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Sermons from Middle River Baptist Church

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Philippians 2:12-18 - Working Out A Common Salvation

God is going to get the glory either in our salvation or in judgment (see Rom. 14). Now that Paul has raised this high Christology he gets practical how what we do in living humbly. Paul gives moree explicit directive as to what it means to live humbly and how we must live out a humble live in the midst of community. We are commanded here to work out our salvation (sanctification) which is our responsibility, but in a way that give God the credit for working in us. This is not a matter of synergism between me and God in which he did his part and I did mine. This responsibility to work out our salvation is a monergtistic work of God. God doesn't help those who help themselves but helps those who cannot help themselves. It is his power (see 2 Peter 1:1-4) that gives and grows our faith. The amazing thing about these verses is that they refer primarily to working out our salvation within the church, the body of Christ rather than as individuals. And for that reason Paul goes on in verse 14ff to say that the way we work our ours slavation is to not be complainers or to not constant questioners. The complainer is committing a major sin according to Paul, becasue we are to examples to the crooked and twisted generation of what considering each other more important entails. We shine when we humble ourselves in our witness to this world For these reasons Paul is joyful and commands the Philippians and us to rejoice with a humble spirit in living in community - working out our salvation together in the power of Christ.

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Philippians 2:9-11 - From Humility to Super Exaltation

The best way to see the exaltation of Christ is to view it on the backdrop of his humiliation in heaven, in incarnation, and in death. Humiliation does not mean embarrassment, slavish service, wimpiness, lack of boldness or ambition or the prideful pursuit of spirituality. We see that in this text that God exaltation of Christ is past (v. 9) and future (vv. 10-11). In the past God super exalted Christ at the right hand of the Father to the glory he had before the world was created. The Lamb of God is worthy and is given a name that everyone above every name with is LORD or Yahweh. Because of God past super exaltation of Christ and because he has been given the name Yahweh or LORD all people should (not shall) bow the knee and confess Christ in salvation. This verse is usually quoted incorrectly in a universalistic fashion making it say that everyone will worship God, but we know that Romans 14:10-12 includes everyone will bow in judgment but not in salvation. You should consider how you will approach Christ either in salvation with knees bowed and tong confessing or in Judgment with knees bowed.

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Philippians 1:27-30 - Heavenly Citizens

The Life we live matters. Today when people want to define what an Evangelical is we often forget that the Lordship of Christ extends to everyone area of our lives. We tend to focus on here and now when as Christians we should focus on our heavenly citizenship. We are heirs of the King, but far too often we seek the benefits of this world rather than the heavenly kingdom of which we claim we want to spend eternity. Why would anyone want to have a heavenly citizenship without holiness is just a reflection of how anemic and weak American Christianity is today. In this passage Paul gives us 3 avenues that will help redirect our loyalties toward the heavenly kingdom. They include: 1) The Call to live as worthy Citizens (27a), 2) The Distinctives of Worthy Citizens (27b-28), and 3) The Grace of Worthy Citizenship. For Paul the Gospel of Christ is first. The gospel must be the center pole of all that we do and any philosophy of ministry we have. The call to be a heavenly citizen is a call to salvation and be a disciple of Christ. Paul also shows how allegiance, spiritual steadfastness, teamwork, and fearlessness are character changes that will speak volumes to an outside world and to the Christian community about the supremacy of the Heavenly Kingdom. Finally Paul shows us that believing and suffering are given to us in our heavenly citizenship. The Philippians were all recipients of grace as they hade been given the gifts of salvation (believing) and suffering. If we only see grace to be only pleasant benefits and blessings then suffering will be seen to be anything but grace. This must be combated because it leads people away from the true God and the true Gospel.

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Philippians 1:18b-26 - A Certain Confidence

Paul puts the Gospel first in ministry because for him to life is Christ and to die is gain. Everyone lack confidence but when it comes to the worship of God a lack of confidence is either from sinfulness or ignorance. Why do we cherish or treasure things that don’t make God great? Paul’s answer was that we center our living on the false, fake, limited, and/or powerless things. For Paul Christian ministry must get back to a cross Center life that gives the greatest confidence. This Cross centered worship give us confidence that results from 1) Confidence in the Final vindication (18b-20), 2) Confidence in Life or death (21-24), and 3) Confidence for ministry to others (25-26). Focusing on the cross in Gospel worship gives us confidence that we will be vindicated in the last judgment. It did not matter what other did to him, he was on a ultimate mission. No matter what postmoderns say today, we can have certainty about things even thought knowledge of reality may sometimes be partial. It is ludicrous to say that you are certain that you are not certain. You don’t have to be omniscient to be certain about reality because our resources are outside of our selves – i.e. revelation and the supply of the Holy Spirit. Personal conversion and commitment are what is needed to the revelation that is given to supply our certainty. Confidence for Paul also came because of how he value life and death as profit for him. It did not matter because for Paul the apex of his values in his life and worship was Christ alone. Worship that brings confidence is radically God-centered, radically satisfying, and radically an end in itself. This freed Paul to have confidence to minister to others and it will give a great confidence to.

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Philippians 1:7-8 - Sources of Joyful Affection

Paul bases his affection on the Philippians on the confidence He has in God's work in their lives. The doctrine known as "The Perseverance of the Saints" (or "Eternal Security") is an essential orthodox belief that if adamantly rejection will destroy the Gospel of Grace and create another religion foreign to the teachings of Christ. Paul's affection was not motivated by merely earthly emotions but by Christ’s love for his people. We find in these few verses 3 sources for the affections that Paul had for the Philippians: 1) Affections in the center of his heart, 2) Affections of fellowship, and 3) Affections of Christ Himself. We must learn that our confident affections for others stem from knowing that their salvation (and ours) doesn't rest in their (or our) grip on God, but on God's grip on them (us). You will need to look at these verses and ask yourself: Is my faith a genuine saving faith in Christ - one that is authored by Him, sustained by Him, and will one day be completed by Him. Your answer to that question should convict you know how sinful it is not to have been possessed with the affection of Christ for each other as Paul was.

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