Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of 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, that he who begun a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”.
I want to preach tonight on the subject:
Construction zones are not the places of peace and contentment.
They are chaotic and dangerous.
They are messed up places, dangerous places, and oftentimes unsightly places .
Construction zones have lots of bumps and lane changes, starts and stops, backed up delays, and falling hazards,
they are dirty, noisy, disorganized, confused, and hectic .
However, if you were to talk to the Architect;
he will say that the construction zone is a beautiful place,
despite of everything going on,
because of what the end product is going to be;
they know that when they are looking at something under construction:
it is the “process of progress”.
Contrary to how it may look to you right now.
In-spite of what it may appear like to you.
Regardless of the smile on my face, ,
no matter how compassionate I may be,
no matter how loving I try to be.
Beyond the suit and tie on Sunday mornings, beyond the smile, beyond what the public sees -
Beyond the suit and tie - I don’t have it all together.
I don’t have it all together.
You see me standing here and I pray that what you see is good.
However, what you don’t see and don’t understand is that what you are looking at standing here behind this sacred desk is a “work in progress”.
you are looking at a “construction zone”.
There are some hazardous areas
there is some hammering and drilling going on.
There is some stuff that is taking place in “this” construction zone that actually should cause me to wear a sign around my neck that says; “Danger”, Construction Zone, .
I am under construction;
I don’t have it all together, but please be patient with me,
God is not through with me yet.
Paul said it like this “I count not myself to have apprehended…”
in other words I’m not there yet,
yes I am better than what I was
but I am not yet what I shall be
and in some people’s eyes I may even seem like a chaotic mess.
says “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does 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”
I am in the “process of progress” - I am under construction.
I am better than what I was, but I am not yet what I will be.
Truth be known; we are all in the “process of progress”.
We are at different levels in the process and our progress is different,
however, we all are under construction!
Real quick; let me give you the definition of a few words we are talking about tonight
- Ithe process of putting something together, building something for the purpose of something else.
- the process of putting something together, building something for the purpose of something else.
- Is the process of putting something together, building something for the purpose of something else.
“houses to live in”,
“stores to shop at”,
“stadiums to have sporting events”
We build our lives so that people can see the redemptive work of Jesus,
We put our lives together in Christ with the purpose of pointing others for Christ.
2: PROGRESS : - is a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage:
it is the growth or development; the continuous improvement of something:
the development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial “than” and “superior” to the previous level,
What this is saying; is that there is:
“good” is o.k. but it is not as good as better,
and “better” although is greater than “good” fails in comparison to “best”.
If you have been sick
then one day you feel good,
and the next day you feel better than yesterday,
and the next day you are at your best
that is the “process of progress”.
The problem with progress; is that progress has the potential to be fatal until the process is completed or finished.
“Finished” always seems to be so far away.
In our laundry room, next to the washer and dryer, we have a table,
this table collects all the clothes as we pull them out of the dryer.
and Because we don’t always fold the clothes the moment they come out of the dryer
this table tends to builds up until the clothes are almost up to the ceiling.
Eventually we have to fold the clothes,
Sometimes I will fold some of the clothes (saying I am helping out cause I will do my part)
so I will fold the clothes to the point that they are not falling off of the table onto the floor any more then I will stop,
I didn’t finish the clothes,
but it is better than what it was a little while ago;
however, it’s not finished.
“finished” seems to be so far off.
What I have settled for is better than what it was;
but it’s not the best it could be.
Because I settled for incompleteness;
when I go and try to get dressed for work or church and I want to wear brown
but I can’t find the brown socks because I settled for better instead of striving for the best
and the brown socks are still scattered in that mess on the table,
but if I would have strived for best and finished folding the clothes the brown socks would have gotten folded and placed in the drawer where they should be
and I wouldn’t have to wear green socks with brown pants.
during the “process of progress” because we have moved from good to better we often times will become complacent and settle for better instead of reaching and striving for the best.
Because better is greater than good so we become comfortable with better;
compared to best better is mediocre.
however, compared to best, better is mediocre.
Sometimes in this spiritual walk people progress from a world of sin to coming to church and they settle because things are better than they were before,
but they are not striving for the best and seeking the kingdom of God and all His righteousness.
They have a form of godliness,
but the first time the wind blows contrary against them they end up right back out there in sin again
because they settled for better instead of reaching for the best.
Paul said this:
being confident of this very thing, that He who has “begun” a good work in you will “complete” it until the day of Jesus Christ;
We are work in progress:
God is not finished with us.
We are under construction:
In the 18 chapter of the book of ; The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah , saying,
Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear my words.
Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter:
so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD.
saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.” We are under construction, we are clay in His hands and He is the one who decides what the outcome is to look like.
Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, .”
We are under construction, we are clay in His hands and He is the one who decides what the outcome is to look like.
We are under construction,
we are clay in His hands and He is the one who decides what the outcome is to look like.
would you go on a journey real quick.
would follow me as I attempt to paint a picture for you
picture in your mind a piece of marble or a block of stone.
Jesus said to us I am going to make you into a wonderful master piece.
We as stone and marble said; yes Lord I want to be made into something wonderful.
All of the sudden Jesus turns grabs a hammer and a chisel and begins to chop and slice away at us.
We scream wait a minute;
you said you were going to make me into something wonderful;
why are you hitting me with the hammer and chisel and knocking stuff off of me.
Jesus said; what I want to make you into. I have to get rid of some stuff.
You have some malice (malice is the intention or desire to do evil;
the intention or desire to do evil; ill will.
