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Glory, Greetings, & Grace

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[ILLUS] I know it must be hard to watch your children go off to college or move into adulthood. (I have a hard enough time watching my son go off to first-grade all-day, every day.)
I heard one lady talking about watching her daughter go off to college. She said the Lord had prepared her for it though; he had made her daughter mean. She said her daughter was so mean the last couple of years of high school, that when it came time to send her off to college, she said, “I’ll pack up your stuff.”
Whether it’s off to first-grade, college, or adulthood, we’re always hoping that we’ve told them everything they need to know as they go out on their own.
The Lord kindly prepares us for it though. We see their steps toward independence and we know the day is coming when they won’t need us anymore. In fact, they day is coming when we won’t be around any more.
Preparing to send kids off to school or the real world; Sometimes God graciously prepares us for it (woman with the mean daughter); But we’re always hoping that we’ve told them everything they need to know as they go out on their own.
[CIT] In these last few verses of Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, he left the Philippian believers with a few final words that he prayed would sustain them in their walk with Jesus even though he, their spiritual father, would be separated from them.
[CONTEXT] Paul under house arrest, most likely in Rome, didn’t know if he was going to live or die. Therefore, these (as far as he knew) could’ve been his final words to the Philippians.
[INTER] If you had to leave your loved ones today, what final words would you leave them with? You couldn’t do much better than these final words in Philippians 4.
[PROP] This morning we want to take these final words as instructions for our walk with Christ; instructions that will keep us living, extending, and depending on God.
[TS] So let’s see three INSTRUCTIONS


Instruction #1: Live for the glory of God (v. 20).

Philippians 4:20 ESV
To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
[Exp/App] The word “glory” in v. 20 is the recognition of God’s worth, the praise of his excellence; it is to behold with the eyes of faith his beauty, goodness, and holiness.
How do we come to behold the glory of god? Only in the face of Jesus Christ!
When we see Jesus, we see God.
And when we see Jesus give his life on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins, we see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
That’s why Paul wrote this letter - that’s why Paul lived as he did - so that others could behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!
If Paul had wanted he could have sought glory for himself.
He could have given it a noble disguise, but he could have said, “Look how faithful I am suffering for Jesus under house arrest in Rome.”
He could have said that not as an invitation to follow his example of faithfulness, but as an invitation to praise him instead of God. Of course, Paul didn’t do that. He lived for the glory of God.
Likewise, the Philippians Christians could have sought glory for themselves.
They could have said, “Look how we’ve given to support Paul! Look how we’ve been there for him when no one else was!”
But they didn’t do that either, because they also lived for the glory of God.
[Inter] Why do you do what you do? Why do you live the way you do? What’s the purpose of your life?
[Illus] You’ve probably seen the shirts. Usually they’re are worn by some Junior High guy who just made the school sports team. The shirts say...
“I live Baseball.”
Or, “I eat, sleep, and breathe Basketball.”
Or, “Football is life.” The kid may be light as a feather and slow as molasses but “football is (his) life.”
But it’s not just sports. For some people...
“Family if life.”
Or, “Entertainment is life.”
Or, “Work is life.”
We need to ask ourselves, “What am I living for?”
What Paul communicated to the Philippian Christians and to us this morning in v. 20 is that “The Glory of God is Life!”
Therefore, whatever you do - whether it be sports, family, entertainment, or work - do it all to the glory of God!
Do it all so that others might behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ and behold it because of the way you live!
[Illus] From time to time, we sing the hymn, Let Others See Jesus in You (Hymn #363). The chorus of the hymn says...
Let others see Jesus in you, Let others see Jesus in you. Keep telling the story, be faithful and true; Let others see Jesus in you.
Let others see Jesus in you, Let others see Jesus in you. Keep telling the story, be faithful and true; Let others see Jesus in you.
The reason why we should let others see Jesus in us comes in at the end of v. 4, which says...
And the lost to life and light; let others see Jesus in you.
What are you living for? Live for the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ so that our God and Father will be glorified forever and ever. Amen.
[TS] That’s the first INSTRUCTION: Live for the glory of God.
The second INSTRUCTION is to Extend the greeting of God. Look at vv. 21-22...

Instruction #2: Extend the greeting of God (vv. 21-22).

