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Episode · 1 year ago

God Completes Everything He Starts

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

God Completes Everything He Starts

All right, we are going to start looking at the book of Philippians. Book of Philippians. It's written by Paul and you might recognize the picture up there Paul's letter to the Philippians. It's from the Bible Project. I would encourage you to go home and sometime this week watch the video of the Bible projects overview of Philippians. It's really good and more than likely peedle posted somewhere or nine different places for us to to look at. It's about seven minutes long and gives you an overview of the book of Philippians. It's really good. I know I every time we start a book I say watch that and it's really good. I haven't found one that isn't really good. Now most of the ones I've watched have been in the Old Testament, which is a little easier. Maybe I should go home and watch the Hebrews one and then I would I would say that's probably probably not good, but so so far I think they've been great and Philippians is no exception. So we're going to look at the first part of Philippians and then go a little bit into acts so we understand where this church came from. So Paul's writing. Paul and Timothy Are Writing Servants of Christ Jesus. So they are servants. Is The the word that's used. And then to all gods, to all God's Holy People in Christ Jesus, at at Philippi. So notice what they just did. They put themselves, says, servants, and then they put all of the people in the Church as holy people. They've put everybody ahead of themselves by calling themselves servants, and they're holy people in Christ Jesus. Always a great little phrase that you see from Paul. In Christ. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN CHRIST? It means that you have accepted Jesus as your savior and your identity is now in Jesus, your personality is now in Jesus, your morals are now in Jesus and, most importantly, your hope is in Jesus. And that's what what he's saying. And they're at Philippi.

Where it's Philippi? I don't know. We'll have to wait for another slide or two to find out where. Where that is, together with the overseers and deacons. Well, elders and deacons, that's us right the the overseers. There is where we get the word episcope from. So if you've been to an Episcopal church, that's a church that is run by the elders. That's the word for overseer there, and we have them, we have elders. It's Mr Sager, dwayne is an elder, tyler is an elder, Brian is an elder and I am an elder. So to all God's holy people, that's you, guys and overseers, that's the elders and deacons. Are Deacons? Are Ben who's watching at home? Everybody waved to been Chris Groft, Ed Miller and Andrew Brown. Everybody wave to Andrew Brown and me. So it's Paul and Timothy Talking to the church at Philippi, much like they would talk to the church in in Spring Grove. And then, specifically addressing elders and deacons, they say Grayson, peace to you from God, our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. So this is just sort of the normal opening that you would have. There are several word plays in here in the the Greek that if we nerded out for a few minutes, you would just fall asleep. So let's go back to the book of acts and we can see how the church in Philippi was formed. Acts Sixteen tells us that Paul wants to go to Asia. He's in Hey, matt, do we have like a little laser pointer on this thing and if so, how does one use or I can just jump up all right. So on his his trip out from Jerusalem, he's going up through Asia and you see, there's a little don't worry about it, Matt. You see, there's a little town called trows that's where he is and he wants to to keep going and...

...he crosses over into Philippi. That's the city that we're talking about. That city way up in the top above Thessalonika. So Acts Sixteen is saying from trow as, we put out to sea and sailed straight for wherever, and the next day we went to wherever from they are. We traveled to Philippi. Yeah, that's the city where we're talking about. It's a Roman colony and a leading city of the district of Macedonia, and we stayed there several days. Now it's important to know that it's a Roman colony. So the whole world is controlled by Rome right now, but this in particular is a city that is very Roman and it's a leading city of the district of Macedonia, it's on the water, it's an important city, it's a Roman colony and we stayed there for I don't need it, thank you, for several several days on the Sabbath, we went outside the city gate to the river. So that gives us a clue that this Roman colony does not have a synagogue. So there aren't a whole lot of Jewish people there and instead they're meeting outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. So, since there was no synagogue, Paul went, where do we go? It's Saturday, I want to go worship God. Where do I go? And he said there must be a place of prayer somewhere. It's probably down here by the river. So they go expecting to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of them, one of those listening, was a woman from the city of Thira Tira, named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, which probably is the Bible's way of telling you that she's kind of rich, she's she's well to do, but here's to me the better description of her. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened...

