Temple Baptist Church - 5-9-2012
A. Paul is in prison not knowing if he will live or die and his concern is for the church at Philippi! What a dedication he had to his people. I believe that this was for several reasons:
1. His love for the people and desire for their welfare.
2. His love for the local church knowing its importance.
3. His love for the sinners that only the church could reach.
4. His love and commitment for his Lord Jesus Christ.
B. Paul fully understood the importance and purpose of the local church. Today, its importance is minimized but, in the early days, it was maximized. The local church is God’s instrument for the exalting of the Saviour, the edification of the saints, and the evangelization of sinner.
C. Though the “fires of persecution burned brightly in their time and place, the opportunity for the church to be a “lighthouse” could not have been better. The lights of the Christian and local church never shine as brightly as it does in a sin darkened place.
D. There are several things in these verses that Paul desired for the well-being of the church at Philippi:
1. That their conversation (testimony) be pleasing to the Lord. (The word “conversation” is an interesting one in that it means to communicate. We communicate with this lost world through a life that is changed, not by a life that continues to conform to it. Romans 12:1-2.)
a. Our past conservation - Ephesians 2:1-4a And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (4) But God, (God saved us out of our past disobedience, not saved to us to continue in it. Our past conversation changed at Calvary. We continue to be in the world but can no longer be of the world.)
b. Our present conversation – “becometh the gospel of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 3:2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: (We now have a new life, a new love, and should have new longings. The world reads the “epistle” of our lives as we publicly confess Jesus Christ and His great salvation. The world reads our “epistle” and should see Christ in us.)
2. That they steadfastly stand together as a church. (Satan has so viciously attacked the unity of the local church by bringing division, thereby baffling its progress. Tanker trucks use baffles to confuse the motion of liquids therefore impeding its forward progress in order to help trucks to control both their speed and stopping ability. These baffles cause a confused motion. If Satan can divide us by having disagreements, hurt feelings, or people pulling in different directions, he has destroyed the effectiveness of the church.)
a. Steadfastly in spirit - Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, (Enjoying the company of one another! The early church found their fellowship among the saved while today’s church finds theirs in the world. There was a time when the only way to get most Baptist to fellowship or come to church was to feed them but, in our day, many of them will not even stay to eat. They are in a hurry to get out of church, go home, and shut out the rest of the world.)
b. Steadfastly in purpose - Ephesians 4:11-15 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (The edification of the body is the purpose of the assembling of the local church. We assemble and we flourish.)
3. That they continue to evangelize both at home and abroad.
a. The command to evangelize - Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Our purpose is to win the world to Christ, not to let the world win us away from Christ. As Rome burned as Nero “fiddled,” the world perishes as the church sleeps.)
b. The plan to evangelize - Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (There are churches that support only home missions because of the condition of America while there are others who forego home missions for the foreign fields. We are to do both which means at the same time and leave the end results in the hand of the Lord.)
4. That they face adversity with confidence.
a. As the world hated Christ - John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. (The most hated man who ever lived was Jesus Christ. I am talking about the Jesus Christ of this bible, not “another Jesus” which the world perceives and preaches.)
b. So the world hates Christians - 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (To be Christ like is to be hated and rejected by the world; to be worldly is to be loved and accepted by them.)
5. That they glorify Christ in their suffering.
a. Suffer with understanding - Romans 14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. (If we are His and we are, then Satan and the world will hate us as it hated Him. My wife always said, “Popularity has its price.” So does biblical Christianity!)
b. Suffer with unashamed - 1 Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. (I am not ashamed to be an old time Christian and am not ashamed of my Lord.)
Philippians 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
Isaiah 24:15 Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea.