Fridays in Philippians – God Will Finish It!

Thanks for joining me for our Fridays in Philippians Devotion.  Today we’re looking at Chapter 1 and verse 6:

Philippians 1:6: Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

I’m going to confess to you one of my greatest weaknesses as a leader! I’m a philippianssanguine who loves to start projects.  But, unfortunately, I frequently don’t finish them. I can’t tell you how many unfinished projects I have on my to do list. I’m invigorated by the start of something new, but I often lack the discipline and focus to carry something through to its completion. I struggle with finishing. I’m really working on doing better – but that resolution, I’m afraid, is an unfinished project!

God is so different from those of us who struggle to finish what we’ve started. God always finishes what He starts! What an incredible verse. God is committed to finishing His work in us. God is in it for the long term. He never abandons His plans. We may lack perseverance and leave projects unfinished, but God perseveres. He will complete what He starts!

Has God begun something in your life? Have you been born again – made a new creature? Has God begun some work, ministry, gift, or calling in you? Then you can rest assured, He will finish what He started. You can find comfort and peace in knowing that if He began the work, He will finish it!

God is relentless. He doesn’t ever give up on us! He doesn’t quit. He doesn’t stop. He is the Author and the Finisher! He will finish what He started. When you give up on yourself , God does not give up on you – He will finish what He started. He is not discouraged by your slow progress – He will finish what He started. He does not throw in the towel when you fail – He will finish what He started! He does doesn’t toss you aside and start another project – He will finish what He started.

God is relentless. He doesn’t ever give up on us!

At times we may feel like nothing is happening in our lives. But He is working.  He has a work in us to finish. At times you may think He’s abandoned you, given up on you, or cut His losses and quit on you. But He who began a good work in you will finish it!

“…he which hath begun a good work…”

It’s a “good work!” What He’s doing in you is good. All things work together for good! He’s working out all things for our good. What He’s making in you is good. What He’s making out of you is good. The ministry, calling, gift, fruit and anointing – it’s good!

He began it! It’s the Lord that authored it. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t a man. It wasn’t my parents, my friends, my church or my pastor. It was God who began something good in me.  And that’s why I’m not worried about what man does. God started it and God is going to finish it!

…will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

He’s going to keep on working in me “until the day of Jesus Christ” – Until He comes back. He’s not finished yet. He’s still working on me. It’s not just about what I am now, it’s about what I shall be:

1 John 3:2 – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. KJV

I’m not yet what I shall be. Don’t judge me yet – He’s not finished. Judge nothing philippiansbefore the time! Don’t pass judgment on me yet – I’m just somewhere between the authoring and finishing. I’m a work in progress.

Don’t let the devil beat you up! God’s not finished with you yet. Don’t let people discourage you – God’s not finished yet. Don’t let your own heart steal your hope – God’s not finished yet. God is committed to you for the long run – until the day of Christ!

Paul was encouraging the Philippians as well and you and me! Be encouraged, God will not give up on us. You may have slip ups and set-backs, but God is not through with you. He will carry on the work in you. God will finish it!

~Pastor Matthew Ball

Ministry Training Clips – Veto Power

Ministry TrainingThe following is an excerpt from our Saturday Ministry Training at Faith Apostolic Church.  Pastor Josh Wilson is teaching about “The Importance of Being Submitted to Spiritual Authority.”  This segment about making sure you have a pastor who has veto power in your life and can confront you without conflict.

You can find other training videos at www.faithapostolic.us 

The Lost Art of Searching the Scripture

A few weeks ago I shared a message to our church entitled, “The Lost Art of Seeking the Lord.” The gist of the message was that our present culture is not conducive to the practice of seeking after God.

We are living in a “get it now” society that feeds short attention spans and an attitude of impatience. Nearly anything a person could want is available in an instant. There’s rarely a need to wait for anything. Traditional bookstores are closing. Why? Who wants to drive to the bookstore, peruse through aisles of bookshelves searching for a book when you can find it on the Internet and download it to your iPad or kindle in seconds?

search the scriptureMost young people today don’t even know what a card catalog is, let alone the Dewy Decimal System. And I can’t blame them. Who would want to look for 021.009CAD among the endless rows of library shelves when Google will return any information you want in less than 1 second?