Philippians 4:21–22 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.
[Exp/App] In the call to extend these greetings, Paul points to hospitality, support, friendliness, and perhaps other things, but I want to focus on two things - unity and evangelism (i.e., sharing the gospel).
When Paul wrote in v. 22, “All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household,” that would’ve been a wonderful surprise for the Philippians! There were people in Caesar’s household who had come to faith in Jesus Christ! God’s gospel is for all people!
Now, that doesn’t mean that Caesar’s immediate family became Christians. Perhaps some of them did, but this most likely refers to people employed by Caesar - his guards and others who had contact with Paul as he waited to stand trial before Caesar. As Paul met people, he shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with them.
As Paul met people, he shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with them.
That gospel is the same for every person under the sun and it is for every person under the sun. God exists. He created us and we are accountable to him. He is holy and we’ve sinned against him. The price for that sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. For God so loved the word that he gave his one and only Son to pay the price for our sins on the cross so that whosoever believes in him should not perish.
The surprise that this gospel had penetrated even those in Caesar’s employ would have reminded the Philippians who were living in a very Roman city to get busy sharing the good news of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
By saying, “Greet all God’s people” in v. 21, Paul was once again calling for unity in the Philippian church by reminding them that everything he wrote in this letter applies to them all. God’s truth applies to all people.
Imagine that the Philippians gathered to hear this letter from Paul, their founding pastor. It would’ve been easy to hear the letter and say on the way out of church, “I hope Euodia and Syntyche were listening. That sure was for them!”
Was it for them! YES! Obviously so, because their names are mentioned specifically in the letter!
But was it for church leaders? YES! They too are mentioned specifically at the beginning of this letter!
But was if for everyone else as well? YES!
[Inter] How do we respond when we are greeted with truth? Do we say that its for someone else? Do we say it doesn’t apply to us for some reason or another?
Every truth applies to us because it is true; it is reality, and if its real we must believe it and respond to it.
[Illus] After one morning worship service at my home church, I heard someone remark, “I hope ol’ so and so was listening today. Bro. Jeff sure was preaching to them.”
Bro. Jeff was indeed preaching to them, but he was also preaching to very one who made that remark as well.
Every truth from God’s word applies to you!
Every truth from God’s word applies to me too!
Extending the greeting of God means sharing the gospel of God and understanding that we all stand under the the word of God.
Nothing will bring us together like a common mission and common authority.
[TS] That’s the second INSTRUCTION.
We saw with the first that we are to Live for the glory of God.
Then, as we just talked about, Extend the greeting of God.
And, finally, Depend on the grace of God.

Instruction #3: Depend on the grace of God (v. 23).

Philippians 4:23 ESV
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
[Exp/App] We are saved by grace, sanctified by grace, and (as Paul knew) sustained by grace.
The Philippian church was doing OK. They were supporting Paul and preaching the gospel, but there was some conflict - at least a little conflict. But a little thing can ruin everything.
That’s why Paul repeatedly called them to humility and unity by citing the example of the Lord Jesus who humbled himself to the point of death on the cross so that we can be saved through faith in him.
He also called them to humility and unity by citing the example of Timothy and Epaphroditus who both gave and would give themselves again in faithful service to the Philippians.
And, finally, Paul cited the example he set in imitating Christ, telling them, “imitate me, as I imitate Christ.”
Humility is the key to unity, but in between humility and unity is sacrificial service.
Timothy and Epaphroditus sacrificed. Paul sacrificed. And, of course, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice by giving himself in our place on the cross.
It was sacrificial service that first brought these Philippian believers together and that by grace!
Likewise, it would be grace that would keep them together - humble, unified, serving, and sacrificing for one another.
That’s was Paul prayer as ended his letter. By God’s grace; saved by grace; enabled by grace; they would remain together rejoicing to the end!
Joy is a major theme in Philippians.
The world says joy or happiness is in sinful freedom.
The world says only when you’re free to be who you want to be, believe what you want to believe, do whatever you want to do, and have everyone else affirm it as “right” - only then can you be happy or have joy.
In reality, the only path to joy is the way of Jesus - the way of humble, sacrificial service enabled by the grace of the Lord Jesus.
[Inter] Where is your joy?
[Illus] I keep various notebooks with reminders, prayer requests, lists of people I don’t like, and notes for sermons in them. I go through them pretty quickly and I can’t always remember what note is what notebook.
If I’m looking for something specific, I have to ask myself, “Did I leave it in the little notebook in my pocket? Did I leave it in my journal? Did I leave my planner? Is it in a document online or in a note on my phone?”
I have upon occasion traveled back and forth from the house to the church trying to find a certain note or thought here or there only to not be able to find it anywhere.
Joy is like that - at least as the world presents it.
It’s like those shell games where the nut is under the shell.
The shell gets mixed around with other shells; moved around and around until you don’t know where the nut is.
The truth is joy isn’t under any of the shells the world would have you guess at.
It’s never where you look, if you’re looking in the world, because it’s only in Jesus; in his way of life; in sacrificial service to the glory of God.
Grace enables us to trust Christ and only grace enables us to live his way.
This was Paul prayer for the Philippians. Let’s make it our for one another as well.
The Philippian church
This was Paul prayer for the Philippians. Let’s make it our for one another as well.
[TS] {see below}


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