Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease
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Christ in People
FATHER How precious is the privilege of having in our hands this blessed Book, the Bible the Eternal Word of God. May we approach it, Father, not as we would another book which we would exam that book and pass judgment on it; but may we rather reverse that process and allow this Book to exam us and pass judgment on us so that with profit we shall receive that which You have for us. May we not rebel against the Word, but may we rejoicingly receive it with hearts mixed in faith with the Truth that we hear, so that we shall indeed receive it with profit. So, we thank You for what we are going to do as we open Your Word together. May the Spirit of God open our hearts to receive. I pray in Jesus Name. Amen.
Open your Bible with me, please, to the book of Philippians, which is the portion that were going to study together in our series this week, and well be continuing right on with the series day by day. When I was asked a number of months ago to submit the series, I prayed about what the Lord would have me share; and I believe that this is a book that has been precious to many of you, as it has been to me. It is probably one of the most personal of the books that Paul wrote. It is also one of the most profitable, I believe, for our own spiritual nurture and encouragement. In one respect the book of Philippians is simply a gift-acknowledgement letter. (During the many years Ive associated with Lancaster Bible College, it fell to my lot month by month to write gift-response letters; and sometimes you didnt know what to say or to say the same thing a little differently.) So, one of the most precious books in all the Word, this book of Philippians was written in a response to a gift that Paul had received from these dear folks there at Philippi. He had a special love and concern for them, and they seemed to have been a very precious congregation.
May we just keep our hands there in Philippians and turn back to Acts 16 to see something of the background of the book, because its in this sixteenth chapter of the book of Acts that we find Pauls ministry to the Philippians beginning. In the beginning of the chapter, he comes to Derbe in Asia Minor, and then to Lystra, ....and behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus [or Timothy That word means, one who fears God], the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess [which] believed; but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem [that is, from the Jerusalem council]. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
Now in the verses that follow, in verses 6 and 7 of Acts 16, Paul endeavored to go further in Asia Minor. He says, Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Spirit to preach the Word in Asia [That was one segment of Asia Minor], After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And it is here that in a vision, Paul received his commission to go to Europe. Remember?...that prior to this time, the gospel had not penetrated what we would call, the Western World. It had been confined to Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria and that area, and then up in Asia Minor; but, it had not yet gone over into the area that we call now as Europe. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia [Macedonia was the northern part of Greece; Achai is the southern part], and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately, we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel unto them.
Paul might be called an itinerate preacher. He was on the move. Someone will say, Well, I guess he wasnt too much a success. They didnt put up with him very long at any particular place. About the most he stayed anywhere was around three years. But Paul kept moving with the gospel. Someone has said that at the beginning of the gospel is go! And, Paul went with the gospel. Now maybe none of you can travel as much as he did, but I believe that there is a Go to the gospel; and I believe that God guides in that Go to the gospel. Im convinced that the Holy Spirit guided Paul as they penetrated a completely new area, moving into Macedonia which was a first launching place for the gospel in Europe.
Continuing in verse 11, Therefore loosing from Troas [where they got the vision], we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; And from thence to Philippi [Philippi was about nine miles inland from the port], which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony [meaning that it had been annexed by Rome and actually had Roman rulership]: and we were in that city abiding certain days. And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted there. And it was then that Lydia, a seller of purple, after hearing the Word of God, she and her household were baptized, having believed on the Lord, and they became the first members at the church at Philippi. I remember some years ago, I heard a pastor speak on this passage and he referred to the charter members at the church of Philippi. The first would have been Lydia, a business woman and her household, which may have included not only her own begotten children, but maybe those who also lived in the household and worked with her.
