Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday Sermon: God’s Guarantee

…he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
(Philippians 1:6 – ESV)

Paul was thanking the church at Philippi, and he was letting them know he had prayed for them, was praying for them, and would be praying for them. Looking at these first few verses in this chapter, we see that Paul’s thankful, he’s praying, he’s joyful, things are happening and God is guaranteeing results. This is what had been happening, now Paul turns to what he is praying for and because of God’s guarantee it is what would be happening.

He’s got them fervently on his heart; they are partaking in the abundant grace Paul was receiving and vice versa. They were together growing in persecution and the proclamation and power of God and Paul had loved them as Christ loved them. He was growing in that love, and they were helping their Apostle grow in that grace by what was happening to them. And so Paul is praying for an increase in love, knowledge and discernment so that they could do and know and have excellent things and be pure and holy and full of righteousness. God was doing it and would continue to do it to the praise of His glory.

This was a church that had done well, and had come on some hard times, but one that Paul was praying for, and it was a church that had a guarantee, and so do we. We are not yet perfected but we are becoming perfected (Hebrews 5:8-11). We learn to obey more completely. Let me give some individual as well as corporate application for you right now.

Our Christianity is mirrored buy our relationships in this way. Most think only about starting out great, but then there is the inevitable slide, but if they knew the process they would see it as the stairs not the slide. You don’t start at the top you climb up, and Jesus gives you the power, do you believe it or not? Most think it is about starting out on top and trying hard to stay there, but that isn’t the way God works.

Most think the stairs are the slide, and then when they slide down too far they leave. Instead we should be becoming more and more dynamic, able to survive, but more than that, to thrive as we get better and not have to avoid but endure and secure through and because of problems. This is a totally different mindset and that I say is the mind of Christ, Paul says let this mind also be in you.

The church at Philippi was under heavy persecution from without and from within. It is not about never having issues or problems, other wise you could never grow at all. That would simply be the avoidance of real issues. We are to act in accordance not in avoidance. No one, no relationship, no earthly thing starts or ever is perfect, but mature things will work their way through things. It isn’t that it is always okay, it is whenever it isn’t it ends up okay anyway, and we see each other as stronger, we grow together as individuals and as a union. These things are not stumbling blocks they are stepping-stones.

They are growing this is what Paul is describing as what was happening to them what he was praying for them and what God has guaranteed them. Jesus said, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. God always finishes what He starts.

His guarantee doesn’t mean we will always get things the way we want them, it but it does mean we will get things the way we truly need them.

His guarantee doesn’t mean that we will never hurt, but it does mean that He will ultimately heal.

His guarantee doesn’t mean that we won’t ever lose any members, but it does mean that we will press on and God will add to us such as are being saved.

His guarantee doesn’t mean that we will have no struggles, but it does mean that we will be more than conquerors.

His guarantee doesn’t mean that we will win every battle, but it does mean that He will cause us always to triumph.

His guarantee doesn’t mean that you will never feel lonely, but it does mean that He will never leave you nor forsake you.

His guarantee doesn’t mean that we will never stray, but it does mean that we will always find the way home.

In the most important sense, you cannot ultimately fail if you know Jesus Christ and trust your eternal soul to Him. If you call on Christ today you will succeed, you will survive, you will be sanctified, and you will be saved: guaranteed.


Garry Weaver said...

Great thoughts and encouragement from one of my favorite verses.

Even So... said...

Thanks, Garry, have a great Sunday tomorrow...

One Sheep's Voice said...

Yes, guaranteed! And you don't have to worry about getting a receipt or trying to get your money back!!