Monthly Archives: December 2013

Tyrants and Rebels

This was the message I preached at San Pedro CRC- last 2 PM pre-Christmas fellowship service -December 22, 2013.

Fallen Condition /Redemptive Focus

  1. So Christians in leadership will not be proud in their status experience or knowledge in treating their fellow brethren or those outside the church
  2. So ordinary Christians will not grumble nor complain as they do their ministries under the church leadership.
  3. For both to focus their life on emptying oneself in serving others-whether in the church or outside –just like Jesus did –and await their rewards from Him in the end.

Tacloban

Introduction :

These are the before Christmas rush-rush days –where people will buy gifts, prepare foods, activities, and make decorations and presentations. If not for the fact that some of our ‘kababayans’ were hit by Typhoon Yolanda –maybe we will be splurging all our money on gifts and food and gadgets. Now we have to rethink how we celebrate Christmas –which I think is for the better.

Slide2

Sometimes –we think we are all okay…under a veneer of something of a face that looks happy- but underneath –something is eating at us…after we became Christian or religious –we forgot- we thought we can become righteous and holy and good in the eyes of this world without referring to what God has done and is doing to us –in Jesus.

It is significant that in Christianity- that our ethics- or what we do is defined and motivated by our doctrines or teachings- meaning who God is and what He have done- and this more pronounced here Philippians 2.

It is what Jesus is and what He has done to us- Father , Son And Holy Spirit –that Apostle Paul order us with 2 basic commands: One for the tyrant- the leadership who knows everything and does not listen to anyone- and the rebel who silently cut the church from below by their complaints and grumbling. Each is a upside mirror of each other.

 

Outline:

1. Since …In Christ, Same Mind v. 1-2

2. Do Nothing Selfish v. 3-5

3. Form of God …Form of a servant v. 6-11

4. Work out your Salvation v.12-13

5. Do Not Grumble v.14-18

Let us read:

  1. I.           Since …In Christ, Same Mind v. 1-2

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 

Paul’s command to be of one mind or same mind –which is the Mind of Christ – stems from what God has done and is doing for Christians:

  1. Union with Jesus,
  2. His comfort from His Love
  3. Participation in the Spirit
  4. Tenderness and Compassion

In simplicity –it means that Jesus loves us passionately, dearly , emotionally. If He can hug us- he will..so that we will not forget it.

This same mind means –having the same love, spirit and mind for others especially those in the household of faith. For we are all the same under Christ.

Slide6

Remember the example of Jesus in washing of the feet- if our leader-our CEO –our ambition to become – took the lowliest place- what should be ambition the? It should be to be like him-a feet washer too.

  1. II.       Do Nothing Selfish v. 3-5

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.In your relationships with one another, have the same mind-set as Christ Jesus:

And yet –it is true and oh so common that in the church that people are with ambition to be known for their power, authority, money, prestige or knowledge. They even brag that they can fast for so long –or memorize so many or kings and queens bow before for their blessings. In our age some brag that storms, hurricane or a rains will stand still or move by their order.

Tyrants- dictators -they will have a tendency not to listen to others –and they love to listen to the sound of their voices- and therefore they think others are much lesser than they are –they don’t need their suggestions nor opinion-they can run the church on their own. They also think that their concerns or needs is not important. It is their grand vision of things that is important. A cathedral or a large funding or many attendees.

Slide8

Herod the Great is the NT example of a tyrant. Who funded his Temple and Palace projects with slave labour and who killed the babies below 2 years old so that he can kill the baby Messiah.

Two words- value and interest –and one word- Others – that is what is important to the Lord.

 

  1. III.    Form of God …Form of a servant v. 6-11

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Besides the Logos passage in the Gospel of John –this is one of the longest creedal text of the early church- and the one filled with so many profound insights in the nature of condescension or humiliation or emptying of the Christ.

Let us be clear –this is not about the following:

  1. That Jesus is just a man- He is a man but more than that
  2. That Jesus is an angel – for angels are not in a ‘form of God’
  3. That Jesus is just a demi-god- since there is no category in a Hebrew mind that a being can be worship –who is not God and just a creature. This is not Greek, Roman or Norse mythology.

I need to discuss these Greek words since it is very important and we cannot escape it.

Jesus came in :

µορφ θεοῦ- morphe theos

µορφν δολου- morphe doulos

 

µορθη has to be understood in the light of its dual use here – Christ was in the form of God, but took the form of a servant.

