Hold Fast

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

“among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life,”“You’re in the midst of a twisted and perverse generation”.

Sound familiar?  I suspect the Philippians sensed it and felt it much like we do today. Anger. Dysfunction. Argument. Tension. Sadness. Is there any way to rise above it all?  Any way to sense and see a bigger and better life and existence?  Paul says, “Yes! by HOLDING fast (to)the word of life”. Paul is exhorting these believers to keep looking in and at the scriptures. He’s reminding them that they must stay faithfully connected to the scriptures. He is challenging them to think constantly with a biblical mindset.
Paul believed holding fast to the scriptures was crucial in living a life filled with joy and pleasing to God. So did Peter. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
Do you?

Look to Jesus

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

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,”

This week we get to read and focus on one of the most profound passages in the New Testament. Doctrinally rich. Theologically sound.  Gospel filled. An eternal perspective on the life and existence of Jesus Christ.

We should remember though, where this passage/poem/hymn is placed in Paul’s letter.  It follows a plea and exhortation for unity as a result of humility. But Paul isn’t trying to stimulate debate and discussion, rather He is pointing to Jesus as the example of humility- needed for authentic community and unity.

“Unity isn’t the result of preaching on unity; it’s the result of people adoring and emulating Jesus. The more we behold His glory and imitate His character, the more unified we will be as a church”. – Tony Merida


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

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;”

It is a tension we must navigate carefully and cautiously- the desire to be humble and the desire to grow and mature in Christ. Paul makes the proposition that we can hold onto both. But as John Stott so wisely points out, “At every stage of our Christian development and at every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend”.

I had a professor who joked, that if you ever wanted to write a book entitled “Humility, and How I Achieved  It”, you’ve probably missed the point. Humility does take personal discipline and attention (the way we think about the Lord, priority of loving others, and willingness to be a servant). It is work for sure, which ushers in the danger of pride. But, as Paul reminds, humility can come, but only from the Spirit. So the prayer is NOT, “help me be humble”.  It is “make me more like Jesus”. Humility is not thinking less of yourself (desire for growth and maturity in Christian faith), it is thinking of yourself less (regard one another as more important).


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

“I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”  God’s grand design is on display in Paul’s mind and in his words. We all face suffering and difficulty at one time or another. Granted they may come in varying degrees, but the reality is that each of us has or will face suffering or difficulty or hardship.  Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭If we live worthy of the gospel (as Paul exhorts) suffering WILL come. To them. To us.
The secret to standing firm is as much about fellowship as it is about fighting. Paul’s words reveal God’s wisdom and plan. Steadfastness is grounded in unity- one spirit, one mind, striving together. Will you seek out fellowship with others?  Will you give and receive encouragement, accountability, and community to members the body?  Social distancing does not hinder the work of the Spirit!  Will you keep the unity of the church so that others may be able to “live a life worthy of the gospel” even in suffering?


Re:Verse passage – Philippians 1:20-26 (day five). 

“Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,”. 

Are you sometimes leery when people offer to help you “make progress”? It usually means work and learning are ahead. Is there an agenda in their mind?  What am I doing wrong?  What am I not doing right?  On its own and by itself, progress is hard work, exhausting, and sometimes painful. But, if progress is combined with joy, it changes the equation all together. Yes, there is still difficulty. Yes, there is still struggle. Yes, there is still hard work to be done. Yet, when the facet of joy is added, the experience of making progress is life-changing and life-giving.   That’s what Paul has in mind, life-changing and life-giving exhortation and ministry with the Philippians. There is hard work (progress) to be done 1:6.  But God gives joy along with the work of progress.

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John‬ ‭15:11‬ ‭.

Lord, give us grace as joy, that we would make progress in the faith!!

Gospel Progress

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

“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,”  Paul begins this section of his letter by declaring “gospel progress” is being made by his imprisonment. What does he mean by this term?

Gospel progress shifts attitudes and perspectives in the hearts and thoughts of believers from hopelessness and despair to joy and assurance (vs 18-19).
Gospel progress brings about courage and faithfulness in the actions and priorities of believers to boldly witness. (vs 14).

Gospel progress brings influence, awareness, and understanding of the message of Christ to non-believers (vs 13).

Are you experiencing gospel progress (joy, assurance)?  Are those believers close to you experiencing gospel progress (courage, faithfulness)?
Are non-believers who are around you and who interact with you experiencing gospel progress (hearing and seeing the message of Christ)?

May gospel progress come to and through the Body of Christ at FBCSA!!

Are We There Yet?

Re:Verse passage – Philippians 1:1-11 (day five)

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

There is a great promise found in Philippians 1:6.  God will bring His work to completion. He will get us there. Such hope, such assurance, such help.  Yet, there’s another side to this verse.  Remember when traveling with family, the question that gets asked a thousand times from the children?  “Are we there yet?”  The short answer was, “NO”.  The long answer was a little more complicated.  More miles to be traveled. More time in the car was necessary. More scenery to view. More patience required. The process of traveling was not over.  Some parts of the trip were easy, some were more difficult.
Same thing is happening in verse six. We are not “there” yet.  The work- His work- is not finished. Our faith journey is not complete. We are not finished learning, growing, refining, maturing, loving, trusting, and serving. Some parts of our faith journey are easier and others.  The great promise is that God will get us there. We will need humility, courage, patience, and trust (to name a few) as we travel!


Re:Verse passage – Galatians 5:22-25 (day five)  “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25. Scripture teaches that there is a Rhythm or movement of the Holy Spirit. The challenge from Paul to these believers is remarkable. The God of the Universe, through His Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to walk WITH Him.  There are “steps” we can measure that help us to be in stride with the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is both possible and beneficial. The prerequisite is that we live in the Spirit. The “Rhythm” of being in step with the Holy Spirit is not dependent on spiritual highs or lows, or good or bad circumstances, but rather daily living- faithful obedience. Throughout scripture importance is placed on walking with God on a daily basis. We must discover and practice rhythms that will keep us in step with the Spirit- prayer, worship, reading/meditating/memorizing scripture, serving others, just to name a few.


Re:Verse passage – 1 Thessalonians 1:2-6 (day five) “for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.”
Far too long we have settled for a weaker presentation of the gospel. What I mean by that, is we have relied on or exclusively trusted that just living a devoted Christian life would be our way to effectively share the gospel. The phrase “lifestyle evangelism” is a popular term for this approach.  I’ll just live out my faith and that will be my witness for Christ.
Paul challenges that mindset with his explanation of evangelism.  Relying on actions alone was not his approach. There must be both words and actions. Talking and teaching were just as essential to present the gospel as deeds and attitudes. Notice as the Holy Spirit works in both the words and actions together in the life of believers, there is power.
Do we talk and teach about the gospel as much as we live out the gospel?  We should.  We must use both (our words AND actions) to tell and show the world of the hope, love, and joy found in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.


Re:Verse passage – Ephesians 5:18-19 (day five)

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,”

What does being filled with wine (drunkenness) cause?  A loss of self-control. What does being filled with the Holy Spirit cause? Self-Control. Self-control is easily evidenced in our relationship with God and our relationships with others.  Debauchery is self indulgence/glorification at the expense of others- I will do what I want so I can feel good at any cost to others.

Self-control provided by the Spirit will guide the believer to glorify God (in our text this week thru singing) and building others up by our speaking (remember last weeks text). A spirit filled person desires to praise God and build others up in speaking and singing with a thankful heart. That is the focus every believer needs- which comes only by the constant filling of the Holy Spirit.