Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Sunday, August 02, 2020

"Since You Are His, Live Like It!" by Pastor Kerry Doyal [LEFC Sermon Notes]


Since You are His, Live Like it!
Identifying, Unifying Attitudes from Eph. 4:1-6

            Ephesians 4:1-6 is pretty straightforward. The hard part is applying it. But, live it we must - so much is at stake. A simple summary: “In light of all God has done for us, and made us in Christ, we are live worthy of His grace, and love. This is to show itself in our personal attitudes, and our relationships with one another.” See? Not hard to understand, but essential to do.

            After three rich chapters filled with what God has done for us in Christ, Paul exhorts the Ephesian believers – and us – to live worthy of our high calling. By grace, God has made us His own people. Now, we are to live up to it! Hear and heed prisoner-Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 4:1-6.


4:1 “Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”  (CSB)


In Light of our High, Holy Calling,
Let’s Live Worthy of It / Him

“I beg you—I, a prisoner here in jail for serving the Lord—to live and act in a way worthy of those who have been chosen for such wonderful blessings as these. Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Try always to be led along together by the Holy Spirit and so be at peace with one another.

“We are all parts of one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future. For us there is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and we all have the same God and Father who is over us all and in us all, and living through every part of us.”  (The Living Bible)


His Calling that We’ve Received: (Ephesians 1-3!)  
·        Learn who we are in Him, because of His grace
·        Notice Paul’s prayer for us to be able to know this (3:14-22)


Our Responsibility in this Calling: Walk Worthy! (Eph. 4-6)

1.     Lives that fit our Identity; we’re HIS, Live Like it!  (vs. 1)
·        He graciously called us to Himself (Eph. 1-3; Rom. 8:28, 12:1, 2)
·        He calls us to live suitably, appropriately to Whose we are
·        We bear the family name: “Christ-ones” (Acts 11:26) 
·        Disciples are not just learners, but imitators! (cf. Phil. 1:27; Col. 1:10; 2:6; 1 Thess. 2:12; 1 John 2:6)


2.     Attitudes that Lead to Unity, Display Oneness (vs. 2-6)
Notice the First Applications, Areas Dealt with:

·        Humility – who we are is of HIM - no bragging!  Have “lowliness of mind” (cf. 2:8-10; Acts 20:19; Phil. 2:1-11; Col. 3:12; 1 Pet. 3:8; 5:5). From the NET: “having a humble opinion of one's self; a deep sense of one's (moral) littleness; modesty”. Pride divides, it is of the devil


·        Gentleness – quiet behavior, meekness (cf. Col. 4:5, 6)
“The word is often used in Hellenistic Greek of the merciful execution of justice on behalf of those who have no voice by those who are in a position of authority” (Matt 11:29; 21:5 – from NET)


·        Patience – longsuffering, “taking whatever comes” (Gal. 5:22-25) 
            God was patient with us, soooo… (cf. Romans 5:3-5; James 1:1-12)


·        Bearing with one another in love: “putting up with one another”
            Not sin, but differences, idiosyncratic differences (cf. Romans 14; 1 Cor. 12-14)


·        “Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (3-6)
Pursuing one-ness in Christ’s body (cf. John 17; Colossians 3:14). “making every effort to keep” (NET) “being diligent to preserve” (NASB) “Taking care to keep the harmony of the Spirit in the yoke of peace.” (BBE) “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (ESV)

Because: “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph. 4:4-6 - ESV)



ü  Is your life Congruent to your Calling: fitting, or at odds?

ü  Do you need to learn your calling?  From Ephesians 1-3, make a list of all He has done for us. Take your time, it is a lot!
ü  Ever known someone who wasn’t acting like themselves? Maybe they had a fever, emotional strain, or worst of all, an outburst of sinful, willful disobedience? Don’t let it be said of us – in light of who we are – that we don’t sound like Jesus. Let it be that, as we walk together, people can say, “Yep, they’re Jesus’”

ü  Are you passive or proactive in keeping peace in His Body?  See Acts 20; 1 Peter 5

ü  With His help, work on which least describes you. “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” (NLT)


Sunday, July 26, 2020

"The God of Peace" [Matt's Messages]

“The God of Peace”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
July 26, 2020 :: Philippians 4:8-9

The Apostle Paul was no dummy.

Even before he came to Christ, Paul was an extremely intelligent and well-educated man. And so when he said something, when he wrote something, he meant it.

Paul wrote carefully crafted letters under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Every word counts.

The previous time, which was the previous verse (v.7), we considered this amazing phrase from Paul, “The Peace of God.” Remember that?

