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August 5, 2022 4:00 am
Most of us have used apps like maps or ways to help us determine where we are and how to get where we want to go today on Truth for Life. Alastair Beck explains that the gospel is like a GPS helping us keep our spiritual bearings in the midst of a lost and broken world invite you to turn with me as we read from the New Testament and from Paul's letter to the Philippians read in chapter 2 from verse one through to the end of verse 18.
Philippians chapter 2 beginning in verse one, so if there is any encouragement in Christ any comfort from love any participation in the spirit any affection and sympathy complete my joy by being of the same mind having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so no not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ. I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith. I'm glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise, you also should be glad and rejoice with me, thanks be to God for his word for the verses to which I should like to draw our attention, are essentially verses 14 and 15 of the passage that we just followed along.
As I read and write you to turn their and as you turn let me turn our thoughts to God in prayer. I know Grace's father we pray for help to be given to the one who speaks and to each of us as we listen for that sense of humility that is characteristic of following beneath the authority of your word that there will be no clouding of the clarity that is contained in your word that by your grace. There may be that responsive. Each of our lives to its truth to this end, we seek your help in Christ's name. Amen. Well, Paul writes this letter as with others of his letters from a position of imprisonment probably in Rome and he is writing to encourage his readers, he's writing.
Actually, if you like is a good and the faithful pastor and from the very beginning. He identifies them along the lines of the song that we've just been singing. You will notice in the opening verse of his letter he is writing to all the saints in Christ Jesus, who are at Philippi, so you have this juxtaposition of being in Christ and in Philippi. The real nature of who and what they are is on account of God's grace to them and they are living their lives. They are in Philippi know some of you will know that many years have elapsed since the gospel had come first to Europe in that exact location and you can relive that for yourselves in acts chapter 16, where we have the record of Paul and his companions going down to a place where prayers were being said and it was in that context that the first church in Europe was established now as we read his letter to the Philippians, it becomes clear that Paul is preoccupied with the gospel he's preoccupied with the gospel and when we say the gospel we mean what the Bible means, namely the good news of what God has done in Christ to make it possible for us to know God and to love him what God has done in Jesus to set us free from ourselves and from sin and from the devil and from death and Paul is writing to encourage them because he knows that this is actually the journey on which they have begun. And so, for example, in verse six he says, I'm confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ and in the passage that we read in verse 1200 of chapter 2, he says to them I I'm I'm encouraging you that just as you've always obeyed when I'm with you. So now in my absence. I want you to keep on obeying know my purpose is not just to reinforce this but let me pointed out to you and you can follow up on this on your own. Paul is clearly not ashamed of the gospel. He doesn't see this in Philippines. He says it in Romans you remember the beginning of Romans one. I'm not ashamed of the gospel. He says the ones to whom he writes are according to verse five of chapter 1. His partners in the gospel. The reason that he's in jail is on account of his commitment to the gospel. He wants them to make sure that they live their lives in a manner that is worthy of the gospel in find he wants them to stand firm in the gospel he wants them to strive side-by-side in the gospel and by the time he is getting to the end of his letter, even though he has to tweak the noses of a couple of ladies that are in disagreement with one another. He reminds them that they are actually and have been brought together by and for the gospel. All of that simply to acknowledge that Paul once Saul of Tarsus is a gospel man it be impossible to meet him without being made aware of the fact that he was truly amazed by God's grace in his life that Mercy had been shown to him he would be in an opponent of Jesus and disinterested in anything to do with him had been radically changed by the gospel and now I want us to come to these two verses in particular. Verses 14 and 15. I want to use them this morning and I say use them because in many ways, are our message is to take up this very theme and apply it particularly to ourselves. On this day. I want us to see these two verses as an opportunity to get our spiritual earrings to get our spiritual bearings. We understand what it is to get one's bearings to discover is one one's position or one situation relative to one's surroundings.
