Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Living in light of Philippians 2:19-30

Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Philippians 2:12-18

If you haven't had a chance to listen to Sunday's sermon, you can find it here: http://fellowshipjoplin.org/media/305766-1180564-1578850/where-the-rubber-meets-the-road

As you think about Paul’s description of Timothy and Epaphroditus, you should ask yourself: “do I possess characteristics like these men?” Would someone who knows you well describe you like Paul did these two Christ-like men? 

Here are the main points from this Sunday’s sermon along with a question regarding each. Some are more about working out your salvation, and some might have a call to do something specific. Take a few minutes each day this week to think through one or two of these points:

1. The Long Game
Who has stood with you through the good times and in the midst of adversity? 
Thank them personally. Tell them that you’re thankful for their friendship, companionship, and that they’ve always stood with you. 

2. An Encourager
Who can you encourage this week?
How will you encourage them?
(a note, text, email, conversation, etc.)
(how can you use Facebook to encourage?)

With whom are you:
3. Like-Minded
Some of these overlap. This one overlaps with #1. Who is on the same wavelength that you are? The same mind, same heart, same attitude.
What can you do to foster & deepen that relationship?
If you don’t have this kind of relationsnhip, be intentional to begin praying for one. 
Remember that your spouse plays this role too. Seek like-minded-ness with your spouse first and foremost. 

4. A Genuine Heart for People
Are you deeply concerned for the spiritual lives of others? Do you want to see them growing spiritually?
Spend some time praying that the Lord would increase your desire for others to be edified and growing. Pray that your love for others would increase. 
Pray for the grace to care more about others than your own comfort or reputation

5. Is it Obvious?
Do those you know and see on a regular basis know that you’re a believer and committed to glorifying Christ?

Are you viewing the trials and struggles o your life as God’s work in your life to bring sanctification in your life as well as prepare you for future ministry?
6. Doulos
Do you think of yourself as a slave of Christ?
How are you demonstrating the attitude, mindset, and role of a slave in the midst of the details of your life?

Do you have a “whatever is needed” mindset? Are you ready and willing to serve in whatever way is needed?
7. Loyalty
Paul gave Timothy counsel, advice, oversight, and direction. Timothy gave what a son gives: respect, honor, obedience, loyalty, allegiance, enthusiastically placing himself under Paul’s leadership. 
Are you loyal to those that God has placed in your life? Do you follow the leadership that God has placed you under?

8. Brother and fellow worker
Do you think of others in our church as your brothers & sisters and fellow workers for the Lord? How can you better work together with others for the furtherance of the Kingdom?

9. A Sacrificial Soldier
We were saved to serve. 
When we’re truly serving the Lord there will be adversity. How are you serving in the midst of adversity?

10. A Messenger
We’ve been sent with a message. Are you taking the message of Christ with you wherever you go? Joplin, Judaea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth?

11. Others First 
Do you put the needs, desires, and feelings of others first? In the midst of your own desires, do those of your brothers and sisters outweigh them?

One part suffers - all suffer
One part honored - all parts rejoice

12. Honor Such Men
What are you doing to honor others who possess these characteristics? Are you looking for them (the characteristics)? As you talk about others, are your conversations edifying and honoring and focused how God is using and working in others?

The question before us in eery decision, in every conversation, and in every thought is:
Will I serve Christ?
Will I serve self?

Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

A Quick Prayer Guide

A Simple Guide to Praying for Others
From Philippians 1:9-11

Pray for them to grow in:
• Abounding Love
(like an overflowing bucket of water)
The greatest commandment:
love God
love your neighbor
Your love for others will grow when your love for God grows.
Pray this for ourselves and others.

• Spiritual Wisdom
This is a full, complete knowledge that comes from God
It’s understanding people with your heart,

We pray for wisdom so that we can help one another as we strive toward
• Holy Conduct
A deep desire for one another to live at what is called “the highest level of spiritual devotion and obedience.”
None of us have reached that, but it’s the goal.
The goal isn’t “adequate” - the goal is what’s best

• Spiritual Fruit
Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
Winning the unsaved (Romans 1:13 – Colossians 1:5)
Abiding in Christ (John 15:4-5)
The Ultimate Goal:
• That We Glorify & Praise God
1 Corinthians 10:31, Ephesians 1:3-14, Psalm 96
This should be our goal all the time

Praying for others is a foundational part of a life of Gospel Joy

Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Speaking of praying for one another....

How to Have Gospel Joy 

If you want to have the joy Paul had - 
We follow his example - we listen to his instruction. And when we have Gospel Joy, these are the things that we will be about. It really is a cycle.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

1. Be Thankful
Paul had a pattern of consistent thankfulness. He’s thankful for his brothers and sisters in Christ. 
Who are you thankful for?
Can you say, “I’m thankful for you” to everyone our Body, and then go on to explain why?

2. An Others Focus
Rather than get bogged down in your own difficulties and struggles, turn your focus to being thankful for others.

Think about how you can encourage others. How you can build them up. 

