her life.  Would that be love?? Or a cause for us to get some serious marriage counseling!

 

The more I know about Dawn, the more my love for her grows!

 

It is the same with our Savior. The more you grow in your knowledge and discernment of Him as revealed in the Bible, the more your love will abound and grow.

 

Now, Paul’s second request in this prayer is that they would demonstrate the fruit of a righteous life.

 

It’s interesting that Paul uses the term “fruit”. What is the “fruit” of righteousness that comes through Christ?

 

Read Galatians 5:22-23

 

Is this your prayer for yourself and your brothers and sisters in Christ at Emmanuel? Do you pray that the Holy Spirit would produce His fruit in your life so that you would overflow with Christ’s love to everyone around you?
Do you pray for holiness and integrity in your life that flows from your intimacy with Christ?

 

Notice how at the end of verse 11 these requests and thanksgiving are all summed in wanting to bring glory to God.  What is the chief end of man? To glorify God by enjoying Him forever.

 

Everything we do in life has the ultimate aim to glorify God.


Read 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

Read 2 Corinthians 5:9

 

Let these be your life verses!! Let us make it our aim and chief end to please and glorify God in all we do! As we move forward as a church, let us remember the very first words in our church’s mission statement: We exist to display God’s glory.

 

As elders, we have chosen those words carefully.  We wanted God’s glory to be central to all we do as a church and the first and most important driving factor in our life together. And yet God’s glory is something we must “DISPLAY”. We put His glory on display for others to see by how we live our lives. We don’t add any glory to God as He is absolutely glorious whether we worship Him or not, but all throughout the Scriptures, we are called to put this glorious God on display as we lift up Jesus Christ with our lives!

 

TO GOD BE THE GLORY, GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE!!

 

Spend some time this morning giving glory to God as you pray.

Dear Father in Heaven,

You are glorious. I want to make it my aim to glorify and please you with the totality of my life! I want my love for Jesus and my love for others to abound more and more as I spend time growing in my knowledge of You through the Scriptures.  Holy Spirit, I desperately want you to produce Your fruit in my life so that I can walk in holiness and overflow with joy to others.  Holy God, may I put You on display today as I live a life that brings you ultimate glory!

In the Name of Jesus,
Amen

 

 

 

40 Days in Philippians DAY FIVE

Read Philippians 1:7-11

 

Paul started his prayer by giving thanks 1. For his joy in their partnership in the gospel and 2. His confidence in God’s preserving grace.  Now thirdly, he gives thanks by having a great attitude in how the Philippian church supported him in his imprisonment.

 

Listen to how Paul affectionately speaks about this church. He holds them in his heart.  He yearns for them with such affection.

 

What has created this deep bond between him and the Philippian church? THE GOSPEL.

How does the gospel create spiritual community and fellowship? When God saves us He brings us into a family of blood bought brothers and sisters who are deeply united together in love through the gospel.

 

There is nothing quite like being united in the gospel. Other worldly organizations and associations cannot begin to understand what we experience as the church united in the gospel.  Because of what Christ has done for us in the gospel, we can talk about each other this way. We can deeply love one another in the gospel. Because of the gospel, we can be intimately connected to each other in true Christian fellowship.
As we move forward in advancing the gospel as a church, I don’t want us to forget that we are in this “TOGETHER”! There is no lone-ranger mentality for the Christian. Christ has called us to live together as His body.  Would we be a model of love and fellowship and unity as we move forward as a church to advance the gospel??

 

Are you connected with other people at Emmanuel that you can truly say that you are deeply loved by them? Are you involved in a disciple-making small group? Are you giving of yourself to others the way Paul did in the joy of sharing in the gospel?

 

Spend some time today meditating upon how the gospel creates authentic fellowship and community among us as Emmanuel Baptist Church. Who today are you specifically thankful for in our church? Who do you hold in your heart as a true brother or sister in Christ?