That's what I'm talking about some of us have recollections of our fathers, who were saying to him, where are we, what, where we going, how will we get there and and we recall him saying, just give me a moment to get my bearings, just give me a moment to get my bearings, and so we are taking a moment this morning just to get our bearings and to consider that along three lines on account of the fact that Paul first of all, reminds those to whom he writes about their identity who they are, secondly, that he makes clear to them where they are. And thirdly, he reminds them of what it is they are supposed to be doing now what I want to do is to recognize that he has written this to first century Philippi, and here we are in 21st-century Cleveland and the principles as they relate to the people of God with her applied in the first century in Europe or in the 21st century in America. Help us to get our bearings so will think of it, not in terms of the but in terms of we all right so first of all, he reminds us who we are and of course as no surprise to this use either in verse 15. He refers to them as the children of God. He says you are the children of God. In verse 12 of chapter 1 he refers to the messes brothers and sisters.
What a strange thing to say, there are clearly not his physical brothers and sisters know it's because of the relationship they have one father and when he refers to them in that way. As children of God. He's not talking about it by way of creation in the sense that we are all the evidence of God's handiwork, but rather these talking about it in relationship to redemption. So for example if you think about the beginning of the church and the conversion of Lydia, who was a worshiper of God that when you read in that passage it says that the spirit of God worked in her heart to pay attention to what Paul had to say. He goes down to the place of prayer, and in that context of God-fearing people. He begins to speak to them in the spirit of God worked in her heart in such a way that she paid attention to good reminder is not some of your listening to me now that you may not be paying attention.
I cannot command your attention. I cannot command my own attention the fact of the matter is, it is the spirit of God at work in the heart and mind of a person that even grants the ability to pay attention.
So when somebody says, are you paying attention while Lydia paid attention and I she paid attention. She realized that for her to be converted involve two things. Number one credence. There was something that had to be believed, namely who Jesus is and what Jesus had done. And secondly, commitment that is commitment to the one who made the promises now when we think in these terms. As we consider the notion I was thinking this morning as I was driving here, as I just of the phrase, children of God in my mind and you know that I have a problem with this, but I was thinking again of of Woodstock and I could hear a Joni Mitchell. See, I came upon a child of God. He was walking along the role and I said to myself, yes, but what we you are talking about a child of God. By way of creation, where all children of God. He made us may ask you this morning as he adopted you into his family. Do you believe in Jesus.
While that's the credence part. Have you committed your life to Jesus. You see, this is what's involved is not belief in a power greater than ourselves. This is what makes the Christian as distinct from every other religious notion in the world were not talking here about do you believe in God know when October do you believe in a power that is within ourselves or beyond ourselves know what actually talking and were not talking incidentally about deciding to become spiritual no actually talking about receiving Jesus were talking about resting in Jesus as the one and the only one who is able to set us the right way so number one who are weak where the children of God. Number two. Who are we. We are citizens of heaven, you say, let's not in our versus no.
But it is in the passage the wider passage verse 20 the our citizenship is in heaven, and from we awaited the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Philippians understood what it was to be living away from their real location because Philippi was a Roman colony and so the people lived in Philippi, but when they thought in terms of authority look to Rome and he looked to Caesar in the understood that they were in one sense aliens from their true location. They were established as an outpost of this kingdom. And so it is that he is writing to them and is reminding them that their primary allegiance is to Christ and his kingdom there primary allegiance is to Christ and his kingdom.
This of course is very very important, and when we think of ourselves this morning rejoicing as we do in the particular celebrations that are ours. We realize that we are a fairly diverse congregation.
There are people here. His roots are in New Zealand. People from Africa. People from the Ukraine from Russia. People from all over the world that are present and very kindly and very graciously joined us in the singing of our anthem, but is not actually their answer. So what is it that unites us that are shared anthem, but the same father for our citizenship is a citizenship that is established as a result of his divine intervention in our life's and that is true across the whole world in any language and in any place and so when we think in terms of all that we have for which to be thankful. As a nation and surely we do, we realize, as well that are ultimate allegiance is to God himself. Once we were dead we been made alive once we were lost I would been found once we were helpless. Now we are made new ones. We were without hope. And now we've been born again to a living hope I once was lost in darkest night and thought I knew the way. That's what some of you would want to sell me so some of you have told me I used to come there and listen. I have no clue what was going on the tour and then somehow or another the word of God begin alive to me. I came to Jesus as I was weary and worn and sat and I found in him a resting place, and he has made me glad.
