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Living for Others

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Cross Radio
September 20, 2022 12:01 am

Living for Others

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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September 20, 2022 12:01 am

True joy in the Christian life can be found in offering ourselves as living sacrifices for the glory of God and the flourishing of His church. Today, Steven Lawson expounds on our calling to serve others for their spiritual well-being.

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What ever time I have. It's really not for me it's for others. Whatever treasure has been entrusted to me as he is not really for me is for others in serving the Lord in the book proposal would be better for him to do you go to Christ or to continue living through the church where the there was still work to do. Paul embraced his calling to serve Jesus today of Renewing Your Mind, Dr. Steven Lawson shows us the true joy and effectiveness of the Christian life for Feldene, offering ourselves in service to others well in this session we are in Philippians chapter 1 Henry can be starting in verse 24, began reading in verse 23, because that's where the sentence actually starts.

We left off last time at the end of verse 23 Paul writes beginning in verse 23, but I am hard-pressed from both directions. Having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much. Better yet, to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Convinced of this. I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and join the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again in these verses Paul is torn between two paths that are open before him.

The first path is the one he wants to walk. It is the desire to be with Christ, which would mean his execution under Caesar, but he knows that he would graduate the glory he knows he would go immediately to the presence of Christ. What can be better than that. The other path is that he would remain here upon the earth and serve the needs of the church, and specifically the Philippians is always torn between these two paths, but it's really the dilemma between what he wants to do and what he must do.

That's really where you and I as believers live our Christian lives so often a it's a choice between what I really want to do and what is necessary.

What is incumbent upon me because of what the Lord has assigned me to do this is really the dilemma that every pastor faces every elder and deacon, but also every parent, every grandparent, every missionary every teacher if you're a believer in Jesus Christ. You stand at this intersection.

So many times I really want to do this.

However, because the responsibility that has been given to me. I know I must choose and do this which will require far greater sacrifice.

Surely you can identify with this dilemma were Paul stands so let's look at these verses beginning in verse 24 and see how Paul works through this in verse 24 we see Paul's concession Paul's concession. He says yet you remain in the flesh, and what that means is to stay here on the earth to continue to live his life he says is more necessary for your sake, it's necessary. Paul realizes for him to stay in order to shepherd the flock of God in order to preach the word of God and in order to lead people to faith in Christ and by this Paul is not saying that he's indispensable, and that no one else could preach the word and no one else could pastor the flock. We are all replaceable. However, Paul understands his unique relationship that he has with the church in Philippi. No one else was the founder of this church.

No one else laid the foundation for this church in Philippi except Paul is a Paul understands really almost like a parent to a child. No one else can be this parent. No one else can fulfill this this obligation to nurture your faith in quite the way that I do and so Paul is saying that he is willing to to stay though he really much more desires to go and be with the Lord before we move on. I think there's a point of application to be made here and it is this as long as we are alive on planet Earth.

There is a work for us to do and there is necessity that is laid upon us as long as we are here. As long as we are breathing and God gives us capacity to do serve him physically.

Our shoulder needs to be to the plow and we need to be in the field and we need to be serving the Lord and the Lord has placed all of us in different places and we all have different responsibilities.

But whatever it is that the Lord has given to you to do for God's sake, do it, and for the sake of others do.

It is so Paul realizes that this necessity is laid upon him. He doesn't know how the outcome will be. At this point he is not certain whether Caesar will call for his execution or release him that in his heart and mind.

He has already decided that if I stay then I went to pour myself into God's work will this leads us now.

Second to Paul's expectation. In verse 25 pulses convinced of this.

I know that I will remain and continue with you all what he is saying here is that he has the expectation. He doesn't know that there hasn't been direct revelation given to Paul about this or word is not come from Caesar's Palace that he will be released is just that he has this sense, and it's really a positive expectation that the Lord will release him to be able to serve the church and to serve the Philippians, and I think we learn from this about Paul that he was one of those Christians who go through life with the glass half full not half empty. Sometimes I think we become so negative in our thinking about how something is going to turn out that we have already almost conceded defeat before we've even come to that juncture.

That's not how Paul is living his life. Paul has a very positive expectation. He knows that God's hand is upon them for good and he knows that God is the God of Providence that God can open a door that no man can close and he knows that God is with him and that God goes before him and so he is convinced that this probably are may work out for him.

To this day, and remain in serve the church that that that's paraphrased what Paul is saying in verse.

The first part of verse 25. Convinced of this. I know that I will remain. That was his that was his opinion that was his anticipation and continue with you all. He understood that if he does remain is not for Paul if he remains it's for others. So we we need to live our Christian life that what ever time I have.

