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Summary: PAUL IS NOT IN THE BEST OF PLACES – HOUSE ARREST. HE WAS ALSO NOT IN THE BEST OF HEALTH. YET, PAUL IS NOT DOWN TRODDEN OR MELANCHOLY. IN FACT, IN THIS PASSAGE, HE TAKES THE OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE A SHOUT TO ANOTHER – EPAPHRODITUS, SAYING SIMPLY LOOK AT HIM.

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FOUR TRAITS TO EMBRACE FOR A JOYFUL LIFE IN CHRIST

INTRODUCTION: THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS IS A BOOK ABOUT LIVING AND JOY. IT LOOKS AT THE LIFE OF PAUL, AND THE LIVES OF THOSE HE TOUCHES. MORE IMPORTANTLY, THIS BOOK IS A HANDBOOK OF HOW TO LIVE JOYFULLY. PAUL IS NOT IN THE BEST OF PLACES – HOUSE ARREST. HE WAS ALSO NOT IN THE BEST OF HEALTH. YET, PAUL IS NOT DOWN TRODDEN OR MELANCHOLY. IN FACT, IN THIS PASSAGE, HE TAKES THE OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE A SHOUT TO ANOTHER – EPAPHRODITUS, SAYING SIMPLY LOOK AT HIM.

TRANSITION: SO IN OUR TIME TOGETHER, I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE TRAITS EVIDENT IN THIS SERVANT. SO EVIDENT, THAT, PAUL POINTS THEM OUT FOR US.

PROPOSITION: WE NEED TO EMBRACE A LIFESTYLE LIKE EPAPHRODITUS

I. BE A “BROTHER”

a. NOT TRYING TO ALIENATE WOMEN

b. TRYING TO FOCUS ON A QUALITY – THE QUALITY OF BROTHERHOOD

c. THIS TYPE OF RELATIONSHIP WAS COMPLETELY NEW IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE

d. PEOPLE UNITED AROUND OCCUPATION, CLASS, WEALTH, ETC.

e. THE ARRIVAL OF THE “CHURCH” CHANGED ALL THAT

i. JEW AND GREEK

ii. BOND AND FREE

iii. MEN AND WOMEN

iv. RICH AND POOR

f. THE BASIS OF THE RELATIONSHIP WAS DIFFERENT

i. BASED ON PARENTAGE

ii. WE ALL HAVE THE SAME PARENT – GOD

g. THE ROMAN WORLD FOCUSED ON DIVISION. THE CHURCH FOCUSED ON UNITY AND RELATIONSHIP

h. PAUL IS POINTING OUT THAT EPAPHRODITUS UNDERSTOOD, EMBRACED AND OWNED HIS “BROTHERHOOD” AS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST.

i. SHOULD AFFECT HOW WE SEE EACH OTHER

ii. SHOULD AFFECT HOW OTHERS SEE US. DO THOSE AROUND THE CHURCH SEE OUR UNITY OR NOT?

iii. THERE ARE TWO MAJOR CAUSES OF DISUNITY IN THE CHURCH TODAY

1. GOSSIP

2. UNFORGIVENESS

OUR KEY RELATIONSHIP IS OUR MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AS OUR FATHER. THAT RELATIONSHIP SHOULD BE CLEARLY EVIDENT.

IT IS KIND OF INTERESTING THAT PEOPLE DISCERN WHETHER INDIVIDUALS ARE FAMILY WHEN THEY ARE FRACTURED THROUGH STRIFE, OR SOLIDIFIED THROUGH LOVE.

II. BE A “CO-WORKER”

a. WE HAVE TO BE WORKING FOR THE SAME THING

b. WE ARE CHURCH MEMBER – “CO-MEMBERS”

c. ARE WE “CO-WORKERS” IN THE CHURCH

i. CO-WORKERS ARE NOT BIAS ABOUT THEIR ACTIVITY IN THE CHURCH

1. MEMBERSHIP

2. ENTITLEMENT

3. PREFERENCES CANNOT BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE MISSION

ii. CO-WORKERS ARE NOT FOCUSED ON WHAT THEY “GET OUT OF CHURCH” BUT WHAT THE “PUT INTO CHURCH”

1. THE CHURCH IS NOT JUST A PLACE TO LEARN ABOUT THE BIBLE; IT IS A PLACE WHERE YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS CAN COME AND LEARN ABOUT GOD’S LOVE FOR THEM

iii. CO-WORKERS FOCUS ON UNITY

1. NOT BEING IN 100% AGREEMENT ON EVERYTHING EVERY TIME

2. A WILLINGNESS TO MY DESIRE AT TIMES TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH.

iv. CO-WORKERS PRAY FOR EACH OTHER

1. THEIR FAMILIES

2. THEIR PROTECTION

3. THEIR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH

v. CO-WORKERS TREASURE THEIR MEMBERSHIP AS A GIFT

1. SEEKING THE CHANCE TO SERVE

2. NOT FEELING OBLIGATED TO SERVE

WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL, AVOIDING THE TENDENCY TO SEE PEOPLE SIMPLY WORKING IN THE CHURCH AND NOT SEEING OURSELVES AS CO-WORKERS WITH THEM.

III. BE A SOLDIER

a. UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE IN A BATTLE

Ephesians 6:12 (NASB)

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

b. BATTLE REQUIRES AGGRESSIVE FORWARD MOTION

i. DURING PAUL’S DAY THE PHALANX OF THE ROMAN WORLD WAS A TERROR TO ALL THEY FACED. IT WAS A GROUP OF MEN SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WALKING BEHIND A WALL OF SHIELDS

c. THIS IS THE NEXT STEP OF A CO-WORKER – ADVANCING FORWARD AGAINST OUR REAL ENEMY!

d. THE AREA AROUND THE CHURCH IS A BATTLEFIELD, NOT A PLAYGROUND.

e. THE FIRST AND FOREMOST CONSIDERATION WE NEED TO MAKE IS TO UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE IN A WAR.

f. THE SECOND CONSIDERATION IS IF WE DO NOT ENGAGE, WE LOSE

WE NEED TO BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT WHERE WE ARE AND WHAT WE ARE INVOLVED IN!

IV. BE A MESSENGER/MINISTER

a. GO WHERE YOU GO WITH A MESSAGE

b. THE WORDS PAUL USES IN DESCRIPTION ARE SIGNIFICANT

i. THE WORD DESCRIBES THOSE WHO HAD A GREAT LOVE FOR THEIR CITY

ii. TERM OF ONE WHO WAS A GREAT BENEFACTOR TO A CITY

iii. WENT OUT OF HIS WAY TO PROVIDE FOR THE CITY

iv. WOULD ASSUME THE COST FOR EVENTS, PROVISIONS, BUILDINGS

c. ONE WHO IS THE MODEL OF SELFLESSNESS AS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST.

d. SOMEONE GIVEN OVER TO THE CAUSE OF CHRIST

THIS IS WHAT OUR CHURCH NEEDS TODAY – CHRISTIAN MEN AND WOMEN OF CHARACTER WHO UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF BROTHERHOOD, SERVICE – SOLDIERS AND MINISTERS SOLD OUT FOR THEIR CAUSE.

IS THAT YOU?

ARE YOU READY TO ANSWER THE CALL?

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