Summary: Lent 2(C) - Stand firm in the Lord, dear friends! Too many think only of earthly things. But our citizenship is only in heaven.
“STAND FIRM IN THE LORD, DEAR FRIENDS!” (Outline)
March 8, 2009 --
LENT 2 --
INTRO: Our faith is our firm foundation. God’s valuable gift to us and for us is our faith that stands firm on the very Rock of our salvation. This firm faith founded on Christ endures forever. "Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come"(2 CORINTHIANS 1:21,22). Recent news events have reminded that nothing at all is guaranteed in this world. It is all the more important for us to remember that our gracious God guarantees our future. Our real future lies far beyond these earthly limits. Christ our Savior guarantees a place with him forever. Until that time we need the encouragement of today’s text. The last words of our text serve as our theme:
“STAND FIRM IN THE LORD, DEAR FRIENDS!”
I. Many think only of earthly things.
II. Our citizenship is in heaven.
I. MANY THINK ONLY OF EARTHLY THINGS
A. The church at Philippi faced many challenges. The believers were new believers to Christianity.
1. These believers came from different and even opposite social and racial backgrounds.
2. Verse 17a. Paul offers himself as an example of how God changes lives to serve Him.
B. Verse 18. Paul was saddened by those who still lived as “enemies of the cross of Christ”.
1. Paul was also saddened by the fact he had spent too many years as an enemy of Christ.
2. These are harsh words of God meant as a wake-up warning for all who reject salvation.
C. There is only one result of rejection, verse 19a. The destiny of every unbeliever is destruction.
1. They live lives of selfishness, verse 19b. They live only to eat, drink, and be merry.
2. Verse 19c. Earthly things vanish. Eternal things last forever. Man’s glory ends in shame.
D. Our lives today are quite worldly. We live in an age called the “information age”. We know of news around the world. We know of events on a global basis. We become enthralled with knowing and learning more and more about things that have no eternal benefit for us at all. The reality is, is that we are quite friendly with the ways of this world. God warns us over and over of the danger in worldliness. "You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God" (JAMES 4:4). The world can and at times does very easily turn our hearts, mind, and attention away from God. No one can serve two masters. He will hate one and love the other. This is the danger of being too friendly with this life.
E. Friendship leads to familiarity. Familiarity often leads to a deeper relationship. The reality: we spend more time learning things of this world rather than truths in God’s word. We live in the world more than in God’s house. We desperately need to be careful of this love affair with the things of this world. "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 JOHN 2:15). Jesus warned, “Anyone who loves father or mother, son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”. How easily it happens that we do not fear, love and trust in God above all other things. When our mind is on earthly things God’s love is somewhere else. “Stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!”
F. God’s word warns us what to be on guard against. God’s word also encourages what to do as believ-ers in God’s power. By faith we can say no to things of this world. By faith we order Satan to get behind us. "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming" (COLOSSIANS 3:5,6). These group of sins God calls idolatry. These are sins of the heart that crowd out God’s great love for us. Pride was the downfall of Adam and Eve. Behind that sin of pride was lust and greed. Adam and Eve were greedy to have all of God’s glory for themselves. They lusted after what Satan was offering to them. BUT Satan had nothing to offer. Satan promised knowledge concerning good and evil. Adam and Eve already had knowledge of good. They knew God’s mind. They walked and talked with God. Satan lied. Satan only offered evil. Satan still uses earthly things to tempt us to think only on earthly things.