...her heart to respond to Paul's message. Well, wait a second. What's the difference between Lydia a worshiper of God, and responding to Paul's message? Paul's talking about Jesus. Why, if Lydia is a worshiper of God, why doesn't she already know about Jesus? Well, it looks to me like Lydia is what we would tend to call an old testament. Saying Old Testament meaning she has faith in a coming Messiah. H So, faith in a coming Messiah is how you become a believer in the Old Testament. It wasn't through sacrificial systems, it wasn't through obeying the law, it was faith in a coming Messiah. You were given a law, you went, Oh, I can't obey that, I need help, and that help is was promised in genesis chapter three, and they put their faith in a coming Messiah. So here's Lydia, well after Jesus has died and been resurrected, well after the Church has started, church starts and acts. Chapter two, where fourteen chapters later and she is still putting her faith in a coming Messiah, and then Paul comes and says he came. Let me tell you, he came, let me tell you what he did, let me tell you he rose, let me tell you, he's in heaven now. And she goes, I'm going to move from a worshiper of God and become someone who responds to the message of Jesus, which, by the way, is what the whole book of Hebrews is about. If you were wondering why my dad and I were having a conversation about Hebrews, that's the message of the writer of Hebrews. That's his point, that you have to move from faith in a coming Messiah to faith in Jesus, and that's exactly what Lydia dos does here. She was a worshiper of God and now she believes that Jesus is that Messiah that she was worshiping when she and members of her household were baptized. She invited us to her home. So not only does she become a believer, but she tells everybody, and that's what we're going to see in Philippi.

There's this explosion of the Gospel message, because everybody becomes a Christian and then tells everybody else. So there's a baptism. She invites us to her home and says, if you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house. And she persuaded us. So that supports that she was a worshiper of God, belief in a coming Messiah, which means she at that point was not a believer in the Lord, Believer in Jesus. She was a believer in God, but not a believer in Jesus. So now she's saying, if you really consider me a Christian, if you consider me part of the church, if you consider me a Jesus follower, come and stay at my house. And they stay at her house. Once when we were going to the place of prayer, and this is a this is a this is just a funny story. They're just stories in the Bible that make me laugh, and this is one of them. Once, while we're going to a place of prayer, we are met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune telling. She followed Paul and the rest of US shouting these men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved. Now that would get annoying, right. Nobody wants to have someone following them shouting, even if it's something good, especially since this woman's crazy. Right. She is possessed by a demon that allows her to tell the future, but she's crazy and nobody wants someone to say, even if it's nice things. You don't want a crazy person screaming at you, even even nice things. She kept this up for many days till finally Paul gets so annoyed, because I love Paul. Paul gets so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out of her, and at that moment the spirit left her. So Yay, everyone's happy, right. Can you imagine being her master and going, Oh good, my crazy female...

...slave is now cured. I'm happy, let's go home and celebrate, maybe we'll even have a party. But notice what it says. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune telling. So now the demon is gone, now the fortune telling is gone, now the money is gone. We have a problem. When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone. They didn't care that this woman's wellbeing was better. They didn't care about her in any way. They cared just about their pockets. They seized Paul and Silas and drag them into the market place to face the authorities and basically said they did a really nice thing, but it cost US money and now we're mad. They brought them before the magistrates and said these men are Jews and are throwing our city into an uproar. It's a Roman colony. This is not Jerusalem, where they would go. These people are Jews, and everybody would go yes, so or we instead it's these people are Jews, and they are Jews, they get Roman a lot of trouble. So these men are Jews, they're throwing our city into an uproar. Yet that's what the Jewish people do. They throw the city into an uproar. This is going to be a problem. By advocating customs unlawful for US Romans to accept or practice, the Romans, the Jewish people, had certain customs and rules that the Romans actually let them do that nobody else was allowed to do, but the Jewish people were, because they were such a problem. If the Romans said you couldn't do it. They knew that the Jews, which is revolt and revolt and revolt, but nobody else, was allowed to do them. So they're saying, look, they're saying they're trying to get us to do things that we're not allowed to do, which is going to get us in trouble, which is going to get the whole city and trouble. So they went from it hurt our pocket books to it's going to be a problem for all of us. The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods.

