* This was a recent sermon and sermonic elements remain.
Amazing things happen when you’re obedient to God. Some of us know this to be true. Some of us have simply heard about it. Today we start an 11-week journey through the book of Philippians ~ a letter to a church comprised of people obedient to God. Yet, if you read the letter correctly, you don’t praise the church in Philippi. Rather, you bow your knee and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. May this 11-week journey have such an impact on us.
Join me in reading Philippians 1:1~11.
There are three things I want you to take away from our opening passage in Philippians.
You are holy people by the work of Jesus Christ.
Paul identified this church by their relationship with Jesus Christ. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the sinners in Philippi have been transformed into saints. You could translate the phrase “the holy people” or “the holy ones” or “the saints” in Philippi. The church is comprised of those who have been united with Christ in death and subsequently have been transformed to live an abundant life on the way to eternal life in Heaven.
I love that you can read the about the birth of this church in Acts 16. It begins with Paul attempting to get into the area known as Asia to preach the gospel. He attempts one path ~ and is blocked by the Holy Spirit. He attempts another path ~ and is blocked by the Holy Spirit. Eventually Paul receives a vision from God to preach the gospel in Macedonia. So Paul, Timothy, and Silas are obedient to God.
They arrive in Philippi and quickly preach the gospel to a woman named Lydia. God opened her heart to Paul’s message. Lydia and her whole family are baptized. Amazing things happen when you’re obedient to God.
Roughly 15 years later, Paul writes the church in Philippi who is still going strong. The church in Philippi is holy by the work of Jesus Christ. The same is true for you. You are holy by the work of Jesus. Don’t cling to your sin and failures. Cling to the work of Christ by which you are transformed.
Holy people are gospel partners.
Transformed people seek to transform the world with the gospel. This letter is often regarded as the “letter of joy” because Paul is filled with joy due to the church’s partnership. In verse 7 they are commended for their help in preaching the gospel. In chapter 4 they will be commended for financial supporting the gospel. The letter is dripping for affection for the Philippian church. They are not lukewarm followers of Christ. They are not of church filled with division and complaints. They are not a church filled with lifeless routine. No. They are known as gospel partners. Because they have been transformed by Christ they are seeking to transform the city and the world around them.
In what ways are you a gospel partner? In what ways is the gospel advancing because of your words, actions, service? I don’t ask these questions to produce guilt or shame. I ask it because the church is made holy by the work of Jesus Christ and holy people are gospel partners.
Gospel partners keep going …
Paul knows this church has been transformed by the work of Jesus Christ and Paul is confident God will bring to completion the good work that God started. In verse 9 Paul begins to pray that God will grow the church’s love, give them discernment, fill them with righteousness, to the glory of God. While Paul celebrates the gospel partnership he shares with the Philippians church, Paul knows there is more to come.
Wherever you are in your faith journey this morning … you are not done! God is working and will continue to work. He will not give up on you. Don’t give up on him.
Appropriate responses to today’s message:
- Submit to Jesus Christ
- Church membership
I’m not a perfect pastor. This is not a perfect church. But let us be faithful. Amazing things happen when you’re obedient to God.