Summary: Message 18 from Philippians exploring Paul's admonition to stand firm in the faith.
“Stand Firm in the Faith”
Paul’s letter to the Philippians offers some key elements to “Maintaining the Joy of the Lord No Matter What”. There were many “No matter whats” going on both in Paul life an in the group of believers meeting in that metropolitan Greek city.
Paul was in prison unable to freely carry out his calling. People were doing things just to cause distress in his life out of envy and strife. Paul face the possibility of execution. He received news of relational issues among them, pride, selfishness, grumbling, disputing, lack of genuine concern for each other, severe illness on team members, a lack of passion to know Jesus, and the presence of those who were not genuine followers of Jesus.
For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. Philippians 3:18-19
Amidst all these things, Paul maintained joy and wrote about “Maintaining the joy of the Lord no matter what.”
He could do it through a focus on the right things. Focusing on what is important brings everything else into perspective. Paul addresses the important things in each chapter.
1. ADOPT THE RIGHT AXIS – Passion to praise Christ
Paul’s passion to exalt Christ in everything enabled him to rejoice no matter what.
2. MAINTAIN THE RIGHT ATTITUDE – Passion to please Christ
Paul’s passion to please Christ through a life of service to others brought genuine joy.
3. PURSUE THE RIGHT AIM – Passion to pursue Christ
Paul’s passion to pursue Christ above everything else lifted him above the disappointments and discouragement of pursuing temporal things.
Besides a passionate desire to praise, please and pursue Christ, Paul focused on a number of lifestyle activities and character traits associated with living a life of joy in a difficult world.
4. PRACTICE THE RIGHT ACTIONS – Passion to live well
Passion to live well
Paul pursued a passion to live well. This includes some specific areas. We have touched on the first.
A. Stand firm in the Lord 4:1
Therefore, my brothers, dearly loved and longed for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, dearly loved.
The use of “therefore” at the beginning of this instruction logically connects with statements immediately preceding. Paul just finished admonishing the Philippians to keep living by the standard of behavior taught by him and demonstrated by him.
First, because there were some who turned out to be an enemy of the cross by their fleshly appetites and earthly focus.
Second, because they were citizens of a heavenly kingdom awaiting the return of their Savior.
He told them to keep STANDING FIRM while they are waiting for Jesus’ glorious return when even their physical bodies would be transformed. Paul used a military term meaning to hold your ground, persevere, stand fast. The opposite of standing firm would be to fall, stumble, defect, give up, lose heart, grow weary, doubt, run away, lose focus on knowing Christ, get distracted, get tossed to and fro.
Scripture often addresses these tendencies under persecution. A good soldier of Jesus Christ employs every resource to stand firm in the fight. Considering the Lord’s imminent return, keep standing in the face of difficulty. Like a unified army, Paul admonished them to stand firm together. Paul also reminded them of the source of their strength by instructing them to stand firm IN THE LORD.
Their ability to stand firm directly relates to our connection with the Lord.
Stand firm because of your relationship to the Lord.
Stand firm by drawing on the strength of the Lord.
Stand firm by following the direction of the Lord.
We spent some time last year exploring areas in which we need to stand firm.
These are all joy-killers.
APPLYING STANDING FIRM IN THE LORD
Stand firm against persecution and false teaching
Stand firm in the storms of life.
Stand firm against the schemes of the Devil
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:13
In the process of exploring Bible passages that call us to STAND FIRM, I encountered several verses calling us to stand firm in the faith. This morning, I want to share some of those verses and how they relate to us today.
Stand firm in the faith.
The noun “Faith” and “belief” come from the same Greek root word.