It's really not for me it's for others. Whatever treasure has been entrusted to me. It is not really for me it's it's for others in serving the Lord.

So this leads now to Paul's mission and we see that in the middle of verse 25 he says for your progress in his word. Progress is a very important word in our understanding of of of this section is this progress is referring to their progress in sanctification, their progress and growing in Christ likeness that their progress and growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and this is really the heart of of every pastor and every spiritual leader. He that he desires that those entrusted to his care would be ever advancing in in their faith, but but it's also the desire of every parent in every grandparent that their children and grandchildren would be ever and always progressing in their walk with the Lord is what we desire for one another, even as we come to church and and their other believers surrounding us what we want, not only for ourselves but for them to be growing. The grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now a quick survey of Philippians would would reveal that this progress and I don't really have time to turn to each of these verses, just so that you're aware of it. Paul has talked about that he's prayed for their progress in love. In chapter 1 verse nine as well as their progress in the knowledge of God's will in chapter 1 verse nine.

Their progress and fruitfulness. Chapter 1 verse 11 other progress in obedience. Chapter 2 verse 12 there progress in the in humility. Chapter 2, three and four there progress in the knowledge of Christ. In chapter 3 verse 10 there progress in the book in spiritual power chapter 3 verse 10 etc. etc. I got kinda given us enough of an overview of this, but Paul's desire is that they would grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ not want you to see something in your Bible. Notice the next two words and joy.

You say that the order is very important. Everyone wants joy. There is no joy until there's progress.

Progress in Christ likeness is what leads to joy.

You want more joy in your Christian life will then pursue holiness, pursue following Christ dies into the word of God be more in prayer become more like the Savior really the root is progress. The fruit is joy that the cause is progress, the effect is is joy. And so here we see that that all joy is the result of growing or progressing in Christ likeness.

Paul's very precise with his words and I think the order here should really capture our attention and then he has this little prepositional phrase in the faith and when we ever whenever we see the definite article V. It refers to objective faith which is the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.

The body of Christian doctrine. However, the definite article V is not in the original language. It's a translators decision and so this is really referring to subjective faith which is trusting God, which is living with full reliance upon the Lord in every circumstance and in every situation and what he is saying here our progress will advance to the extent that we are truly trusting the Lord and joy will flood our hearts as we are trusting in the Lord and committing things to the Lord in prayer that Paul is making a very important point here is that as we come to verse 26 verse 26 is very difficult to translate that in the original language.

I think most of you have and ESV and it reads so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus. I preach out of the new American Standard, and the word order is different and both ESV and the new American Standard have trouble getting their arms completely around. It is just hard to go from one language to another language and so is easier just to buy an English Bible. Then free to take first and second year Greek, so let let let let me help us try to work our way through this.

So Paul says so that your proud confidence in me may abound in in Christ Jesus is the reason the new American Standard. It almost sounds like Paul is giving himself a complement and that I'm so glad that your proud conference in me is super abounding, that's not the will hate that that that this reads and I am him to give you the literal translation.

The way this actually reads in the word order that your boasting may abound in Christ Jesus and me through my presence again with you and what makes it difficult is there a back to back prepositional phrases in Christ Jesus, and in me and the English translation separate these two prepositional phrases in Christ Jesus, and in me. And as we go into the English it, but the we we have to separate them there together in the original but let me just give this to you is as best I can. Paul desires that if he can remain that he would be able to return to the Philippians and minister to them and that he is coming to them would cause them to glory in the Lord Jesus Christ that Paul would simply be the instrument or the means by which they would glory in Christ Jesus that he is not that they would glory. And Paul, we know that's not Paul's desire. Paul desires that all men everywhere know Christ in glory in Christ. So here we see really what Paul understands to be his mission in life is his reason for existence. It is that men and women everywhere glory in Christ Jesus boast in Christ Jesus have their proud confidence in Christ Jesus.

Now he wants, not just a little confidence in Christ Jesus, that that this says it in the ESV to ample cause. New American Standard has may abound and the idea here it's it's a Greek word that literally means to super abound. It means to exceed a fixed measure.

In other words, that your confidence in Christ, and that your glorying Christ in your excitement for Christ would far surpass whatever experience you've had to this point that you are growing with greater enthusiasm for the Lord Jesus Christ you're not cooling off. You're not backpedaling with that you are advancing, but not just advancing a little bit that you are greatly advancing in your walk with the Lord and in your confidence in the Lord and that that is what Paul is is is after I know as a pastor and I have preach now for 50 years that when I co-after the service got to the front door and the people are filing out of church and I'm able to say goodbye to everyone and they can say a word to me the greatest compliment for me to ever receive is not pastor your great preacher.