Gordon Fee thinks that the word means more than appearance, “µορφηwas precisely the right word for this dual usage, to characterize both the reality (his being God) and the metaphor (his taking on the role of a slave), since it denotes ‘form’ or ‘shape’ not in terms of the external features by which something is recognized but those characteristics and qualities that are essential to it. Hence it means that which truly characterizes a given reality.”

Slide11

We may bit understand this through the comparison to a comics superhero: Superman- who Kal El and who is Clark Kent. All the same person and yet seen by people differently … He is not pretending to be Superman nor as Clark Kent- the two are the same.

ρπαγµος, ου  m something to grasp after; something to hold on to

In Moule’s terms, equality with God means not ‘grasping’ but ‘giving away.'” -The noun is a synonym of its cognate ἁρπαγµα(‘booty’). The meaning would be ‘a matter to be seized upon’ in the sense of ‘taking advantage of it.’

In Superman –this General Zod grasping at power instead of renouncing its use and privilege.

Slide12

Yoder (Politics of Jesus) thinks that Paul suggests a contrast with the “Godlikeness promised by the serpent to Adam in the garden, which would have consisted in unchecked dominion over creation. Or perhaps it refers as well to the kind of Godlikeness claimed by Caesar.” Ridderbos (Paul) also detects a contrast with Adam.

“1) Superman’s creator, Jerry Siegel, acknowledges in an unpublished memoir that he was strongly influenced by anti-Semitism he saw and felt, and that Samson was a role model for Superman.

“Jerry also says he wrote about the world he grew up in: a Cleveland (Ohio) neighborhood that was 70 percent Jewish, where theaters and newspapers were in Yiddish as well as in English, and there were two dozen Orthodox synagogues to choose from but only one option, Weinberger’s, to buy your favorite pulp fiction.

“It was a place and time where weaklings — especially Jewish ones, who were more likely to get sand kicked in their faces by the bully down the block if not Adolf Hitler — dreamed that someday the world would see them for the superheroes they really were.

Fee argues that the meaning is not that Christ abandoned equality with God but that he did not consider equality with God to be exemplified in ‘grasping’ but in ’emptying.’ “In the cross God’s true character, his outlandish, lavish expression of love, was fully manifested.” The question at issue is ‘What does it mean to be like God?’

It is for God to be seen as powerless so that He can love us and rescue us- a world changing truth. It is in weakness that we will find strength.

“He laid aside the form of God, the splendour of divinity.” so Christ did not empty himself of anything; he simply ’emptied himself,’ poured himself out. This is metaphor, pure and simple.”

He wills not to use his divinity for his advantage. It is there-but he did not use it.

The meaning of the verb elsewhere is ‘to become powerless’ or ‘to be emptied of significance

It is like having a machine gun –and when bullied- he did not use it- and lay it down. Wow!

“The concern is with divine selflessness: God is not an acquisitive being, grasping and seizing, but self-giving for the sake of others.”

µορφν δολου- morphe doulos

Eadie understands this service to be service to God. In becoming man, the Son took on the role of Servant to the Father’s will. He took on the part of obedient man which Adam had abandoned. However, the context would seem to demand also the sense that he became a servant of all – a model for our service of one another.

Like how Adam should have been- a servant –Jesus became one. That us how man should be-a servant of the Father.

 

µοιωµατι νθρωπων- omiomati anthropos

“He came in the ‘likeness’ of human beings, because on the one hand he was fully identified with us, and because on the other hand in becoming human he was not ‘human only. He was God living out a truly human life, all of which is safeguarded by the expression.” Fee

 

σχµατι ς νθρωπος- schemati os anthropos

σχηµα, ατος  n  outward form, present form, form, likeness εὑρεθεὶς

“He showed Himself possessed of a true body and a rational soul – that body no phantom or disguise, but an organism like that of all men born of woman, and within it a soul that grew in wisdom as His body grew in stature, being subject to human emotions, and possessed of the usual powers of thought and will.

He was ‘found in fashion as a man’ by those who lived with Him, who saw Him in all aspects, and in every variety of attitude and circumstance; – His mother and kinsmen; His fellow-villagers and friends; His disciples and followers; His enemies and executioners.” Eadie

 

It is in this form that he obeyed… to the death and death on humiliating crucifixion.

The reward for this obedience is that His Father granted the title Lord to the Human Person Jesus Christ.

Jesus left the position of power and became a servant to His Father and to us- He valued us more than himself –and suffered so that he protect our eternal interest.

  1. IV.      Work out your Salvation v.12-13

12 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.

Slide14

It is surprising that the exhortation not to grumble or complain is preface by another doctrine- eternal security and the perseverance of the saints i.e. Paul is encouraging Philippian believers that they should living as if Paul is there-or better God is there –which truer- Coram Deo – which will be discussed in chapter 3 too. Salvation doesn’t’ stop in justification but continue on sanctification. Christian living being done in front of the Living God.