Now theres a question about the second charter member, this certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination [verse 16], and she was set free of her demon bondage, by the apostle Paul; and some feel that she remained as a charter member of the church at Philippi. But, the people were stirred up against these men and accused them of being Jews that do exceeding trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. So, against Paul and Timothy and his associates, they brought an unjust charge; and then, because of this, they took them before the magistrates who tore their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. Do you think that after an experience like that, you could have said or sung, The Lord is good, Tell it wherever you go? But, I believe that when Paul and Silas were there, they did...[What?] ....they prayed, and sang praises unto God... That must have included, The Lord is good. ....and the prisoners heard them. What a time for a testimony.....a time when everything seemingly had gone wrong. A rather insignificant beginning for the church, A Place of Progress....yes, because they moved into the place where God wanted them to be; but it became A Place of Persecution for them. But, God delivered them from this, sending ....a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every ones bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword [He was going to kill himself], supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
(I heard a teacher refer to that. He said, Thats true of the books of the Bible too.) God has preserved this Book, even as He preserved His own, and He could have delivered them and set them free; but God had a greater work for Paul to do....and that was to witness to the keeper of the jail, who when he heard that they were still there, ....brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And one of the greatest verses of the Bible is in the Word of God because of this incident, because this jailer wanted to know what to do to be saved. And he said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Now were in an area of the country where Im afraid that there arent enough that know what this verse really means. There are a lot of dear friends around us here that say, Youve got to keep on believing, believing, believing. If any point you fail to believe or stop believing, youve lost your salvation. I was raised in an environment like that, and I thought that I lost my salvation when I was a young man. I was very concerned about it. Do you know what this is in the Greek? This is an aorist imperative, the word believe; and it means that it takes place once in a point of time and remains so. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. That doesnt means that you quit believing, but it does mean that its an initial transaction that remains. Its very much like getting married. When you say, I do, youre married. Now you dont feel as married as you do twenty or thirty or forty or fifty years later; but its just as real and just as legal and just as true! as soon as that initial transaction has taken place. And this was true for them. And so the church was begun.
And, this became an exemplary church. It was a church not only of Progress, where the Word of God first penetrated into Europe, not only a Place of Persecution, but it became for Paul A Place of Provision. It was the one church that ministered to Paul in his times of need by sending gifts to him. In fact, so great were they in this regard, that Paul used them as an example to the Corinthians, when he wrote to the Corinthians in II Corinthians chapter 8; and he begins there two great chapters on the matter of stewardship, the matter of giving. He says to them that the people of Macedonia had been great in their giving, and this was of those people ( and especially of the Philippians). Notice in II Corinthians 8:l, Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit [we want you to know] of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy....[and by the way, the Philippian Epistle is an epistle of joy and these believers at Philippi were filled with joy, but even though they were poor] ....their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did,not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. They did much more than was expected, even though they were apparently a rather poor group of people, nevertheless, out of their poverty.....and because of their joy, they gave abundantly to Paul and his ministry for Christ. So as a result of that, that he writes this letter to them, this letter to the Philippians, to acknowledge a gift having been recently received.
Now exactly where Paul was, when he wrote this letter, were not exactly sure. There are those who think that he was in prison in Ephesus, when he wrote this. Im not going to debate or discuss that. Others feel that he might have been in Caesarea, but most of the scholars studying the New Testament believe he was probably in Rome. Some even believe that this was his last letter. I dont quite go along with that. I think that II Timothy is the concluding letter of Pauls life; but it was in a time when Paul, himself, was once again in prison, that he writes this epistle to them....probably in prison in Rome....and from a damp, dark prison, he writes this epistle.
Now we dont know whether he wrote this epistle with his own hand. He did the letter to Philemon, he wrote the concluding part of the book to the Galatians....but we dont know whether he wrote this. Some think that Timothy wrote it; but whether he wrote it with his own hand or dictated it to someone, it was indeed the Word of Truth that God wanted for these Philippians and which He has preserved for us today, as part of the eternal Word of God. And so, it is a very precious and profitable letter.
Now in the study were going to undertake this week, you see in the program that there are eight subjects that were going to consider consecutively in the study. If you have the booklet with you, you may want to write in the portions that were going to deal with, so you know what to read as we come to them. Tonight, were going to deal with the first subject, Christ in People, and thats in chapter 1 verses 1-11. Tomorrow afternoon, we want to relate to Christ in Our Problems and Paul was in the midst of problems himself, here being in prison; and thats in chapter 1 verses 12-20. Then third, well be dealing with, Christ Our Power in chapter 1 verses 21-30; and in the fourth study, Christ Our Pattern chapter 2 verses 1-11; and then in our fifth study, Christ in Our Practice chapter 2:12-30. Our sixth study will be, Christ Our Pursuit chapter 3, the entire chapter verses 3-21. Then, the seventh study, Christ Our Perspective thats the fourth chapter, verses 1-7 thats where you have Euodias and Syntyche, the two ladies who didnt get along....and he gives them some good perspective there. And in the final study, Christ in Our Provision, the concluding section of the book, chapter 4 verses 8-23.
