Joy in Holding Forth the Word of Life
Book of Philippians 2:14-30
We finished up in our last lesson understanding that to be saved, is to have God come to live within us!
2Co_6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
We are to understand that as believers we must work out our own salvation with the Lord. We must get up close and personal with our Savior.
What the lost world does not understand is that God takes great pleasure in this relationship!
Last week we ended with this Scripture:
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
We all have something we can do for the Lord and if we listen to Him, He will point this thing out to us.
We are always to do our best to follow the Word of God in everything we do and this same Word already gives us plenty of things to do to keep is busy.
The very first thing that we need to concentrate on after the Lord saves us, is obedience!
When the Body of Christ refuse to obey even the basics of the Scriptures, then they will break fellowship with the Holy Spirit!
Eph_4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
If we grieve the Holy Spirit enough we will certainly “quench” the work He will do within us!
1Th_5:19 Quench not the Spirit.
When we ignore and reject any part of the Word of God, we will live a life full of problems. Too much God to be satisfied in the world and too little God to be of use in the Church!
So, let’s continue:
*****Php 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Php 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Obeying the Word of God must be willful and cheerful! To murmur is questioning the truth of God and doubting God’s conclusions!
When we ask the Lord Jesus to come into our hearts and save us, we are saying, “I trust the Word of God to be true and my salvation to be real”
The next step is “repentance”. Which means we turn away from the things of this world and turn toward the truth of God!
To turn around and reject that truth is then to question your salvation! The Lord is very patient and He will go with us in every step but we must freely choose to go with Him!
Psa 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
These are some of the most important words in all the Scriptures!
It is the Word of God that will light our pathway until the Lord returns to take us home!
So many today are turning away from the Word of God, or rewriting it to suit their own lifestyles, that disputings have entered into the Body of Christ and denominations are even dividing amongst themselves, debating who is right and they have forgotten that God is always right!
Disputings are outright arguments over the truth of the Scriptures!
We must be clear, God said what He meant and God meant what He said! God does not change from one season to the next, He is always the same!
To allow the world to freely take over the Church and dispute the Word of God, has made the Church powerless in our day and time!
When we accept that all Scripture is the Holy Ghost inspired Word of God, then who are we to question what God has said?
As the Body of Christ, God says to not allow these things to go on when we gather together!
These that do such things must be quiet or leave and there will be no disputing the Word of God!
God is not the author of confusion, so murmurings and disputes are not of God!
1Co_14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
No one has the right to further interpret what God says!
2Pe_1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
When we obey God in this thing, God will hold us blameless and harmless when the Lord returns to take us home.
If you remain a slave to sin, it will cause you to murmur but a true son or daughter of God will not question the Heavenly Father in anything!
All those who are working for the Father, are actually working for themselves and not for this crooked world!
Murmur and disputing usually comes when pride makes one feel more superior than another and this is another thing that has blanketed our world today.
The vile disease of these things spring from an evil and jealous mind and it usually instigated by things outside the Church.
God said we are farmers to plant the seed of God and only some will make it to the good soil but every farmer will weed where he plants his crop.
We must weed out corruption in our Churches!
A body of believers who are not peculiar to this world, will certainly not shine in this world because to act like the world is to be seen just like the world!
1Pe_2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
We must hold forth the Word of Life!
*****Php 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
There is nothing burdensome in the Word of God! There are only Heaven’s rewards for being obedient to God!
Do not get caught up in the foolishness of who the God of the Bible is. The God of the Bible is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
We need to understand that so-called Christians who are inconsistent in the Scriptures have caused more damage to Christianity than anything else in the world and all those who do such things will suffer the “judgment” of God!
Most of those sitting in the pews today, think that only the pastor or a few elders of the Church have a ministry but the truth is we all have a ministry!
We are all to “hold forth the word of life”!
We are to offer it in hope of acceptance by all that hear the Word of Life.
How can we be content Christians if we are not willing to tell others about the wonderful words of life provided by the Lord Jesus Christ and His Father and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The lost of this world have nowhere else to go to find the truth! When we refuse to witness for Jesus how will they ever know God called them? Not all or maybe not even many will respond but that is between them and God but some will!
Joh 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
Joh 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Joh 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
Joh 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
Joh 6:69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
The Apostle Paul knew that the Lord would recognize him for what he had accomplished but we are no different. God will recognize all His children for what they have accomplished (after) they came to know the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior.
That recognition will come when the Lord comes to take us home. This day is known as the “Judgment Seat of Christ”. Only Christians will be there this day and it is a judgment for rewards and not for salvation!
Rom 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
1Th 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
So how can we hold onto the Word of Life and not tell others?
God simply wants us to know that our labor for Him will not be in vain. If we look back on our past and do not see rewards ahead, as long as we are living and breathing God will provide opportunities for those rewards.
God wants to give us His rewards!
I believe this is God’s favorite pastime, putting up rewards for us in Heaven.
