Communion with God at all times
Published 4:21 pm Friday, November 14, 2008
Scripture: Philippians 3:17-4:9
Aim: To reinforce the believer’s trust in God and encourage continual fellowship with Him even while facing difficult times while living in this world.
Golden Text: “Be careful for nothing (do not be anxious about anything), but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:6-7).
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Fellowship with God is the most vital thing in the life of a Christian. Without continual fellowship with the Father and the Son and fellow believers, one will wither up and be unable to grow and maintain a proper Christian life. John wrote about this fellowship in I John, Chapter One. He invites the reader to join in with him and the other apostles as they fellowship with the “Father and the Son” and with one another.
This author has often testified to those of his congregations that to me the most important thing in my life is my fellowship with God. The awareness of His presence in my life is the most blessed thing I have ever experienced. To know that God is present and that all is well between my soul and Him brings continual peace to my heart and mind, regardless of the difficulties which I may face as a pastor and as a Christian witness.
Things all around a person may be in awful turmoil, but, as the chorus says, “With Christ in my vessel I can smile at the storm!” The peace that is stated in the Golden Text is a peace that remains throughout all the storms. Therefore, it is vital that the Christian maintain close fellowship with Christ at all times. While in this world there will be trouble and turmoil, His peace will remain!
I. Paul encourages the believers to live as they have been given an example of Christian living (Philippians 3:17-19). Paul contrasts true Christians (vs. 17) with false professors (vs. 18-19). He warns that some professed Christians are “enemies of Christ,” serving their own selfish desires.
II. Paul reminds the Christian that he has a wonderful hope (Philippians 3:20-21). The manner of life that a Christian lives comes from Heaven (vs. 20). We look for Christ to return from Heaven (vs. 20). When Christ comes every true Christian will receive a body like the body of Christ (glorified, and sinless, vs. 21). Being faithful to God is worth all the effort!
III. Paul encourages the believers to stand fast in their Christian faith and fellowship (Philippians 4:1-3). All true Christians are “fellow laborers” in Christ, and their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (vs. 3). With the promises of number II above, and the assurance that already the believer’s name is written in God’s book of Heaven’s residents, how can the Christian not be faithful is continual fellowship with His Lord?
IV. Paul instructs believers in living in fellowship with God (Philippians 4:4-9). First, rejoice in the Lord always, at all times (vs. 4). Second, be “reasonable” in dealing with others in an open manner so all can readily see it (vs. 5). The Lord is present! He knows all things! Third, do not be anxious over any of the affairs faced in life. Pray about everything. Ask for all you have need of. Always show thanksgiving to God (vs. 6). Fourth, Paul promises the peace of God to rule within the heart (vs. 7, Golden Text above).
V. Paul asks the Believers to “think” and to follow the proper example (Philippians 4:8-9). First, Paul points out the kinds of things the Christian should occupy his mind with (vs. 8). He then points out that example and practice they follow should be someone who is approved by God Himself. Paul is that example. What kind of example are we?
Those who follow the principles of this lesson will find that fellowship with God is sweet.
Howard Tillery is the pastor of New Ochlocknee Baptist Church in Grady County. He lives in Cairo.