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THE PATH TO COMPLETION

Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Paul prayed with faith, believing that what God had started in them would be brought to completion. The list of things he prays that follows reveals the path to that end. "The How" in other words. 1. That Your Love May Abound. 2. That You May Know What You Ought to Do. 3. That You May be Filled with the Fruits of Righteousness.

Notes & Transcripts

Intro:

Intro:

Are You Tired of Praying?
A cartoon pictured a little boy kneeling in prayer. Obviously disgruntled with God, he was saying, “Aunt Harriet hasn’t gotten married, Uncle Hubert hasn’t any work, and Daddy’s hair is still falling out.… I’m getting tired of praying for this family without getting any results.”
Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 293). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Philippians 1:1–11 AV
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 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; 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: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:1–6 AV
1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 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:
A. (1:1-2) For whom he prays - Pastors, deacons, and all Christians
B. (1:3) When he prays - “Every time I think of you”
C. (1:4) How he prays - He prays with a heart filled with joy
D. (1:5, 7-8) Why he prays - The Philippian believers had greatly helped Paul, both in prison and out of prison.
E. (1:6, 9-11) What he prays:
That the Spirit would carry to completion what had been started in every believer until the return of the Lord.
That they might be filled with love.
That they might have the spirit of Discernment
They they be filled with the fruits of righteousness
Isn't it our goal to see God finish what He started in us?
Paul prayed “being confident” that God would do just that.
Philippians 1:

Are You Tired of Praying?

A cartoon pictured a little boy kneeling in prayer. Obviously disgruntled with God, he was saying, “Aunt Harriet hasn’t gotten married, Uncle Hubert hasn’t any work, and Daddy’s hair is still falling out.… I’m getting tired of praying for this family without getting any results.”

A cartoon pictured a little boy kneeling in prayer. Obviously disgruntled with God, he was saying, “Aunt Harriet hasn’t gotten married, Uncle Hubert hasn’t any work, and Daddy’s hair is still falling out.… I’m getting tired of praying for this family without getting any results.”
Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 293). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
A cartoon pictured a little boy kneeling in prayer. Obviously disgruntled with God, he was saying, “Aunt Harriet hasn’t gotten married, Uncle Hubert hasn’t any work, and Daddy’s hair is still falling out.… I’m getting tired of praying for this family without getting any results.”
Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 293). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Here’s How

Body: Here’s How

1. That Your Love May Abound

Philippians 1:9 AV
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
Philippians 1:
Philippians 1:9a AV
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

A. If you fill a person with love....

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us....”
1 John 3:1 AV
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
Here’s the kind of love:
Romans 5:8 AV
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Rk
He didn’t just tell us in His Word that He loved us - He demonstrated it at Calvary!
Here’s the kind of love: (NKJV)
1 Corinthians 13:1–10 NKJV
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
You weren't created just to consume resources - to eat, breathe, and take up space. God designed you to make a difference with your life. This is one of God's purposes for your life, and it's called your "ministry" - or service.
He has given us a spirit of Love.
2 Timothy 1:7 AV
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
And, that changes our relationships:
1 John 4:20 AV
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
1 John 3:14 AV
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
1 John 3:1 AV
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
1 John 3:10 AV
In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
Matthew 22:39–40 AV
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
1 John 3:10
You can’t give what you aint got!
1 John 3:14 AV
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
Now I know that this is an English teachers nightmare, because I know that ain’t ain’t a word!
-9
You weren't created just to consume resources - to eat, breathe, and take up space. God designed you to make a difference with your life. This is one of God's purposes for your life, and it's called your "ministry" - or service.
But this is a concept that is pretty easy for us to grasp.
Suppose I was to say to you, “Give me a million dollars!”?
Romans 5:5 AV
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Eph
These "good deeds" are your service to the world. Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God and fulfilling one of your purposes. You were placed on this planet for a special assignment.
The apostle John taught that our loving service to others shows that we are truly saved. He said, "Our love for each other proves that we have gone from death to life" (, CEV). If I have no love for others, no desire to serve others, and I'm only concerned about my needs, I should question whether Christ is really in my life. A saved heart is one that wants to serve.
Another term for serving God - one that's misunderstood by most people - is the word ministry. When most people hear "ministry," they think of pastors, priests, and professional clergy, but God says every member of his family is a minister.
In the Bible, the words servant and minister are synonyms, as are service and ministry. If you are a Christian, you are a minister, and when you're serving, you're ministering. God has a ministry for you in his church and a mission for you in the world.
Serving is the opposite of our natural inclination. Most of the time we're more interested in "serve us" than service. We say, "I'm looking for a church that meets my needs and blesses me," not "I'm looking for a place to serve and be a blessing." We expect others to serve us, not vice versa.
But as we mature in Christ, the focus of our lives should increasingly shift to living a life of service. The mature follower of Jesus stops asking, "Who's going to meet my needs?" and starts asking, "Whose needs can I meet?"
Do you ever ask that question?
At the end of your life on earth you will stand before God, and he is going to evaluate how well you served others with your life. Think about the implications of that. One day God will compare how much time and energy we spent on ourselves compared with what we invested in serving others.
At that point, all our excuses for self-centeredness will sound hollow: "I was too busy" or "I had my own goals" or "I was preoccupied with working, having fun, or preparing for retirement."
To all excuses God will respond, "Sorry, wrong answer. I created, saved, and called you and commanded you to live a life of service. What part did you not understand?"
If you're not involved in any service or ministry, what excuse have you been using? Abraham was old, Jacob was insecure, Leah was unattractive, Joseph was abused, Moses stuttered, Gideon was poor, Samson was codependent, Rahab was immoral, David had an affair and all kinds of family problems, Elijah was suicidal, Jeremiah was depressed, Jonah was reluctant, Naomi was a widow, John the Baptist was eccentric to say the least, Peter was impulsive and hot-tempered, Martha worried a lot, the Samaritan woman had several failed marriages, Zacchaeus was unpopular, Thomas had doubts, Paul had poor health, and Timothy was timid.
That is quite a variety of misfits, but God used each of them in his service. He will use you, too, if you stop making excuses.
1 Peter 4:8 NKJV
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
1 Corinthians 13:1–10 NKJV
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
1 Cor 13:1-
1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