Now weve looked at the background, weve looked at the book; and now I want us to look at chapter 1, just for a quick overview. The three messages that we will deal with in chapter 1: First, Christ in People, and the theme of the whole book of Philippians is found in this first chapter. Its in verse 21, For to me to live is Christ [and really in the Greek, its just CHRIST For me to live, Christ. In other words, CHRIST the whole dominance of his life], and to die is gain. You know, it is said of Westleys converts, They die well!
I visited out at Landisville campground, last week, and the man in charge said that the preacher ought to be always prepared to pray, to preach, and to die. Well, I think that every believer ought to be at least prepared to die, if he cant preach or at least to pray (even if he cant do it in public).
But believers who know the Lord Jesus lose the fear of death. They know that To live is Christ, and to die is gain, because it means that To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. So, the great theme For me to live is Christ! So, its Christ, Who is Our Life is the theme of the book of Philippians CHRIST, our life, and you could add that really in each of these that we are going to be dealing with each of the eight messages: Christ, our life in People tonight, and in that, Christ is sharing with us. Then in the second study in chapter 1, Christ in our Problems suffering with us; then, Christ, Our Power sufficient for us. And all those are great truths that combine to stabilize us in the midst of life with all of its problems and difficulties....to know that Christ is working, not only in us alone. Dont ever get the idea that you alone are the only spiritual person left on this earth. Do you remember Elijah felt that way? I only, I only am left. No, no. The Lord told him, I have seven thousand that have not bowed their knee to Baal; and dont get the idea that just because youre having problems, and maybe they seem like unique and unusual and strange problems, that youre the only one thats really living true. No, God is also working in other people, and in their problems, and He is their power. He is their sufficiency, just as He is yours.
Now in our theme tonight, Christ in People, it takes me back to the verse that quite a few years ago, I adopted as my lifes verse I sometimes call it my wifes verse as well, because when we were going together, we were seeking the Lords will as to whether we should continue our relationship; and separately and independent of each other, the Lord gave us a verse and it relates beautifully to our theme tonight, Christ in People. Its Psalm 34:3, O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. Thats good not only for husband and wife, but thats good for all believers. We need each other in the family of God. O magnify [make the Lord great] with me [all of you, you see], and let us [all of us] exalt His name together. I often say its like charcoal. You know if youre going to get a good charcoal fire going, youve got to keep those coals together. You just cant isolate them out and set one off somewhere here and say, Well, now Im really going to glow. No, it will lose its glow....and we need each other in the family of God, just as Paul needed these dear Philippians and thats the very first thing that he emphasizes in these opening verses as he writes to them. Let me just read the verses 1-11, Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ [or in the compassion of Christ]. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Notice his concern for them. Its interesting and in this first chapter youll find nineteen references to Christ. Youll find twenty five references to you or ye (referring to the saints there); and thirty three references of Paul to himself and to those who were with him. So, theres an inner relationship here of Christ and others and himself: Verses 1-7, Saints and Success; and verses 8-11, Saints and Spirituality Servants and Saints. Paul refers to himself and Timothy, his associate in the work of the Lord, as the servants of Jesus Christ.
In John chapter 15:15, the Lord Jesus said, I call you not servants....but I have called you friends.... But you know?....We ought to delight to call ourselves servants, because all of the men of God of past ages and I believe even up to the present, delight to call themselves, servants.....and by the way, that word in the Greek is slaves of Jesus Christ. Paul and Timothy delighted to call themselves servants; and so they addressed this epistle to the dear people there at Philippi and called them, saints, ....to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi....
Now theres a belief in the Roman Church that you become a saint, youre declared such after you die and then they go back and try to figure out if you performed a miracle or something like this and lived a most unusual life; and then if they can find enough evidence, they will canonize you. It means that youve met the measure, the canon Youve met the measure of being a saint. And, so you become a saint, but its long after you die.
Now there are others that interpret this word saint that means, the one who is unusual in his attainments of holiness that he never sins, and that kind of a person is a saint. Well, saints ought to strive towards that, I assure you. But, in the Word of God, a saint is a true Christian, that is, one who has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and received the finished work of Calvary as his only plea for salvation; and having believed on Christ, he is immediately declared to be literally, a holy one. Thats what the word saint means holy ones.
