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The Family Business - Philippians 1:3-8

Taught on | Topic: God's Work | Keywords: spiritual family, partnership, gospel, Holy Spirit, thankfulness, joy, guilty, happy, holy, fellowship, partaker, faith

No matter what you may do for a living, there is a higher purpose for your life. No matter what you do for work, God is at work in you and through you. You may have a career in mind, but God has a calling in mind. These are not contradictory paths but complementary ones. The apostle Paul assured his audience of God's work collectively, personally, and practically. We are the objects as well as the instruments of God's work in the world.

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The Family Business
Philippians 1:3-8
Skip Heitzig
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No matter what you may do for a living, there is a higher purpose for your life. No matter what you do for work, God is at work in you and through you. You may have a career in mind, but God has a calling in mind. These are not contradictory paths but complementary ones. The apostle Paul assured his audience of God's work collectively, personally, and practically. We are the objects as well as the instruments of God's work in the world.
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Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians

Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians

In the series Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians, we learn how to find joy in the most unlikely places as we discover that God can add color to the most black and white moments in life.

Outline

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  1. Be Thankful for God’s Work Collectively (vv. 3-5)

  2. Be Confident in God’s Work Personally (v. 6)

  3. Be Aware of God’s Work Practically (vv. 7-8)

Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: May 7, 2017
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "The Family Business"
Text: Philippians 1:3-8

Path

No matter what you may do for a living, there is a higher purpose for your life. No matter what you do for work, God is at work in you and through you. You may have a career in mind, but God has a calling in mind. These are not contradictory paths but complementary ones. We are the objects as well as the instruments of God's work in the world. As Pastor Skip revealed, the apostle Paul assured his audience of God's work collectively, personally, and practically:
  • Be Thankful for God's Work Collectively (vv. 3-5)
  • Be Confident in God's Work Personally (v. 6)
  • Be Aware of God's Work Practically (vv. 7-8)

Points

Be Thankful for God's Work Collectively
  • Most people have an occupational and professional business, but we also have a spiritual—missional—business: proclaiming the gospel.
  • In Philippians 2:19-25 and 4:3, Paul listed members in the family business.
  • Paul had a powerful ministry in Philippi, and then was imprisoned. While in prison, he rejoiced as he remembered Lydia's salvation, the Philippian jailer's conversion, and the church that was established there.
  • As Paul remembered, he thought, Bless you, prison, and bless you, pain.
  • His attitude set his altitude. Gratitude is the attitude that sets the altitude for living. Paul's joy and thankfulness was directly proportional to the growth of the family business—the kingdom of God.
  • Probe: Paul could have recalled Philippi with bitterness, but he chose to look for God's work in and through his own hardship. Think of things God has taught you in hard times, and thank Him for them. How does your attitude affect those closest to you (i.e., children, spouse, friends)?
Be Confident in God's Work Personally
  • It's God's work: "He who has begun…" (v. 6, emphasis added).
    • Note the things God—not Paul—did: He opened Lydia's heart and caused the earthquake (see Acts 16:16-40). Paul just showed up and God produced. Like a skillful artist, God expresses Himself through His people.
  • It's a gradual work: "He who has begun a good work" (v. 6, emphasis added).
    • Like an artist working on a painting, God continues His work on us; we are a work in progress. Holiness is not a sprint but a marathon.
  • It's a growing work: "A good work in you" (v. 6, emphasis added).
    • God's work is always an inside job before it's an outside job: first in you, then through you.
    • What kind of work is He doing in you? It's a process with several phases:
      • First, He makes us guilty so that we're aware we're lost.
      • Second, He makes us hungry for new, different life.
      • Third, He makes us happy: we have the joy of sin now forgiven.
      • Fourth, He makes us holy by taking off our rough edges.
  • It's a guaranteed work: "[God] will complete it" (v. 6).
    • Whatever God starts, He finishes. He is not like people; He's the author and finisher of our faith. When will it be finished? "Until the day of Jesus Christ" (v. 6).
    • God will never give up on you; He will make you more and more like Jesus until He returns.
  • Probe: The word confidence means the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; a firm trust. Discuss why we can be confident in Christ. How has He shown Himself trustworthy? To help you, here are nine characteristics of trustworthy people: they have integrity and are authentic, consistent, compassionate, kind, resourceful, connectors, humble, and available. 1
Be Aware of God's Work Practically
  • "I have you in my heart" (v. 7) is a very tender statement, underscoring the special place the Philippians had in Paul's heart. Paul felt linked to them, whether he was in jail or out preaching: "both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel" (v. 7).
  • He called them partakers with him, which had the same root word as fellowship, indicating a partnership.
  • How can you be sure God is really working in you? There are two signs:
  • One, you stand for the gospel—defense.
      • Whenever you hear someone ridicule the gospel or mock Jesus, you defend Him and His good news.
      • You try to answer their questions, explain your faith, and stand up for truth.
  • Two, you spread the gospel—confirmation.
      • Every generation needs the gospel preached and received.
      • It is proof you're in the family business: you believe in the product and help spread the news.
  • Probe:  Take the two signs—stand and spread—and share about a time you did one of them effectively. What was the outcome? Share about a time you did one ineffectively. Why was it ineffective?
Practice

Connect Up: Paul said, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). How does a thankful heart reflect a redeemed heart? Why is it God's will that we be thankful?

Connect In: The church is one of the largest families in the world.  Some estimate there are 2.2 billion members of this family. Just as a biological family shares DNA, what is the DNA of our spiritual family (Christ, the Holy Spirit, Communion, love, fellowship, service, etc.)? Name some more characteristics of our shared spiritual DNA. How should our common bonds affect the way we treat one another?

Connect Out: The famous missionary doctor Albert Schweitzer said, "Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light." Talk about the people you're thankful for, including but not limited to Christ. On a similar note, how can you represent a thankful heart for others, particularly unbelievers or those who have hurt or angered you? How does your attitude—good or bad—affect unbelievers?