 

God of the Gospel,

I praise you for the bond of love that your gospel creates. Thank you that you have knit me together with this body of believers at Emmanuel to live out my faith in authentic community. I want to grow deeper into you as I grow into deeper relationship with others. Forgive me for being a “loner” at times and not taking the risks to love others in our body and accept their love for me. Thank you that I have the privilege of advancing the gospel together with this church family and that I am not alone!

Amen

40 Days in Philippians DAY FOUR

Read Philippians 1:6

 

If you remember from yesterday, Paul begins to thank God for this church and he starts with joy in their partnership in the gospel.

 

But secondly, he expresses thanks for His hope in God’s preserving work in his life through what is commonly called eternal security or the perseverance of the saints.

 

Paul is emphatic. He’s confident! He is absolutely certain that what God started in us through our initial salvation, will be completed on that final day. In other words, God in His sovereign grace will keep us to the very end securely in His grip. We will not lose our salvation. We will not fall away if we are truly His!

 

Let’s discuss the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints because it is crucial for us to grasp this and it will most definitely increase our joy in the Lord.

 

Definition: Those whom God the Father has elected, and those for whom Jesus the Son has died, and those for whom the Spirit has given the new birth, can neither totally nor finally lose their salvation, but shall certainly persevere to the end and be eternally saved.

 

This doctrine does not mean that everyone who at one time PROFESSES faith will endure to the end, but only true believers who are POSSESSORS of faith. It also does NOT mean that true believers can’t fall into times of grievous sins or a season of disobedience. God will discipline His children and ensure they come back to Him. But ultimately and finally, a true regenerated believer can never lose his or her salvation.

 

Spend some time reading the following verses, which teach the doctrine of eternal security:

 

John 6:37-39

 

John 10:27-30

 

In the Greek, there is the use of the double negative with the word “never”. In essence, Jesus is saying it in the strongest way possible that true believers—His sheep—will never perish and no one will be able to snatch us out of His hand nor the Father’s hand.

 

Romans 8:35 – 39

 

1 Peter 1:3-5

 

These Scriptures teach us that God in His powerful grace will never let us fall from our salvation. But at the same time, we are called to persevere to the end. We are called to finish the race. We are called to end well.

 

Mark 13:13

 

The teaching of perseverance of the saints says that God by His grace will work in us to insure that we endure.

 

1 Corinthians 1:7-9

 

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

 

Jude 1:24-25

 

This verse does not mean that we won’t stumble or commit sins. What it means is that God is powerful in His grace to make sure that we don’t stumble to the point of losing our salvation but that He will cause us to finish the race.

 

Charles Spurgeon said: “I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.

 

“If ever it should come to pass,
That sheep of Christ might fall away,
My fickle, feeble soul, alas!
Would fall a thousand times a day

 

Spend some precious time today praising your great God for promising to keep you in His powerful grip to the end.

 

Dear Mighty God,

I am in the palm of your hand! NOTHING can separate me from your love in Christ Jesus! I am fail at times and sin against you but because of the blood of Christ and His righteousness given to me as a gift, I can never fall beyond your grace. I am eternally secure in your hands. I praise you for this wonderful gift. Help me to have the confidence that Paul had about your eternal security.

In Your Grip,

Amen

 

40 Days in Philippians DAY THREE

Praise God we are saints in Christ Jesus!

 

Read Philippians 1:3-18

 

Paul begins his letter by giving thanks for God’s work in his life and in the life of the Philippian church. This is very typical of Paul to begin his letters with a word of thanksgiving to God.

 

By the way, have you stopped and thanked God for your church family? Have you stopped and thanked God for evidences of grace you are seeing in your brothers and sisters in Christ at Emmanuel?

 

The first thing Paul thanks God for is his JOY in the partnership in the gospel.  As we move through Philippians, these two words will show up over and over again: JOY and GOSPEL.