Instead of being anxious, we pray and present our requests to God, and this piece of the peace of God which transcends our finite human understanding will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. That’s what we need! The peace of God.

Well, at the end of verse 9, just two verses later, Paul flips that phrase around and goes even deeper into what we need.

He says, “And the God of peace will be with you.”

That’s on purpose. Paul did that on purpose.

The Apostle Paul was no dummy. He knew what the Philippians needed. He knew what we really need.

We don’t just need the peace of God. We need the God of peace.

We don’t just need the peace of God. We need the presence of God.

We don’t just need to have our hearts and minds guarded. We need them visited.

And we need them visited by the God of peace.

Because remember: God is at peace. He is not shaken. He is not disturbed. He is not troubled. He is not anxious. He is not fretful. He is not jolted. He is not vexed. He is not worried. God is not worried. God is at peace.

He is the God of peace.

And the Bible promises here that He will be with us.



Now, before we get to that precious promise, Paul has some more commands for the Philippians, and, therefore, for us.

In fact, there are two more commands here to go on top of the ones he’s been doling out ever since reaching this last major section of his letter.

For the last three weeks, we’ve seen Paul give out important commands that are really good for us but not as easy as they might sound.

Agree with each other in the Lord.
Rejoice in the Lord always: I’ll say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all.
Do not be anxious about anything.
Pray about everything.

And now, two more:

#1. FOCUS ON EXCELLENT THINGS.
#2. FOLLOW AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE.

And then “...the God of peace will be with you.”

Now, we’re not supposed to think that we somehow will earn the presence of God by doing these commands.

That’s not how the gospel works. We saw that in the previous chapter. Chapter 3.

We are not justified by works of Law, by works of the flesh.

We get our right standing with God from our faith in Christ and Christ alone.

Everything else is street trash compared to knowing Him.

So, we are not supposed to think that if we keep these two commands that we will somehow earn the presence of the God of peace. No way!

And yet they are connected. We will experience the presence of the God of peace in a deeper and more real way if we are obeying these commands from the God of peace.

They do go hand in hand.

But it’s because God of peace is behind and before.

Remember last time, the command to not be anxious follows behind, “The Lord is near.” And then at the end, “The God of peace will be with you.”

The promise of His presence precedes these commands, and our obedience proceeds from it and results in experiencing it.

“The God of peace will be with you.”

I want that for me. And I want it for you.

Let’s see what our part is. Verse 8.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

That’s a beautiful sentence as it is. Just thinking about that sentence can be a way of obeying it!

Paul says:

#1. FOCUS ON EXCELLENT THINGS.

Fill up your mind with these sorts of items.
Focus your attention on this quality of things.
Dwell upon, meditate upon, excellent things.

Yes, Paul is telling us what to think about.

He is urging us to practice mind control; that is, over our own minds.

It is true that thoughts enter our minds over which we have no control. But it is also true that we have a great deal of control over what thoughts we entertain. What thoughts we dwell upon. What thoughts we allow real estate in our minds.

Have you ever had a thought that you knew you had let take up residence in your brain and you needed to evict? We all have.

Some thoughts leave without a struggle. Other thoughts need to be tossed out on their ear, and they keeping back for more.

Especially those anxious thoughts, right? Remember the context? V.6

Paul is still telling the Philippians how to counter anxious thoughts.

You don’t just toss them out.
You don’t just pray about them!

You replace those thoughts...with better thoughts.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

That calls for discernment, doesn’t it?

Paul tells us that we have to discern between the worst kind of things and the best kind of things.

And really between the kinda good kind of things and the best things.

True, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy.

Those are the best things. Think about them.

Now, again, Paul is not saying that we should pretend that the worst things don’t exist. This is not the power of positive thinking.

And it is not fake-it-till-you-make-it. Just pretend like the opposite stuff doesn’t even exist.

The false, the ignoble, the wrong, the dirty, the ugly, the detestable, the worst, the unspeakable.

Those things exist, and Paul is not saying that we should pretend they don’t.

In fact, Paul is not saying that there is never a time to think about them. Or to talk about them. Paul talks about those things in his letters. He has talked about them in this letter.

Paul does not have an Instagram filter over his reality where everything is sepia-toned and fuzzy and bright and happy and perfect.

Remember where Paul is and what Paul expects to happen to him.

And yet, what does it really matter? Paul is in Christ, and the Lord is near. And even if he dies, He goes to be with Christ which is better by far.

The gospel is true, so there are better things to dwell upon.

That’s what he’s talking about. He’s talking about the focus of your mind.

He’s talking about what you dwell upon, what you end up thinking about, where your mind goes, where your mind rests.

Focus on excellent things.

Now, that takes some effort, and it takes some imagination.

