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SIP4: Living out the Gospel #dumcMY #sermon

Pastor Daniel Ho, 21/04/2012

This is the 4th instalment of the Studies in Philippians series.

Membership is important because of 4 Cs

  1. Cover – spiritual cover and protection.
  2. Commitment – there is a need for us to be commitment to a local body of Christ. If we from church to church, it is bad for both us and the church. We will not grow.
  3. Complement – we are all part of the body of Christ. We complement one another.
  4. Contributions – each one of us brings our gifts and talents to the body of Christ.
“My presence here is to comfort the afflicted and the afflict the comfortable.” Pastor Daniel told the people he ministered to in New Zealand.

The text is today taken from Phi 2:12-30.

Phil 2:12-30 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed– not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (13) for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (14) Do everything without complaining or arguing, (15) so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe (16) as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. (17) But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. (18) So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. (19) I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. (20) I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. (21) For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. (22) But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. (23) I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. (24) And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon. (25) But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. (26) For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. (27) Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. (28) Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. (29) Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, (30) because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.

How to live out the gospel?

We can easily impress people with our knowledge. However, people can ONLY be convinced by how we live our lives.

On our part:

To work out our faith humbly and seriously (v12)

Fear and trembling do not mean bring terrified but rather having the sense of urgency.

Exemplary in life, growth, speech and conduct (2 Pet 3:18a, Eph 4:29-32, 1 Tim 4:12)

2Pe 3:18a But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Eph 4:29-32 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (30) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (31) Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (32) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

When we become Christian, the Holy Spirit will change us. One way we change is the way we speak. We get it of our bitterness, resentments, etc. When we have a non-Christian telling how can a Christian like us do something like that, it is a slap to us and also a slap to Jesus.

1Ti 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Even for a young person like Timothy, Paul urged him to set an example. We need to model that like of life. The gospel has the power to transform and change.

Do all things joyfully and obediently (v14)

We can all do something without arguing and complaining. Yet, Paul set a very high standard by saying we must do everything without arguing and complaining.

The example of Jesus (Phil 2:5-8)

Phil 2:5-8 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, (7) but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (8) And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!

Jesus abdicated his power and position. He has every right to have sonship and divinity. He lived a life of obedience and submission.

To shine for Jesus and offer hope to people (v15, 16; cf. Mt 5:16, 1 Pet 3:15)

Mat 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

We don’t do good deeds for others to see so they praise us or even the Father in heaven. We do good deeds as a matter of cause.

When others turn to us in times of need, it is because we have a heart to care.

1Pe 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

We live in a depraved world. We are to offer hope.

People don’t care what you know until they know how much you care. ~John C. Maxwell, quoted by Pastor Daniel

A cynical Dutch atheist told Pastor Daniel it would be better for him to meet a good Buddhist, a good Hindu or a good Muslim than to meet a bad Christian. Pastor Daniel told him there is no such thing as a bad Christian. There is either a Christian or a non-Christian. A ‘bad Christian’ is not a Christian.

“Have crocodile skin.” Pastor Daniel on being thick-skinned when we share Gospel.

On Paul’s part

that he would not run or labour in vain (v16b-18)

That all his efforts will be well worth it.

On God’s Part:

He works in us for His good purpose (v13; Prov 19:21)

Pro 19:21 Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

We have many dreams but are they God’s plans? When it comes from God, we know it will prevail. Pray to God and submit to God. Be guided by God in our decision. Make decision when we are spiritual and close to God.

He wants us to be amazing kids of His (v15)

Examples of living out the gospel:

Timothy (v19-23)

He is unequal (v20-22)

He takes a genuine interest in others (v20, 21)

We can have all the wealth and accolades, but it’s who we touch that matters. We cannot remember the last 5 winners of the American Idols or BPL. But we can remember 1 teacher who impacted our lives.

We need to care for the last, the least and the lost. ~Pastor Daniel Ho

He has proven himself and served well in the gospel (v22)

Epaphroditus (v 25-30)

Paul mentioned 5 things about Epaphroditus.

He is brother, fellow worker, fellow solder, messenger & care-giver (v25)

He has a compassionate heart (v26)

He is a risk-taker (v29, 30)

Epaphroditus was willing to stake it all. Do we?

Pastor Daniel met Bruce and Kathleen Nicholls in NZ. They took a risk and ministered in India for 40 years. Today Bruce is 85 and he drove 40 minutes to take his wife to the church meeting.

Pastor Daniel shared 4 things we all leave behind:

  1. Memories – what people remember
  2. Souvenirs – proofs of our existence
  3. Trophies – achievements, success, etc.
  4. Legacy – who we are and how we live our lives and how people become who they are because of us.
Memories will fade one day. Souvenirs and trophies will tarnish and be gone one day, or sold for money. Legacies remain.

Welcome and honour such servants – people who have sacrificed much for the King and Kingdom

Questions for discussion

  1. Why is it hard not to “do anything without complaining or arguing” (Phi 2:14) How can you overcome this? How can you also “work out your salvation with fear and trembling … so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generated, in which you shine like stars in the universe” (Phil 2:12-15)
  2. In what ways are Timothy and Epaphroditus modelling for us in Christian witness and ministry? What is one area you have been challenged by them and what change(s) will you make to your witness and ministry?
Categories: dumcMy, Gospel, Sermon
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