Jesus said: I must get rid of.
Thank God that we are not doing this Christian Journey all by ourselves.
You have some jealousy I must cut away.
I must get rid of. You have some jealousy I must cut away. You have some bitterness that needs to buffed out. There’s some lust that must be taken away. So He cuts and chisels, buffs, and grinds – Remember it a process. He puts the chisel and hammer down for the night (somebody say a night season). Then we get excited and put our hands into what He is doing and get all messed up. In the morning time Jesus comes and sees us He sees what He has done is now messed up because we put our hands on it. Jesus says what happened, we confess our sins and say Jesus I messed up I’m sorry renew in me a right spirit. So Jesus turns picks up the hammer and chisel and begins to cut away, grind, buff out so impurities in our life trying to make us into His image and likeness.
We find here in our text that Paul is writing to the church at Philippi.
You have some bitterness that needs to buffed out.
Paul is in prison in Rome and all the churches that Paul started and helped have not supported him while he is in prison; only the church of Philippi.
There’s some lust that must be taken away.
Understand that prison in that day and age is not like prison today, it wasn’t run by the state and the prisoner’s rights were non-existent.
So He cuts and chisels, buffs, and grinds –
If you wanted a pillow, a blanket, shoes, and a change of clothes someone on the outside had to supply that for you.
Remember progress is a process.
The people of the church of Philippi did just that for Paul while he was in prison.
He puts the chisel and hammer down for the night
He puts the chisel and hammer down for the night (somebody say a night season). Then we get excited and put our hands into what He is doing and get all messed up. In the morning time Jesus comes and sees us He sees what He has done is now messed up because we put our hands on it. Jesus says what happened, we confess our sins and say Jesus I messed up I’m sorry renew in me a right spirit. So Jesus turns picks up the hammer and chisel and begins to cut away, grind, buff out so impurities in our life trying to make us into His image and likeness.
Then we get excited and put our hands into what He is doing and get all messed up.
In the morning time Jesus comes and sees us and He sees what He has done is now messed up because we put our hands on it.
Jesus says what happened,
we confess our sins and say;
Jesus I messed up I’m sorry, renew in me a right spirit.
So Jesus turns picks up the hammer and chisel and begins to cut away,
He begins to grind,
He begins to buff out the impurities in our life; trying to make us into His image and likeness.
Therefore what we have here in Philippians we are privy to basically a thank you letter to the church of Philippi and the concern and encouragement Paul has for them.
Let’s Look at a portion of this letter.
The reason why you have been going through that trial and that tribulation that you been going through is because:
Vs 1-2 “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. “
This is the salutation or greeting.
you are Under Construction.
Vs 3 “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you”
Paul says every-time I think about you I thank God for you.
Apostolic Glorious Church every-time I think about you I thank God for you and the progress that we are making in Christ Jesus.
When I remember where we were 3 years ago and how far we have come.
We have had good days and we have had some hills to climb,
but when I look around and see all that the Lord has done for us and the “process of progress” that is being done in us I just have to thank God for you.
I so important for Jesus to be in control.
Vs 4 “Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,”
Paul says not only do I thank God for you because in my time of imprisonment you supported me, but I pray for you and it gives me joy to pray for you. says “Obey them that have rule over you and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you”.
See if we were in control we would do things differently.
Apostolic Glorious Church I pray for you, when I don’t see you I pray for you. I pray Lord bless them as they travel on this road of progress. While under construction give them the ability to be able to stand and having done all to stand. Be a fence of protection around them, open doors no man can close and close doors no man can open. Lord fix it for them. Jesus told Peter the devil desired to sift him as wheat but I have prayed for you. Apostolic Glorious Church the devil desires to destroy you and your progress but I have prayed for you.
There wouldn’t be any struggle
Vs 5 “For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now”
there wouldn’t be any hard times.
Fellowship:- your state of being in relationship with God, your position in the gospel, this Christian walk, your progress from the first day, your start until now. Paul is saying I understand the process of progress and I am praying for you that you don’t become complacent in the process and settle for less than the best God has for you.
But let me tell you;
it is because of your struggle
that you are going to be what God intended for you to be.
story of butterfly
A man was sitting on his porch one summer day and in the corner of his porch a caterpillar had made a cocoon.
While he sat there and looked at the cocoon he noticed a butterfly beginning to break through the cocoon.
As the man watched the butterfly struggle trying to exit the cocoon; he said, I know what I will do I will open the cocoon so the butterfly can get out and won’t have to struggle.
So he open the cocoon so the butterfly could get out, when he open the cocoon the butterfly came out and stay on the porch.
The man tries to pick up the butterfly to help it fly, but all the butterfly did was fall back to the ground.
The man did all he could do to help the butterfly fly, but the butterfly would not fly.
So the man took the butterfly to the vet to see why the butterfly wouldn’t fly.
The vet looked at the butterfly and noticed that the butterflies wings were coated with old molten skin from when it was a caterpillar.
The vet looked at the man and said what did you do.
The man said I saw the butterfly struggling trying to get out of the cocoon so I opened the cocoon so he could get out.
The vet said that was mistake; see when the butterfly struggles to get through the cocoon, its wings cause it to be bigger than the hole it is trying to escape,
the struggling you witnessed was actually the process of progress.
See as the butterfly struggles through the cocoon, the cocoon actually scrapes all the dead old molten skin off of the wings which enables the butterfly to fly.
It’s all about being under construction
It’s all about allowing the Lord to shape us and mold us into what He wants us to be.
It’s all about the Process of the Progress.
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.