1http://www.success.com/blog/9-traits-of-trustworthy-people

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. We have a spiritual business—a high and holy business
      1. God's business
      2. A family business
      3. We are part of God's spiritual family (see Luke 2:49)
    2. Fellowship
      1. Koinónia = partnership
      2. God is our Father (see John 20:17)
      3. We are in a partnership with the Lord and with others
    3. Our product is the gospel
      1. Only the gospel creates life change
      2. The good news is that what Jesus did on the cross was enough to get us from earth to heaven
      3. The gospel has changed many lives
  2. Be Thankful for God's Work Collectively (vv. 3-5)
    1. Paul wrote from a prison cell in Rome, reminiscing about the church at Philippi (see Acts 16)
      1. Paul didn't even want to go to Philippi
      2. One woman named Lydia received Christ as her Savior
      3. Paul healed a demon-possessed girl and was arrested, beaten with rods, and put in jail
    2. When the Holy Spirit filters your memories so you see God working, you will have joy
      1. Paul was thankful for what the gospel had produced: life change
      2. Paul's joy and thankfulness were directly proportional to the growth of the family business (see Philippians 1:12-14)
  3. Be Confident in God's Work Personally (v. 6)
    1. God's work
      1. Paul was not referring to what the Philippians did or what he did—he just showed up and God did the work
      2. Poiéma = a thing made, a work, workmanship (see Ephesians 2:10)
      3. God is the skillful Artist who is always seeking to express Himself
    2. A gradual work
      1. God has begun a good work in you
      2. It is an ongoing work, a work in progress
      3. Holiness is not a light switch; it's not a sprint, but a marathon
    3. A growing work
      1. God's work is always an inside job before it's an outside one; He works in you before He works through you
      2. God wants to make His music through you
    4. A good work
      1. He makes you guilty
        1. He makes us aware of our lost condition
        2. This drives us to seek salvation
      2. He makes you hungry, causing you to long for something more
      3. He makes you happy; He puts the joy of a forgiven life inside of you
      4. He makes you holy; He takes off the rough edges
    5. A guaranteed work
      1. Whatever God starts, He finishes (see Hebrews 12:2)
      2. God won't stop working on you until Jesus shows up and we're in His presence in our glorified bodies
      3. God never quits on us
  4. Be Aware of God's Work Practically (vv. 7-8)
    1. Partakers
      1. Related to fellowship
      2. Sugkoinónos = a partaker with, co-partner
    2. You can be sure that God is really working in you
      1. When you stand up for the gospel
        1. Apologia = a verbal defense
        2. Defense of the faith (see 1 Peter 3:15)
      2. When you spread the gospel
        1. Bebaiósis = confirmation, ratification, establishment
        2. When the gospel is preached and received, it is confirmed
    3. The practical proof that you are part of the family business is that you believe in the product
  5. Closing
    1. Christianity is always one generation from extinction
    2. A New Testament church is a joint partnership together in the family business
    3. In order to be part of the family business, you need to be part of the family through salvation (see John 3:3)
Figures referenced: R.C.H. Lenski

Works referenced: Forbes Magazine, Huffington Post

Greek words: apologia, bebaiósis, koinónia, poiéma, sugkoinónos

Cross references: Luke 2:49; John 3:3; 20:17; Acts 16; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 1:12-14; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:15

Transcript

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Hello and welcome to this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. We pray that this message encourages you in your walk with Christ. If it does, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org.

And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/give. No matter what you do for a living, there's a higher purpose for your life. As we continue our series, Technicolor Joy, we learn that God is at work in and through us, regardless of the career we pursue.

In the message, "The Family Business," Skip teaches that God has called us to a specific work in Christ. Now, please open your Bible to Philippians chapter 1 as he begins.

Philippians, chapter 1. I have a friend who was a director. He was a crusade director of the Billy Graham Association. His job was to get on planes and fly to different parts of the country and help organize those huge evangelistic crusades for Dr. Billy Graham.

So one day, he's in an airplane. He's flying across country. And sitting next to him was Tom Cruise, the actor, who asks my friend, so, what do you do for a living?

My friend was always looking for ways to get the gospel presented. So he looked at Tom Cruise. And he said, I'm in the security business.

Now, that's a huge buzz word for actors, because actors and musicians are always looking for good security people. So he goes, really? You're in security?

So my friend went on to tell him about how to have eternal security in Jesus Christ. And that was the platform that he used. I'm in the security business.

You're part of a business. You have a business. And I'm not just meaning that you have an occupational business, a professional business-- that, I know.

But you have another business. You have a spiritual business. You have a vocational business. You have a high and holy business, and that is God's business.

And that's what I want to talk to you about here, so that you might be a financial investor. But you have another business. You might be a consultant, but you have another business. You might be a construction worker. You have another business.

You might be a student. You have another business. You might be a single parent. You have another business.

You might be in between jobs, but you're always on this job. It is a business that comes from God. What's more, it's a family business. That is, now that you're a part of God's spiritual family, you're part of the family business.

You remember what Jesus said when he was, I think, 12 years old, and his mother found him in the temple speaking to the leadership there? He said to her, don't you know that I must be about my Father's business? We are in that business, that family business. And I want you to just make a note in verse 5, even though we haven't even read it yet.

Notice the word in verse 5, "fellowship." Do you see that word? Some newer translations translated partnership. I think that's a better choice.

It is a partnership. It is the word "koinonia," translated, "fellowship" or "partnership." We are partners with God in a family business.

God is our Father. Jesus said, I am going to my Father and your Father. The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers. So we are part of a family business.