Let’s play a game.

I’ll say a word, and I want you to think about something that embodies it.

Kind of like a spiritual Rorschach test.

Okay. Ready?

Think about something true. _____________

Think about something noble.  _____________

Think about something right. _____________

Think about something pure. _____________

Think about something lovely. ____________

Think about something admirable. _____________

Think about something excellent and/or praiseworthy. _____________

How’d you do?

It’s not automatic, is it?

I think we all love this verse as a meme or a poster or a plaque that we put up on our wall.

But we don’t always give it that much effort.

Let’s try again:

Think about something true. “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” I think the seven “I AM __________” statements we looked at that during Family Bible Week this week would fit in there really well.

Think about something noble. I think about someone standing up for what they believe in.

Think about something right. Or “just.” Think about justice. We often say, “That ain’t right.” But think about what is. What would justice look like in this situation? Don’t just think about injustice. There’s plenty of that! But think about justice. “What is right?”

Think about something pure. Pure love. Pure devotion. Pure joy.

Think about something lovely. What might that be? What is beautiful to consider? Think a beautiful thought. Some beautiful music comes to my mind.

Think about something admirable. Something commendable. Something when you see that you say, “Oh! That’s wonderful.” Maybe a good deed somebody did?

Think about something excellent and/or praiseworthy.

Do you see how this requires some effort and some imagination?

Sometimes when it requires effort or imagination, we just bail on it, right?

I think we need to seriously consider repenting our disobedience of verse 8. Repenting of the times when we decided to dwell on all of the worst things.

I think this should inform our entertainment choices. What we watch. What we listen to. What we read. I think it definitely should inform our social media choices. What we say out there, but especially what we follow.

I don’t know about you, but I have had to unfollow a whole lot of people on social media who were bringing me down mentally.

I don’t mean people who were telling me things I needed to hear but didn’t want to hear. I mean people who I was allowing to tell me things I didn’t need to hear and I didn’t need to keep dwelling upon.

I always say that the greatest thing about Facebook is you know what people are thinking and feeling. And the worst thing about Facebook is that you know what people are thinking and feeling!

Is it helping you to think about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy” to“think about such things?”

Don’t just shrug.

This is God’s word to us. And remember, God knows your very thoughts. He knows what you are thinking about.

And as you think, so you will be. What you focus on will determine your steps.

I just about walked into a sign yesterday. I was working on this sermon while walking home for supper, and I had my print out of the text, and I was studying it, and I just about walked into a road sign!

Your focus will determine your steps.

What are you focusing on? Is it excellent?

What do you need to change to be where you need to be mentally?

Remember, this doesn’t mean that we never think about bad things. But in proportion, we focus on the best things.

We focus on Christ!

Paul has one more “whatever” in this section. V.9

“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Think about excellent things.

#2. FOLLOW AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE.

And here the example is Paul himself.

“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice.”

He was saying something like this in the previous chapter.

Paul intends to be a good example.

Everybody is following somebody, Paul says, “Follow me.”

“Do it this way.”

I love how he says it 4 ways! “Whatever you have learned or received or heard [from me [that’s talk], or seen in me [that’s walk]–put it into practice.”

Including what I think about, right?

Paul is saying that he does verse 8, so you and I can do it, too.

I think it’s pretty audacious thing to say. “Whatever you’ve seen me do, you do it, too.”

Pretty audacious. But so is the promise that follows it. “And the God of peace will be with you.”

Well, I want that! So, I probably ought to check out Paul’s excellent example and start following. We have 13 letters by Paul to see what he taught and the book of Acts to see what he did. And we can start right here in Philippians. He’s showing us how it’s done.

Paul has given us an excellent example. Are you living like Paul?

Paul was no dummy! Are you living like Paul?

“And the God of peace will be with you.”

Not just the peace of God, but the God of peace.

God Himself in all of His perfect tranquility, His simple wholeness.

His simple truth, nobility, justice, purity, loveliness, admirableness, excellence, and praiseworthiness will be with you.

Think about that!


***

Previous Messages in This Series:

01. "I Always Pray with Joy"
02. "Because Of This I Will Rejoice"
03. "I Will Continue To Rejoice"
04. "Whatever Happens"
05. "Make My Joy Complete"
06. "Your Attitude"
07. "I Am Glad and Rejoice With All Of You"
08. "With Great Joy"
09. "Rejoice in the Lord!"
10. "I Want To Know Christ"
11. "I Press On"
12. "My Joy and Crown"
13. "I Will Say It Again: Rejoice!"
14. "The Peace of God"

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Friday, July 24, 2020

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Monday, July 20, 2020