It's not pastor that was a great sermon. I don't know how you do it the greatest complement for any pastor to ever hear pastor. What a great Savior. We have, ever since you came to be our pastor and ever since she began preaching the word of God. My excitement level for the Lord is going through the roof. God is just getting bigger and bigger and greater. II don't know what I thought God was previous, but I see now his awesomeness is holiness is his transcendence is his majesty is his glory like like I have never seen before.

My heart is just soaring to the heights of heaven. I cannot wait for next week to learn more about the Savior. That's exactly the heart of what Paul is saying here is that I want to come to you and I want to minister to you.

The Lord releases me from this imprisonment. But my whole purpose in coming to you is that you will have ample cause to the super abound in the glories of the Lord Jesus Christ, that your confidence in your faith in your trust in him will exceed all previous boundaries that you have ever known so as to this question is your living your Christian life. Can you say that you're on the upswing that you are advancing in grace that is that old hymn says every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before and the effect that you're having on others rather than choosing the easy path. The path that you would like to go down do you choose the more difficult path that requires greater sacrifice on your part so that blessing will come to others. That's where Paul is and that is what Paul is experiencing. So what would this look like for your life today.

What are the choices that are before you. What do you need to say no to and say yes to so that greater good and spiritual blessings will come to the lives of others. There must always be sacrifice on our part.

If it is to lead the spiritual good of others as we wrap up this this study. Thinking about others and just pouring your life and others as Paul has testified here. The year was 1910. It was Christmas Eve and the founder of the Salvation Army. A man named Gen. William Booth had become an invalid and was near the end of his life.

He literally had raised up an army of evangelists who work the street corners of London preaching the gospel, proclaiming the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ and performing many wonderful acts of charity and kindness towards others.

They always had an annual conference in which all of the workers and it was literally an army of workers of gospel workers would gather in Dr. her general booth was unable to attend this year because of his physical illness and so all he could do was send a telegram and at this time the telegram service would charge by the word, and so he was very frugal and funds were very limited and so he sent a telegram that would be read to all of the workers. It was given to the next man in charge and he walked to the lectern and he said I now have a telegram from general booth are founder to read to you and so he opened the letter and to his amazement, there was just one word.

Others that was the message that was the message that was given to those workers. Others is not about you to back Christ is about others is Alyssa message we need to continue to hear because we live in a very self absorbed culture between a very self-indulgent culture and we need to be continually intentionally making choices to not pursue that which we really want to do instead to make choices of what we know we must do for the spiritual good of others. As long as you are here on planet Earth. Your mission is to be used by God for the spiritual good of others. May the Lord give you much grace and much strength in order to live not for yourself, but to live for others publish the apostle Paul displayed that attitude in his own wife.

He encourage believers in every generation to do the same. Thanks for listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Tuesday Bible you been this week were featuring the latest teaching series from Dr. Steven Lawson is a verse by verse look at Paul's epistle of joy. His letter to the Philippians. The series is titled, rejoice in the Lord Paul's letter to the Philippians in 42 messages we learn how Paul describes the Christian life is an invitation to experience the joy of the Lord were making this six DVD set available to you for the first time this week to contact us today with a donation of any amount and what you get. This process will subdue the DVDs but will also have the teaching series to your online learning library then you can stream the series at any time will lead the digital study guide there as well. You can find us or you can call us with your gift card number is 800-435-4343. I do, but many of you listening, Riddell subscribed to table talk and I hope you're enjoying this month's edition on the doctrine of man no understanding who we are, were made in the image of God, yet were shattered amateurs because of our sin.

Grasping that is vital to understanding the doctrine of Christ and that's what the solution addresses. If you're not familiar with table talk.

It's her monthly devotional magazine. Each issue contains feature articles daily Bible studies and columns touching on biblical and theological themes that we have for hundreds of back issues available online as well. You can read on a wide range of topics related to Scripture, theology, church history, and the Christian life. I hope you'll check it out. To subscribe, just go to table talk will tomorrow will return to Paul's letter to the Philippians.

This is Christianity 101. This isn't like some upper level discipleship PhD program. This is prekindergarten that this is expected of every believer. Upon entrance into the kingdom of heaven that you will live now in a manner worthy of the gospel that you have claimed to believe it's Wednesday here on Renewing Your Mind