When you’re being obedient to and led by the Holy Spirit, you’ll delight in prayer for others.

To have Gospel Joy, you have to have
3. A Gospel Focus
Paul never forgets or gets over the gospel.
I think that he constantly meditated on Jesus:
The Son of God who became a man, 
lived the perfect life that we should have, 
was crucified on Roman cross
taking the punishment for the sins of 
everyone who places their faith in Him
Suffering God’s wrath so we don’t have to
He died, was buried, and rose again on the third day
Showing that God’s wrath had been satisfied
And everyone who places their faith in Him 
Will.   Be.   Saved
Paul never forgot that he had been an enemy of the cross. (just like every one of us)
He was on a mission to hunt down and persecute Christians
God interrupted and changed his life. The old was gone - BEHOLD - the new had come!
I don’t think Paul ever stopped thinking about that.

And remember - we’re all partners in proclaiming the Gospel!

Partnership is fellowship. It’s sharing something in common.
They had experienced it too. 
And that gave him tremendous joy.
Paul’s main goal was to proclaim the gospel.    To share the good news of freedom from sin in Jesus Christ.
And these Christians had been partners with him in that big-picture task from the beginning. 

If you’re business partners with someone.
same goal - focus - purpose - trajectory
operating same framework
You’re really in this together. 
Business is successful - you’re both successful
Celebrate together
Mourn together. 

But it’s an infinitely more important task
With a far better paycheck at the end.

Our partnership is more than common interests or that we all live in the area.
We’re partners in the gospel

And when we’re in it together we can remind one another that we can have:
4. Full Confidence in God (v. 6)
(my favorite verse in Philippians)

Nothing brings joy more than knowing 
• no matter how difficult things get
• no matter how uncertain life seems
• no matter how many times you fail
• one day, you will be perfect!!

Romans 8:28-29 echoes this: salvation always culminates in glorification - in heaven.

If God begins something - He will finish it. 
He started our salvation
He will complete our salvation

There is no such thing as being saved then not making it to heaven. 
God will preserve His saints to the end

John 6:37, John 10:27-29, 1 Peter 1:3-5

God’s Word absolutely guarantees that our salvation will culminate in perfection - being with Jesus for eternity.
(if that doesn’t bring joy - I don’t know what will)

All of this brings:
5. A Genuine Deep Love For others
This isn’t just an emotion on the surface, it goes deep.
Like two pieces of metal that have been welded together and are now one piece.
The love Paul had for them was a selfless, compassionate love. 
It was a reflection of Christ’s love for them. 

Do you have this kind of love for your brothers and sisters in Christ?
As Theologian James Boice put it: It is not enough to tolerate other Christians. You must enjoy their company.

Gospel Joy will have
- a deepening love for God and what He has done for you - which will lead to this kind of love for one another.

Undergirding all this is:
• A Passionate Prayer Life
Nothing serves as a better indicator of your spiritual maturity than your prayer life. 

Paul’s prayers:
weren’t focused on physical needs
weren’t focused on church growth
Paul prayed for spiritual issues because they’re of supreme importance.
This is a real prayer for real people in a real church. 

This is what every husband should pray for his wife. Wife for her husband.
Every parent should pray this for their children
Every leader should pray for those in the flock.
This is a perfect guide to direct the content, the intensity, and the focus of our prayers for one another.

In Matthew 6, Jesus taught His disciples by praying and said, “pray then like this”
He’s telling us here - pray then like this:

How to pray for one another

Pray for them to grow in:
a. Abounding Love
The idea is an overflowing bucket. 
The foundation of this principle - from Jesus
The greatest commandment:
love God
love your neighbor
So - your love for others will grow when your love for God grows. (this is agape love)
We need to pray this for ourselves and others.

Pray for them to grow in:
b. Spiritual Wisdom
“knowledge and discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent”

Far more than just information, this is a full, complete knowledge that comes from God
It’s understanding people with your heart,

We pray for this so that we can help one another as we strive to verse 10 approve what is excellent and so be
c. Holy Conduct
pure and blameless

This is a deep desire for one another to live at what is called “the highest level of spiritual devotion and obedience.”
You haven’t reached that
I haven’t reached that
None of us have.
But that’s always the goal. 

God’s goal isn’t merely that we be “adequate.”
God’s goal is the best
This is about holiness. 

We also pray for others to grow in:
d. Spiritual Fruit
Verse 11 - filled with the fruit of righteousness
This began when they were saved.
When God began a good work in them…

FRUIT points to:
the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
Winning the unsaved (Romans 1:13 – Colossians 1:5)
Abiding in Christ (John 15:4-5)

Of course, the ultimate goal of all this

e. That We Glorify & Praise God
1 Corinthians 10:31, Ephesians 1:3-14, Psalm 96
This should be our goal all the time

Make a commitment today to consistently  tell others that you’re thankful for them and why.

