What kind of person are you drawn too? Are you drawn to people who live and display a life that loves our Savior Jesus Christ? Do you find yourself drawn to the things and people of this world? Which of the 2 are easier? Answer: It would have to be following after the world pursuits of life. It’s much easier to hid yourself in this world than it would be to stand out.The culture tells us that we need to accept all things and people in order to have a stable society.......But biblically that’s a wrong philosophy that leads to loneliness and frustration "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matt 6:24. Paul was a man who stood out. Paul was a man who displayed the love for the Gospel. Paul was a man who live for the things of Heaven and not for the things of this world. Can we learn from Paul’s life? Yes! We certainly can especially after what we have learned in the previous portion of his letter. Paul was the prime example of a person who had everything (mammon) and counted it as loss because it separated him from the love that is found in Jesus Christ . “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” 1 Tim 1:12-16. Is there someone you know today that has influenced your life?That someone who continually is helping you get through the good times and the bad times? That someone who leads a Christ exemplified life not just in private or at church but in the community? “We need to understand that Godly people will always reproduce other godly people.” If you have a desire to grow in your Christian walk you will want to stay close to godly people. Read books by godly people and their passion for truth found in the Bible. Listen to messages by godly people and hear the Lord speak through them as they expound on the Scriptures. You will find that same passion to serve Jesus and His precious church. Why? Because godly people will always reproduce godly people and the same rule applies to the opposite of this! Ungodly on the other hand will always produce ungodly people and behaviour! SO WE MUST LISTEN to what Paul is telling the church this morning. Paul finished telling us that we are to look ahead and not back! “Press on” We are to press on in our sanctification....as we grow closer everyday to our Lord Jesus Christ. So we need to ask ourselves.......How does a Christian press forward in a world that is so inviting?
1. WE MUST PRESS ON BY FOLLOWING OR IMITATE THOSE WHO LIVE AN EXEMPLIFIED CHRISTIAN LIFE (v17)
Nothing is better than an instruction manual or a guide, when you are trying to put something together. “Join in” What Paul is saying........... Be an imitator of me! Christ is the perfect model, but Paul was the best imperfect model to follow.......Paul was a devoted Christian who pursued Christ. Paul was a model for us to follow as we continue our pilgrimage home. Paul displayed a life that Christ honours. REMEMBER WHAT PAUL SAID IN 1THESS 1:5-7 “You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord....” We must follow that same example!
1. PAUL’S LIFE WAS TO MAGNIFY THE GOSPEL WHETHER BY LIFE OR DEATH. THE GOSPEL WAS HIS PRIORITY. “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.” Phil 1:20
2. PAUL'S LIFE WAS A MODEL OF PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,” Phil 1:3-4
3. PAUL WAS A MODEL OF OVERCOMING THE FLESH “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” Phil 3:3
4. PAUL WAS A MODEL OF PATIENCE AND ENDURANCE OF SUFFERING “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,” Phil 3:10
5. PAUL WAS A MODEL OF VICTORY OVER TEMPTATION “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:13-14
Can you think of a person like that here in this church or person that displays those kinds of characteristics? There have had a great number of men who have impacted my life to where I’m today! Men like:
• John Piper
• Matt Chandler
• James MacDonald
• David Platt
• John MacArthur
• Francis Chan
• My mentor John Mank
• My best friend Trevor Peck
All these men and more have played an important part to my ministry and my personal walk with Christ! They all have one thing in common!.......They love the Jesus of the Gospel. So why would Paul start off his sentence with this? Paul knew how important it is to have a proper foundation in your Christian life. Without a proper foundation or example we are susceptible to fall into a pattern of : Legalism, false teachings and self religion “God needs me and my help.”...... Self centered worship “it’s all about me”......Easy believism philosophy “what’s in it for me?” ........ A greater risk to biblical error “a doctrine made in the image of man”.......A watered down Gospel “the less offensive approach." This is a growing problem with our churches across North America! John MacArthur says “the church’s adoption of the need mentality of humanistic psychology leads to a man centered theology, a man centered quais-salvation, and a man centered substitute for sanctification. For many the goal of Christian living is getting their needs met, being filled, being happy, having a good self-image, and eliminating all of life’s problems. The focus is on people, not Christ.” Paul says it’s happening here in this small town of Philippi. Paul displays his concern and broken heart over the false teachers of his day and he pleads with the Philippians believers. To imitate those who keep the faith and avoid those who imitate the World
2. WE MUST PRESS ON NOT BEING CONFORMED TO THIS POST MODERN WORLD (v18- v19)
Look what Paul says here........Do you see his heart concern for the church? Paul’s heart was grieved with great sadness and anguish. Weeping (means) “Of uncertain empathy; to sob, that is, wail aloud." It’s the same kind of weeping you would find over a loss of a loved one. Why? They were “enemies of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v18). Paul knew the end result for this kind of behaviour would be devastating to say the least. Look what he writes!