After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. So they were beaten. They're thrown into prison and this jailer is told guard them carefully. Now I've never been a guard in prison, some of you have, and if if you're told guard them carefully, then you're going to give them a spot where you can keep watch over them. So when the jailer receives this orders, he puts them in the inner cell, which I assume is the most secure one, and he fastens their feet in the stocks, as if they're going anywhere. I don't know about you, but if I were severely flogged and beaten with a Rod, you could just put me down on the ground and I would be there for a few days. I'm not. I'm not going anywhere. But here they're now locked with their their feet fastened in stocks. They're in an inter cell. They're being guarded carefully. About midnight. Paul and Silas were complaining. This is awful, man. We came here to tell people about Jesus. We healed this this perfectly nice woman, and now they're upset at US and now they've beaten us and I'm a little sore and now I'm thrown in prison and my feet. This is obnoxious. They're they're praying and singing hymns. Now I can't relate with that. What I can relate to is what I assume is the prisoner next to them going she stopped singing. It's midnight, just it's time to go to bed. Just be quiet. How many of you stayed up till midnight on New Year's Eve? All Right, I'm just looking for the rest of my my old folks. Okay, how many of you when the fireworks went off at like one twelve hundred and two. We're going which just stop, you know, guns started going off and you're like, come on, everybody, just go to bed. No, no, one. All right, all right, Ted and I the old people in the church who were just the cormudgeons going. It's midnight,...

...go to bed, all right. They don't even have reason to celebrate. They have reason to be upset. If you had read this at midnight Paul and Silas were whining and complaining and crying, you'd go all that's understandable. But they have a recognition of who Jesus is and they are in Christ and they are praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. They're having a worship service and telling people about Jesus. After they've been beaten and now they're in prison. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. All the prison doors fly open and everyone's chains come loose, which is just a happy coincidence that everybody's free. God designed earthquake had to shake everything open. The jailer woke up because it's an earthquake and when he saw the prisoner prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he was told watch these guys carefully, and now he's looking going prison doors are open, everything's they're gone and I'm going to die. They're going to kill me and they're not going to kill me in a nice way. Now I would about to kill himself with the sword. That's about the most effective way that he could do it back then. If if these prisoners were gone, they were going to kill him in a way that was going to make him suffer and suffer and suffer and it was going to take a while. So his feeling was, I'm going to die, let me do it by my own hands and get it over quickly. But Paul shouted, don't harm yourself, we are all here all, we are all here, which all the prisoners. All the doors came open, all the chains fell off and all of the prisoners, not just Paul and Silas, stayed where they were. She think maybe that has something to do with Paul and Silas praying and singing at midnight, that maybe their influence on the people around them was such that everybody stayed where they...

...were. Can you imagine, Bob, you were a prison guard. Can you imagine if the doors flew open to the prison, the well they have? Okay, that is a story we all want to hear. Afterwards everyone would go running and here everybody stays. And it's because Paul and Silas were doing what they were supposed to do in the situation that they were in. The jail or called for lights Russian and felt fell trembling before Paul and Silas and say what do I have to do to be saved? And they say, but leave on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. That's it. That's the message they're preaching in Philippi. To Lydia, who's a worshiper of God, believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. To the jailer, believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household. Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in the house. So sometimes people get confused and it says wait, if the jail or believes on the Lord Jesus, he will be saved and his whole household will be saved. Wait, so if I become a Christian, then everybody in my household is a Christian. No, that's not what it's saying. Look, they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in the house. So everybody else in the house also heard about Jesus. Everybody else made their own decision of faith. At that hour of the night. The jailer took them and washed their wounds. Then immediately he and all his house were baptized. What hour of the night? Midnight, and then there has to be a discussion about who Jesus is and what he's done, and then a discussion with the whole house, then a cleaning up of the wounds and then a baptism. We're it like two in the morning and there there's a baptism service in the middle of a prison. This is fantastic. The jailer brought them to his house and set a meal before them, because now it's probably three or four in the morning. It's breakfast time, and he was filled with joy because he had...