Make a commitment today to pray for someone daily. 
Using Philippians 1:9-11 as your prayer guide

Praying for others is a foundational part of a life of Gospel Joy

Soli Deo Gloria!

Monday, August 6, 2018

On Becoming a Praying Church...

Lord! Teach us to pray.
A Summary of Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer in Matthew 6:5-15

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this: 
   “Our Father in heaven, 
       hallowed be your name. 
   10 Your kingdom come, 
       your will be done, 
       on earth as it is in heaven. 
   11 Give us this day our daily bread, 
   12 and forgive us our debts, 
       as we also have forgiven our debtors. 
   13 And lead us not into temptation, 
       but deliver us from evil. 
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 

As we look at what Jesus taught, here’s a guide to using this as a model for your own prayers. 
Remember - this applies to both private prayer and public prayer (whether praying with friends, in a group, or even in our worship gathering). 

You don’t have to pray every single element in every single prayer (although that wouldn’t be a bad thing), but be sure that if you were to “summarize” your prayer life over a day or two, that all of these elements are pretty consistently present. 

Don’t hold your breath - develop a rhythm of prayer in your daily and weekly routine.

Remember: Prayer is ultimately about God and His glory!

Prayer is an act of submission to God
  Recognizing who He is
  Acknowledging our absolute need of Him

Verses 5-8
Prayer is not a performance - it’s opening your heart to God
Come to Him in confidence - wanting His glory first, always putting yourself in second place.
He is your loving Father - He knows your needs better than you do.

Summary Statements about each of the Six Petitions/Parts of the Model Prayer

1. Our Father in Heaven
This is a reminder of the personal intimacy of our relationship with God!
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 
This is our attitude/mindset in prayer - we come to Him as children come to their Daddy.

2. Hallowed be your name. 
Remember - He is holy and you are not. Always remember who He is. Think about His many glorious, awesome attributes. Pause to wonder at who He is. Earnestly strive to see God’s name honored as holy.
1 Chronicles 16:29-30 – Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; 30 tremble before him, all the earth; 
Allow prayer to be the primary place where your pride is dismantled and you focus on His aweseomeness. 

3. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 
We need to be fully committed to being God’s people living under His rule - seeking His blessing. (in that order).
Colossians 1:13He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
Do you desire God’s Will over yours? Really? - this must be a constant theme of your prayer life. Keeping His will first will be a battle you’ll wage your entire life.

After focusing first on God and His glory, we then turn to our needs. In the midst of this, we should still see our overwhelming need for God’s grace in all things. 

4. Give us this day our daily bread. 
We are dependent on Him daily for literally everything! Jesus is the only One that provides for our greatest need and our daily needs. We need Him every minute of every hour of every day.
Acts 17:28‘In him we live and move and have our being’
1 Thessalonians 5:17pray without ceasing
Don’t forget to breathe! All day, every day! Seek for provision for your needs (all of them, physical, spiritual, etc.) to be met by God. Recognize that when they are met, it was by God’s hand. 

5. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 
We must remember that we are in need of forgiveness. First in salvation, but also in our daily lives. We must strive to not have any unconfessed sin in our lives. 
1 Peter 1:15as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct
We acknowledge our sin and bring it before God. We must strive toward sanctification - holiness - spiritual growth and maturity. 
We must also forgive others. As the Lord has forgiven us, we forgive others. 
Colossians 3:
Matthew 6:14-15 – 

6.  lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 
We will all struggle with temptation every day. We must pray and ask God to help us combat and overcome our tendency toward sin. Seek to know what your own greatest personal struggles are and pray regularly for strength to endure and overcome. 
James 1:2-4Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 
Remember that trials, struggles, tribulation - it’s about your sanctification. 
Willpower isn’t enough - you desperately need Christ!

The Doxology: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
This phrase was probably not part of the prayer that Jesus modeled for His disciples, but the teaching of Scripture is clear - it’s always appropriate to pause for praise. No matter what the situation, no matter where you are, no matter what you’re praying for - always pause for praise. 

As you think through your daily rhythm of prayer…

• Use your Prayer Guide
On page 2 is the guide to praying for our church
There are also blanks to write down names & specific requests
On the back page - Paul’s guide to praying for others.

• Tuesday Morning: 7:30-8:30 a.m.
The Sanctuary is open. Come and pray. 
Pray for just a few minutes, or stay and pray for the whole hour.
If you can’t make it to the church - pause and pray with us from wherever you are.

• Wednesday Evenings: 6:30-7:30 p.m.
In the Fellowship Hall - join this group of faithful saints in praying for our Body.
• Sunday Mornings: 9:00 -9:15 a.m.
Join us in the Sanctuary to pray for our Worship Gathering

• Sunday, August 26 - 5:00 p.m.
Join us for this all-church prayer gathering

• Get together throughout the week with others
Why not meet with some friends to pray together?

• When someone asks for prayer, pray RIGHT THEN
Develop a habit of praying with people in the moment.
Then - follow up with them later to see how they’re doing.

All of these things will move us in the direction of truly being A Praying Church!