God’s Pleasure

Re:Verse passage – Philippians 2:12-18 (day four)

D. Sanctification –work out your salvation. We never arrive at the place where we have done all we need to do in our Christian faith. It takes a lifetime of moving toward holiness.  Believers are doers…we are always working, planning, serving, and becoming.  It is not by our own initiative or diligence though.  Verse 13 says it is God who shapes our will and drives us to work.  God calls us to obedience and holiness and then empowers us to respond.  It is out of His love and His good pleasure that God is at work in us.  The result of His work is that we appear as lights in the darkness…truth in the midst of evil!

How do we accomplish this obedience and holiness in our lives?  Does God just zap us with His will?  Spending time in God’s Word and Prayer gives God an avenue into our lives.  Seeking and finding causes us to have the mind of Christ and to bring pleasure to God!

At the Name of Jesus

Re:Verse passage – Philippians 2:5-11 (day four)

At the name of Jesus every knee will bow”…Isaiah was the first to say this.  People of all ages have had idols…made of wood, iron, silver or gold.  The idols each represent some area of rebellion against God.  What Isaiah…and now, in our passage, Paul…is saying, is that there will come a day when the truth will be known.  People will recognize that God is the one righteous, creator God.  All of their pretense and sin will be stripped away and they will see clearly their folly in opposing God.  They will fall to their knees in fear and shame and guilt.

Where are the idols in your life?  Where have you opposed the truth of God?  What is blinding you from the glory of God?  Ask God to search your heart and reveal to you where your idols are hiding.  It is much better to surrender to God voluntarily rather than wait for the day when shame is forced upon you on the day the name of Jesus is proclaimed in heaven and earth.

Opportunity vs. Shut Down

Re:Verse passage – Philippians 2:1-4 (day four)

Paul uses a rhetorical ‘if’ in our passage this week.  If there is encouragement, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if there is any affection and compassion…he seems to shout out the answer…”AND OF COURSE THERE IS!”  We are to be like Christ because He is all these things.  To be like Christ, we must put aside selfishness…we must put aside personal interests…we must practice humility.

To put this Christ-like attitude into practice, what might it look like?  During this pandemic when many people are cut off from others and unable to interact, we could look for ways to reach out to them and challenge them with interactions.  Many of our senior adults are having cognitive failure because they lack interaction that makes them think.  Paul would say, “don’t think about what you have lost during this lockdown, think–how can I encourage and love and show compassion, and share fellowship with someone else?”  Look at this pandemic as an opportunity to minister and serve others.  Sounds like what Christ would do!

Suffering

Re:Verse passage – Philippians 1:27-30 (day four)

Suffering is something most of us go to great lengths to avoid.  There is nothing enjoyable or exciting about suffering.  “The words pain, uncomfortable, and avoidable come to mind.  Yet, in verse 29, Paul says it has been ‘granted’ to you for Christ’s sake.  ‘Granted’ carries the connotation of a reward, an honor, a gift, or ‘bestowed upon with preference.’

Suffering, for Paul, was not to be avoided.  He took it in stride as an opportunity to reveal God’s grace or deliverance, or glory.  Paul saw every activity of life to be an open door to share the gospel.  How many doors were open to him to share the gospel through his suffering?  How many people came to know Christ because Paul witnessed to them through his suffering?

Are you on the search?  Do you view all of life as an opportunity to magnify God and give witness to His atonement?  The world needs to see the grace of God lived out in your life!

Perspective

Re:Verse passage – Philippians 1:12-19 (day four)

Paul would never fit into our present day ‘cancel culture’.  Rather than rejecting the ones who were preaching Christ with the wrong motives (i.e. – out of envy, selfish ambition, or impure motives), Paul trusted in the Holy Spirit to take the name of Christ and use it for the spread of the Gospel.  What seems to be obvious to our human reason or logic can completely change when the Holy Spirit enters the picture.  Joseph recognized this truth when his brothers sold him into slavery.  “What you meant for evil, God intended for good.”  Joseph recognized that God can use any circumstance for His Glory!

Today, we are often very hard on TV preachers, celebrities, politicians or social media influencers who may use the name of Christ but do not believe or live exactly as we do.  We need Paul’s perspective so we can rejoice that Christ is proclaimed…our prayers and Christ’s Spirit can use all circumstances for God’s Glory and His purpose.