I had a question and answer time down in Florida which we were there in April; and one of the questions that came in (They were written in advance, so I had a little time to think about it.), was How could a God of love condemn anyone to eternal hell? Now, that was a good straight-forward question.....and I had prepared one way to answer it. But, when I stood up to answer it, I was kind of forbidden of the Lord to answer it the way that I was going to. Instead, I said, Gods fundamental attribute is not love. Oh, you say, Isnt God a God of love? Yes, He is a God of love; but Gods fundamental attribute is not love. Do you know what His fundamental attribute is? Holiness! and I tell people that you can find that out without opening your Bible. Why? Because, even your very Bible is called What? The Holy Bible. And, the Third Person of the blessed Trinity is called What? The Holy Spirit. So, Gods fundamental attribute is Holiness! and we are named by Gods fundamental attribute as saints. We are holy ones. Were declared immediately, when we believe, we are positionally declared to be holies. Thats really what it is holies, but it means holy ones.
Whats involved in holiness? It involves separation separation from all that is sinful and defiling. God is completely separate from all that is sinful and defiling. We ought to be progressively such in our lives; but its also a positive aspect separation, but also cultivation of all that is pure and just and true and good. Thats holiness negatively and positively. Paul desired this for these Philippians. He wanted them to know that they are already declared to be holy, but he also urged them on to Practical Holiness in light. And, as one of my friends said, In that respect, you dont get holy in a hurry. It takes time to be holy, in the practical outworking of that demonstration.
So, the servants, Paul and Timothy write to the saints there at Philippi and assure them of the provision that is available to them. Notice verse 2, Grace be unto you. Im glad of that hymn, Amazing Grace, because it is amazing. In fact, I believe were going to be amazed throughout eternity at the grace of God! When we talk about the grace of God, we talk not only of His grace in saving us (and we are saved by grace). Grace is God doing for us what we could not do for ourselves, and doing it joyfully for us. He reached down and saved us by grace. He gave His Son to die for us, not because He had to, but because He wanted to, and we needed that done for us. He saves us by grace. He sustains us by grace. Paul learned, My grace is sufficient for thee. We serve by grace. We suffer by grace. Were going to be brought home by grace. And....you know, were going to be even rewarded by grace. You know folks? We serve by grace, [I Corinthians 4:7], ....what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou [boast], as if thou hadst not received it? And, everything that we do is by the grace of God. Anything of value that we do in our lives, is by the grace of God, and yet He rewards us for it. Thats amazing to me! Thats amazing grace that we get rewarded for doing what He enables us by His grace to do.
But, Paul assures them and encourages them with this provision, Grace be unto you, and peace... Several weeks ago I heard a definition of peace that I had never heard before, its this Peace is the assurance of adequate resources. Hey, thats pretty good, isnt it? [That means you can go in to take an exam and youre all set. You have peace.] Its like that fellow who prayed, Lord, I didnt study for this exam, but give me wisdom. You said in James 1, If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God.....Youll give it, and so Im praying Lord for wisdom. Well, as the story goes, the Lord did give him wisdom....He gave him wisdom never to try that trick again. And, God will give us that kind of wisdom sometimes.
But, peace is the assurance of adequate resources.....and you know folks, when we know the resources that are ours in the Lord, we can have peace. Regardless of what comes in this life, we can have Peace, not only peace with God [that comes when we initially believe], but we can have the peace of God as we commit our way to Him and our problems to Him and our difficulties to Him. The adequate provision is the grace of God issuing forth in the peace of God, and its a glorious provision from Glorious Providers from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ!
One of my favorite verses is Romans 8:32, He that spared not His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also, freely give us all things. The great Provident God, providing for us all that we need, for life and godliness the provision for us. Provision Available....then, Praise Affirmed in verse 3, I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. I believe Paul prayed regularly for these dear folks at Philippi; but I believe he began his prayer time, as Ive made it a custom to begin mine, always with praise to God.
I have developed some years ago what I call a Prayer Book. [I dont know how many of you have a prayer book Im not talking about an Anglican prayer book. Im talking about a looseleaf book, in which I begin with a number of verses relating to praise. Then a number of verses beginning with prayer; and then from that, I go into specific prayer requests that I remember every day, and then things that I remember for each of the seven days of the week, and then with special needs. And then, I conclude with Psalm 116:1 and 2, I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice.....therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live.
I believe Paul began his prayer time with praise, and every time he thought of the dear folks there at Philippi, he said, I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. Im sure that whoever ministered to you in times past, if they are still living and are still serving the Lord and still loving Him as they should, when they think back they rejoice upon remembrance of what God has done in your life. Theyre rejoicing is in you, because God has done a work in you and is continuing to do that work in you. And then he follows this with prayer assured for them, Always in every prayer of mine for you all [Now theres the first occurance of you all. Some say that Paul was a southerner in writing this you all. But, Ive heard people say that they know even if he was a southerner, he wasnt from Texas.....Now you say, Why?......Well, later on, he says, I learned in whatsoever state, I am therewith to be content....and no Texan is ever content anywhere except in Texas.