...come to believe in God. He and his whole household. He and his whole household believed in God, and that's what you see in Philippi, Lydia believes and the whole household beliefs as well. The jailer beliefs and the whole household beliefs as well. So there's this kind of explosion of people coming to know Jesus in Philippi. When it was daylight, they've already had a worship service, done, evangelism, done, a baptism service, had a meal, and now it's daylight. The magistrates sent officers to the jail or with the orders release those men, and the jailer says to Paul, Hey, you guys are free to go. Go in peace. Then Paul said to the officers, we got a little problem. They beat us without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens. Who He didn't mention that beforehand? You weren't allowed to do that to a Roman citizen. In an ancient Rome, you were able, as a Roman, to walk freely across the face of the earth and anyone touched you, the full weight of Rome comes down on you. is called the piece of Rome, packs Romana that you simply were protected by Rome. So now here is this Roman colony. That just be a Jew. The Romans didn't care about that. Oh who happens to be a Roman citizen. We're in real trouble, and then you throw us into prison and now you just want to get rid of US quietly. No, no, how about you come down here yourself and escort us out. So this messenger has to go back to the magistrates. And when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed, they were a little bit nervous that they were going to die. They came to appease them and escort them from the prison. And where do they do? They say, please, just leave the city. That's our request. Leave the city.

Notice what Paul and Silas do. They go to Lydia's house, which is not leaving the city. The magistrates say leave the city and they go to Lydia's house, they meet with the brothers and sisters and encourage them and then they left to continue their journey. That's the story of Philippi. That's what we know. We know about Lydia, we know about the jailer, and now we come back to Philippians, Chapter One and and Paul says, I thank my God every time I remember you. So as I'm praying, I really in all my prayers for all of you. I always pray with joy, the same word that was used, that the jailer was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God. Now Paul is saying every time I think about you, I'm filled with joy. And how could you not? How could you not to go out and talk to Lydia and have her and her whole House Become Christians? That would be exciting to be in prison and have an earthquake come and break everything open and the jail or come to know Jesus as Savior and the Little You know jab at the magistrates. You got to come down here and do this yourself. You'd think about it with joy. Even though you were beaten with rods and even though you were put in prison, everything that had happened worked out to make to be good. There was joy. I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first Ay until now, being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. What is that verse? We've heard that before. In fact, if you've been following social media, you see that it. It's been out pete put it up there, and that's sort of the point of today's very sermon. He who began a good work and you will carry it on to completion, until the day of Christ Jesus. So what does...

...that mean? Let me tell you some things. It doesn't mean if you start college, it doesn't mean that Jesus is going to help you finish college. All right, some of you are like Amen. If you start a marriage, it doesn't mean that he's going to help you finish a marriage. What it's purely talking about is your salvation. When you were saved, you were given a gift of faith. which is it even the first step in salvation? It's about the third. The first step was God choosing you before the foundations of the earth, and that choice, God will carry that on until completion. God will choose you before the foundations of the earth. There will be a calling, you will receive the gift of faith, you will be regenerated, you will be justified and sanctified, but at the end you will be changed, you will be made new, and that's what we're talking about. We're talking specifically about salvation. Whatever Jesus starts, he's going to finish and he started on our salvation process before the foundations of the earth, but your salvation process is not yet finished, which sounds weird. You are saved, don't get me wrong, but your salvation process isn't finished yet. For one thing, you're still a sinner. When it's finished, when you're glorified, you will no longer be a sinner. For another thing, you still have this body. Right that it's not perfect, it's not Glori by it. It's not what it's going to be. The future in heaven looks better for us as Christians than the present right now, and that's what this verse is saying. The the work that was started before the foundations of the earth, the work that was started in Lydia and the work that was started in the jailer at the point of salvation, that gift of faith is going to grow and continue and continue and continue until it is completed, and that...

...completion involves your being resurrected with Jesus. I was going to say that completion involves you dying, but not necessarily. We could be raptured right now and that would be that would be fantastic, but for most of us it's going to involve US dying. It's going to be involved as being raised with Jesus in perishable it's going to involve a new body, it's going to be involved a sanctification that's not just positional in heaven, but rather we're actually going to be perfect. That's going to be a great, great time, and the promise is if he started it, he's going to finish it, and that is good news, because I look at my life and I go it's not finished. I haven't achieved sanctification, being made holy, being perfect. I haven't quite achieved perfection yet. There was a little smirk. Not Quite, I'm getting close. Brian's like there's that pride we were talking about. All right, I haven't achieved a perfect body yet. In fact, it seems like I'm going in the opposite direction. Right. Anybody else feeling that? And I know, man, being ten years older from wherever, whatever position you are, it's so funny to hear people ten years younger complain. I'm forty two, everything hurts, and then I hear someone's a home thirty and I'm like go please, thirty. I wish and I just I wonder for those of you who are fifty two looking back going forty two, please, and those sixty two and those who are seventy two and we won't look at them. They but it's get you feel good. You know? Yeah, it's the body's getting worse, and yet I know in the future it's going to be better. Jesus, he began, I'm work at not before the foundations of the earth. He began to work in us with that gift of faith. He's working in US right now to get better, but he's going...