To work out is dig silver from the mines – that is –the wealth is already there-but it needs to be brought to light. We are now new creation – but we need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in this (though in His Providence and overall ruling-we will still hit our mark in the end).

Though we work- in truth it is God who works and will so that in the end we will fulfil His good purpose. Nothing is left to chance-like in chapter 1

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

We should not be idle but persevering nor a worrier in our eternal security- we are children of God- and secured in that relationship

  1. V.         Do Not Grumble v.14-18

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.

Rebels- sometimes when we are not in position of prominence –or responsibility – we tend to envy those above us-those who requested our support –our cooperation. We make it harder for them to lead… to inspire us or to do the common goals set by them or by us together. We rebel- and then we grumble and argue against them. Every action –has our brilliant idea- our criticism –our inputs.

There is a time for planning and evaluation – for hearing us – but most often we just have to follow and our job, our responsibilities, our obedience, our cooperation. But it is a common tendency to rebel against legitimate authorities- we think we know better-even in the most ordinary activities or decisions.

Obedience is what Jesus did. And if we are Christians- without Christ- I am nothing– then obedience should be also our distinctive feature- our hallmark. In the quest for the triumph of the Father’s good purpose- we should lose ourselves in obedience- 1: 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Someone can sing Christian songs, read bible devotions, own a bible- but it is wholehearted trust and obedience to his Lord and Saviour is what differentiates the real from those faking it.

Slide16

If we don’t grumble or complain against His will –we will be like… like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.Something to behold and dream about and emulate or imitate. And what is our guide in this life? It is the Word of God…if anything will deviate from it- we will not follow. If anything will devalue the Living Word- we will stand against. But if in His word –he says that we obey- then we willingly submit to follow.

The generation of Jeus and Paul is filled with rebels and wars – and so the term“ warped and crooked generation.”[c] .

Slide17

The Zealots like Barabbas is a NT example of rebels-who want to extract justice from the Romans even if their methods were violent and wrong. During the AD 70 Fall of Jerusalem- they acted like terrorist –killing the priest and Sadducees and common people so that they can further their cause.

We don’t take the sword to rebel nor lead revolution unless it is our magistrate or legal government who will call us to do so-in defence and for righteous causes.

This is what will make Paul to be joyful even when he feels his death or execution near:

And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour 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.

 

Conclusion:

Two things –do not be a tyrant –self-important person

And a rebel –who makes the lives of your leaders harder

In all of this –It is our Lord Jesus Christ –our model and forerunner.

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Hold On, Press On

I will be preaching this today at Sovereign Grace CRC-BF Homes,  Paranaque:

Philippians 3:1-21

Hold On, Press On

Outline

  1. 1.     Beware (Phils 3:1-4)
  2. 2.     Loss and Gain (Phils 3:5-11)
  3. 3.     Press on , Hold On (Phils 3:12-16)
  4. 4.     Imitate Me (Phils 3:17-21)

Fallen Condition/ Redemptive Focus:

  1. Instead of on holding onto Christ Jesus Only- tempted to be confident on past achievements, associations, racila background, or even knowledge
  2. Instead of Fear- to venture forth in Faith – in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ

Intro:

I am now 48 years old…when I was young ..I was converted at UST Hospital with 42 to 43 degrees Centigrad fever and Dengue Fever in 1981..and then I became Calvinist after a year…and even became immediately  embroiled in a controversy with a elder-candidate about his Arminisanism – usually hidden behind a supposed OT Election view…We are branded as trouble makers –and there is a truth to that since we are young and brash then …and sometimes a firebrand –as I am still…

And I thought that I can end my days being a former- disciple by the Vanderbilts, De Young and Kwantes…even a godson in marriage of Pstr Doy Castillo and an ordained ruling elder for 14 years of a Presbyterian church and I can take comfortable life as an engineer of Meralco…but God can turn your life upside down and make you hear Him again amidst the pain and death and sickness-my own. And so I am making up for lost time to help other CRC churches starting with San Pedro CRC…and now I am honored that at least for today I will be here to –I hope –encourage you all.

As a church and as a nation we are in crossroad..and to face so many challenges…and though we are small –we must make choices that will have significant effects on people we still have influence-our family and friends…

The old pestilential errors are still there and now mascarading behind a veneer of good PR image…and we might be lulled to disarming ourselves..though we wish charity for all…we wish true salvation to all…not out of convenience or untruth. We are Reformed so we can serve the greater Evangelical churches and Christians in this time.