I still remember going to the Christian bookstore to search for a cassette tape of my favorite Christian group. (yes, cassette tape!) The store even had an area where you could put sample cassettes in a player and listen to the latest songs before you bought the album. Today, no one hardly even buys CDs. Why would you? With iTunes you can instantly download nearly any song ever recorded. Now with Amazon Prime, one can opt for same day delivery! That boggles my mind. I can buy something via the Internet and have it delivered to my doorstep the same day! I don’t even have to wait at Taco Bell. With their new app, I can order what I want from my phone and my Dorito Locos tacos will be ready when I walk through the door.

The mentality of our “get it now” culture is not conducive to seeking after God. Seeking after God is a process – it takes spending a little time and having a little patience. In a society of people conditioned to get anything they want in an instant, people have little use for searching…seeking….knocking…..pressing…….waiting…….

We must not lose the art of seeking after God. Let’s not hurry through our time of prayer and meditation, but patiently wait and listen for His voice and direction. Let’s be willing to seek Him until we find Him and knock until He opens the door. Answers rarely come and doors don’t usually open for the impatient masses that our culture has produced.

An “I want it now” attitude doesn’t lend itself toward searching the search the scripturescripture, either. Excavating the Word of God like an archeologist digs for a precious artifact doesn’t come natural to those accustomed to having what they want in an instant. Those only concerned with immediate gratification are not the type to diligently search the scriptures like a gemologist mines for a prized jewel. Like the art of seeking the Lord, searching the scripture also takes patience, diligence and tenacity.

I’m grateful for all the Bible study resources on the Internet. I know how convenient it is to search Google for the answer to some Bible question. I have software that puts at my fingertips more bibles, books and commentaries than what fill all the shelves of my personal library. But I wonder if all those tools further perpetuate the “get it now” attitude so prevalent in our culture.

Jesus encouraged us in St. John 5:39 to “search the scriptures.” Paul commended the noble saints of Berea who “searched the scriptures daily.” I’m not opposed to the Internet or bible software, I just don’t want those tools to nurture my impatience or hinder my diligence. They can be shortcuts that return fast answers yet short-circuit the art of searching the scripture.

The deep things of God are rarely discovered by the hurried masses accustomed to same day delivery and immediate downloads. 

Proverbs 25:2 tells us, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: But the honor of kings is to search out a matter.” There are pearls of truth and gems of wisdom that are hidden to all but those with the patience and tenacity to excavate the layers of God’s Word. The deep things of God are rarely discovered by the hurried masses accustomed to same day delivery and immediate downloads. Don’t think the mysteries “which hath been hid from ages and from generations” (Colossians 1:26) will be manifest in a moment to those with short attention spans or too little time to linger in the Word.

Search the scripture. Your answer is there. It may just take a little time to find it. Your answer will come – It just doesn’t always have a “same-day delivery” option. The guidance you’re seeking can be found – you may just have to search longer than the time it takes Google to return an answer. The hope and encouragement you need is in the Word – you may just have to unearth it layer by layer. And, when we discover the art of searching the scripture, we find out that the searching is as important as the answer it brings!

~Pastor Matthew Ball

Fridays in Philippians – You Bring Me Joy!

Thanks for joining me for our Fridays in Philippians Devotion.  Today we’re looking at Chapter 1 and verses 3-5:

Philippians 1:3-5: I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

Are there people in your life that have the ability to turn a good day sour? Perhaps just mention of their name in conversation conjures up feelings of stress, angst or aggravation. We all know people like that. What about people who bring a smile to your face? There are also people who, at just the mention of their name, bring us joy.

joyThat is how Paul felt about the Philippians! He said every time he thought about them, he was filled with joy and had to stop and give thanks to God!

What thoughts do we provoke in others? Does the mention of our name in others’ conversations bring stress or joy? I want to be the kind of person – the kind of Christian – that causes others to thank God for me!

For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

One of the reasons that the very thought of the Philippians brought Paul joy was because he knew that the Philippians were partners with him. He said he was thankful for them and they brought him joy because of their fellowship from the start. There is joy comes from knowing you’re not alone in your walk with God and work for God. There is joy in knowing that you’re connected to others.

There is joy that comes from the relationships we have with one another – especially relationships where we are serving in the Gospel together. Paul is writing this letter to them about ten years after he first witnessed to them and established the church. The Philippians had stuck with Paul through thick and thin. His relationship with them was a long-term relationship.

