Summary: Everyone has a past, we live in the present, and we’ll all have a certain future.
PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE
This is undoubtedly Paul’s happiest letter he has written, for he is rejoicing in the great blessings both he and the Phillipian believers had experienced. He encourages them to rejoice in the Lord always, for his bounty, glory, and provisions. He wants them to know God has noticed all they have done in the service of the Lord, both to Paul’s ministry and other areas, and that God would certainly reward them faithfully.
In the midst of all this joy, he also wants to warn them to stay on the right track. In the text, he begins by saying “I’ll end up repeating a lot of what I have said in other letters, so I hope you don’t mind hearing it again. But you need to beware of all of those religious folks who are totally convinced they are the only ones who are right about anything. They are the ones whose are all bark and no bite”. He explains that these folks feel they are more interested in appearance than they are the soul, and they think they are the only ones right with God. But the real believers are the ones who are led of the Spirit of God in his service, who fill the air with the great praises of Christ!
HOW DID PAUL KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT HOW THESE FOLKS THOUGHT/OPERATED?
**he used to be one of them!!**
As Paul was writing this, his mind went into his past life as a full fledged Pharisee. He says if anyone has some big credentials as a religious nut, I do.
V.5: “circumcised the 8th day, of the stock of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee”
This was his past. That’s who he was.
Everyone in this room has come from one of two pasts. (1)one brought up outside the presence of God, or (2)one raised within the love of God.
(1)Some never were shown the true love of God. They can’t recall any real encounters with the Holy Spirit. Mom and Dad didn’t raise them in the house of God, but were likely indoctrinated with the idea that as long as you do your best, that’s all that matters. No one ever showed them the plan to salvation. And through all of the trials, there was no real place to turn, for no one directed you on the path of God’s glory!
(2)Some of us can certainly recall Jesus showing up in our past. We were raised in a Christian home, went to church, Sunday School, revivals, prayer meetings, etc. You prayed over the meal, and mom/dad praised the Lord all the time. You can recall the 1st real time you asked Jesus in your heart, and that time when the Holy Ghost moved mightly upon you. You remember seeing your family worship God, momma praying for her family, and while daddy didn’t even want to serve God she got around and went, and even though it often times didn’t make sense, you could tell God’s grace and blessings abounded in your atmosphere.
***THERE’S NOT BUT 2 PATHS TO TAKE; ONE TO HEAVEN, ONE TO HELL. AND EVERYONE’S PAST HAS TAKEN THEM DOWN ONE OF THESE 2 ROADS.***
Paul says back then I thought I was really somebody. I thought I knew a lot of stuff, but I found out when I REALLY came to know Christ in a real personal way, I didn’t know anything! And in my present state, I realize all of the accolades, awards, achievements, knowledge, and credentials I ever gained are like dog dung in comparison to what I have in Christ. I’ve dumped it all away just so I can embrace Christ. I can’t change my past life, but my present life is looking pretty good!
*I realize a lot of what happened in the past has made us who we are today, but we are no longer living in the past, but we are living in the right now!*
Too many times we have heard (1)I just don’t understand it, (2)It don’t make sense, (3)I wasn’t raised that way, (4)I just need some time, (5)I’m not ready to give it up, (6)I’ve got too much going on to get saved, (7)I’ve got hurt too often in church etc. BUT none of that is good reason to let our present state live outside the presence of God!
What we’re saying when we don’t want our present life to be directed by God is that everything else in life is more important than him, and going to Hell is worth all of these reasons I have chosen not to live for him!
All through Phillipians Paul expresses the joy of his life in Christ. Why? Because if we are going to live our lives, we might as well enjoy it! And since we know Jesus, we have joy/peace irregardless of what’s going on in life. Our present life is so good, since we now know Jesus!