He is Faithful to Complete it
Paul and Timothy – ideal discipleship relationship
Paul and Grace / Peace – Grace, Mercy, Justice – Justice is getting what you deserve, Mercy is not getting what you deserve, grace is getting what you don’t deserve. What it comes to our sinfulness, HELL is better than what we deserve, so we plead for God’s mercy, and then he gives us grace.
Paul and Prayer – he thanks God as he remembers the Philippian people, and offers prayers with joy. Are we joyous when we pray? Usually we are not, but rather fearful. Imagine the class setting, “who will close us out in prayer?” Crickets. Naval gazing. We should jump at the chance to boldly approach the throne of grace.
The Mission (Philippians 1:5) – participation in the gospel – from the first day until now. They did not grow weary is doing what God has called them to do. They did not hire Paul or Timothy or Silas or Barnabas to do the work of ministry, they were in it together. From day one they understood the mission of reconciliation of God to a lost and dying world. Many of us in this room honestly believe that it is our mission to attend worship regularly. Regular used to mean that we were in church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night prayer meeting and Bible study. Regular today has been redefined as showing up twice a month, at my own convenience. Let me suggest that if we have not found a small group or a place to give back, we are NOT doing Christianity right.
This graphic helps us see the path we all need to take…
I call this WORSHIP PLUS TWO. It is a three-legged stool upon which our mission rests. When we are standing only on one leg, we become weak and vulnerable.
Gather – is the place we are now; we have gathered for worship. It is important simply because the Father is seeking worshipper who will worship him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). But there is so much more to the Christian life than just showing up for worship. Worship is important, but we cannot stop there. Gathering involves our connection with God. I call this our UPWARD JOURNEY.
Grow – the second leg is the place of community, and Bible study. How can people grow on their own? It is similar to birthing a baby and leaving that child on his or her own, expecting that child to grow into adulthood by themselves. A child has a family to raise them. Parents who pour their lives into the child. Believers are a part of a community where there are no lone ranger Christians. We are in this together. While some people pour themselves into the lives of others, other people need mature believers to pour their lives into them. Just this week, as an example, we had VBS (in case you didn’t know) and we saw kids that never really participated come out in full force and enjoy themselves, even on stage singing all these creative and meaningful songs. After gathering for worship, we need to grow into mature disciples of Christ. I call this our INWARD JOURNEY.
Go – finally, the third leg of our three-legged stool is to get involved in giving back; to serve God and serve others in very hands on and practical ways. It is doing for others when other will have no opportunity or intention of returning the favor. It is thinking about the interests of others more than yourself. After all that God has done for you, there is no greater joy is serving others. There are ways of discovering your giftedness and finding a place to match the way you are wired, let’s talk about it. I call this the OUTWARD JOURNEY.
The Motivation (Philippians 1:6a)– For I am confident. This is about conviction. My friend after high school, Marine Corps, knew how to properly keep his personal effects in order; his rack, locker, shoes, pressed uniform… then we lived together in college. He was tremendously messy, never made his bed, didn’t clean up after himself in the kitchen. What happened? He KNEW what needed to be done, but he did not have the conviction to continue his tidy behavior. How often do we know what to do, yet fail to do what God has called us to do?
The Mandate (Philippians 1:6a) – he who began a good work in you. The Father told Abraham that he would be blessed in order to bless the nations. Our God has always been a missionary God, seeking those who are far from him. He is relational, he is incarnational. The Son gave us marching orders when he spoke to the disciples on that hill in Galilee, and spoke the Great Commission, to make disciples of all nations, to teach them all he had taught them, and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Our leader has spoken, not just to believe and get saved, but we are saved for a purpose. That is the mandate given to us.
The Maturity (Philippians 1:6b) – will perfect it, or will complete it – this is all about maturity. While I mentioned a lot a about this a few moments ago, let me focus on the various parts of salvation. Many people believe that having the right belief and saying the right prayer is all it takes to be saved. Let me suggest a broader interpretation of what it means to be saved.
Justification – this is total forgiveness for all of our past. Once we are justified, God looks on us “just as if I’d” never sinned. Forgiven for the past, present and future sins.
Sanctification – that is a churchy word for becoming more and more like Jesus every day, over a lifetime. When someone says “I’ve arrived” it is a good indicator that they have not, but rather have a long way to go. This is the inward journey, the part I talked about, GROWTH. And we grow best in community, like a garden. How often do we see a single stalk of corn growing in a field?
Glorification – this is the part when we finally see Jesus in heaven, face to face. We will have that glorified body that Paul talks about with the Corinthian church.
So when someone asks you if you’re save, you can honestly tell them, “Yes, partly, and no.”
Which leads me to the final part of this passage…
The Movement (Philippians 1:5-6) – until the day of Christ Jesus – we will meet our Savior face to face in all of his glory. All his plans, all that he came to do for us, in us, and through us, will culminate in our being with him forever. The One who died on the cross to bring forgiveness and salvation moved from the cross to the grave, and from the grave to the sky, he went to prepare a place for us. One day return in all of his glory to take us to that place he has prepared.
He loves us too much to leave us the same way he found us, lost and dead in our sin. He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it. Look again at Philippians 1:5. Earlier I talked about the mission, how they participated in the mission set before them.
Now focus on the movement, participation in their own spiritual growth. He does not want to leave his project undone, all of his children are a work in progress, but we have to do our part and develop a few new habits that will make our growth process more secure. We cannot do it on our own anyway, we need Jesus to work in us to grow us into spiritual maturity.
Where are you in this maturity process? Are you just starting out and realize you have a long way from bearing the image of Christ? The church is all about discipleship, get connected and get involved.
Have you been a believer for a long time yet realize that your maturity is nowhere equal to you years of faith, it is never too late to get back on the path toward spiritual maturity.
Have you never made a commitment to Christ, why wait? Let today be the first day of the rest of your life.