I was reading a little article in Forbes magazine this week about businesses in the United States of America. And the article said that family business in America is responsible for 50% of the gross national product-- that is essentially, a country built on family businesses. Now, some of us think of family businesses as a store down the street owned by a family, and it's been in the family for a few years. But the article goes on to say that Walmart is a family business, as is Ford Motor Company, Tyson Foods, Sears, and Comcast.

All of those are family businesses. But the same article noted that less than 1/3 of those businesses will survive the transition from the first generation to the second generation. And those that do survive, 50% of them will not survive the transition from the second to the third generation.

Why is that? The article says, these are businesses that get stuck doing things the same way. In other words, the business outgrows the structure.

So we are in a business. We are in a family business-- a partnership with God, with the Lord, and with others. Now we, in this business, have a product. Every business has a product. Yes, we have a product.

Our product is the gospel. That's our product. That's what we give out. That's what we disseminate. That's what we're always sharing, the gospel.

You'll notice in verse 5 he says, for your fellowship in the gospel. Down in verse 7, he talks about the defense and the confirmation of the gospel. In verse 12, he speaks about the furtherance of the gospel. That is our product.

Why is it our product? Because it's only the gospel that brings change. That's where the life change comes from.

Now, you know what the gospel is. You know what the gospel means. Gospel means the--

Good news.

Good news. The good news that what Jesus did on the cross was enough to get you from Earth to heaven. That's the good news, that he paid the price.

He did the heavy lifting. We can trust that he died, was buried, was risen from the dead for our justification. That's the gospel.

Now, it's that gospel that changed Paul's life. He heard it. He received it. It changed him from a persecutor into a preacher, from Saul of Tarsus to Paul the Apostle.

It changed Timothy, also mentioned here on our text, in verse 1. Timothy was probably 15 years old when he first heard the gospel preached by that Paul who came through his town on a missionary journey. It changed him. It was the gospel who changed the lives of people of Philippi like Lydia, and like the jailer, the Philippian jailer.

And now there is a church there, all because of the gospel. And now they, church members, are partners with Paul in the family business of the gospel. Let's look at our text. Let's get familiar, at least, with it as we jump in.

I'm going to be looking with you today from verses 3 to verse 8 of chapter 1. But can we just begin in verse 1 and go down to verse 8 for the sake of context? Paul and Timothy, bond servants of Jesus Christ, to all the Saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi with the bishops and deacons. Grace to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my god upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making requests for you all with joy. For your fellowship and the gospel, from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you are partakers with me of grace.

For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you with all the affection of Jesus Christ. I want to share with you some principles of partnership. Look at these as three partnership principles in keeping the family business strong. They're pretty simple.

Be thankful. Be confident. Be aware.

Be thankful. Be confident. Be aware. Could you say those with me?

Be thankful. Be confident. Be aware. Let's begin with the first. Be thankful.

Paul was thankful. Be thankful for God's work collectively. Go back to verse 3. Listen to what he writes.

I thank my god upon every remembrance of you. Always, in every prayer of mine making requests for you all with joy, for your fellowship, partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. OK. Paul is writing from a prison cell in Rome. We have discovered that in our first study.

And while he's in that prison cell, he's got a lot of time on his hands. So he goes reminiscing. He has a large inventory of memories. And one of those memories is about the Church of Philippi-- how it started, where it is now.

And he says, I thank my god upon every-- I put a smile on my face when I think of you and remember you in prayer, he would say. Now, the way I see it, the words, "I thank god," or "Thank my god," in verse 3, and the word joy, in verse 4, seem like strange words to apply to Paul's experience at Philippi, because Philippi was sort of a pain all the way around. First of all, Paul didn't even want to go to Philippi, remember?

He was trying to go several places. The Holy Spirit was shutting that down. Finally, he ends up at Troas. He gets a vision of a man from Macedonia saying, come over here, and help us.

So he goes to Macedonia, Philippi being the chief city. And he's probably looking around for a man that he saw in his vision. Didn't see a man. Goes to a group of women at a river side, Jewish women who are praying.

And one of them-- one of them named Lydia-- listens to the message and receives Christ as her Savior. So Paul may have been thinking, I don't know. But this is what I would be thinking, if I were Paul.

OK. We got one. I've had more success on other missionary journeys. I didn't want to come here to begin with, but here I am. We've got one.

But then things go from that place, to much worse, to really, really bad, because the next few days, a girl demon possessed follows Paul and his team wherever he goes. And one day, they even mock him while they are praying. Paul discerns she is demon possessed, delivers her from that demon.

Paul gets taken to the center of town and gets beaten with rods and then put in jail. RC Linsky, a commentator, tells us what that would have felt like. Under the many blows, the skin would be broken. The blood would ooze out. The inflamed welts would cover the whole back.

The rod that it speaks about was called a vitis. A vitis is 3 three foot long stick that centurions carried. The centurion used the vitas, the vine stick, for how shall I say it-- to motivate lazy soldiers.

Paul got the full brunt of that vitas, that vine stick, those rods across his back. Then he gets put in jail. He gets put in the stocks. Stocks were designed to pull the extremities out to their maximum reach so that you were immovable.

So it's interesting that with that as the background, he says, I thank my god upon every remembrance of you, because that's not what I would write. I would say, when I think back to fill a pie, I get sick to my stomach. My skin crawls. I break out in a sweat.

But Paul says, I thank my god upon every remembrance of you, always. And every prayer was joy. Now, there's a key there in how joy is produced.

When the Holy Spirit-- and he does this. It's a work of grace. When you look back through your catalog of memories and the Holy Spirit is able to push the Delete key, so that what your mind lands on are not all the bad things people have done to you, not all the injustices, not all the wounds, not all the hurt, not all-- well, let me tell you what's not right with other people.

When all that stuff goes away, and you can look back through all the maze of pain and say, but god was working. And for that, I have joy. What is he thankful for?

Simple. He's thankful for what the gospel produced. It produced life change. People's lives were changed.

