“And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16 ESV
Dear Heavenly Father – Thank you Lord for your grace which you have continually wrapped us in. Thank for all that you have done and are doing. Please open our eyes to see you and our ears to hear from you. Wake us up, and please open our understanding. In the name of Jesus – Amen
Grace upon grace upon grace – His grace is sufficient for me! Say it! Affirm it! Glory to God – By grace He is all I need! In His fullness – oh the grace!!!!
I’m sorry, I almost got sidetracked.
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV
This verse begins with the word “and”. That means something is before it that this is attached to. So let’s jump into Paul’s message for the church at Philippi – at the beginning of chapter 4.
The first 3 verses are believed to be part of, what Bible scholars call, Letter C (or the last letter to the church at Philippi. Then beginning at verse 4 through 9, is Letter B (or the second letter). (Verses 21-23 are also thought to be Letter B. Then verses 10 through 20 are believed to be Letter A.) This is based on the theory that the book of Philippians is made up of fragments of three different letters to the church at Philippi. If it is, or isn’t (only history knows) and it doesn’t much matter to us studying it. As the Bible proves over and over – it is alive and relevant to us today as it is, in the year 2020 – and in any future year wherein you may be reading this. God shall supply all your needs.
“Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.” Phil 4:1 NKJV
There is an old Christian saying – that when you see the word “Therefore” you should always try to find out what it is there for. Since Philippians 4 begins with that word, our answer may be at the end of Chapter 3. So let’s take a quick peek:
“17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:17-21 NKJV
Have you ever really studied the life of Paul? Here we are told to follow his example on how to be a Christian. I suppose we should look at this deeper at some point. After last week’s troubles (which, of course, rolled into this week) and knowing Paul also faced many troubles – we are right where we need to be to start this study.
Verses 18 really hit a soft spot with me. Lately, I feel such an urgency. I know you are all probably tired of hearing me quote Romans 13:11 (wake up!) and my messages about not being luke warm (Revelations 3:15-17) and how it is possible to serve God and still hear him say “I never knew you” because you never did the will of God (Matthew 7:21-23).
But here in verse 18 “for many walk” “are enemies of the cross”. I pulled out the lexicon and cross references and dug in deep. Who are these many and where to they walk, how do they walk? This is a letter to the church who has a problem with “many” who continue in sin and are false prophets. And before you and I say – well, I am not a prophet so this isn’t for me – let us remember that included in the ‘false prophets’ are the hypocrites (fakes), the Sunday only Christians (spend their weeks caught up in the cares of this world and only serve God on Sundays), the sleeping (there eyes are still shut and their ears are deaf to the truth),the ones who are luke warm (full of compromises) and the ones refusing to do the will of God (caught up with their own plans and trying to do what is right in their own eyes). I agree with Paul – it makes me weep. I want to shake them, yell at them, stir their spirits, and set them on fire (Holy Ghost fire!)! But only our Father God can reveal to them their dire conditions. All I can do is shine the Light of the Word of God – pointing it out there for all to see.
And where do they walk? They walk among us – in our church, our friends, our love-ones, and I even know of a couple pastors whose character displays these signs (it could even be you or me if we do not diligently guard ourselves). I do not say this in judgment, my friends. Discerning the spirit in which people walk is a Biblical principal. Checking to make sure it is not ourselves is a vital check in – always seek God to make sure we are in His will.
Verse 19 – Paul further describes these “many” as their “god is their belly”. They are serving their own appetite (this many be food or it may be lusts and desires – their own will). Do you recall the verse – how man cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24)? Are we full of pride with our glory in our shame (or as the Good News Translations words it: they are proud of what they should be ashamed of)? Pride is such a great sin as it is the elevation of yourself instead of lifting up the name of Jesus. And finally Paul points out that this “many” are caught up with the things of this world. (Last week during my troubles, it was so tempting to get caught up with it. Both good and bad things of this world are tempting distractions that can keep us from our tasks.) But all of these have one thing in common – they take the place in our lives that belongs to God. They essentially are the opposite of obeying the first 2 of the 10 commandments! I admit this can be shocking as we usually do not even realize when we elevate a thing of this world up to the position in our life that belong to our Father.
“3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” Exodus 20:3-5a NKJV
Dear Father – show us if there is something in our life that we are putting first, before you. Help us tear down the high places of worshiping, serving, and following the wrong things. Once it is revealed to us, give us the grace to repent. We ask for forgiveness of it and desire to put you first in our lives. – in Jesus name we pray – Amen
If you feel ashamed or convicted – pray. That is God is drawing you closer in love. If you feel condemned, then tell that accusing voice where to go – because there is therefore now no condemnation (Romans 8:1) – only conviction unto repentance. Be free of it! If we choose not to repent it is clear in verse 19 – our end shall be destruction. Eternal damnation.
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:20-21 NKJV
The Bible says all we have to do is believe and confess and we shall be saved – but in such a time as this and in combinations with Paul’s teaching – is it really enough? Yes! Because if you truly believe and repent, that will compel you to obey. You must be in the Word of God daily to learn His will and hear His voice.
It is not enough to just say you believe – you must believe with all your heart. Believe and be transformed by His grace. Renounce your citizenship to your country, renounce your citizenship to your causes, and renounce your citizenship to your wants, desires and self-entitlements. You are a child of God and a citizen of heaven!
If you don’t already, and today you would like to be a citizen of heaven, and have a relationship with a God who can communicate with you and be part of your life (and protect you) – one who is full of mighty power and tender love, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**
Thank you for reading ~ Grace be with you
Be healthy and blessed ~ I love you and love one another
Watch and Pray ~ Seek God & keep your eyes on Jesus!
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!