  1. 1.     Beware (Phils 3:1-4)

(Phil 3:1 [ESV])

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.

 

(Phil 3:2 [ESV])

Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.

 

(Phil 3:3 [ESV])

For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh-

 

(Phil 3:4 [ESV])

though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more:

Sometimes, we –church leaders and pastors must be repetitive..like our fathers..for we are concerned of those under our care and so Paul started at v .1 that these things he will be saying id for their safety…their protection . and what are thesethings?

It is about the Judaizers, the source of our righteousness, what the future holds on , what we the mature ones should be doing ..and how should we see about those who left because of their compromise with the world.

In v2, Paul equate those of the Judaizers with those outside the kingdom…outside the church for he called them dogs, evil workers and mutilators –like that of mention Leviticus 21:15 that the Mosaic led nation was warned about…for they are …more concerned of outward religion instead of what is real in their hearts.

In v3 So Paul defined for us –what Gentiels under Christ…under the New Covenant – not under the Sinai Covenant – we should be.

Slide5

One of my interests is checking on how divergent the theologies of Armstrongism and the Seventh Day Adventist on their preoccupation with Food, Festivals and Laws of the Mosaic Covenant..and sometimes I just smile when Evangelicals and even Reformed Christians try to do what ther are doing .

For the past 10 years there is a new rage from the works of James Dunn and NT Wright aboiut how we Protestants misinterpreted Paul and their contention is that Justification is about the acceptance of Gentiles in the New Covenant of Jesus. That the whole Judaizing heresy is not abut Justification per se but acceptance within the covenant community. There is  truth in their allegations…and that the preoccupation of 1st century Christians with Jewish boundary markers are disloyalty with the Messiah Jesus.

We are no longer defined if we sacrifice at the Temple or that we even make animal sacrifices..nor observance of Sabbaths, Food Laws or the annual Festivals or whatever is related to the Temple sacrifices. For they are shadows..the reality is in Jesus…his Person and Work. Not just Justification but also our sanctification is first and foremost in Jesus and the Holy Spirit He sent to us –starting at Pentecost.

For we the true circumcision..in our hearts…we worship in Spirit and Truth –who was given to us…we take pride in Jesus our Savior and Lord…And we don’t take any confidence in our flesh- our achievements or who we are in this world. We rely only in Jesus. And this is the key chord in the music he will be playing in chapter 3.

  1. 2.     Loss and Gain (Phils 3:5-11)

 

Confidence in the Flesh

(Phil 3:4 [ESV])

though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more:

 

(Phil 3:5 [ESV])

circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee;

 

(Phil 3:6 [ESV])

as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

Coram Deo – Alpanay NeH- Before God…words that means –we are actors in a stage..now it depends to whom we are presenting to..our audience . Is it this world?

Or men? For we are here for the One audience we need to please..whether in a jeepney or here infront of you? Do I try to please you my brothers  and sisters or Him who sits on the throne?

In v5 – Paul –tries to stooped to their level –for arguements sake –for He has much to be confident in the flesh…for he was not hastily circumcised when he was already old but since birth –on the 8th day as required by the Law. He is from the Nation of Israel-an Israelite…both of his parents are Jews- Hebrew of Hebrews, from the tribe of Benjamin who remains loyal to Kingdom of Judah and did not secede from it and went to the Northern Kingdom.

Slide7

And as for the Law- in its exacting demands – in ritual purity, Sabbath observation, food laws, and temple sacrifices –he is a member of the strictest sect –Pharisees…the seperated ones- and was mentored by the esteemed Gamaliel. Iand interms of righteousness demanded by Law and the Sacrifices- he is blameless- without fault-

He in fact boasted that his zeal is real –for he pursues the followers of that blasphemer and criminal and accursed Jesus to the ends of the  earth. Not until he encountered the Risen Lord at Damascus and realized that there is an alien righteousness coming from Jesus.

This is what it amounts to- if Law is without Christ Jesus….zeal not according to knowledge..and there are still many in our times who will demand you this or that as if Jesus has not come and died in the cross and was not resurrected from the dead and now at the right hand of God-reigning and interceding for us.

Loss and Gain

(Phil 3:7 [ESV])

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.

(Phil 3:8 [ESV])

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

(Phil 3:9 [ESV])

and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-

(Phil 3:10 [ESV])

that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

(Phil 3:11 [ESV])

that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Slide9

Verses 7 to 11 is interesting from a business point of view..for it speaks of loss (forfeiture) and gain (financial gain) and then even went to the other extreme of considering it or accounting as rubbish- dug- waste given to the dogs.