A church grew. A family was extended. His memory of Lydia's salvation brought him joy. His memory of the Philippian jailer's conversion and subsequent baptism brought him joy.

His memory of how just a few people gathered around, and now, there's is a larger church, a vibrant church at Philippi. All of that brought him joy. So listen to this principal.

Paul's joy and thankfulness were directly proportional to the growth of the family business. I'm thankful for your partnership in the gospel. My joy is directly proportional, Paul would say, to the growth of the family business. That's how he saw his life.

Yes, this hurt. Yes, that was painful. That was horrible, but the gospel changed people's lives through it. He was joyful.

Same thought is expressed a few verses down. Verse 12, but I want you to know, brethren, that the things which have happened to me-- now, he's speaking about his present incarceration-- he has been unjustly accused. He has been a prisoner of the Roman government. He's now locked up in a Roman prison.

Those are the things he refers to. The things that have happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the what? The gospel. The product has gone out.

The life changing element has gone out, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard and to all the rest that my chains are in Christ. And most of the brethren in the Lord have become confident by my chains and are much more bold to speak the word without fear. So my painful hardship has extended the family. And for that, I am joyful.

This is Paul, looking back. This is the Holy Spirit pressing the Delete key, Paul looking back saying, bless you, pain. Bless you, problems.

Bless you, prison. Bless you, chains, because as hard as those were, I see the effect the gospel has had. And for that, I have joy.

Boy, that's an attitude. That's an attitude. I read an article. I found an article this week about your attitude, and it was all about the right kind of attitude in life, and it was found in, of all places, The Huffington Post. And the article was called, "Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude."

The article spoke about how your attitude affects your ability to enjoy your life. It affects your ability to be grateful for blessings, to note that these things are blessings to me. And the article went on to say, it's the reason it's so important to hang out with the right kind of people who will influence your attitude.

There's an awful lot of people, even Christian people, who look like Basset Hounds. They're on their way to heaven, but you'd never know it. And it's important to be with those people like Paul who can look back and go, ah.

But look at-- filter through it. Notice how God was at work. I have joy because of that. I rejoice in that.

My mind could go back, as I go through my catalog of memories. I could think about the hardships when we started, the trials, and the tears that we experienced, the betrayals I've had in ministry. But as I look back, honestly, so much has been deleted.

I remember things happened, but I don't remember the particulars. And I thank God for that selective memory disorder, and I think it's from him. I think back to change lives, and churches planted, and souls saved. And for that, I rejoice. I'm thankful for God's work, collectively.

Here's the second partnership principle. Not only be thankful for God's work collectively, be confident in God's work personally. And that's what he draws her attention to in verse 6, being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Now, allow me to unpack this little version. There's a lot in it.

This personal work was begun by God. It's God's work. Notice what it says, being confident that he who has begun this good work.

Paul is not referring to what the Philippians did. He's not saying kudos to you guys. You did such a great work at Philippi.

You planned. You strategized. You took demographic studies of the greater Philippian region, nor is Paul talking about himself.

He's not talking about or bragging about the work that he, and Silas, and Timothy did, because frankly, he just showed up, and God did the work. Now, you might hear that and go, Skip, you're not giving Paul enough credit. He did more than just show up. He spoke the word to Lydia.

Yeah. But Luke, who is with him-- put it this way. The Lord opened up her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.

So who did the work? Paul or God? Well, Paul spoke, but he spoke sort of because he was there. And the Lord opened her heart. The Lord did that.

Then Paul was put in prison. And his back was covered with welts, and he's in stocks. And it's midnight. So he turns to his buddy and goes, hey. Let's sing.

So they start singing hymns. And what happened? An earthquake happened. An earthquake shook the prison, and opened the doors, and the chains fell off.

Did Paul do that? That wasn't Paul's work. That was God's work.

Paul showed up. The Lord opened people's hearts. An earthquake happened.

It is God's work that he was doing. I love that verse in the Ephesians 2, for we are his workmanship. His poema, his work of art. God is the master artist, skillful artist, always looking to express himself. It's his work.

Not only is it God's work, notice more carefully in the verse, it's a gradual work. It says, he who has begun a good work-- now, that word, "begun," implies it's still going on. Think for a moment of the good work that God has begun in you.

Think of the first time you heard the gospel. Maybe you heard it and parts of you said, yeah. I'm sort of touched by that. But then you heard it a second time, and your heart softened, and a third time. Maybe it took several times till you finally said, I give up. I surrender my life to Christ.

At that moment, on that day, god began a work. He initiated a task. It's an ongoing work.

I bring this up, because some of you that I'm talking to feel very discouraged as you look at your own life. There are problems in your life. There are imperfections in your life, and you're tempted to look at yourself and say, this is God's masterpiece?

This is the workmanship? This is the poema, the great work of art? Doesn't look very good to me. But what you're looking at is what a visitor to a great artist studio would see if he walked in, and there is that artist with that white canvas spread out on a beautiful frame.

And the visitor notices a splotch of orange, and yellow, and green. And the visitor thinks, I could do that. That's not art.

I can throw paint at a canvas and put color on it. And that visitor might even say, excuse me, Mr. Famous Artist, but that doesn't look like a great piece of art to me. And the artist would say, that's because you're looking at a work in progress.

I have something in my mind. I have a goal for this. But you are just seeing it at its early stages, just like you are seeing you in the middle of the job.

You see, holiness is not a light switch. It's not like you come to Christ, and he flips a switch, and it's like, I'm perfect. We all know that's not true. The Christian life is not a sprint. It is a marathon.

Put in your time. You go through the paces. So it's God's work. It's a gradual work. But notice more carefully, in verse 6, it's a growing work.

That is, it has to do with your spiritual growth inside of you. Notice it says, he who has begun a good work where? In you. You see, God's work is always an inside job before it's ever an outside job.