2. That you may have the spirit of discernment

Philippians 1:9–10 AV
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
Philippians 1:9-
A. If a person is filled with love..... and that person knows what they ought to do.....
Many people are passionate about some cause but know little of what to do about it.

Knowing Where to Tap

A certain town in New England experienced a prolonged electrical failure. The best engineers at the power plant were unable to restore the power, whereupon one citizen recalled that a former engineer, now in retirement but living only a few miles away, might be consulted. He was brought in. He inspected the plant, the generators; then he took a wooden mallet and tapped in several places. Instantly the lights came on, whereupon he submitted this itemized bill to the town fathers: “2¢ for tapping; $1,000 for knowing where to tap.”

Luke 5:4–6 AV
Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
Luke 5:4-
1000 Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching Nuclear Giants and Ethical Infants

Nuclear Giants and Ethical Infants

The late Joseph R. Sizoo spoke perceptively when he wrote in Still We Can Hope:

We have grasped the mystery of the atom but we have rejected the Sermon on the Mount. We have achieved brilliance without wisdom and power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.

That Little Difference

Charles William Eliot, once president of Harvard University, is said to have collected this philosophical gem while in conversation with a campus laborer who said: “There is not much difference between men but the little difference there is makes all the difference in the world.”

1 Chronicles 12:32 AV
And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.
Ephesians 3:19–21 AV
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
John 16:13 AV
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

3. That you may be filled with the fruits of righteousness

Philippians 1:11 AV
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Ephesians 1:11 AV
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Paul could see the end result
Paul could see the desired outcome
Paul prayed in faith believing...
Galatians 5:22–26 AV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Ephesians 5:9–11 AV
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
Gal 5:22-
Eph 5:
Ephesians 5:13 AV
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
Ephesians 5:14–18 AV
Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Eph 5:14-
Ephesians 5:9 AV
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Eph 5:
Romans 12:1–2 AV
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
You were put on earth to make a contribution.
You weren't created just to consume resources - to eat, breathe, and take up space. God designed you to make a difference with your life. This is one of God's purposes for your life, and it's called your "ministry" - or service.
Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
These "good deeds" are your service to the world. Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God and fulfilling one of your purposes. You were placed on this planet for a special assignment.
The apostle John taught that our loving service to others shows that we are truly saved. He said,
1 John 3:14 AV
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
If I have no love for others, no desire to serve others, and I'm only concerned about my needs, I should question whether Christ is really in my life. A saved heart is one that wants to serve.
Another term for serving God - one that's misunderstood by most people - is the word ministry. When most people hear "ministry," they think of pastors, priests, and professional clergy, but God says every member of his family is a minister.
In the Bible, the words servant and minister are synonyms, as are service and ministry. If you are a Christian, you are a minister, and when you're serving, you're ministering. God has a ministry for you in his church and a mission for you in the world.
Serving is the opposite of our natural inclination. Most of the time we're more interested in "serve us" than service. We say, "I'm looking for a church that meets my needs and blesses me," not "I'm looking for a place to serve and be a blessing." We expect others to serve us, not vice versa.
But as we mature in Christ, the focus of our lives should increasingly shift to living a life of service. The mature follower of Jesus stops asking, "Who's going to meet my needs?" and starts asking, "Whose needs can I meet?"
Do you ever ask that question?
At the end of your life on earth you will stand before God, and he is going to evaluate how well you served others with your life. Think about the implications of that. One day God will compare how much time and energy we spent on ourselves compared with what we invested in serving others.
At that point, all our excuses for self-centeredness will sound hollow: "I was too busy" or "I had my own goals" or "I was preoccupied with working, having fun, or preparing for retirement."
To all excuses God will respond, "Sorry, wrong answer. I created, saved, and called you and commanded you to live a life of service. What part did you not understand?"
If you're not involved in any service or ministry, what excuse have you been using?
Abraham was old,
Jacob was insecure,
Leah was unattractive,
Joseph was abused,
Moses stuttered,
Gideon was poor,
Samson was codependent,
Rahab was immoral,
David had an affair and all kinds of family problems,
Elijah was suicidal,
Jeremiah was depressed,
Jonah was reluctant,
Naomi was a widow,
John the Baptist was eccentric to say the least,
Peter was impulsive and hot-tempered,
Martha worried a lot,
the Samaritan woman had several failed marriages,
Zacchaeus was unpopular,
Thomas had doubts,
Paul had poor health, and
Timothy was timid.
That is quite a variety of misfits, but God used each of them in his service. He will use you, too, if you stop making excuses.

Conclusion:

When D.L. Moody was just starting in the ministry he heard a preacher say, "The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully surrendered to Him." Moody that night said, "By God’s grace I’ll be that man!"
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