Key Concept: Joy comes from our relationships with God and our brothers and sisters in Christ, not from material things. Treasure your relationships with God and His people. Treasure the partnerships you have with people that you serve with side-by-side in the Kingdom of God. Those relationships are a great source of joy.

Knowing a little bit about the background of a book gives you a richer
message and appreciation of the writing. Knowing that Paul and the Philippians had a deep partnership in the Gospel for over ten years sheds some light on this verse that you wouldn’t otherwise glean.  Knowing something about how the Philippian church was started gives some great meaning to these verses! Paul speaks of their “fellowship,” or partnership.  They were united – not on a social level – but by their mutual commitment to the Gospel. Think of how it began  – with a jailor and a prison guard; with a slave girl who was delivered from demon possession; with a businesswoman who traded in purple cloth from Asia (Acts 16)! Apparently there was little to bind them together by worldly standards – but they were PARTNERS together in God’s work in Philippi. That partnership was a great source of joy for Paul.

philippiansTheir mutual service to God’s Kingdom forged a deep, meaningful relationship between them. What a picture of the Body of Christ and the local church! We are joined together as one body. Though we come from very different backgrounds, we are one body. We have been brought together by a common Lord and a common purpose. If I unite with Christians on the basis of how much money I have – I will exclude the poor. If I unite along social lines – I will exclude those outside my social status. If I unite intellectually – I will exclude either someone more intelligent or more simple-minded than me.  If I unite along racial lines – I may exclude someone whose skin is a different color.  But true Christian fellowship does not hinge upon these factors! We have been bound together in love. We are united by our common receipt of grace and our mutual purpose in the Kingdom of God! Our relationships with those who are partners with us in grace and in serving are a source of deep joy.

Can you share an example of joy that you’ve experienced through a partnership with another Christian? What about the joy you’ve experienced through partnerships in ministry and serving?  I’d love to hear your comments!  Until next Friday,

~Pastor Matthew Ball

Fridays in Philippians – Grace and Peace

Thanks for joining me for our Fridays in Philippians Devotion.  Today we’re looking at Chapter 1 and verse 2:

Philippians 1:2 – Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace is favor that is extended to a person whether they are deserving of that favor or not. It is “unmerited favor.” God manifesting Himself in the flesh and coming to earth as Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins was an act of divine grace. None of us deserved it. He loved us and gave us the opportunity of salvation though we had done nothing to earn or merit it. That is grace.

grace to the PhilippiansPaul is reminding the Philippians (and us!) about God’s grace. We need reminded because we all have a tendency to stray from this truth. Man always leans toward imagining that God loves us and has been gracious to us because of what we have done. We are prone to thinking our performance, good deeds or moral virtue is why God loves us.
Paul begins (and ends!) the book of Philippians making reference to grace. He is reminding us that our walk with God begins and ends with grace. It is “grace that brought us safe thus far and grace will lead us home.”

Key Concept: “Grace and Peace” In Paul’s opening salutation to the Philippians he mentions grace before peace. Peace follows grace. Without a proper understanding of grace we will never have peace. If we see God’s love for us as conditioned upon our performance we will never have lasting peace. It is the understanding of grace that gives people peace.

How will you have peace if you live in constant fear that if you make a mistake God is going to strike you down? How will you have peace if you are constantly fearful that you’ll never be good enough or holy enough to please God? How will you ever have peace if you live your life trying to earn God’s favor?

Grace and Peace go together. Peace comes from an understanding of grace. Peace peace to the Philippianscomes when you realize — it’s what Christ did – not what I did that brings God’s approval. Peace comes when you realize that when you fall short in your attempt to please God – grace makes up the difference. Peace comes when you realize that no matter what you do or don’t do — God’s love for you will never be exhausted

Grace is not a license to sin or an excuse to not bear the fruit of holiness.   Grace just means when I fall short – His strength is made perfect in my weakness. And that brings peace! That brings joy!

Until next Friday in Philippians,

~Pastor Matthew Ball

Questions for reflection and discussion:

Why do you think people struggle so much with just accepting God’s grace?

Do you struggle with receiving God’s grace? Can you share why?

Grace is not a license to sin. How do you reconcile the concept of grace with God’s desire that we live a holy life?

Feel free to respond in our comment section below. And don’t forget to check out sermons and other resources at www.faithapostolic.us