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Saint to Saint (Conclusion of Philippians)

Philippians   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Intro

As we reflect on the journey we’ve taken through the book of Philippians there are several themes that we see coming out again and again. This morning as we wrap up our journey, I want to highlight some of where we’ve been and then try and put it into a context and give us something to take away and continue to apply as we move forward in our growth as Christians.
Philippians 4:21–23 ESV
Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Phil 4:21-23

Full Circle

In many ways, we’ve come full circle in this letter. If we go back to the opening of this letter, we read:
Philippians 1:1–2 ESV
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Phil 1:1
There were two key words that we picked up on there, one of which is repeated here in our text this morning.

Servants

We talked about Paul using the word doulos which means slave. It was a person without any standing in society. I’m going to come back to this term a bit later this morning.

Saints

This is a phrase that we don’t often use in reference to ourselves, but it is that Paul used to refer exactly to people like us.
We tend to think of saints as those that have completed their process, but one of the issues that Paul brought to us again and again is that Saints are still in the process.
Philippians 1:6 ESV
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

We’re in process

We’re in process

Yes, though we are incomplete, we are in process. We are already in process. We are on that journey of sanctification. As we are doing that we also need to recognize that we are called as partners with Jesus, as partners with Paul, Timothy, and the host of “saints” that have gone before us. We are partners in the Gospel.

Not about me - All about Jesus

Partners in the Gospel

You and I are partners in the Gospel. Whether we think of ourselves as that or not,
We are called by God
We are representatives of that call
We are partners with the Lord Jesus Himself in presenting the Gospel.
We may be taking people closer to God, or we may not be. That is something for us to consider.
We learned there is value in finding others who can help us grow in our faith and put it into practice. We all need role models to follow as we seek to follow the person of Jesus Christ.

Humility

Throughout the book of Philippians we’ve been learning about humility. Perhaps the greatest statement of humility was Paul’s description of the example of Christ that we read in chapter 2...
Philippians 2:5–11 ESV
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Phil 2:5-
The idea of counting others better than ourselves. We looked at these verses and we saw Jesus humble himself in comparison with God
emptying himself
taking on the form of a servant
being born in the likeness of men (limiting himself)
being obedient
obedient to the point of death
even death on a cross.
Each step is a step down!
The letter of Philippians is filled with JOY.

JOY = Jesus, Others, You!

This whole gospel thing has never been about you, or me. It’s not even about the person next to you, or the poor, or the destitute on the street, or good works, or …
you can fill in the blank.
It has been, and always will be about Jesus.
Jesus is not just the reason for the season, Jesus is life. Jesus is our life.
He is the source of our life.
We’ve learned from Paul over the past few weeks that we can try and do all the good things.
You can be polite,
be charitable,
be honest,
feed the hungry,
be kind to everyone you meet,
help the poor,
shelter the homeless,
give to every charity,
go to church every Sunday,
teach Sunday School,
preach,
but if you have not Christ...
…it’s nothing!
Philippians 3:7–9 ESV
7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
Phil 3
All these things are good things to do, we are to work on our faith, we are to work out our faith (), and we do that by doing good things, but it’s not about the good things!
It’s all about Jesus

It’s All About Jesus

It’s all about knowing the person of Jesus Christ and following Him.
One of my personal life verses comes from Philippians...
Philippians 3:12 ESV
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
You and I, as followers of Christ are “in His Grip!” It is one word that is used there for the phrase “make it my own” and “Made me his own.” It has the same root as when Jesus reached out and “caught” Peter who was beginning to sink after walking on the water.
Picture that idea - Jesus catches us.
Most of you know that I’ve been in aquatics for several decades now, and my other job is at the Auburn Valley YMCA.
One of the things that I’ve learned from being in and around the pool as a lifeguard is, “Daddy always catches.” I’ve watched hundreds of times as a small child has stood triumphantly up on the side and commanded, “Daddy catch!” then with shrieks of joy leaped into the water.
I’ve watched so many times as children would be at one side of the pool and the parent at the other end as this same scene unfolds.
The child standing gleefully on the side of the pool calls for her daddy. Daddy at the other side turns to see (often much to his horror) his child standing on the precipice of doom ready to hurl herself into the nautical abyss.
The child cries out, “Catch me daddy!” and cheerfully hurls herself out over the waters whose depth is utterly unknown and of no possible concern to her; she is confident that Daddy’s arms will catch her.
Suddenly, at the other end of the pool the water is being churned into a white froth as Daddy becomes Michael Phelps.
Back where the child is, her smile radiates from her face as with her eyes laughingly staring at him, she splashes into the water and disappears beneath the surface.
In seconds she is pulled to the surface by her daddy’s outstretched arms. She’s still smiling, and the look on her face slowly brings a smile to her daddy as he catches his breath.

“Daddy” always catches!

Most of us who have been following Christ for any length of time would say that this is true. We know God is there, we know God watches over us, but we don’t always trust that knowledge.
Paul assures us in chapter 4, the Lord is near, and for this reason we can rejoice.
Philippians 4:4–7 ESV
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4–5 ESV
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
Phil 4:4-5
And he goes on to share with us in verses 6 about how we should pray.
Philippians 4:6 ESV
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Why should we pray? Seriously, Why? I believe that more often than not what prayer does is remind us that we’re not the one in control. It reminds us again that God is in control, that God is the one that we can ask whatever it is that we need.
When we turn our eyes to God, our troubles don’t disappear, but we don’t need to feel so lonely in them. God is near.
When we turn our eyes to God, we take our eyes off of ourselves, and we ask, questions like,
What is God doing here?
What is God teaching me?
Where do I see God working?
What can I do to join God in what God is doing?

Unity in God’s House

One of the themes of Philippians has been the idea of unity. From the beginning through when Paul literally called out Euodia and Syntyche earlier in this final chapter to our conclusion in our passage today, Paul calls us to live in Christ.
He does not elevate one person above another. Paul simply says, Greet every saint.
Philippians 4:21 ESV
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you.
And Paul let the Philippians know that those that are with him greet the Philippians.
An interesting point here is how he sort of clarifies who is doing the greeting.
Philippians 4:22 ESV
22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.
Phil 4:22
That would have been a surprise to many of the Philippians who had would have seen anything associated with Caesar as being the enemy. It was after all, Caesar who had Paul imprisoned, and it was Caesar’s Roman armies who often were the source of the persecution for these small church communities.
Finally, Paul completes his circle.

Full Circle

In completing his circle Paul concludes his letter much the way he began it.
He began with these words in
Philippians 1:2 ESV
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
and now ends his letter with a very similar greeting.
Philippians 4:23 ESV
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
So as we wrap up Philippians we can see Paul’s tone of joy throughout.
We have several takeaways:
We see the
We’re saints,
in process but saint’s nonetheless.
2. Be humble
Following the example of Christ, and of Paul.
3. It’s all about Jesus.
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