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Does This Outfit Match?

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Philippians 1:27-30
Preached Wednesday April 17, 2013

Introduction:
We have been studying the theme of Philippians which is “A Christ like Mind that leads to Christian Joy”. Chapter one is all about single mindedness toward the Gospel. Verses 1-11 – speak of the Fellowship of the Gospel. Verses 12-26 – speak of the furtherance of the Gospel. Verses 27-30 speak of the fitness of the Gospel.
There are certain things that we are taught about fashion. Never combine one kind of stripes with another. Do not mix plead with plead or busy with busy. There are many different styles that fit all kinds of personalities, but there are some things that should never be worn together. On the other hand, there are certain combinations that work especially well. When an outfit is particularly flattering one might say, “that becomes you.” By that we mean that your clothes match each other, match you, and make you look really good.
Tonight we are going to talk about a conversation (manner of life) that goes well with the Gospel that you claim to believe and proclaim. There are certain behaviors and attitudes that do not match the gospel. There are others that go really well with the Gospel. As you consider your typical manner of life as coupled with your profession of faith, does your outfit match?
I. Consistency goes well with the Gospel.
A. You should do right even when unsupervised.

Philippians 1:27
27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

B. Your manner of life should not change in order to pacify your audience.
Philippians 2:12
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

C. A Consistent testimony is noticed.
Ephesians 1:15
15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

1 Thessalonians 3:6
6 But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:
II. Unity of the brethren goes well with the Gospel.
Philippians 1:27
27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

A. Stand fast together
1. Do not allow personal differences to divide you.

Philippians 4:1-2
Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. 2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
2. Have the same love – be others centered.
Philippians 2:1-4
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
B. Be of one mind, united by truth.

Ephesians 4:11-14
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

1. Guided by preaching.
2. Unified by one source of truth.
3. Anchored to unchanging truth.

C. Strive together for the faith.

Jude 3
3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

III. Boldness goes well with the Gospel.
Philippians 1:28-30
28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. 29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; 30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

A. Realize what is in store for those who oppose the truth.

Isaiah 51:7–8 (AV)
7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. 8 For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.
Isaiah 51:12 (AV)
12 I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;

B. Do not stop preaching!

Acts 5:40-42
40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

C. Pray for more boldness.

Ephesians 6:18–19 (AV)
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Conclusion:

Hypocrisy clashes with the Gospel you are wearing. Make sure you adorn the beauty of consistency. Strife is a hideous clash for a Christian in any season. Chose rather to wear those things founded in the sweet unity of the brethren. Fear is out, boldness is in. Follow this advice and your living outfit will always match.

The Heavenly Zone

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Ephesians 1:1-3
Preached Wednesday Evening May 1, 2012

Introduction:

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.

Many of us are familiar with the opening line of season one of the 1959 television series, “The Twilight Zone”. The narrator made viewers aware that there was a dimension that was real though unseen. It was a place where normal universal rules were suspended and new and strange things could take place.

Today we will begin to study the Book of Ephesians, a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote from prison to the believers in Ephesus. This book is designed to fan the flame of love in our hearts toward the Savior by helping us see the incredible love He has already shown us.

This evening we are going to look at an interesting truth. Look at verse 3 for a minute:

Ephesians 1:3 (AV)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Paul is telling the Ephesian believers that they have already been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. The construction of the Greek and the context shows us that Paul is talking about a heavenly realm in which we live while here on earth. Believers are blessed because even on this sin cursed world, we live in the Heavenly dimension.

As we begin our study through this incredible book, we are going to be introduced to the some of the main operatives within this heavenly dimension. Tonight examine your heart to ensure that you indeed can be counted as one to whom Paul is talking in this book. Once you are sure you are one of the saints, then open your mind and heart and learn how to deepen your relationships within the Heavenly Zone.