Conflict

Re:Verse passage – Galatians 5:22-25 (day four)

There is an obvious conflict in this passage—the Spirit and the flesh.  Our lives are going to be led by one or the other.  The conflict is not a congenial one either…when we belong to Christ, we crucify the flesh.  Crucifixion is a violent and painful means of death. There is a great conflict or clash between the Spirit-led life and the life led by the flesh.  Scripture says old things pass away, new things are come.  There is no room for the flesh in the life of the believer.

Paul writes to the Galatians that to belong to Christ, our lives will necessarily exhibit the fruits or qualities of the Spirit.  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…all things we would want in our lives.  What are the character qualities that are evident in your life?  Can you give demonstration of having victory over the great conflict in your life?

Evidence

Re:Verse passage – 1 Thessalonians 1:2-6 (day four)

Notice the fruits of the Spirit that Paul identifies as being evidenced in the Thessalonians…work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hopeFaith, hope, love…these three, but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).  Throughout all of his writings, Paul speaks of the impact or result in our lives when the Holy Spirit is present.  We cannot be ‘unaffected’ by the Holy Spirit when He is in our hearts.  He is not a token we take out occasionally and flash around.  He permeates our lives and is evidenced in all of our relationships… we become imitators of Christ.

What does the evidence in your life indicate?  Can those around you clearly recognize the fruit of the Spirit or is your fruit mashed and spoiled?  Do those who know you see Christ or do they see a counterfeit that is a poor imitation?  Evidence reveals the truth!

Sealed

Re:Verse passage – Ephesians 1:13-14 (day four)

We were outsiders, excluded from a relationship with the Creator God…Gentiles who had no inheritance in Christ.  Then, we discovered the Truth of God’s plan.  We were included all the time!  The Gospel was open to us.  When we believed in Christ, our eternal relationship was sealed with the Holy Spirit.

In our Western culture, we do not have kings.  We are not as familiar with the trappings of a monarchy.  To ‘seal a command’ would mean a proclamation was made, then wax was applied to the document and an image was impressed into the soft wax before it cooled.  When the wax quickly hardened, the remaining ‘seal’ carried the full power and authority of the king.  The weight of the realm assured that the proclamation would be carried out.  It could not be broken!

The Holy Spirit is our ‘seal’ of promise.  We have an inheritance with Christ…forgiveness, redemption and abundant life.  The impression of the Holy Spirit (the gifts of the Spirit…another study!) on our lives is the visible sign of our inherited relationship with Almighty God!

Voice of the Spirit

Re:Verse passage – Romans 14:17-19 (day four)

In order to grasp the full meaning of a passage, it must be examined in context.  ‘In context’ means looking at the verses surrounding the passage to gain a wider picture and understanding.  Looking at all of Romans 14 helps us to understand verses 17-19.

Romans 14 deals with principles of conscience.  Conscience is an important work of the Holy Spirit.  When our conscience tell us we should or should not do something, it is often the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to our spirit.  We are convicted of right or wrong.  In Romans 8:16, Scripture says, “The Spirit bears witness with our spirit…”  [Henry Blackaby, in Experiencing God, taught that one of the things that only God can do is to convict of righteousness.]

Our Re:Verse passage this week teaches us how we are to live to please Christ.  We are approved by God when we “pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”  Are you listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit in your life?

Fix It!

Re:Verse passage – Romans 8:26-27 (day four)

I am a planner/organizer…I like to ‘fix’ things.  When I am confronted with a task or challenge, my mind immediately goes to a step-by-step solution to the problem.  It is a gift, but like every other spiritual gift, it can be used in the Spirit or out of the Spirit.  The danger for me is when I immediately go to my own solution and never seek counsel from the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes, the challenge is just too great!  It is so overwhelming that I cannot even see a way to fix it!  (Think…major health issue, global pandemic, or close friend that just will not turn to Christ!) It is then that I understand the ‘groaning too deep for words’.  My ‘need’ happens more often than I care to admit, but it is in these major events that I am confronted more clearly with my failure to follow the Spirit.

The Spirit is constantly at work in our lives.  Learning to walk in the Spirit is one of the key elements of becoming more like Christ.  How do we live every day, completely surrendered to the direction of the Holy Spirit?  Sounds like a question that needs ‘fixing’…in the Spirit!