Summary: Message 19 from Philippians expanding on Paul's admonition to stand firm. This message continues in our discussion of standing firm in the once for all faith. A review of the foundation doctrines of the faith.
Paul addressed the important things to give our attention in a letter written to followers of Jesus living in the Greek city Philippi.
1. ADOPT THE RIGHT AXIS – A Passion to praise Christ
2. MAINTAIN THE RIGHT ATTITUDE – A Passion to please Christ
3. PURSUE THE RIGHT AIM – A Passion to pursue Christ
4. PRACTICE THE RIGHT ACTIONS – A Passion to live Christ
He will address several specifics throughout chapter four. The first admonished them to stand firm in the Lord.
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.
We have explored the numerous Bible passages that call us to stand firm.
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
Stand firm in the faith.
Last week we touched on the use of the term faith with a definite article “the” specifies the basic truths communicated in the Scriptures. The Faith is synonymous to “the Truth”. This becomes more and more important in a culture that denies absolute truths or moral absolutes. This rejection of “the Faith” has emerged even in those who call themselves Christian. Since the early 2000’s a movement called the “emerging church” continues to influence the thinking of churches today. At the core is a rejection of an objective authoritative truth in an exchange for an experience based group think; a community of love and acceptance of everyone and their ideas except conservative Christians who stand firm in The Faith.
“The bible should merely point us in the direction of finding God’s unique individual revelation through his Spirit, and not be used as the once-for-all, static revelation of what God has said to others in the past.”
“[We should] stop looking for some objective Truth that is available when we delve into the text of the Bible.”
“I feel that we have harmed our ‘faith’ by attempting to turn it into ‘fact’.”
Here is a summary of the basic bent of this movement.
• Since the Church has been culture bound for so long we must reexamine and question every belief and practice in the Church, finding new ways to define and express these
• We have no foundation for any beliefs, therefore we cannot know absolute truth
• Since we cannot know absolute truth, we can only experience what is “true” for our communities
• Since we cannot know absolute truth we cannot be dogmatic about doctrine
• Since we cannot know absolute truth we cannot be dogmatic about moral standards
• Since we cannot know absolute truth, dogmatic preaching must give way to a dialogue between people of all beliefs
• Since propositional truth is uncertain, spiritual feeling and social action make up the only reliable substance of Christianity
Once you reject the Bible as the authoritative standard of faith and practice you open the door to any morality.
Our culture seems to settle for a morality determined by consensus. Even worse, many feel that we determine my own morality. “Feels so good it can’t be wrong,” Everyone embraces some sort of belief system.
One’s belief system dictates one’s behavior. Determining one’s own reality is not new. That was the case for the people living during the time of the judges.
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25
The only reliable source of truth is God. Truth is that which corresponds to reality. Regardless of how vehemently scientists once believed the earth was flat, it didn’t make it true. It didn’t change reality.
The reality is the earth is a globe. Because we are limited in our knowledge, we do not have the capacity to discover or recognize ultimate reality. We must rely on someone outside of ourselves. Jesus claimed to be the way the truth and the life and not one finds life apart from Him. Paul urged the Philippians and the early churches to whom he wrote to “stand firm in the faith.” Jude specifically wrote concerning the faith.
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:3-4
Jude used a very strong Greek term we translate “contend”. It comes from the Greek word “agonizomai” from which we get our English word agonize or struggle. He added a preposition in front of the base word for intensification. The resulting concept is to struggle earnestly or greatly for THE FAITH. Why? He told them.