 

What exactly is joy?  It’s really hard to define, but I think we sure know what it is when we experience it. Joy is that deep seated sense of contentment and peace in God’s sovereignty regardless of our circumstances in where we absolutely bank of God’s promise to be God to us no matter what!

 

Read Nehemiah 8:10

 

Paul’s joy is very specific. He is joyful and thankful that this church is participating with Him in advancing the gospel.

 

That is the theme of our capital fundraising campaign: “Advancing the Gospel…Trusting His Provision.”  Our goal as a church is to joyfully advance the gospel to the ends of the earth. How can we do that? By continuing our various ministries such as children, youth, adult growth groups, mission trips, supporting missionaries, church planting, evangelistic outreaches, and all the things that God may have for us to do on the horizon that we haven’t even thought of yet.

 

One of the goals of this stewardship campaign is to join together in sacrificial giving to pay down the debt on the building. It is my dream as your pastor that we would be debt free in the next three years. By paying down the debt, we will be freed up financially to do more than what we are doing now to advance the gospel.

 

And by the way, what exactly is the gospel?

 

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

 

The gospel is the good news concerning the perfect life, the sacrificial death, the victorious resurrection, the mighty ascension, the victorious reign, and the glorious second coming of Christ and His call for all people everywhere to repent and believe in Him alone for eternal salvation.

 

Are you thankful that you’re part of a church that is serious about advancing the gospel? Have you thanked God for being a partner in advancing the gospel through the ministries of Emmanuel and your own personal testimony?

 

Do you have a deep-seated joy in what God is doing to advance His gospel through your life and the life of this church?

 

Spend some time this morning thanking God with joy in your heart for the power of the gospel and your part in advancing it here in Northeastern Colorado and to the ends of the earth.

 

Father in Heaven,

Your gospel is ultimate power to save lost sinners! I want to be a part of a movement to advance the gospel in my own community here in Northeastern Colorado and to the ends of the earth!  Cultivate a deep joy in my heart to declare this gospel! Help me to preach the gospel to myself everyday!  Thank you for the power of the gospel in my own life! Now give me the boldness to advance this gospel to everyone I know!

For Christ’s Sake,
Amen

 

40 Days in Philippians DAY TWO

Read Philippians 1:1-2

 

From this first verse, we see three groups of people that are in all New Testament churches—saints (all believers), elders/overseers, and deacons. At Emmanuel, we have elders, deacons, and members (saints).

 

If you are a Christian, do you think of yourself as a “saint”? I thought saints were super spiritual people like Mother Theresa or Billy Graham who have done some major things for God and will have a special place in heaven that the average Joe believer will never attain?

 

There’s a Greek word for that kind of thinking. It is called “BALONEY”!!

 

If you are a Christian, God has called you out of darkness into His wonderful light and has made you a saint.

 

As a saint, that means you and I have a new identity in Christ. We are not defined by our sin but as those who have been rescued out of this bondage to sin and are now adopted into God’s family as His precious and holy children.

 

Sometimes I hear well-meaning Christians say this: “I’m just a poor sinner saved by grace.”  And yes, to an extent that is true. You were once a poor, miserable lost spiritually bankrupt sinner who has been saved by grace. But that is who you were!  Now you can say with confidence, “I’m a saint who just happens to sin from time to time but that does not define me.”

 

Read Romans 6:6

 

Our old life was crucified with Christ and now we are no longer under the bondage and dominion of sin, but we are a new creation in Christ as a saint. A holy one set apart for God’s purposes and for His glory.

 

Now before we all get an inflated ego and think that we’re “all that” because God has made us a saint, let’s read in Deuteronomy why God chose to save us.

 

Read Deuteronomy 7:6-8

 

Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

 

As you begin this journey in Philippians, we need to remember our identity. We are saints saved by God’s grace and we have been given the wonderful privilege of being a child of God.  God in His mercy and power has set us apart as His own. We are a saint. A set apart one and with that privilege comes great responsibility.