So where the people of God called by his name. We are citizens of heaven. Secondly, where are we, who are we, the children of God, citizens of heaven and where are we will where where they will geographically they were in a very nice spot. Some of us have been to Philippi in his jolly nice all around that region. That's where they were physically but spiritually notice where he says they live you live. He says in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation so physically there.
They are geographically and yet their intersection with the culture in which they live, is the fact that they are now demonstrably different by grace through faith from their surrounding environment.
There is a contrast. They are not blended in with their distinct from and it is their very distinction from it that provides them with an opportunity to speak about the fact that their ultimate allegiance is not Caesar in Rome, but it is Christ and his kingdom. What is true Philippi in the first century is to be true of us in Cleveland in the 21st century we like them live in a crooked and twisted generation.
We live in a war and a diseased world you see that description here in our text crooked and twisted is not peculiar to time and place is not as if once they go through with that in the first century and they moved on into the second and the third and the fourth and so on, and is the unfolding drama of history to place people becoming better and better and better and eventually, of course, when we finally got to the 21st century it was before. It was perfect and reread this and we said what is it possibly mean crooked and twisted and disease and broken we see is not peculiar to Philippi in the first century. It is representative of our world. After Genesis chapter 3. It is representative of the fact that we live in a world that is fallen, and as a result of it being fallen.
Things are flawed, and it is the flawed nature of it. The curved crooked nature of which is in opposition to the amazing plan and purpose of God from the very beginning. A God who creates absolute perfection who provides everything that is necessary to enjoy the world that he is made to enjoy the relationships that will be manifested in that world and then all of a sudden everything takes a downward turn. Now I like to take that which you say I shouldn't have have a sneaking suspicion that you are keeping that from me because that's really the key to it all the same thing that is said even today. Our world is desperately ill. Our world is disease. Our world is searching for a cure. A cure that is only found in the gospel do believe this listen, you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked right Paul in Ephesians 2 of following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind, alienated from the God who made his on two fronts by our own rebellion and by his settled reaction to sin. Therefore, unless there is the opportunity of reconciliation. We remain in a dreadful state we civilize Navajo story as it doesn't the psalmist say that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Yes, and we are around your neighbor fearfully made wonderfully made. There is the evidence of whether psalmist also is honest enough to say I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me lazy, that's a big help when you think about raising your children because if we have a biblical view of the doctrine of creation in the biblical view of the fall that we really what were dealing with is not simply a bunch of little angels, but angelic looking little creatures who will defy you as quick as look at you, who will explain to you when they're going to bed and why they know that time is on their clock has nothing to do with you that why they need the car keys that why it is a stupid idea that either why the what what what is that.
Did they go to school for this no, what's the problem crooked crooked walked is not a straight line. Now you see what the Bible actually does is then make clear there's what Paul is doing. He's reminding these people as they live in Philippi. Listen, you must remember the fact that you live in a crooked and perverse generation that you live in an environment that you have been actually removed from spiritually and yet you live in that you go to work in that every single day.
So do we world is searching for answers searching for cure.
That's only found in the gospel listing to Alistair Begg on Truth for Life. If you'd like to find out more about the gospel you can take a few minutes and watch a couple of free videos we have on our website.
Just visit the learn more page that Truth for Life.org/learn more and you can download these videos.
That's an easy and convenient way for you to share the gospel with others. Alister often reminds us that the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things but it's easy for us to get distracted and to head off on a rabbit trail when were studying the Bible on her own. So how we read the Bible in a way that keeps us focused on the main things of the book, read this first.
A simple guide to getting the most from the Bible offers tips and examples for how we can hone in on the essentials when were studying God's word requester copy of read this first you give a donation online Truth for Life.org/donate the book, read this first is perfect for sharing with a friend who is new to Bible reading. It's also a great book to give to new members in your church. If you'd like to purchase extra copies.
You'll find them in our online store where there are available at our cost is a Truth for Life.org/store Bob Lapine. We hope you enjoy your weekend and are able to worship with your local church. Monday will hear the conclusion of today's message will learn how to wake up step up and speak up so that we don't get caught in the dark Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life with the learning years were living