Summary: In Philippians 4:4-9 Paul gives us 5 tips for experiencing an authentic, satisfying Christian life, such as what we envision when we think of the Pilgrim fathers.
Intro. Tell of the old New England tradition of setting five kernels of corn on the plate, on Thanksgiving day and of Governor Bradford giving thanks to God when, one winter, times were lean.
Five pointers towards an authentic Christian life.
I. Set your sights on God, 4.
A. The point is Rejoice IN THE LORD: what this means.
(Illustration of Ben Smith rejoicing in the Chicago Bears)
TS. This is the first step in experiencing an authentic Christian life. I suspect most of us have experienced something along this line, something which parallels this point.
B. Illustration: When I felt hassled by various problems & difficulties, but then, one of our children became gravely ill. We nearly lost them. We were driven to the Lord, seeking His healing hand; and they were made well. When they came "out of the woods" I remember how grateful I was, how much I wanted to seek the Lord, all the more, and those problems which bothered me before... well, they didn’t bother me much at all now!
C. The Lord works constantly, leading us to the point where we will simply rejoice in Him.
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
Read also Philippians 3:8-10
II. Be who God has made you, 5.
A. epieikes: found in:
1 Timothy 3:3 (speaking of the qualifications for an elder)
not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarelsome, not covetous;
to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle , showing all humility to all men.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. NKJV
B. Paul is speaking of something God has wrought in the believer’s life, not something we are to generate.
1.Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:23
2.Gentleness is part of the new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Co 5:17
C. Summary: So Paul’s point is that "Be who God has made you, 5."
1.Know & recognize that which He has done in the life of the believer.
2.By faith, let it show!
III. Keep your role and God’s distinct, 6-7.
A. To worry is to try and usurp God’s role in our life.
B. His role, His promise, is to care for us!
C. Our role: trust Him & pray!
D. The result: supernatural peace
1.Not natural (surpasses all understanding)
2.Complete: (shall guard your hearts & minds)
3.By grace, not works: (through Christ Jesus)
TS. Our part isn’t to attain peace. It’s to trust God and resist the temptation to play God.
IV. Rule your Thought Life, 8.
A. These things are true!
B. These things are true according to God’s Word!
C. Nothing lies outside the range of God’s Truth, in Christ!
"19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross." Col 1:19-20
D. Paul is calling us to an important spiritual discipline! (2Cor 10:3-5; Rom 12:2)
V. Complete the "Faith Circuit, 9."
A. Until a circuit is completed, nothing happens.
"But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" Jas 2:20
B. To experience an authentic Christian life, one needs to be doing according to the truth of God’s Word.
For the one who has not yet entered into a relationship.
For the rest of us!