I. The Apostle Paul lives in the Heavenly Zone

Ephesians 1:1 (AV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

A. Apostle – from “sent forth” = messenger, envoy

John 20:21 (AV)
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

2 Corinthians 5:20 (AV)
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

1. Apostles have seen the Lord and testify of Him and His resurrection form personal knowledge.

Acts 1:21–22 (AV)
21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

Acts 22:14–15 (AV)
14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. 15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

2. Immediately called to that office by Christ

Luke 6:13 (AV)
13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

Galatians 1:1 (AV)
1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

3. Infallibly inspired

John 14:26 (AV)
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 16:13 (AV)
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 (AV)
13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

4. Possessed miracle working power.

Mark 16:20 (AV)
20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Mark 16:20 (AV)
20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

B. Called by the will of God – God appoints people to different types of service as it pleases Him.

1 Timothy 2:7 (AV)
7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

2 Timothy 1:1 (AV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 4:11–12 (AV)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Ephesians 4:16 (AV)
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

II. The Saints live in the Heavenly Dimension

Ephesians 1:1–2 (AV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

A. Saints = “Saints” (hogioi) is from the OT term “holy,” (kadosh) which meant “set apart for God’s service.

1. Used in the plural – not ever used about individuals granted an office by “The Church”.

2. To be saved is to be part of the covenant community.

1 Corinthians 1:2 (AV)
2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

2 Corinthians 1:1 (AV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:

Philippians 1:1 (AV)
1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Colossians 1:2 (AV)
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

B. These Saints were holy because of imputed righteousness.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (AV)
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Ephesians 1:4 (AV)
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Colossians 1:22 (AV)
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

C. These particular saints gathered in Ephesus.

In the time of the Romans it bore the title of “the first and greatest metropolis of Asia.” It was distinguished for the Temple of Diana (q.v.), who there had her chief shrine; and for its theatre, which was the largest in the world, capable of containing 50,000 spectators. It was, like all ancient theatres, open to the sky. Here were exhibited the fights of wild beasts and of men with beasts.

D. To the Faithful = Not faithful in the sense of fidelity and perseverance, but believing, as John 20:27; Acts 10:45. It is to be included with the saints under the one article.

John 20:27 (AV)
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

Acts 10:45 (AV)
45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

E. In Christ

1. Phrase used 27 times in this letter alone.

2. Position of the believer.

3. In Christ = able to draw on the wealth that is in Christ.

John 15:4–5 (AV)
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

? Paul uses the term “us” or “we” 33 times in this book.

? Paul, a man called by God to a particular ministry identifies to saints called by God to a particular church.

? 33 different times he is going to explain what they share together as believers and fellow servants of God.

? Our study of Ephesians then will focus on what we as believers have in common with both the Apostle and the ancient Ephesian saints.

? Paul is going to explain what we share in our relationship with each other and with Jesus as we live in this Heavenly Dimension while here on earth.

III. God the Father lives in the Heavenly Dimension

Ephesians 1:3 (AV)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

A. God has blessed us – both clergy and laity – all saints called by God through faith in Jesus. = “to cause to prosper, to make happy, to bestow blessings on,”

B. Blessed in ALL spiritual blessings – a phrase that occurs 13 times.

2 Peter 1:3–4 (AV)
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

C. We are blessed right now in the heavenliess.

This LOCATIVE (of sphere) NEUTER PLURAL ADJECTIVE “in the heavenly places” (epouranious) was only used in Ephesians (cf. 1:20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12). From the context of all of its usages, it must mean the spiritual realm in which believers live here and now, not heaven.

Ephesians 1:20 (AV)
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Ephesians 2:6 (AV)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Ephesians 3:10 (AV)
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

Ephesians 6:12 (AV)
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Conclusion:

The Apostle Paul way back in 62 AD wrote a church that needed to develop a passionate love for the Lord. In 95 AD or so, Jesus wrote that same church and told them that they had lost their first love. They had not fully embraced and passed down the truths that are contained in this Epistle. If you are a believer, you share the same things that the Apostle Paul and the Saints at Ephesus shared. You have been blessed with all spiritual blessings and are now operating in the realm of the heavenly places. Keep alert because there is great power to harness in order to live for God while living in The Heavenly Zone.

No Transportation Sunday January 2

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Due to Mechanical Difficulties, the bus will not run this morning.  Please call 860-496-8022 if you need a ride.