In v7 he considered all things –yes all things – as loss …and then at v 8 he speaks of gain-assets  because of knowing Jesus Christs- which is to him is of supreme worth –to the next level in our lingua, nothing can compare to it …so that he can have that righteousness that comes from trusting Jesus..and so he continues in v.9 that he wants to experience the powerr of resurection in this life—which comes from his living connection to Jesus. This is not merely Justification but also our sanctification-our Christian living- from day to day.

And then he spoke of something crazy – “and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” – becoming conformed with him.

Thisis possible because Jesus is the 2nd Adam, the Life giving Messiah who gave us the Spirit for this life and the life to come. And this is available to Christians- Jews and Gentiles alike.

So many time during Milenyo, Ondoy and Maring-Habagat our house in San Pedro is inundated by floods-as high as almost waist deep inside in the house –and through the years I had accumulated some books in my mini library…and so many times some lower level books were wet and destroyed…

And last time I know the floods are not abating..and so the Lord called me to surrender them all and rely only upon the basic relationship with Jesus..and so I relented – for thsi is my treasure on earth- the Vanderbilts knows this.

And then He reminded me of a Scripture ..out of context –I think J – of these clause “the cloak and the parchment “ from Paul’s last words to Timothy…and then the flood stopped rising…But I need to surrender all..my knowledge..my treasure …so that I will know this intimate knowledge of Jesus..

And so with my recent bout with my diverticulitis..He might not heal me completely but He wants me to hold onto Him whatever happens.

Salvation is free..because Someone paid for it…but we cannot pretend that we can still do something about it… we must surrender all-consider all things loss…and learn to hold only to Jesus. We must learn to let go . The New Covenant is defined by a newer loyalty.

When Douglas Macarthur came to Japan – it is no longer just the Emperor that people should have loyalties to…it is to the American Caesar or Shogun that they should be loyal to as well … To us it is more – it supplants, it replaces totally our earthly allegiance – No king but Jesus.

During Lord Supper –when we eat the bread and drink the cup..I am reminded of  a scene from a movie- Highlander – starred by Chris Lambert and Sean Connery who belongs to a race called Immortals – there was a scene where Lambert- was sipping the wine and je was remembering what is happening in that year…maybe he reign of a Napoleon ..or his defeat at Waterloo.

What do you remember when you drink the cup- we should remember His death and His resurection –yes and primarily yes…but as those with Him..we must also raise a toast to the goodness of our Lord-through the years…the years of pain of sorrow, of pain, pf our isolation , of being misunderstood- for he stood by our side . And through the joys, the fellowship, the triumphs , the times when we were together as one brethren ..before the dark days when we are now outsiders…For The Lord is good and always to be trusted…in death and resurrection.

Just a digression-have you observe that the death of Jesus for Christians –cannot be divorced or seperated from His resurrection for them? –meaning the intent and extent of His work at the cross is packaged with His Rising form the grave and that this is applicable in totality to Christians…not just Justification but also sanctiifcation.

There is no atonement without a change in life in a person regenerated by the Spirit…we cannot soeak of Jesus dying for all and then deny that His resurerection is only for definite number of people. Itis either all or it is definite –it cannot be both.

Back again- I always felt that sometimes I preach a hard gospel-and it is okay is this will be my first and last invitation to speak here J. For I speak of a gopel that expects the dead i spirit to rise again and hear His voice, A gospel that expects those in prison to sing praises to God, a gospel thatexpects those in pain and in sorrow to endure and trimuph by serving others- not minding the limitations imposed by sickness in us, a gospel to those defeated, hurt by those they love – to rise in victory and by offering his tender mercies to those who failed to remember her anymore. But this is our God.

  1. 3.     Press on , Hold On (Phils 3:12-16)

(Phil 3:12 [ESV])

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

(Phil 3:13 [ESV])

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

(Phil 3:14 [ESV])

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

(Phil 3:15 [ESV])

Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

(Phil 3:16 [ESV])

Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

 Slide11

We take pride that we are Reformed and that we know more of the ways and mind of our Lord in this world-even before our understanding that there is one consistent way of salvation through  to the ages –as in our Covenant Theology- or that there is a present and future reign of Jesus in Amilinealism , or that a local church or its association should be governed by a Presbyterian church govt., or that God is present even the lives of unbelievers  -even a reprobate –in our doctrine of Common Grace- we are known for the doctrines of Grace – the TULIP-

If we know that there is nothing in us that merits salvation and nothing in us that God has not done before – even before the foundation fo the world without any condition or any any of our foreseen works or faith in us- that He loves us so because of HisLove for His Son- who died and rose and is now reigning King and Priest and will come again  for us –and the world and He sent the Spirit as well sending preachers and sharers of the Gospel –so that our minds can be opened and our spirit be brought to life – and thus we are justified at one time with a faith that He gaves us thru the Word..we take steps to living for His Son..and through ups and downs- we will be sure pf our heavenly inheritance- for not even this world or its god- the devil –nor even us can frustrate the Eternal design and Purpose of the Father of giving a proplr to His Son-Jesus Christ.

