I STAND FAST
Paul has a desire to part from earth and be with Jesus, but he knows that it is more needful to the church that he remains to preach, teach and take care of the them.
He knows that God will not take him until his earthly ministry is done, so he has given himself over to the calling on his life and to walk it out until the end.
He then gives the Philippian church some sound advice.
Unlike many of Paul’s letters, Philippians was not written primarily because of church problems or conflict. Its basic tone is one of affection and appreciation for the congregation.
He does address a few minor problems:
their discouragement over his prolonged imprisonment- “it is more needful for you that I remain and will remain until He calls me home”
small seeds of disunity
ever-present threat in the church of disloyalty because of the earthly minded
What does it mean to you?
First, God will keep you until your earthly ministry is accomplished. Satan has no control over your life- he can throw things at you, but he has no control to take your life. This is God’s and His alone. Be confident in this!
Second, Paul encourages us, the church to STAND FAST.
Greek steko (stay-ko)
literally translated “I stand fast.”
1.stand fast – refuse to abandon one’s opinion or belief
hold firm, stand pat, stand firm
insist, take a firm stand – be emphatic or resolute and refuse to budge; “I must insist!”
hunker down – hold stubbornly to a position; rigid and unyielding
What are we to STAND FAST in??
- STAND FAST in living your life in a worthy manner.
27 Only [be sure to] lead your lives in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I do come and see you or remain absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit [and one purpose], with one [a]mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel
Paul said, “I will hear about you”. He was going to hear something about them, what was it going to be?
A man came through one time that I prophesied to him his life. About 2 week later, I got one phone call and then another with the people saying, “I hear that God is with you and you are His prophet.”
What do others HEAR about you?
Are you living your life in such a way that others would call you a servant of God?
In 2 Chron 18 (reference only)
Ahab-king of Israel joined forces with Jehoshaphat-king of Judah in order to go to battle
Jehoshaphat wanted to inquire of the Lord so Ahab brought forth the prophets of Baal, who prophesied that “good would come” falsely.
Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not here a prophet of the Lord that we may inquire of him?”
Hence, Micaiah was brought forth- all of Israel, including the King himself, knew that Micaiah was a man of God who spoke the TRUTH of God’s Word.
Paul “heard” a different story from the Corinthian church:
1 Cor 5:1-2 “It is actually reported [everywhere] that there is sexual immorality among you, a kind of immorality that is condemned even among the Gentiles: that someone [a]has [an intimate relationship with] his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud and arrogant! You should have mourned in shame so that the man who has done this [disgraceful] thing would be removed from your fellowship!”
Did you know Pastor Matt and I hear things about you? Good and bad, either other people tell us or the Holy Spirit reveals it. ALWAYS. Ex: Pastor Ong, Japanese church; we’ve had things happen here and the Spirit reveals it. FOR YOUR BENEFIT and the BENEFIT of the BODY!
He ALWAYS makes things known to the Pastor because He wants to maintain the purity of the Body.
He wants us to walk in LIGHT, not darkness.
God makes sure we know what is going on with the Body because we are ultimately responsible to Him.
A tree is known by its fruit. Are you contentious? angry? bitter? rebellious? Do you slander the Word of God? Then that’s what is known of you.
Are you kind? gentle? loving? speak the truth of God’s Word?
- STAND FAST in one spirit and purpose.
So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called 2 with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another [a]in [unselfish] love. 3 Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful].
WE are to keep the unity of the Spirit, not through human efforts or organizations, but by being loyal to the truth and walking and living according to the Spirit, not by the flesh.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the [a]sinful nature together with its passions and appetites.
To keep the unity of the Spirit, YOU MUST crucify the flesh. THIS IS A MUST. (works of the flesh Gal 5:19-21)
Because the works of the flesh affect not only you, but the WHOLE BODY of Christ.
We are told that whatsoever we sow, that and only that will we reap- therefore if we sow to the Spirit, we will reap the things of the Spirit and eternal life. BUT if we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption.
We are supposed to be unified in our PURPOSE… so what is the PURPOSE of the church??
