Summary: One of the ways that we live in the light of Easter is by living in the confidence of God.
1. Today, we continue our April series, Living In the Light of Easter,” by examining the second I am of our identity, as Neil T. Anderson says, in Christ, “ I am secure in Christ.”
2. Last week we looked at being accepted in Christ. And we are accepted on the basis of our faith and trust in Christ alone not on the basis of what we can do, what laws or regulations we can or cannot keep, or anything else. We are made acceptable to Christ solely as Paul says in Romans 5:1, by faith in Christ.
3. Now I have asked two questions so far in this series. A. Who are you? B. How are we made acceptable to God? Today, I ask a third question “What is your source of security?”
4. Last Sunday I watched an episode of The American Experience on PBS that featured a history of one of our nation’s most powerful families of another generation – the Rockefellers of New York. The patriarch of the family, John D., became one of, if not the most powerful and richest men in America 100 years ago through his company, Standard Oil. In fact, Standard Oil became so powerful that in 1911 our Supreme Court considered it a monopoly and forced it to be broken up.
5. One of the interesting stories concerned the grandchildren of John D, who became collectively known as “the cousins.” Many of the cousins became of age in the 1960’s when, as some of here remembers, people of wealth became targets of social radicals. The Rockefeller’s, because of their high profile and influence became targets. And this caused several of “the cousins,” especially the girls, to want to rid themselves of the Rockefeller name to avoid being targeted. As I reflected on that part of the story in preparation for today it made me realize that the strength, the security of a family name was becoming a liability.
6. Wealth today is still a source of security for many. But, what are other sources of security? (Ask the congregation)
7. If we are followers of Jesus Christ, seeking to live for Him anywhere and everywhere we go, then He must become our source of security. We must find in Him a security that is unshakable no matter what. Because one of the ways that we must learn to live in the light of Easter is by living in the security of God.
8. Our main verse for today, Philippians 1:6 speaks God’s security for us because of His ability, and our confidence in His ability, to complete the good work of salvation that God began in us when we accepted Christ into our lives.
9. I want us to notice the following phrases in this verse:
a. I am sure that God. Paul is writing to the Christians in the city of Philippi. Philippi was the first church established on the European continent by Paul. It is located in what is now the country of Greece. Paul deeply loved the Philippian church and their faithfulness to God brought joy to Paul as heard and read of their faithful ministry. So at the very beginning of this letter, Paul makes an important statement that God will continue to be their source of strength and security because God is going to finish the good work of redemption in the lives that He started. Paul does not doubt for a moment that God will not complete the work He started. He will finish it! His confidence and security, and that of the Philippian believers as well, is in Christ.
b. God . . . began the good work in you. Paul makes it clear that this good work of redemption is God’s doing, not Paul’s, nor theirs. I am reminded of the conversation that took place between Thomas Aquinas, a prominent Catholic theologian of the past, and Pope Innocent II. The Pope was counting a large sum of money from the Vatican treasury and as he did so, he turned to Aquinas and noted that the church no longer needed to say, “Silver and gold have I none.” To which Aquinas replied, “True, Holy Father, but neither can the church any longer say, “rise up and walk.” This good work of God is not about the church and all of its programs. It is about the God of the church. Churches come and churches go. Programs come and programs go. Pastors come and pastors go. God stays around. Have we forgotten this? The security we so deeply desire comes from a relationship with God that should be nurtured by the church but so often seems to be stifled or replaced by the church instead. Paul realizes this as we read the opening verse of chapter 2. “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic?” What should be the answer to these questions? YES!!! But it comes as we remember that this is due to God’s work in our lives that He began.