Summary: When we begin to take the advice that Paul is giving here, we will become stronger in our walk with Christ and we will become stronger Christians in our community and thus be a force in changing this community for Christ!
Date Written: December 26, 2001
Date Preached: December 26, 2001
Church: BBC (PM) Wed Night
Title: Special Counsel for the Christian
Text: Philippians 4:8-9
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
ETS: Paul’s desire for the Philippian Christians was to follow God as he had followed God, to use his example.
ESS: This counsel from Paul still remains valid as we also must take Paul’s example and begin to follow Christ as he did!
The young youth minister NEVER knew what he had done!
The author of the book “10 Mistakes Parents Make With Teenagers” Jay Kesler tells of a conversation he had at a summer youth camp in Ohio one time.
Many youth had come forward that night, however, there was one particular girl whom they asked Jay to speak with because she was having so much trouble.
Jay and the young lady sat on the front row in the chapel and over a period of a few short moments, Jay heard a spine tingling story of heartbreak and disillusionment from this young girl.
Starting at 4 years old her father had molested her about 3 times a week and she was carrying a heavy weight of guilt as if it was HER fault for what her father had done.
Jay noticed that this young lady’s wrists had scars on them and he asked her, “What about your wrists?” And the young lady said she had tried but failed to kill herself.
Being an experienced counselor Jay knew that there are basically 2 types of attempted suicide, those who really mean it and follow through with it, and then there are those who are seeking to gain attention from someone or somebody and they do NOT carry through with it. If you want to kill yourself, you will get it done!
Jay asked her why she didn’t follow through with the suicide and the response he got from this young girl startled him. She said I did NOT follow through with it because of our Youth Pastor.
Now Jay immediately was afraid that there was an improper relationship about to be revealed, but that was NOT the case here. The young girl went on to explain that her church had just hired a youth minister and she had begun to ‘watch’ him in all that she could.
She saw him when him and his wife were together, how he ‘squeezed’ her and how he always treated her with respect and honor. She said that one day she saw him walking his wife to the car in the parking lot and there was NO ONE else around, but he still walked her to her door, opened the door for her, closed the door behind her and then walked all the way around to his side and got in the car.
She was so amazed that he would do this…even when there was NO one looking. She asked Jay, do you think that my Youth Minister is a Christian? Jay said he believed that he was!
She then said, “Well I am glad, because I got to thinking that all men might not be like my dad!”
Jay told her that all men were NOT like her dad, men like her Youth Minister were like that because of what had changed in their lives after Jesus had come in! He shared how Jesus changes our lives and she prayed to accept Christ that night.
That young youth minister who was an unwitting example to that young girl was living a life like Christ would desire for us all to live. This young youth minister never knew what he had done. Likewise we can never know when we are being watched and observed in regards to our Christian beliefs and walk with Christ.
Now I know that we have all heard the expression that ADVICE is cheap! And for the most part that expression is very true!
But of all the advice that we seek or receive we NEVER expect someone’s advice to us to be, “You need to be more like me!”
However, that is just what the apostle Paul was saying when he wrote this letter to the Christians in Philippi! In this letter to the Philippian Christians Paul described the elements of noble living that should mark the lives of every Christian.
Paul then ended that letter by saying that they should do things as they had seen HIM do them. To most of us this may seem like unusual advice…but when we explore the Scripture, we find that it was good advice!