God works in you before he works through you. It's sad, really, but most of our concerns in life are outward concerns. Most people, their focus, their concern is about an outward thing.

How do I look? Do you like my hair? Do you like this dress on me? Do I look too fat?

Am I too thin? Am I too wrinkled? Am I too pale?

It's usually outward stuff that we are preoccupied with. How's the weather? How's the temperature? How do I feel?

It's all outward stuff. Rarely do people really get concerned about the inside work. I was in a furniture store a while back, and my eye was drawn. It was a used furniture, a consignment place, where people bring in their stuff to sell. And my eye was drawn to this beautiful antique refurbished piano.

I love musical instruments, so I walked over to it immediately. It was dark walnut, all redone, the casing. And what struck me about this piano is looking in it, you know what was in it? Nothing.

It was a piano casing redone. There was no good work in it. There were just outsides, no insides.

Now, compare that to a modern Steinway piano. Ever look at a price tag of a Steinway piano, $120,000? You think-- psh. What?

Let me go back to the consignment store. But there's no good work in it. Now, what the amazing thing about a Steinway piano, it doesn't just look good. What's in it is amazing.

What's in it are 12,500 different components assembled by 200 different crafts people who meticulously put that together. And then after it's done, the Steinway piano is taken to a special room they called the pounder room. That didn't sound very good, does it?

The pounder room is the place where every key gets pounded 10,000 times. But with all that work, and all that pounding, there is a good work inside that piano. And eventually, a master musician sits down at those keys, moves the fingers around, and the beautiful music is played and enjoyed.

That's God's intention to do through you. He wants to make his music through you. Before he works through you, he's got a work in you. And sometimes you feel, I'm in the pounder room over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.

So it's God's work. It's a gradual work. It's a growing work. Now, let me just bring this up, because you might ask, well, what are the kinds of things god would do in me?

Well, let me give you a few suggestions. The first word god does in you that's a good work is he makes you guilty. You see, that's good. Doesn't sound like a good work.

I live in a culture skip that tells me guilt is bad, and I should do everything I can to get rid of guilt. No. God makes you guilty, and that's a good work.

See, he makes you and I aware of our lost condition. And in our awareness of a lost condition, that's what drives us to seek salvation. So the first work he does is he makes you guilty. Second work he does, he makes you hungry.

You long for something different. You long, and hunger, and thirst for a different kind of life. Third thing he does in you is he makes you happy.

Once you come to Christ, he puts the joy of a forgiven life. He puts that joy inside of you. You're now forgiven. Forth thing he does, he makes you holy. And let me tell you, that's a life long-- that's where the pounder room comes in.

He makes you holy. That is, he takes off the rough edges of your life. Have you got any rough edges? Mine are still coming off.

That's the good work he does in you. So it's God's work, a gradual work, a growing work, but I've got to say this, because it's in the verse. It's a guaranteed work.

It says, being confident of this very thing that he who has begun a good work in you will what? He will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. One translation says he'll bring it to a flourishing finish.

Whatever God starts, God finishes. He who has begun will complete. How many of you here have unfinished projects at home? Come on. Be honest. Yeah.

God bless you. I see that hand. God bless you.

[LAUGHTER]

I have a running list of unfinished projects. The other day, I'd looked out my window of my study, and I noticed in the front yard, there's a project. I won't tell you what it is, but it has been on my docket for five years.

Now, I started it, and I walked away from it. And now, I look at it as an unfinished project. Aren't you glad that God Almighty is not like Skip Heitzig.

He is the author and the finisher of our faith. What He begins, He completes. Now, He's going to keep working in you.

You know until when? I'll tell you when. It says so in the verse.

He will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. God won't stop working on you till Jesus shows up. Now, that's commitment. The day of Jesus Christ is referring to the day when we are in his presence with glorified, resurrected bodies.

God will never give up on you. He will never stop working on you until you're like Jesus. God never says of any of you, I quit. He never goes, no way. I'm done.

You're so lame. I mean, I work hard on you, and nothing really changes, so I'm done. No.

It's as if when you came to Christ, he hung a sign over your life that says, under construction. You're under construction. And he won't take that sign down, until you're glorified. So until the day of Christ-- it's God's work, a gradual work, a growing work, and it is a guaranteed work.

So be thankful. That's the first partnership principle. Be thankful for God's work collectively.

Be confident in God's work personally. And here's the third, and we'll close with this partnership principle. Be aware of God's work practically. Verse 7, he says, just as it is right for me to think this of you all because I have you in my heart, and as much as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you are all partakers of me with grace, for God is my witness. How greatly I long for you all, with the affection of Jesus Christ.

Now, that's a confusing statement, the way it's written for us. But let me just sum it up for you. This is a tender statement of Paul the Apostle saying, you have a special place in my heart, a very unique and tender place in my heart.

And Paul is saying, I feel linked together with you, whether I'm in prison, or I'm out on the streets, preaching the gospel. I feel we are linked together. Why? Well, I want you to notice a word in verse 7.

Look at the word, "partakers." Look at the word, "partakers." And if you have the freedom to write in your Bibles-- not all of you feel you have that freedom-- I do-- you may want to circle partakers and circle fellowship in verse 5 and run a line to them, because they are related words.

Remember what I told you? The word "fellowship," "koinonia," also translated, "partnership." The word, "partakers," is related to that word, "fellowship." But it's not koinonia. The word in verse 7 is sug koininas. Sug koininas. It means a joint fellowship or a joint partnership, and it's translated here, partakers.

Now, let me be practical. How can you be sure-- how can you be sure that God is really working in you? Are there signs that show, yea, God is at work in me? Yes, there are.

There are two signs mentioned in verse 7. It's when you stand up for the gospel, and it's when you spread the gospel. Those two signs show that you are serious about the family business. You believe the product, so much so that you stand up for the gospel, and you spread the gospel.