If we know this – why then our defeated look..our inaction to share the gospel- to be bold in taking the world again…the elect will be only reach by the spoken Word.We will examine what Paul want us to Hold On and Press On.

From v 12 to 14-Paul addresses those more mature in faith- in the Christian life- He rminded them –that like him- They have not yet actively obtained nor passively was prefected of that perfection before the Lord- but that we must continue to press on knowing more and more of Jesus and his calling to us in this world- we must remember that this a call heavenward –to God –and this is part of being a Christian.  We must remember this as our target for we might forget. It must be our mark- our crossline in our scope.

In our office we have a 3 year goals, annual goals and then the quaterly goals so that we might not lose trackor be distracted.

We must forget our past achievement s – so as to root out pride and be lax or no longer venturing forth.

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

And we must strive in all our might- our whole heart, mind and strenght must strive  to lay hold of Jesus as we are held by Him …We must not let go and be bamboozled by fear of defeat or irrelevance.

Others may think otherwise..saying it is time to rest..to be out of the limelight..to lay low… Maturity does teach us-NOT to hug the limelight  BUT instead to be in the forefront- NOT to be succesful…BUT to be faithful to the ONE calling us- everyday…For we have not yet arrived in heaven yet nor we have the resurrection body yet…

We must live consistent lives and not eventually falls by the wayside and forget who we are. Walking the same  rule- same mindset- we continue t serve the One Lord.

There is a tv series of a Chemistry teacher –Mr White –who when he learn he is dying from lung cancer- instead of redressing his life- turn bad- Breakig Bad- instead use his knowledge of chemistry in making high grade shabu and which involves later in the series- murder and so many evils-until he died.

I am reminded of Ka Freddie Aguilar too…sayang…

There is a real danger here..Jesus died sometime AD 30 and Paul will sometime 67AD-and maybe He wrote these epeistles when he was imprisoned around 62 AD. 30 years is a long time –waiting for the Lord to avenge against His old covenamt nation and against the Mighty Roman Empire. And we might also think now also. It is a call to perseverance…Those who ears…hear…

A christian-a true christian should not be eaten by despair and succumbed to the world. If you think otherwise- Paul is confident –that God will reveal-confront  you later of this.

As Spurgeon said here-“Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Let us keep all the good that we have received; let us not give up the truth that we have learnt; let us not leave the way along which we have traveled so far; and let us keep together, let perfect unanimity prove that the work of grace is going on in one as well as in another.”

 Slide13

 4.     Imitate Me (Phils 3:17-21)

(Phil 3:17 [ESV])

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.

 

(Phil 3:18 [ESV])

For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.

(Phil 3:19 [ESV])

Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

(Phil 3:20 [ESV])

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

(Phil 3:21 [ESV])

who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

 We need heroes in this life…those who we can model our lives…those we can see striving and standing up for compassionand truth..and in V17 Pauls mentioned to them to mirror his life in theirs..As Paul follow Jesus..so should they also follow Jesus and imitate Paul in his stance in the Gospel..and be not scared to submission by the power and those in authorities…

I am glad that my mentor and spiritual father – Ps Maas- hold onto his last breathe as a Christian, pastor and husband to Mom Eloise. With sickness he got from here..he remain –in his weakemed body – as a model for us to the end.

Though there is this display of power in the Empire and then of societal acceptance amongst the Jews- we have our own political order-a commonwealth- a citizenship-not of this world.

And we might be tempted to forsake that of we cannot see..and what might we be then:

V19 Pauls says – weeping and lamenting for those he had once been with – that they became enemies of the cross of Christ. That their stomach or vowels is now their God- they are only following their creaturely needs and desires- this world concerns- food, shelter and what we might call as our needs. We might even hide our base and foul desires with a cloak of religiousity or the mantle of church authority.

Then instead of being  ashamed of our new associations or job or activities – we dull our conscience by saying it is permitted –nay –even desirable…for we can see this in those celebrities who take pride in the sins they put themselves..Charice…Freddie Aguilar…Alcoholics…Gangs who rapes and killed young women…here in Las Pinas or Los Banos or Leyte or Samar…

Our mind are trapped in this earthly existence. And we thought that our hope is here and now-and we must grasp it by our own wisdom and our efforts. Adn we are so wrong….