...to bring it to completion. Paul continues. It's right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart, and whether I'm in chains. Wait, hold on, what is that? He's in chains. Yes, this is Paul writing from prison. And you say what prison? We don't know. When prison? We don't know. We have a bunch of ideas, but we don't know with certainty where he is or when, when exactly this is. But we know that he's in chains and he's defending and confirming the Gospel. The word there is where we get apologist from. He's defending, he's an apologist for the Gospel. All of you share in God's grace with me. It's right for me to feel this way. I have you in my heart, whether I'm in chains or defending and confirming the Gospel. All of you share in God's grace with me, in chains or defending and confirming the Gospel. And yet he's doing both. We know that while he's in chains, he's writing Philippians, he's writing other books, he's telling people about Jesus, he's defending the faith. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. Not only does he think about them with joy and with love and they're in his heart, but he longs for them with affection. And this is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. Man, I think I could spend a whole sermon just on this. That love is that a god a love, that self sacrificing love, that love with action. But notice that your love may abound that action, love may abound in knowledge and depth of insight in your mind. So the action love is doing something to your mind. It's both. Sometimes we feel like we were growing in knowledge and depth of insight and it it makes us less loving of people, and sometimes we feel like we're becoming more and...

...more loving of people, but it's we're losing knowledge and depth of insight, and here Paul is connecting both of them to say when your love grows, your knowledge of in depth, your knowledge and your depth of insight grow, and when your knowledge and depth of insight grow, your love should grow. There shouldn't be a time as Christians where we're growing in our knowledge, we understand Philippians more and more, which means we love people less and less. That's the opposite of what Christianity is. That's the opposite of what Paul wants us to do. Our love should abound and we should learn more and more, and the two should be connected. And why? So that you may be able to discern what is best and you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. The reason that we want our love to increase, the reason that we want our knowledge to increase, is so that we can figure out what is best right. That's one of the reasons that's important. We just saw from acts that our behavior affects other people's behavior. Paul and Silas choosing to worship knowing what was best in that situation caused people not to escape from prison, cause the jail or not to commit suicide led to the jailor and his family becoming believers, probably led to a church there right their behavior did that. So your when your love and your knowledge increase, you should be able to discern what is best and you can do the right thing. You can be pure and blameless. Remember, I said I'm not quite perfect yet. What Paul is saying is the more you learn, the more you love, the better you do on that strive for perfection, for that strive for holiness, for what we call sanctification, the more and more you will become like Jesus, the more you love people, the more you know, more and more you'll become like Jesus, pure and blameless, filled with the fruit of righteousness that CO comes through Jesus Christ, that you're once you...

...love people and once you know things, you're going to be able to discern what's best. You're going to be able to be pure and blameless, and that should fill you with a fruit of righteousness. There there should be righteousness that comes from your life if you're loving people and you're doing it the way God wants and you're pure and blameless and you're able to discern what's best. The only thing that should come from you is righteousness. It shouldn't be evil, it shouldn't be hatred, it shouldn't be anything like that. It should just be righteousness, and all that gets turned to Jesus, righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. That your life should people should look at it and go he does the right thing, she does the right thing, that church does the right thing and they might not know that it comes from love and knowledge, but they should see that they do the right thing. And all of that comes from Jesus, and all of that should cause us to praise God, the father. Let's pray, heavenly father. We thank you for Paul, who discerned what was what was best in the jail to know that it was time to worship, it was time to sing, it was time to pray, it was time to tell people about Jesus. Lord. It would be so easy to do something completely different. It would be so easy to give into circumstances at that point and say my my life is bad, this is unfair, and take a few minutes to just feel bad about your situation. And instead they worshiped, they prayed, they love Jesus, and the effect was tremendous, not only on the people in the jail, but the people in the city and the people in the the whole continent. Lord, help us to have that same attitude. We might not have the same result, but we can have the same attitude of growing in knowledge and depth of insight and our love for you,...

...to know that our situations, while changing and not always good, don't affect the fact that you are going to bring our salvation to completion. Lord, help us to see that hope and have that joy, since Jesus name even.

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