I want you to see it in verse 7. It's right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, a special place in my heart, in as much as both in my chains and in the-- watch this-- defense-- defense is when you stand up for something-- and confirmation of the gospel. You are partakers with me of grace. Now, that word, "defense," is apologia.

We get the term, "apologetics" from it. It's a defense of the faith. So whenever you hear somebody ridicule the gospel or mock the Jesus that you love, you stand up, and you defend it. You say, excuse me, but you're speaking about somebody that I love.

That Jesus you just used in that cuss word? That's somebody that I love. I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't do that.

You stand up for it. You try to answer people's questions. You try to explain your faith. You stand up for the truth.

You do what Peter said to do, and First Peter chapter 3, always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that lies in you. Now, if you didn't love God, you wouldn't do that. You wouldn't care less what people say about Jesus, or the Christian faith, or anything. The fact that you stand up for it is a sign or a proof that it matters to you, that you love him, that he's a work in you, because you stand up for it. You make a defense.

Second is you spread the gospel. And that's the word right after that, the confirmation of the gospel. Now, that is a word that was a legal term used in giving legal testimony. It means to tell, to speak, and it's to confirm a fact used in legal testimony.

So here's how it works. Every time the gospel is preached and received, it's confirmed. Every time you see somebody respond to the gospel, whether you give it or I give it, when that gospel is given out and received, it confirms the gospel.

You're going, look. It works. It happened again. That same old message still changes lives.

It confirms it, the defense and the confirmation of the gospel. The practical proof that you are part of the family business is that you believe in the product. You believe in it so much is that you stand up for it and you spread it around.

If you don't stand up for it and you don't spread it around, it's good to ask, do you really believe the product? Right? That makes sense, right? Now, this task, this is what I want to underscore as I close this task, is a family task.

Remember, it's a family business. I must be about my Father's business. Jesus passed that onto his disciples. His disciples passed that on to the next generation. Now, it's our turn. The baton of the gospel is in our hands.

We are always-- Christianity is always one generation from extinction. We pass it on to the next. All of us are involved. It's a family partnership.

An article I read said this. The Kingdom of God is not meant to be a loose confederation of island individuals, but rather, a unified group that is committed to the welfare of each other. The only cell in the human body that does its own thing is the cancer cell.

Paul's letter to the Philippians teaches us that fellowship is vital in the Christian life. Christian life in the United States is something like American football, where you have 11 men out on the field in desperate need of rest and 50,000 people in the stadium in desperate need of exercise. In a similar way, in too many churches, the pastor and a small band of helpers are exhausted, while most of the congregation sits and takes it all in. That is not a New Testament church. A New Testament church is a joint partnership together in the family business. And we're all about doing our part, wherever we are.

Now, that's the family business, but you've got to be in the family to be in the business. And how do you get in the family? You've got to be born into it, right? Jesus said you must be born again-- a spiritual birth.

A spiritual birth, or you will not see-- his words-- you will not see the Kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven. Unless you are born again, you will not get to heaven. You need a spiritual birth, a spiritual awakening, to go to heaven. So yeah. He wants to work through you. But first, he's got to work in you.

And the first work in you is to make you realize you need him. And maybe some of you are realizing that right now. Maybe some of you are feeling a little bit guilty.

I know what some people do when they feel guilty. They get up and walk out. I'm glad that you've decided to sit down and listen to the whole message.

And maybe God has been trying to make you feel guilty to show you you're lost and that you need him so that he doesn't go, well, I've had enough of that. I've had enough a walk in my own way. Now, I'm going to walk his way. That's called repentance in the Bible, where you turn around and walk his way.

And if you have never done that personally, though you may have gone to church all your life or for the last few years, if you have not personally received Christ, I'm going to give you the opportunity. I know people that come to church every week, because they're sort of drug to church. You will come to church. You will sit there, and so that's it.

But is it real to you? Are you a saved man or a saved woman? Are you sure that when you die, you will go directly to heaven?

You can be sure. You can know. It doesn't come by being a good person. It's acknowledging, I'm not a good person. I need the good person, the god person, who died in my place.

I need him as my Savior. I'm going to trust him. That's the gospel. I'm going to trust him.

I'm going to believe in him. I'm going to turn to him. If you've never done that, I'm going to give you that opportunity in a moment.

Let's bow our heads. Let's pray together. Father, thank you for the gospel, the good news, the best news ever, that people who are born alienated from God-- and all of us are-- can be right with God, can be in the family of God by a new birth, a new start, a new beginning.

Lord, I pray that some who have come who have never placed their personal trust in Jesus, it has been up to this point their father and mother's faith or their spouses faith. It has never been their own. Where they have reached out and said, Jesus, save me.

Come into my life. I believe you. I surrender my life to you.

We know that at that moment, new life happens. Birth occurs. I pray, Father, for some who are here, they've been invited by friends on this welcome weekend, they've never personally said yes to you, or they've walked away from you maybe, and they need to come back. Would you grab a hold of their lives, and would you convince them of their need for you?

Only you can do that. It's a work that you must begin, and we ask that you would. With our heads bowed, our eyes closed, I'm just going to throw the net out and see if there's anyone here who would say yes to Jesus maybe for the first time, or you need to return home after going astray. But if you want to know that you're forgiven and you want to be saved, you want to come to know the forgiveness of the Lord, Jesus Christ, raise your hand up.

Raise it up, and keep it up for just a moment, so I can acknowledge you. I want to pray for you, but I need to know who you are. God bless you, and you, right here on my left, you, towards the back. Anyone else.

If you're in the family room, if you're outside, there's pastors out there. Just raise your hand up, wherever you are. Way in the back, on my left. On the right, one, two, three. I see you at the very back.

Who else? Who else? In the balcony, thank you for that. Thanks for waving that hand. That makes it a lot easier for old guys like me to see.