What would you do?

When the love of a woman had gone cold- will you trun to someone warmer or will you listen to the whiper in your ears –saying  -You are my child…see I love you so taht I gave my one and beloved Son for you..

When your Father –who you have known so many years- is now sick and is now dying and heaving his last breathe – Will you remember –that there is a Ftaher that does not dies nor will leave you nor forsake you as an orphan in this world..

When the brother you seek –was not able to help you in your financial problems..will you remember him who sticks closer than a brother – the Firstborn over Creation -who is always besides you whether you recognize Him or not – in you pain and  sorrow until you win in faith.

Someday these lowly bodies will be transformed- no more be ashamed of our sickness or handicaps. We will be like Jesus glorified bodies. We will use the energy that He will use in His Second comingin subduing the  whole creation and all its rebels- to trasform us.

By then we will no longer live by Faith- but we shall see Him fac-to-face. What would you do now knowing there is still a future for us-a heavenly hope for us?

Conclusion:

  1. We must be in full confidence in the identity we have in Jesus
  2. We must trust not on ourselves or what this world offers- but inly in Jesus
  3. We must act as mature – holding onto what we have learned and yet continue topress on the claims of Lordship in this dying world.
  4. We must remain a people of Hope…That Jesus will come again and with Him we will be resurrected in glory.

Partnership In the Gospel

This was the message I gave to San Pedro CRC last November 24, 2013:

Philippians 1:1-30

Intro:

This is the message that was almost not preached. I thank God that He still heals me and allowed to stand before you and this place was given to me by Bro Bong.

Cardinal Santos

But so many things had happened between the last time I was with you last October… so many things I wanted to say –or should I say the Lord wanted me to say to you…

I believe that I will sound confused when I speak..but that is me..an earthen vessel bearing the infinite message of salvation from the Lord Jesus…God is not confused..I am-for I am weak..but He is all-powerful and all-wise…

Fallen Man/Redemptive Focus:

  1. In order not to be confused or not focus on what is important in Christian ministry-which is the Gospel and Jesus !
  2. To focus on what to do with the Gospel…share, defend and explain.

 

Part 1: Partnership in the Gospel v.3-11

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 I thank my God every time I remember you.

4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,  10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,  11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Paul and Timothy has a long partnership with believers-saints mentioned here at Philippi- and it is not mere financial …it comes when they are both in trouble…for the Jewish persecutors and the Roman authorities. Here in v1 it is mentioned that the church is headed by elders and deacons- their leaders established by Apostle Paul.

Their partnership is in the gospel –in defending and confirming the Gospel –nothing detracts from this …the Gospel about Jesus…preaches Christ in other verses… it is not mere sentimentality or emotions –but there is …

It is a negative defensive posture as well as positive confirmation and explanation of the true doctrine about God , Jesus and the Gospel..It is both needed..

Paul knows that –it is not just individual salvation that God will ensure that these Philippians believer will endure but it will be their partnership… Their collaboration that will endure until the end..Until the Day of the Lord..

It is not mere man-centered  pre-occupation with his salvation..but much more and other centered- as we spend our lives in others..He also enables us until He call us home..eternal security in the midst of our calling….other-centered ..

V6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

And what does Paul prays for them : Love coupled with knowledge and wisdom and in action through the power of Jesus Christ..and that is what we must also strive for and hope for other believer we are teaching. Not just emotions..but knowledge and not that only but how to use them and then actions that comes from all of them.

Application:

To insure steady flow of financial resources –churches must be seen to be doing the work of evangelism and missions- whether small bible studies and outreaches and even supporting missionaries here and abroad…there the congregation will be challenged to support beyond their own congregation… beyond their own selves.

How do you prepare your budget for giving? Before every other expense? After every expense? Be dynamic and responsive to the needs..we need to do something regularly –weekly o r  monthly and still be responsive to emergency needs

Slide4

Please see this pie chart…from someone I know…J  and then from the internet…There are 2-3 items that is bigger than the others… it is here where we can increase our giving …by talking and deciding together..not out of compulsion..but out of compassion ..Because of the lost world and those suffering much more than we are now…

Haiyan

Fathers and Mothers… besides the amount or percentage we already reserve for giving ..we can still save some more and give this especially for those who have not heard the gospel and now for those who have no houses or means of livelihood… I am telling you a command…. I am pleading to you … in behalf of them ….