1. THE DOOM THEY FACE “Whose end is destruction." This is a rejection of the one and only truth of salvation...the cross of Christ. “End” refers to their ultimate destiny, which is the great judgement that sends a person to Hell for all eternity. The beginning of torment for all eternity in the Lake of Fire.
2. THE DEITY THEY SERVE “Whose god is their appetite." It was not mere pleasures of the stomach that was their god.....but there fleshly passions and desires that became their deity.......their master. As Jude said “ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” Satan had this appetite “I will be like the Most High” (Isa 14). The rich fool who built bigger barns (Luke 12:18-19) "And he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build large ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry."
3. THE DISGRACE THEY BEAR “Whose glory is in their shame” They loved glorying in themselves....”me worship” the very thing God said He would never share with anyone. Again as Jude said “following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.” Look at me and be impressed because I’m better than you. Boasting in themselves .......boasting in their rubbish. What they thought of themselves was the worst perversion that a person could ever do.
4. THE DISPOSITION THEY DISPLAY “Who set their minds on earthly things” They love the world more than they love GOD. The world is there oyster or pearl of great price because it fulfills the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” As John said “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father in not in him” 1 John 2:15. James said “.....Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4. These are the enemies of the Cross whether they add to the Gospel or take away from our wonderful gospel.............there end is destruction. “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Rev 22:18-19. This is why we are to imitate godly people......so that we don’t become worldly people. People who have awe and reverence for our Lord. People who are not complacent in their Christian life with the status quo but a passion that pursues Heavenly riches. People who put their hope in the blessed coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. WE MUST PRESS ON BECAUSE THIS IS NOT OUR HOME (v20- v21)
"Citizenship" (refers) to a colony of foreigners; it is used to describe a capital city that kept the names of its citizens on a register. Our citizenship in Heaven (John 14:2-3) "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." But in the mean time we eagerly await for this day to come. "Eagerly" expresses the idea of waiting patiently, but with a great expectation of things to come not things that pasted. As Paul said “we ourselves........groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Rom 8:23. See we need to understand our Salvation involves far more than mere deliverance from HELL. God’s ultimate goal in His redeemed children is to transform our bodies one day. We will be conformed into the image of His Son one day, we will have heavenly bodies. But until that happens we are to eagerly wait and press on for the Gospel that saves (1John 3:2) "Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see Him as He is." As Jonathan Edwards said "I went on with my eager pursuit after more holiness and conformity to Christ. The heaven I desired was a heaven of holiness." George Whitefield says “How sweet is rest after fatigue! How sweet will heaven be when our journey is ended”. We don’t stop pressing on until we reach Heaven call! We don’t stop pressing on until we hear Jesus say “well done know goo and faithful servant”
So church family until that day press on........find godly people and camp where they camp. As I said earlier “Godly people will always reproduce other godly people" So follow after people who resonate or permeate the glory of God in their lives. Focusing on the Expectation of future things, on the glorious hope on the return of Christ. We must continue to press on in our sanctification because Christ is our strength through the Spirit to press on! Our duties as Christians are to be prepared for His glorious return as we press on......
• By being Saturated our time in His word
• By Praying without ceasing
• By loving the Gospel of Peace
• By Caring for one another
• By Living a life that is holy and acceptable in His sight.......not ours.
Why? Because there is power in the Cross...............there is fellowship in His sufferings. Paul’s last words to Timothy where these encouraging words to press on! “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Tim 4:8-9. The Sunday question is! Are we going to continue fighting the good fight? The only way to do that is by imitating Christ and not the world!