Summary: Learn to receive the grace of God and give away to others the grace of God.
If you’ve been with us for the last six months, you are in for a wonderful surprise today. We will complete Paul’s letter to the Philippians within the next 30 minutes! For some of you, I’m guessing reading and studying through one of the 66 books in the Bible is a new experience, and I hope you’ve found that the Bible could be understood and is significantly relevant and helpful to your life. After all, the Bible is God’s manual for how we are to live with Him and with each other.
By the way, not only will we complete the book of Philippians with this morning’s teaching, we will also begin a nine message series on the characteristics of a successful participant to fulfilling the mission and vision of our church. Because the first of the nine characteristics is foundation to our Christian faith, we will address this characteristic even before we commit to our mission and vision statements.
Let’s begin with reading the passage for this morning, Philippians 4:21-23.
From this morning’s text, Paul shows us that grace has no boundary, and I want to point that out, then I want to use the passage as a springboard to define grace and to illustrate how grace sustains our lives.
Maybe I’ve told you about the coffin-maker who moved into a new town. In order to build his network of clients, he sent out a form letter to every home, and he signed it, "Eventually Yours." How one signs his or her letter can reveal a great deal about the kind of relationship the writer has with the reader.
Paul here is saying his good-bye in this letter, and he has again chosen to address his readers, those with him and those around him as "saints." Not only that, Paul signs his letter calling his readers to possess "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ."
If you remember, our first message in Philippians defined what a "saint" is. The New Testament’s use of the word, "saint," does not refer to a super-Christian or to someone who is qualified by the Catholic Church after his or her death. A saint is someone whom God has set apart from the world to be at peace with God. The Bible tells us peace with God is given through trusting the grace of Jesus Christ, not through the goodness or the good works of the individual.
Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, "For it is by (Jesus Christ’s) grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast." When we put this truth together with Paul’s last three verses of Philippians, we see that Jesus Christ’s grace is without boundary.
Let me explain. You might know that Paul tried everything from being religious to doing everything right in order to have peace with God. Paul even opposed the grace of Jesus Christ, but he received Jesus into his life after the experience on the road to Damascus. We read this in Acts 9. From that point on, Paul had a right relationship with God and was given the charge by God to spread the good news of a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ’s grace and not through self-effort.