Read CRCNA World Renew report…

Slide6 Slide7 Slide8

Part 2: Advance the Gospel ( Proclaim and Defend) v.12-26

Paul’s Chains Advance the Gospel

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.

14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.

No adversity, problem, hindrances can chained the Gospel or shackle it …No mob, flogging… assassination plot… storm in the seas…shipwreck …sickness…can deter Apostle Paul … even in chains  he was able to share to his captive audience ..the praetorian guards… that his imprisonment is because of Jesus –the Messiah the world is waiting for…

And instead of deterring other Christians –other became emboldened to share the Faith…without fear …out of love of Paul…making sure they can substitute to Him..others have not-so-good motives… making sure they can convert people to Christ without relying upon his gifts. They are envious of Paul and want to create a party of their own..

Remember –it is okay for Paul that the gospel is shared for the wrong motives…but He is displeased against wrong doctrines/ teachings …like those of the Pharisees or Judaizers.

As long as Christ is preached …

To advance the Gospel means active sharing the gospel- the ABC of the gospel-and then defending the true doctrine of the Bible- God, Jesus, The Fall of Man, His salvation only in Jesus- their eternal security, their lifestyle under the lordship of Jesus- and his second, visible coming in the Last Day.

And we will be coming to center of this chapter… what is Life for …really ..with all what is happening around us…what is really important?

Slide10

To live is Christ and to die is gain

And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.

20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted 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 go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Sometimes life challenges is too much..we rather withdraw and be left alone…to fade away and be forgotten….to slowly die away from others…

And yet He call us …in the middle of our pain…in our sorrow… in our own confusion …and then He give us reasons…a reason… to live for others….

Slide12

I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far…”

But what is more necessary? More important…close to who we are…it is to live for others… like what Jesus did…this will be detailed in chapter 2 by Paul…

And thus Paul is willing to live on so that he can still minister his gifts to them …to know..to love…to act as Jesus wants us to…

22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

And thus the prime reason for living and dying is –“21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

So He will continue ..eating..sharing..working…standing everyday…

25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

So for me this is how it applies to me:

There are 4 reasons I have to continue on  living:

  1. My family-especially my arrows-children –to be able stand on their selves
  2. Sharing the Full Counsel of God- The Word of God to you
  3. Discipling the next generation of leaders (VCF -Alabang)
  4. Ministry of prayer- especially weather-related

What is yours brother?

Part 3: Worthy of the Gospel v.27-30

Life Worthy of the Gospel

27 Whatever happens, as citizens of heaven live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together with one accord for the faith of the gospel

28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

The Philippian believers are being bullied… frightened…harassed… terrified by Jewish believers –to shelter themselves from the old religion which is being tolerated by the Roman Empire…and maybe others are being jailed too.

Slide15

And sometimes …we might opt out of this by renouncing our faith in Jesus…just like those imprisoned wrongly in Saudi or Moslem nations…they become converts to Islam.. which is worst because they are ruining their chances for eternal life…maski nga si Ka Freddie…haaay ewan…

Kaya kung minsan ay counter-bully ako sa opisina at sa ebanghelyo… pero sana ay samahan rin ninyo ko ditto…

Paul wants them to “stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together with one accord” –showing themselves faithful to Jesus to the end …this is what it means to live a life..a citizenship…as citizens of a heavenly kingdom….worthy of the Gospel…

Worthy of the gospel means:

  1. We are fallen- We are not righteous, nor perfect
  2. We are righteous only because of Jesus- there is no cause for arrogance
  3. And yet we are under His lordship –we are not our own – and we must live as stewards of every resources He gives us –and therefore we must separated exemplary lives-in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Have you seen someone endorses Coke in a commercial and then see him buying and drinking Pepsi…sagwa di ba?

And part of His Strange Mercies…. We are not only sharers in his salvation but also in a similar suffering of Jesus…and these are those we don’t and we will not understand ..only that we keep on holding on to Him when it comes…

But there is a promise..and it is sure: “This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God”

Conclusion :

We must be partners in sharing the Gospel – in our churches..in our use of time..in our use of resources…

Slide16

We must share the Gospel by defending it form wrong teaching and explaining it clearly to others…but not all of Scriptures..but we must major on the Gospel and the Person and work of Jesus Christ…we must see Scriptures through this prism…

We must see our life –as a life for others…so that they..the others will learn Jesus…deeply..in love, knowledge, wisdom and in action…

And then we must stand firm together for the Gospel against those who will bully us…even to the point of suffering for it…this may not the message for us now…but it still remains to be a message under the Gospel.

Let us all pray…