A few years ago, my first time to Texas, I was down to do a video tape for Radio Bible Class televised Day of Discovery, and Dr. Wolvoord met me afterwards, and he said, Well, Stuart, Im glad you finally made it to Texas. I said, Yes. This is my first time here. He said, Well, everybody ought to come to Texas before they go to heaven so they have something to compare that with. Now, isnt that something? I think that Lancaster County is much better than Texas, folks. If heaven is to be compared with anything, I think that its Lancaster County!
....you all! Now when Paul speaks of you all, I think he literally thinks of including all; and when you have ministered to folks, you find some that have grown in the Lord, and others just groan in the Lord....and you pray for them, as well as for those who are growing in the Lord. I believe Paul in his prayer was concerned with all the folks to whom he had ministered there at Philippi. And, as he prayed for them, he prayed for them all, ....making request with joy; and I believe the joy came because he had the confidence that God would not only be able to answer, but would answer in his own best way for those dear saints there at Philippi. In this, he rejoiced that he could pray for them and remember them....and also their fellowship in the gospel. This was their Provision Appreciated (verse 5), ....your fellowship in the gospel... That word fellowship, in this context, means their sharing with him, essentially in the matter of giving as they did.
I want to say, giving is a barometer of the Christians life. How much do you give, and by that, I dont mean just financially....but it includes that. It includes how much you give. Someone said, We ought not to look on what we give, but on what we have left. Life consists not of its duration....but its donation what you give! What you give of your time to the Lord, what you give of your talent to the Lord, what you give of your treasure to the Lord. Indeed all of these are from the Lord: Our time, our talent, and our treasure.....and we ought to be giving back to the Lord, that which He has entrusted to us; and these Philippians were exemplary in doing that to such an extent that they were used as an example to the folks there at Corinth. Their provision was appreciated.
Then, beginning at verse 6 again, I want you to see that God is working in them in an assured manner that Hes going to bring success in these two verses 6 and 7 Saints and Success. Now a brother referred to me in introducing me, as a success. Im not so sure of how much a success I am. Only God knows what a success you are. The way Americans measure success is not always the way God measures success. Moses wasnt a success. He didnt get the people into the promised land, from an American viewpoint; but I believe he was a success with God! Paul ended up somewhat as a failure, in fact, in his concluding letter in II Timothy 4 beginning at verse 16 he said, At my first [defense] no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. The Lord Jesus at the end of His ministry had all of His disciples forsake Him and flee; and it didnt look like much of a success when He died on the Cross, did it? And yet, it was there that God was doing a work that men didnt know or understand until after it was finished. You know folks, much of what we do in this life, we wont know until after its finished. And yet, God knows what Hes doing in finishing us. Verse 6, Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you [and that is God Himself] will perform it [will carry it on] until the day of Jesus Christ. Hes going to keep working with us and in us and for us and through us, so that He will accomplish His will. God works in the believer, in this very book in Philippians 2:13, For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do [and literally, in the Greek, to work] of His good pleasure.
Now some have been led astray by the latter part of the previous verse which says, ....work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. You only work out what God has worked in; and God is working in us and therefore we work out what He has worked in us namely, that all sufficient salvation which is ours is to be worked out in daily experience of life. So, God works in the believer. The believer works out what God works in him; and God works everything together for good to those who love Him. (Romans 8:28 one of the great and encouraging and comforting verses of the Word of God. For we know that all things work together for good [The Greek word there, transliterated in English is synergized.] I was speaking on that one time, and I thought that this was original, for it just came to me as I was speaking. Then I heard Wendall Lovelace use this same illustration about a week ago on the radio, and he used it years ago, probably before I did with the illustration of mixing ingredients together.
When I was a boy, and Im the last of thirteen children, my mother did a lot of baking. Shed been baking pies and cakes and biscuits all at the same time and on our kitchen table shed be working away at these things. Shed take a handful of this and a pinch of that and a little of this and something of that. Shed go from one to another. It was wondrous to behold. Shed take some things that were bitter, like baking soda or baking powder and salt....but all these synergized. They worked together for good, and was it good when she was finished! She knew what the finished product was going to be, as she was working all the things together. And thats the way God does. When you know what His finished product is going to be, when we see Him, were going to be like Him. And thats what Romans 8:29 indicates, ....to be conformed to the image of His Son... What a wonderful day that will be, when we see Him and we are like Him! Thats the perfection of work!
