Summary: This is another sermon in an extended series I am doing in the book of Philippians.

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Sunday February 10, 2008

Scripture Reference: Philippians 1:6-8


A. In last weeks message we focused much of our attention on the ministry that Paul shared with the Philippian church. How he rejoiced with them in the fact that they were praying for him and supporting him materially and financially in the work of spreading the gospel. I also spent a little time talking about Paul’s prayer for these believers, how he remembered them with joy and how I too can remember with joy those who served with me in not only my past churches but those who are serving with me now. In fact the week I wrote out this message it was my great privilege to actually live out the words of this passage. I was on my prayer retreat and I got to spend each day not only praying for you as a whole but praying for specific and individual requests that you gave to be before I left. It is such a joy to do that and it such a joy to me to serve you and be available to help you in this great spiritual journey we are on.

B. Today I want to focus on another aspect of Paul’s partnership with these believers. I want us to focus on this partnership that Paul speaks of in V.5 and how he elaborates on that partnership in V.6 specifically. I will just go ahead and tell you that I won’t give much attention to V.7-8 not because they aren’t important but because in my mind they tend to express more of Paul’s praise and joy in the Philippian church for working with him to get out this wonderful message of God’s grace and forgiveness.

1. What I find in V.6 is Paul’s joy in knowing that these Christian people with whom Paul had invested so much of his life were still growing and maturing in their walk with God. As I said in my message last week, it is a cause for great joy in my life when I hear about those that I served with in past churches who are still walking with God and becoming mature Christ like disciples. About this time last year I got to go back and visit some people from the church I served in Fresno. It was great to see this one young man named Brad Black who was just a young teen when I was there. Now he is a college graduated and a teacher, but more than that he is still serving in that church despite a lot of pastoral changes. He is even serving on the church board. Now I also need to tell you that with as much joy as there is in seeing people you invested your life in still growing in the Lord it is just as saddening to see people with whom you invested your life who have abandoned that faith. Who decided that is wasn’t worth it to follow Jesus.

C. Now I want to tell you right up front that today we are going to get a little theological and doctrinal in these next two messages. Now for some that may sound like these will be a boring messages but I believe they won’t be. In fact I think that what I share with you today will not only be interesting but more importantly it will be helpful in encouraging your growth in Christ likeness.

1. Now let me remind you of something we learned in the first message of this series. Theology is our human attempt to think clearly and correctly about God. The fact that it is a human attempt to do this also means it will never be perfect. No matter what theological camp we chose to join and like it or not we are all in one whether we want to admit it or not. But no matter what theological position we chose to hold it will never fully or completely define or explain God. How can what is finite fully describe what is infinite?

2. Now some would ask, “Why bother with all this theology and doctrine?” “Why can’t we just believe and that’s that?” Well that sounds nice but it doesn’t work and the reason it doesn’t work is because as I said a minute ago we are all in a theological camp whether we admit to it or not. We all have a belief about God and it is that belief or theology or doctrine that defines for us the way we will live as Christians. That is why the philosophy that says, “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere” is so faulty. It is entirely possible to be sincere and yet believe the wrong things. In other words to be sincere and yet sincerely wrong. [] I have known people who got into traffic accidents and they said, “But I didn’t see that car coming, I thought I was clear to turn.” Why they might not have seen the other car coming I don’t know but the fact that they were sincere in making that turn didn’t prevent them from having the wreck. The reason theology and doctrines are important to us is that they direct the way we live our lives. If my theology or my understanding of God is that He only cares that I act like a Christian when I am in church or around other Christians then what effect do you think that theology will have on the way I chose to live my life? If you don’t know I will tell you, it means that anything goes a part from church. If I feel it is necessary to steal from my boss then I will do so because my understanding of God is that He doesn’t care about what goes on at work, only that I don’t steal from the church.

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