The goals of these blogs will be to share the highlights from the prior week's sermons. By "highlights" I mean those insights from Scripture that felt especially important or relevant. If something catches your attention, I encourage you to open your Bible and listen along to the full sermon on our "sermons" page.
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This past Sunday I started a series on the book of Philippians - a letter the Apostle Paul wrote while in prison to a church he had planted some 10-15 years prior. I preached from the first 11 verses, but really focused on verse 6, which reads, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
God's good work begins the moment he opens our hearts to receive the gospel. The source of Paul's confidence in the Philippian church was God. God is always the one who begins the good work in anyone's life - and God is the one who continues the good work of saving us, too. The first convert to Jesus in Europe just happened to be in Philippi. Of her, Lydia, it's recorded in Acts 16;14, "The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul." If you are considering Jesus, the Lord is opening your heart. If you follow Christ, the Lord has opened your heart. And take heart in this: God never closes a heart that he opens!
God's good work creates in us our true, eternal identity. Skimming through Philippians 1:1-11, you see Paul and Timothy identifying as slaves for Jesus (built on Paul's insight that we're all slaves, either to our sinful desires or to God), and the believers in Philippi identified as 'saints,' 'partners in the gospel,' 'partakers in grace,' and later in the letter those who 'labor alongside Paul,' 'fellow workers' and not the least, 'brothers and sisters.' These identities are true and eternal, and they ought to cause us to live differently so that at work, on our blocks and at home, the kingdom of God is the great motivator of our heart--not our property value, reputation or family role.
God's good work goes from grace to glory. Paul prays for them in these opening verses, that they would be filled with love, and that this overflowing love would be guided and directed by wisdom and discretion, so that their lives are marked by God-honoring decisions. Elsewhere, Paul writes that, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." The takeaway is that God's good work in saving us, leads us to live a life filled with 'good works' - or what he calls here, 'the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus.' And this will bring God glory, both now and in the age to come.
Bottom line: God has begun a good work in your life, if you have received the gospel. You're the painting he's still painting. Your suffering, your trials, your love, your wisdom, they are all part of what God is doing to make you evermore his craftsmanship so that when people look at you, they say, "Look at what God has done in their life!"