Thursday, January 17, 2019

Preparing for Sunday, January 20

Here's a guide to preparing your heart for our time together this coming Sunday.

We're finishing Philippians 4:1-9 where Paul not only tells us to STAND FIRM, but gives us extremely practical instruction on how we are to stand firm:

Standing Firm

As you read through the passage (verses 1-9):
Ask yourself: does this describe me?
If you’re really serious about it: ask someone who knows you well: would you say that this describes me?

We are to Stand Firm by:
1. Cultivating Unity
Division & disunity can render us ineffective and unproductive for the cause of Christ in the world. 
Are YOU doing all YOU can to cultivate unity?

2. Maintaining Joy
This is a call to an ongoing habitual pattern of joy
Are you known as a person of joy?

3. Being Content/Reasonable
Graciousness is the best single English word translation
Are you known as a reasonable person? 
Are you making sure you’re not easily offended? (Not an “eggshell” person?)
Are you letting offenses go when you can?
Not a complainer
Looking for and pointing out the positive, rather than the negative?

Read through verses 6-9 again and think through and answer the following questions:
• What are we told not to do (verse 6a)?
• What do we do instead (verse 6b)?
• What will happen as a result (verse 7)?
• What things are we to turn our thoughts toward (verse 8)
• What is the final command (verse 9)?
What is the promise when we stand firm (verse 9b)?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Standing Firm

Philippians 4:1-9 commands us to stand firm, then goes on to tell us what that looks like.
Here are the application questions from the sermon this past Sunday:

We are to STAND FIRM by:
1. Cultivating Unity
2. Maintaining Joy
3. Being Content

As you seek to cultivate Unity:
...agree in the Lord
• Are you cultivating unity?
• Are you helping others to work through differences? Whether in leadership or not.
• Are you forgiving?
• Are YOU doing all YOU can to cultivate unity?
• What are you doing to foster unity in the Body?

As you seek to Maintain Joy:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Php 4:4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
• Do you know the Lord? Are you a Christian?
• Are you joyful?
• Joyful in spite of circumstances?
• Are you known as a person of joy?

As you seek to Be Reasonable & Content:
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.
(AMP)  - Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people.
(Phillips) - Have a reputation for gentleness,
• Are you known as a reasonable person? 
• Are you making sure you’re not easily offended? 
This is sort of the other side of the first one.
• Not an “eggshell” person?
• Are you letting offenses go when you can?
• Not a complainer
Looking for and pointing out the positive, rather than the negative?
Where issue is going to get you riled up?
Is it a biblical/theological issue
Or personal preference?


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?

Epaphroditus 
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?

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


Soli Deo Gloria!
Rob







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!
Rob

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!
Rob