Mat_6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
Mat_6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
The Lord Jesus would not say this if it were not true!
When Paul says “run” here, he is referring to “effort”. We must put forth the effort to get into the army of God, while still remembering we are also to be “fishers of men”!
If we reach just one, that will be more than none and that one could go forth to tell others but our goal should be to reach out to more than one!
No labor for the Lord will go unnoticed in Heaven!
The “Gospel” message is the Word of Life!
2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
2Ti 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
There are great differences in life and death and there are great differences in eternal life and eternal death!
*****Php 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
Php 2:18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
Paul continues to show the differences in true life and true death.
To the Apostle Paul, this gathering of believers in Philippi were his offering acceptable to God. It had been Paul who had planted this Church.
In the days of the Levitical Priesthood once a sacrifice was placed on the alter, then “grape juice”(wine), a drink offering was poured around the alter.
Wine and blood were made for heathen gods and Jehovah would never had done the same!
Psa 16:4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.
Paul was expressing the fact that he looked forward to being a martyr for the Lord. He knew he would suffer and die for the cause of Christ but we are saved by the blood of Jesus and not by the blood of Paul.
As these of the Church at Philippi were a sacrifice of “faith” to the Lord, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit, Paul could be as that drink-offering that was pour out around the alter.
Rom 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
Rom 15:17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.
It is the things that pertain to God that must hold the most importance in our lives!
Paul’s death would not be a shedding of blood but a sacrifice for the cause of Christ and a furtherance of the Gospel.
It’s not so important to remember where we came from, though to look back on occasion is not always a bad thing, but is real important to know where we are going.
When you know, that you know, that you know, you can have personal joy and rejoice with all the Church. Paul knew this was true for him and he also knew this was true for this body of believers. They had proved their faith!
When we know that Heaven is our eternal home, we can rejoice with all those who know the same.
When we give ourselves into the service of the Lord, then it could mean that we may even have to give our life of this body of flesh but this flesh is going to die at some time.
Heb_9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
But as the “Born Again” children of God the death of this flesh can have only one meaning.
2Co_5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
2Co_5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Remember how we began:
Php_2:12 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.
When we have worked out our salvation and have that personal relationship with the Lord, we will have that desire to be with Him and this desire will increase as we get older but the Lord has a real need for us to remain here until He takes us home!
Mat 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Mat 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Mat 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
As long as our Lord is so full of compassion for the lost, we must share with Him in His compassion, making it our own compassion for the lost.
We must hold forth the joy of our Christian life and our “faith” in Jesus Christ is the key to Christian fellowship.
*****Php 2:19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.
This Timotheus is the same Timothy we are familiar with. Still a young preacher boy at this time but approaching the time when he will take a church.
We know that Timothy was later ordained to become a Pastor and Church planter.
1Ti 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
1Ti 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
1Ti 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
We also know that Timothy also spent some time in the Roman jail, just for preaching the Word of God.
Heb 13:23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.
It is believed that Timothy finished in Ephesus and became a martyr in the cause of Jesus Christ.
Why did Paul send Timothy to Philippi?
1) To carry the “good news” from the Apostle Paul.
2) That he could preach and be a “Spiritual” blessing to them.
3) Then bring the “good news” of their “faith” back to the Apostle Paul.
Timothy may have suffered along with the Apostle Paul and he could tell so many things and so many stories of how God had shown His “Grace” and “Mercy” to the missionaries that he was certainly a blessing to hear!
We must forget, nothing could stop the Apostle Paul from his calling except the Lord but sometimes it is truly a comfort to know who is standing with you!
We also know that we are to work out our own salvation but it certainly can help to have some young fired up man of God such as Timothy to help us with these things.
This is what we have here at Gethsemane.
As we work out our own personal relationship with the Lord we have a fired-up Pastor who preaches the truth and it makes things so much better, even easier to know what is expected from our Christian life!
3Jn 1:3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
3Jn 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
What was the greatest truth of Timothy? He was for real!
*****Php 2:20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
Php 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.
Php 2:22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.
When you cannot see things with your own eyes, then it is best to send someone who thinks in the same ways as you do.
Many say that Timothy was so much like Paul that except for appearance, you could not tell them apart.
We also notice that Timothy willingly served in second place to Paul!
Paul was a church planter but He had the heart of a Pastor. Timothy also had the heart of a Pastor.
The greatest difference of the Pastor and the Evangelist and the missionary is, that the Pastor knows God has given him a certain flock to take care of until He returns.
Isa 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
Jer 3:15 And I will give you pastors “according to mine heart”, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
We are all to be missionaries in our own place and then there are those God has called to leave their homes and be missionaries to the world.
Evangelist carry the same “Gospel” to the Church but have not been given the responsibilities of the Pastor.
Sometimes these things can change according to the leading of Holy Spirit.
As Paul’s thoughts were caught up in a bit of sorrow, he had a great desire to know about the churches he had planted and how they were growing in the “Gospel”.