 

Spend some time this morning praising God for setting you apart and making you a saint.

 

Dear Gracious Father,

 

There was nothing good in me that made you choose me or set your love upon me and make me a saint.  I was a sinner and rebellious against you and living in darkness. Yet in your amazing grace, you reach down into my depravity and pulled me into your kingdom of light and made me a saint. I am totally blown away by your mercy! All I can do is fall to my knees and thank you for doing such a great work. I praise You today for making me a saint, when all I deserve is eternal wrath. You are so good to me!

In Jesus Name,

Amen

 

40 Days in Philippians DAY ONE

As we embark on this journey together in understanding the unique role Emmanuel Baptist Church has in “Advancing the Gospel…Trusting His Provision”, as your pastor, I thought it would be beneficial for us all to spend 40 Days in Philippians.

 

There are three primary words that Paul repeats throughout this letter:

 

  • The Gospel

 

  • Our Attitude/Mind

 

  • JOY

 

Paul is writing this letter from a Roman prison back to the church in Philippi. A church that had a unique beginning which truly demonstrated the power of the gospel.

 

Before we actually dive into Philippians, let’s go back to the beginning and see how this church was started.  God in His divine sovereignty saved three very unlikely people to birth this congregation:  a wealthy fashionista, a demon-possessed slave girl, and a blue-collar prison worker.

 

Read Acts 16:11-15

 

Lydia was a dealer in purple goods. In other words, she was a wealthy businesswoman who was involved in the fashion industry of her day. She was a prominent fashionista who had a house big enough for everyone to meet together for church.

 

But notice what God does to her in verse 14. God opens her heart to receive the gospel.
If you are a Christian, this has happened to you. When the gospel was shared with you, God reached down from heaven and replaced your heart of stone with a heart of flesh and caused you to be born again.  (see Ezekiel 36:25-27, Ephesians 2:4-9, and John 3:1-8)

 

This is the miracle of the new birth or regeneration. As those who were once dead in our sins and enslaved to the world, the flesh, and the devil, God has overcome our rebellion and opened our hearts to see the glory and beauty of Jesus.

 

Read Acts 16:16-24

 

The Bible doesn’t tell us if this poor young demon-possessd girl got saved, but many scholars believe she was taken in by Lydia and became a part of the church. In verse 16 literally it means that this girl had a “python spirit”—a snake demon.  Think about the stark contrast between a wealthy fashionista and the snake girl!  Isn’t it just like our great God to bring two totally different people together to birth a church!

And yet there is still another family that needs to be saved to birth this church in Philippi—a blue-collar prison worker.

 

Read Acts 16:25-40

 

Verse 31 is crucial to this passage. Authentic salvation comes in believing in the Lord Jesus alone as Master and King!

 

The church in Philippi was birthed in a beautiful picture of unity along with diversity. How in the world could a fashionista, a snake girl, and a prison worker come together and start a church???

 

Only in the power of the GOSPEL!! The gospel unites all races, colors, socio-economic barriers, and cultural differences to create a wonderful family knit together as one with a passionate love for Jesus.

 

As we start this journey of 40 Days in Philippians, it is imperative we begin with an awe of our great God and His power in the gospel to unite believers together as one in His Son.

 

Spend some time right now praising God for your salvation. Thank Him that He took you out of the depths of your sin and caused you to be born again by opening up your heart to see Jesus as Lord! Thank God for the diversity we have at Emmanuel and how we have been united together as a family!

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

 

I absolutely love how You have knit us together as a church with so much diversity! Thank you for the power of Your gospel! Thank you that you have saved me from my sin by opening up my heart to Jesus! I’m excited to start this journey in Philippians. I want to be teachable and open to whatever You have planned to teach me! My desire is to be obedient to your word! May you birth revival in my heart as I saturate myself in Your Word over the next 40 days!