Summary: Get in the Word in a different way, going beyond your current M.O. to make it real in your life!
Let’s Go for the Gold in the Word!
Let’s turn to Philippians Chapter 1 tonight.
While you’re doing that, I have a question to ask you: Have you ever heard of Evel Knievel?
• He was a motorcycle daredevil who made longer and longer jumps from ramp to ramp – over cars, busses, fountains – anything that would draw a crowd. His intent was to actually make a jump over a portion of the Grand Canyon.
• He didn’t always make it. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the person who broke the most bones over a lifetime.
• His ultimate jump turned out to be over the Snake River Canyon.
Philippians 1 – New International Version (NIV)
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Santa Fe story
• In the southwestern suburbs of Chicago, near the Santa Fe railroad tracks, was Santa Fe Speedway. This was a great place for people to watch stock car and motorcycle races in the refined atmosphere of noise, leather jackets, gasoline fumes, exhaust, beer, and tobacco smoke.
• Some of the most interesting events there were the amateur races, where anyone in the crowd could enter their own vehicle! Can you imagine taking your car out there on a dare? Wendy and I actually know a lady who did that once!
• A friend of mine was attending an event, and he and another guy who was there started talking about choppers. Denny loved choppers! These are powerful, modified motorcycles with elongated front-ends. They talked about how powerful choppers could be, color schemes, and how much they cost -- but then the guy started talking about flying over canyons. Denny began to wonder who he was really talking to!
• That’s when they both realized, after 10 minutes, that Denny had been talking about motorcycles – and the other guy had been talking about helicopters!
• I’m glad there wasn’t a dentist there!
You know, Philippians 1:6 is an encouraging verse for two kinds of people, who disagree about the exact nature of the “good work” Paul is referring to. Let’s read it again, with an emphasis on what the subject(s) of the verses are, and who is involved.
3 I thank my God every time I remember you [Philippians]. 4 In all my prayers for all of you [Philippians], I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership [with Paul] in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you [Philippians] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
So let’s think about that “good work” Paul is talking about:
One school of thought is that the “good work” God began in the Philippians is the furtherance of the Gospel itself, or rather the partnership of the Philippians with Paul in the Gospel. Let’s call these “the motorcycle people.”
The second school of thought is that Paul is assuring the Philippians that God, who has begun to change them through their faith and their resulting salvation, will be sure to complete it. Let’s call these “the helicopter people.”
At this point, I would like to introduce you to my two friends, Denny (put on motorcycle helmet) and Joe (take off helmet and put on baseball cap). Denny is the motorcycle guy, and Joe likes helicopters. Take it away guys!
Denny (with helmet): Now we “motorcycle people” see this as a great verse in support of evangelism and missionary work, along with the faithfulness of God and the never-ending increase of the Kingdom of God. After all, as Isaiah says “…of the increase of His government, and of His peace, there shall be no end.” Motorcycle people say verse is about God beginning the good work of missionary support with the Philippians.
God has been in support of missionaries since the time Jesus said, “Go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”. A few weeks later, just before He ascended to Heaven, He said that they would “receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” There has really been a reluctance to go, beginning with that time, though. The early disciples pretty much stayed in Jerusalem until persecution began, and only then carried their message with them to the places they were supposed to go.