Then verse 7, Even as it is meet [or central] for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart... Heres the Affectionate Concern that he has for them not only that he has them in mind, but has them in heart; and with this he says, ....inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. They were partakers of the grace of God in suffering, in serving, and in sharing in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel [bond-suffering, defence and confirmation of the gospel, serving, and then in sharing], ye all are partakers of my grace. Do you know that there is as much grace available to you and to me tonight as there was to the apostle Paul back in his day? And God can give us His limitless grace, His limitless resources in Christ!
Now finally verses 8-11....Saints and Spiritually....Weve seen Servants and Saints, Saints in Success, Saints and Spirituality, For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all.... He had a longing desire to see them. He ministered to them. It had probably been ten years before, that the work had been established there at Philippi, and it probably had been three or four years since he had seen them......and he longed to see them. His concern was to minister to them spiritually. So, he had a longing desire to see them.
Secondly, verse 9, he had a loving development to school them, And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment. Biblical love is not like human love. Human love is often blind.....and as somebody said, Love is blind, but marriage is an eyeopener. But Biblical love means that it increases your eyesight, your discernment; and Paul desired that they might be schooled in this love taught, and this love to abound, and yet to abound in knowledge and in all judgment or discernment.
And then in verse 10, learning discernment....to establish them, That ye may approve things that are excellent [that excels]; that ye may be sincere [that means, without wax. Do you remember when they used to make a vase, and if it got broken in the fire or got a little break in it, theyd put some wax in it and then cover it over. And, the way you could tell, was to hold it up to the light and then you could see the sunlight. The word sincere means without wax.; and I hope that you and I allow God so to work within us that we will be ....without wax and without offence till the day of Christ; and then thus become a living demonstration to certify them, Being filled with the fruits of righteousness...
You know, it disturbs me a little bit that sometimes Christians do not do what is right, and some of them say, Well, Ive already been declared to be righteous, so it doesnt matter what I do. It does matter folks! If you have been made righteous, be righteous; and that includes in all your dealings of life, because thats the only way youll be properly certified as a Christian Being filled with the fruits of righteousness. It is never right to do wrong, to get a chance to do right! Do right, and if you are righteous, do that which is right; and youll be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
When God does a work in us, He does a right work! Ive had so many problems with automobiles through the years, you might as well paint them yellow or put put them on a fruitstand.....but, Im thankful that my salvation never came across a Detroit or even a foreign assembly line. We have a right salvation. We have a perfect salvation.....and we simply have to receive it. But, as we receive it, then God wants that that will be worked out right in our lives and will serve Him in righteousness and truth and holiness...... because remember, from the beginning, weve been declared to be [What?]Saints! We are holy ones in name. God wants us to be that in practice; and as we do, we who have believed become the pride and joy and rejoicing of those who have ministered to us. In writing to the Thessalonians in I Thessalonians chapter 2:19 and 20 Paul says to those dear folks and he says a similar thing to the Philippians, For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even you [people] in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy. The results of the work of the Lord are not found in buildings, in programs, in plans. Theyre found in people; and the reality of life in Christ is found [Where?] in people! It is Christ in People that will make a difference in this world. Not Christ in programs or places. It is Christ in People! It is Christ in you, the hope of glory! When others see you, do they see Christ......maybe for some, it will mean that you might have to suffer first. Were going to relate to that in the next study. Sometimes, you dont really get to know the Lord, until you suffer....until youve been in a hard place. But, thank God, He never fails!
FATHER Were thankful that in Your providential wisdom, You have given us the Bible which records Your will for us and makes known to us Your very heart toward us; and that You have loved us and You gave Your Son to die for us. O Father, if there is any one person here tonight who does not know Christ, that person is not in Christ, Father, and Christ is not in them; and a life can only be changed, Father, as Your Word says, when Christ comes in. O Father, visit with restlessness anyone who has not rested in the finished work of Calvary, and ere leaving the grounds here tonight, may such an one come to us and make known their need so that we might point them to the Lamb of God Who has already taken away their sin, if they will believe on Him. And then, Father, for us who have received Christ.....may others see Christ in us, for it is indeed Him in us, His life in us....that makes the difference. May we show that forth to others by a life of joy, a life of holiness, a life of peace, and a life of righteousness. I pray in Jesus Name. Amen.
Dr. Stuart E. Lease
Central Manor Campmeeting, Mountville, PA