Anybody else? Right here. God bless you and you. Awesome. And you, right in the middle.

Father, thank you for all of these hands that have gone up, because every hand is a life. And that life is so precious to you. You love each person very uniquely. You know all about each person.

You made them. You've watched them their whole lives, and I believe you've brought them here, not as a coincidence, but to have this special meeting with you on this day when a seed would grow in them, be planted in them. New life would be in them. And you would begin something great in and then through them. Thank you, Lord, that they are becoming part of your family.

As Paul talked about the Church, the family that everyone in heaven and earth is named from-- Lord, I pray that you'd help each person with that hand raised to know that they're loved by you, to realize that there's hope for them in the future. Help them to understand what to do next. In Jesus' name.

Amen. Amen. Let's stand on our feet. Now, those of you who raised your hand, I prayed for you. But I want to lead you in a prayer to receive Christ.

You've just acknowledged that you're that person. But as we sing this final song, I'm going to ask you to do something that I believe is very important. Jesus called people usually publicly. He wanted people to make a public stand for him, and he gave them the strength to do it.

So if you raised your hand, I'm going to ask you to get up from where you're seated. Find the nearest aisle, and come stand, right up here, in the front. If you're in the balcony, we're going to wait for you to walk down those steps and come down this aisle. If you're in the very back, if you're in the middle of a row, if you're in the family room, if you're outside, one of the pastors will walk you right up here to the front.

But we want to give you this opportunity to stand here and pray to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.

[APPLAUSE CHEERING]

[ MUSIC - "CHRIST IS ENOUGH"] Everything I need is in you. Everything I need. Christ is enough for me. Christ is enough for me. And everything I need is in you.

And everything I need.

You hear the words of this song. Christ is enough for me. Let me tell you something. Nothing is enough for you without him.

You can be religious. You can be filled with, I'm going to try harder, do good things. None of that will ever be enough to get you to heaven.

No religion will get you to heaven, but Jesus is enough for you. If you trust him, what he did for you, that's the good news.

That's why it's called good news. The good news is that people can get saved by trusting what he did for them.

If you've never trusted him, you're here today, I don't care if you raised your hand or not. Some of you know you need to be down here, because you have a burdened heart. You want to have a forgiven heart, a clean slate. You want a do-over, come on down and let me lead you in this prayer-- a sincere prayer to receive Christ.

That's right. That's right.

[MUSIC - "CHRIST IS ENOUGH"] Everything I need is in you. And everything I need. Christ is enough for me, yeah. Christ is enough for me.

And everything I need is in you. And everything I need--

Hey, let's all gather this way. Let's come all this way. It's just going to be us. Nobody knows we're here.

So this is where we get really personal. I'm going to ask you to pray, asking Jesus to come in. Prayer is just talking to God. So I'm going to lead you in a simple prayer. I'm going to ask you to say these words after me.

Say them out loud. And you're asking Jesus to take over. You're asking God to take control of your life. You're giving your life away to an alien will, his will, letting him control you.

So it's simply an act of faith. Say this. Say, Lord, I give you my life.

Lord, I give you my life.

I know that I am a sinner.

I know that I am a sinner.

Please forgive me.

Please forgive me.

I believe in Jesus.

I believe in Jesus.

I believe he came from heaven.

I believe he came from heaven.

That he died on a cross.

That he died on a cross.

That he shed his blood for me.

That he shed his blood for me.

That he rose from the dead.

That he rose from the dead.

I turn from my sin.

I turn from my sin.

I turn to Jesus as Savior.

I turn to Jesus as savior.

I want to follow him as Lord.

I want to follow him as Lord.

Help me, Father.

Help me, Father. In Jesus' name.

In Jesus' name.

Amen.

Amen.

Amen. Amen.

[CHEERING]

We are the objects as well as the instruments of God's work in the world. Does this knowledge motivate you to change the way that you live your life? We'd love to know.

Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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4/23/2017
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A Joy Unexpected
Philippians 1:1
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Life doesn’t have to be easy to be joyful. In fact, ease of living and joy of heart have little to do with each other. Joy is not the absence of trouble but rather the presence of Jesus. Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is a letter dripping with joy and surprisingly so—it’s not what anyone would expect given the circumstances surrounding the author and the recipients. As we dip our toes into the joyful waters of this epistle, it’s my prayer that your smile will grow bigger and your heart will become lighter.
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4/30/2017
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News Flash: You’re a Saint!
Philippians 1:1-2
Skip Heitzig
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You've heard it before. Someone excuses his or her crude behavior by saying something like, "Well, I'm no saint, but I do the best I can." Or, "She's so wonderful; she's a saint!" The idea most folks have is that saints are those who've died and attain special status because of their unusual accomplishments while they lived on earth. Nothing could have been further from Paul's mind when he wrote this letter to living "saints." I hope you're one.
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5/14/2017
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Pray for Love
Philippians 1:9-11
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Love is the subject of more songs than any other topic. It's a word that falls off countless lips effortlessly and often without thought. But as someone noted, "One of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining. It is not. Love must be fed and nurtured, constantly renewed." The great apostle Paul had a deep love for the Philippian believers, and they for him. But love must be understood and developed intelligently. On this Mother's Day, when we celebrate the unique love of a mom, let's also consider how our love can become mature and God-honoring.
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5/21/2017
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The Happy Prisoner
Philippians 1:12-14
Skip Heitzig
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What does it take to steal your joy? To answer that question honestly, you would need to discover what you're passionate about--what drives you and what your expectations of life are. Why is this so important? Because things won't always go your way. Unfavorable winds will toss the ship of your life around on the ocean of circumstances and heartbreaks. What do you need then? The right perspective! Let's learn these truths from Paul's prison cell in Rome.
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6/11/2017
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Pest Control
Philippians 1:15-18
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Every group—whether it’s a club, a corporation, a homeowner association, or a church—has its share of problem people and detractors. Such can be touchy, irritable, irrational, unreasonable, contentious, or legalistic. Their words may hurt us deeply. Their actions may confuse us greatly. So how do we handle these pesky folks? Most importantly, what should we do or not do with those who name the name of Christ but act like pests?
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6/25/2017
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Can You Predict Your Future?
Philippians 1:18-21
Skip Heitzig
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If you were going to sit down and write a short description of what you wanted your future to look like, what words would you choose? Let me suggest four that come straight out of Paul's experience: joy, confidence, hope, and life. After musing over past events that brought him to prison, Paul looks ahead to his uncertain future. But these four words sum up what he expected his future to include--even if it meant his possible execution.
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7/9/2017
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Living on Earth; Longing for Heaven
Philippians 1:22-26
Skip Heitzig
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Knowing what Paul knew about heaven made him think very differently about earth. As Thomas Watson said, "Spiritual things satisfy; the more of heaven is in us, the less earth will content us." It's like a kid eating his vegetables while eyeing the chocolate cake promised after the meal (the salad becomes a means to an end). Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come," indicating we should be longing for heaven. So how do we effectively live on earth with heaven ahead?
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7/16/2017
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How to Stand When They Want You to Fall
Philippians 1:27-30
Skip Heitzig
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The truth is, we’re surrounded and outnumbered! The vast majority of the people we encounter in life don’t share our values nor worship our God. The difficulty of the Christian life is that we’re called to stand up for Christ when the rest of the world wants us to sit down or fall flat. They would much rather that we keep our mouths shut and conform to their standards. Let’s consider four spiritual weapons that will help us in the fight to stand strong in our faith.
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7/30/2017
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Being Around People--While Still Being Sane!
Philippians 2:1-4
Skip Heitzig
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Relationships are hard. They take a lot of work. If you think about it, every person in the world is incompatible with every other person. Enough time together would reveal this truth. Because of this, tensions rise, emotions flare, and bad responses ensue. Every friendship, every marriage, every family, and every organization (including every church) has its relational challenges. The church at Philippi did, too, and it was that disunity that tested Paul’s joy. Let’s consider the basics and the basis of successful relationships, and move from surviving them to thriving in them.
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8/6/2017
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What Would Jesus Do?
Philippians 2:5-8
Skip Heitzig
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The campaign What Would Jesus Do? has been around for years, challenging Christians to think about what Christ might actually do in any given situation so they might do likewise. Before us, we have an example of what Jesus actually did do. His example of humility and self-sacrifice is Paul’s illustration to fortify his exhortation of loving people through lowering ourselves.
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8/13/2017
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Be Humble or You'll Stumble
Philippians 2:8-11
Skip Heitzig
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Humility is that slippery quality that once you think you have it, you don't! Also, the pathway of humility is a hard one. For Jesus, it meant the cross. But humility will always be rewarded. Using Christ as our ultimate example, Paul demonstrates how Jesus' voluntary humiliation was compensated by the Father’s lavish exaltation. So even though humility doesn't come without a price, without it, there will be no harmony, no unity.
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8/20/2017
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How to Have a Great Workout
Philippians 2:12-13
Skip Heitzig
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Every day in every city, people go to the gym to get in a workout. Running on a treadmill, spinning on a cycle, working the stair-climber, and lifting weights are becoming more and more frequent in our health-conscious culture. But money spent on a gym membership is pointless unless we take the right approach. In this message, I want to consider what it means to have a healthy spiritual life by showing you what it means to "work out your own salvation in fear and trembling." Let's be determined to stay in top spiritual shape.
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8/27/2017
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Glow in the Dark!
Philippians 2:14-18
Skip Heitzig
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To make an object glow in the dark, a phosphor that will energize by ambient light and have a very long persistence (like zinc sulfide and strontium aluminate) must be applied. For a Christian to glow (shine the light of truth and salvation) in a dark culture, there are four considerations that will energize us. Today let’s study how we can penetrate a murky world.
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9/17/2017
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A Little Help from My Friends
Philippians 2:19-24
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Life without friendship is like the sky without the sun. Paul knew the value of having true friends who stuck with him during difficult times. And right in the middle of this letter, he mentioned two of them—Timothy and Epaphroditus. These two guys helped shoulder the burdens for the apostle and brought him great joy. As we consider Timothy's friendship profile, see how many of these qualities are present in your own life.
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10/1/2017
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How to Treat Good (but Imperfect) People
Philippians 2:25-30
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Some of the greatest people I have ever met have been relatively unknown individuals. They serve diligently behind the scenes with no desire for the limelight. Their names are not known to men, yet they are known to God. But even the choicest servants of God are not perfect. We all have our blemishes, shortfalls, quirks, idiosyncrasies, and oddities. Paul gave us an excellent way to treat such people in his words about his friend Epaphroditus.
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10/8/2017
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Has Your Joy Sprung a Leak?
Philippians 3:1-3
Skip Heitzig
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I have a bicycle pump in my garage that stands constant guard to reinflate my tires. It seems that I have a slow leak in one of them. Perhaps from a very small thorn or a defect in the tube, the air slowly leaks out, leaving the ride spongy. Spiritual thorns that deflate joy can also threaten our Christian experience. Let’s consider some simple principles that firm up our life journey and keep "the joy of the Lord" intact.
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10/15/2017
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Get a Real Testimony!
Philippians 3:4-8
Skip Heitzig
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I have heard various people give their testimony over the years. A testimony is the story of how you came to believe in Christ personally. What is your story? Could you tell it to someone? You should be able to trace the steps you took in your life’s journey from aimless wandering to purposeful living as a Christian. These verses are Paul’s personal testimony. Let’s consider three essential ingredients to building a real testimony.
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There are 17 additional messages in this series.