Paul is completely convinced that he is in prison according to the good, perfect and acceptable will of God. Instead of moaning and crying and complaining, he is:
- Abiding in Christ and looking for ways to bring glory to him as long as he is there.
- Concerned for others and praying for others. Seeking to minister to others in the prison and encourage his brothers and sisters in Christ outside of those prison walls who are under the attack of false teachings.
- When Paul writes, all the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household (Php 4.22), it is widely accepted that Paul was used by God to lead many soldiers to Christ while in prison (cp. Acts 16.23-34).
In fact, the epistle to the Philippians has been called over the years “the epistle of joy.” Time does not permit me to go into great depth about the vast difference between our joy which is something that is deep within our souls, and only found in a living relationship and fellowship the Lord Jesus Christ and happiness, which is all external, and depends upon the chances and changes in life, be it our health, our finances, our weather, our team loses the game etc.
Beloved, I must tell you in the Name of Jesus Christ that there is a “happiness” heresy that has entered the human bloodstream of the body of Christ and it not born of the Spirit of God.
Because of a false man-centered, me-centered “gospel”, where the itching ears message is that God’s supreme plan for your life is to be happy, many people (not all of course) are walking out of the covenant of marriage, walking out of churches, moving to other states, allbecause they are no longer happy where they are.
Beloved, nowhere in Scripture does God say that Jesus came to make us happy. Christ came to make us holy. Jesus didn’t die on the cross to do our bidding and pleasure, Jesus died on the cross that we might live for His pleasure and glory.
Blessed, oh how happy, are those people whose God is the Lord, the blessed man, the blessed woman is the man or woman who trusts in the Lord and can praise Him and serve Him, and worship Him wherever the providence of God places him, whatever their marital state or even if you live in the state of New York!
I apologize for forgetting the website that I read this from, but it echoes what I am talking about here about the importance of having a God centered, Christ exalting, Spirit filled divine perspective in life:
WE WOULD EXPECT a prisoner to say something like this: “I am poor and miserable!” BUT PAUL SAID to the Ephesians, “I am rich and blessed with more blessings than I can even count” (Ephesians 1:3). This is the message of Ephesians.
WE WOULD EXPECT a prisoner to say something like this: “I am the most unhappy and discontented person in the whole world!” BUT PAUL SAID to the Philippians, “I can rejoice at all times and I can be content in whatsoever state I am in, even when I am in prison” (Philippians 4:4,11). This is the message of PHILIPPIANS.
WE WOULD EXPECT a prisoner to say something like this: “I am in desperate need. Life is terrible!” BUT PAUL SAID to the Colossians, “Christ is everything I need! Christ is my Life!” (Colossians 2:10; 3:3). This is the message of Colossians.
WE WOULD EXPECT that if a Christian were thrown into jail he might say, “Lord, I need to get out of here so that I can start serving the Lord again!” BUT PAUL SERVED THE LORD even during his time in prison. He even preached the gospel to a runaway slave named Onesimus and this man was saved. This is the message of Philemon.
Some of the doctrines and topics that we will be covering
- The deity of Jesus Christ.
- The Supremacy of Christ in His creation and in His church.
- The mystery of the church.
- Spiritual warfare.
- The progressive sanctification of the saints.
- God’s design for marriage.
- Christian work ethics.
- Paul’s prayers.
- Walking in love and forgiveness within the body of Christ.
- Last, but certainly not least, the absolute sufficiency of the atoning sacrifice and bodily resurrection of The Lord Jesus Christ from the dead as full payment for our sins. Salvation is a gift from God that is unconditional, undeserved and it granted to sinners by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
We will be looking at the enemies of the gospel that are alive and well on planet earth today.
- Legalism- Jesus plus ritual or good works=salvation
- Mysticism- Jesus plus an esoteric or spiritual experience= salvation.
- Gnosticism-Jesus plus “special revelation” knowledge=salvation.
- Asceticism-Jesus plus the denial of things=salvation.
Beloved, any “ism” be it a form of godliness, a spiritual experience, a system of theology inevitably becomes the focus of a person’s faith rather than Jesus alone. Jesus plus anything else is an “ism”.
- No religious ordinance can add to the all sufficient atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
- No spiritual experience can eclipse the precious intimacy that a child of God can have with The Lord Jesus Christ.
- No system of theology on ANY end of the spectrum can ever describe the fullness of the character and majesty of God and the depths of His love for us that is expressed in His Beloved Son Jesus Christ.
Paul, who will write about all of these doctrines, summed up his practical theology this way….follow me as I follow Christ.
Here is Christianity according to Jesus:
- Come unto Me.
- Follow Me.
- Learn of Me.
- Abide in Me.
- Seek Me.
- Obey Me.
- Serve Me. Occupy ’til I come.
- Look unto Me.
- Remember Me.
Beloved, the one “cure” for sin and all of the ails and pains and sorrows that come along with it is the glorious, life changing, transforming gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ.
He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He came for the brokenhearted and weary. He died on the cross for sinners, for those who are ungodly, for those who are His enemies.
Jesus Christ came to be our Shepherd to guide us throughout our lives, our High Priest for us to confide in times of failure and falling, Our Refuge and Strong Tower in times of trouble, Our Healer in times of pain, Our Comforter in times of sorrow and loss.
The gospel is not try harder, do better, be stronger; it is trust Christ! You can trust Him today, for today is the day of salvation…if The Spirit of God is stirring your heart to embrace the Lordship of Jesus today, we would love to pray for you. Call us at (585) 385-0450.