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…

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