The purpose of the church is NOT to bring equality. It is not to right the wrongs of society. It is not to feed the poor.
Some say that the purpose of the church is to evangelize. Others say that the Great Commission sums up the Church’s purpose. Even C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity says “the Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs.”
When you strip it all down, and really look at God’s Word, I believe the purpose of the church is to glorify and worship God as a collective body of believers. Our purpose is not to simply (or only) make disciples. It is not to evangelize or feed the poor. It is not even to make “little Christs” as Lewis explains.
But, rather as the apostle John wrote:
John 4:23 “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”
I believe that many of the actions listed above are functions or by-products of the church, but they are not the main purpose of the Church. It may sound like semantics, but the distinction is an important one.
The Body of Christ does not exist to convert others or preach the Gospel. We exist to bring glory to God as His holy ones. The result of which, when practiced in line with scripture then results in the feeding of the poor, the Gospel preached, and disciples being made.
The results we desire to see in the Church spring forth from understanding our true purpose. Not the other way around.
Isaiah 43:7 Everyone who is called by My Name, Whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.
1 Cor 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Psalm 86:12 I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore.
1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Cor 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body[a] and in your spirit, which are God’s.
What does it mean to glorify God? How do we glorify God? It means to bring Him honor through what we say, how we act, and how we think. To glorify God means to acknowledge His glory and to value it above all things. To glorify God means we make it known to others. To glorify God means we have a heartfelt gratitude. We glorify God through our faith (trust). We glorify God through our love. We glorify God through our desire to obey Him (our obedience). We glorify God through our desire to know Him.
- STAND FAST. In one mind, strive together for the faith of the gospel.
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I was compelled to write to you [urgently] appealing that you [a]fight strenuously for [the defense of] the faith which was once for all [b]handed down to the saints 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed. They are ungodly persons whose condemnation was predicted long ago, for they distort the grace of our God into decadence and immoral freedom [viewing it as an opportunity to do whatever they want], and deny and disown our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep your eyes on those who cause dissensions and create obstacles or introduce temptations [for others] to commit sin, [acting in ways] contrary to the doctrine which you have learned. Turn away from them. 18 For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites and base desires. By smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting [the innocent and the naive].
We are told to BE ALERT to all those who would damage the church by corrupting the doctrine of the Bible and TURN AWAY FROM THEM.
If it is not the JESUS of the BIBLE, then it is not Jesus.
Folks, this is happening more and more in this generation.
Do you love the TRUTH? OR your version of the truth??
2 Thes 2: 9-12 “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
The Bible is God’s Word and was meant to transform us. ALL scripture!
Did you know that the first church ONLY HAD the OT to learn from??
Too many people use it to argue, only wanting to figure out what something says or doesn’t say so they can argue and be right. BUT they don’t really want transformation.
Ex: Pastor Steve’s “aversion therapy”
STRIVE for the TRUE faith of the gospel UNTIL YOU DIE or HE RETURNS. HOLD FAST.
1 Timothy 6:20-21 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
- STAND FAST and do not fear your adversaries.
28 And in no way be alarmed or intimidated [in anything] by your opponents, for such [constancy and fearlessness on your part] is asign for them of [their impending] destruction, but [a clear sign] for you of deliverance and salvation, and that too, from God.
Jesus told us that in the end times there would be strong spirit of fear.
Luke 21:26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
If you fear men more than God, you need to deal with that today!
Fear will cripple you.
ex: framing a house, putting on the roof. “Don’t crawl Crystal. Walk with confidence and you won’t fall”
There is no fear when you trust your foundation.
I heard someone tell their kids, “If someone has a gun to you and they ask you if you love Jesus, you say no because God knows your heart.”
God does know your heart, but if we deny Him before others, He will deny us. (Matthew 10:33)
42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
We are to fear God, not man. We are to please God, not man. We are to bring GLORY to God, not man.
He who overcomes shall inherit all things,[a] and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly (fearful), unbelieving,[b] abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”