Paul had always traveled with many godly men and had much help with him at all times but most of those did now have the heart of a Pastor.
This young Pastor Timothy not only had the heart of a Pastor, he had the heart of Paul. He had become Paul’s most trusted friend and this was certainly not to say those others with Paul were not good men as they were.
Think about if you had a task that you thought only you could do but you were in bondage, how hard would it be to look out amongst those of your Christian friends and choose the one who do the same as you in every situation. It could get very hard to choose the right person.
Timothy was that person for Paul.
We should remember that when the Lord was in His passion, He also craved to have such a friend but He had been abandoned by all His friends.
We must all understand that in our calling from the Lord we are all not suited for every mission. Timothy was the one that met what Paul thought to have the qualifications for this special mission.
What is it to care? Timothy was not without carefulness. He was vigilant in guarding against evil and providing for the safety of the church. Things he had learned from Paul. It also seems that this young man had a fear of the Lord much greater that the fear of men!
The thing Paul was most assured of is that Timothy would do the task Paul had given to him and he would then return with what Paul was seeking, whatever it was. If this church was lacking in anything of the Lord. Timothy would provide that also!
1Co 4:17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
Timothy was willing to lay down his own life for the Church of Jesus Christ!
*****Php 2:23 Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.
Php 2:24 But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.
It is probable that Paul had defended himself before the high court of Rome at this time and was waiting on the outcome of the Roman legal process. We already know that Paul was an innocent man have only been locked up for false charges of Judaizers.
It was easy for Paul to prove his Roman citizenship so this was not an issue.
Paul was a mighty man of God but he could not foresee his own future.
Paul’s thoughts were not on these things because his thoughts were always on the “Church” the “Body of Christ”.
Since it is evident that Paul did not travel with Timothy we can be certain of only two things.
1) Paul found that he would not be released at this time.
2) Or, Paul found that he was scheduled for execution.
Paul’s faith did not allow him to linger on these things.
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Gal 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Paul and Timothy were bound together in all these things as Paul was in bondage to Rome but also to his circumstances that only God had total control over!
Paul also knew that there is never a good time to quit on God!
1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
We see that Paul was certainly not alone at this time.
*****Php 2:25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
Php 2:26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.
Php 2:27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
Epaphroditus was an elder of the Church in Philippi who had traveled to Rome to assist the Apostle Paul in any way that he could. In fact, he had work so hard at this, that it had affected his health and this thing had been heard back in his home church.
Notice again the powers of an Apostle were never to be used for private matters but only for public matters in connection with the “Gospel”.
It is a fact that those who preach the Cross of our Lord must also bear the cross of our Lord.
Luk_9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
The words of the Lord do not ever change!
Once Epaphroditus knew his brothers and sisters in Christ had heard of his sickness, he knew they would also be more worried about him then they needed to be.
Once we place our life in the hands of God we are certainly at the “Mercy” of God. We should keep this thought in mind, “God does not begin a work and then suddenly quit until His will has been accomplished.
We should understand the thoughts of Paul.
Epaphroditus was of a great value to Paul. He had been a complete man of God and Paul did not want to harm his Christian testimony in any way.
Paul did not want this brother to be seen as a quitter. He was a fellow soldier. We have many problems in Christianity and one of those is we will leave our fellow soldiers on the battlefield without our help.
Paul, even not knowing his own outcome, was still concerned for the Body of Christ!
The Church in Philippi would not be the same until they could see the face of their brother Epaphroditus!
He would never forsake Paul.
He would never forsake his own church.
He would never forsake the Lord Jesus Christ
*****Php 2:28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.
Php 2:29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:
Php 2:30 Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.
Many of us serve in the cause of Christ but not everyone is a true “fellow laborer” or “fellow soldier”!
What is the truth of a soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ? We know who the true enemy is and we concentrate on his demise!
Eph_6:12 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.
We must endure some things to continue in this battle.
2Ti 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
2Ti 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldiers.
These are the thoughts of Paul and Epaphroditus was such a soldier and these Philippians should treat him as such.
We must honor those who survive the battles with evil and go on to serve another day! We honor them when we accept them for who they are in the work of the Lord.
We are all in the battle but the battle is the Lord’s!
1Th 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
1Th 5:13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
There is great joy in holding forth the Word of Life but we stay in the battle till the Lord comes!
When Paul was on the road these Philippians had supplied the needs of Paul so that he could be in places like Corinth where Paul refused any help.
Epaphroditus had not only ministered to Paul in spiritual needs but he had worked and anything else that he could do to supply Paul’s physical needs.
We already know of human necessities but the supplies of writing material and other things probably came by this brother soldier.
Paul expressed that he had been completely satisfied with what this brother had been able to do.
We should never tear down our brothers and sister in Christ but rather build them up!
We should always remember these words of Jesus as we deal with one another in Christ:
Mat 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Mat 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
Mat 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Mat 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Sometimes we are more concerned for our own welfare rather than the welfare of the Church!