Title: Getting To Know You
Series: Philippians (2/20)
Reference: Philippians 1:1-2

Last Sunday we started our study of Philippians.  We are just opening up to the book of Philippians and we are going to take one verse at a time and just walk through the book of Philippians together and we definitely affirm at this church that the Word of God is inspired, that it is profitable; all of it is inspired, all of it is profitable, and so every now and then we are going to open up to different books and we are going to go through every verse and allow the Spirit of God to teach us what he wants to teach us in the whole of God’s Word.  So that is what we are doing, we started last Sunday with just basically some background information to Philippians.  You will remember that the church at Philippi, we looked at basically how the church got started.  Do you remember that?  We looked at Lydia, and the demon possessed slave girl, the jailer and his family, that small group of believers that God reached out, changed their lives in very different ways, and then brought them together.  They were the very first people in the church and then sort of as an overview of the book as a whole we just kind of noted how in each chapter we hear this ring of God calling these people, these very different and very diverse people to work together for the good of the gospel and the building up of the gospel and the building up of the kingdom.  So that was all the background last week.

Today we are actually going to dive into a couple of the introductory verses, verses 1 and 2.  The title of today’s message is ‘Getting to Know You’.  Getting to Know You.   So Philippines, chapter 1 is where we are at.  I will begin reading at verse 1 and I am going to ask that if you are physically able, let’s all stand in honor and reverence for the reading of God’s Holy Word.

The Word of God says in Philippines, chapter 1, beginning with verse 1:

“Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons.  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Father, would You add Your blessing upon the proclamation of Your Word. We ask this in the strong name of Jesus. Amen.

I am not sure if you are aware of this or not but down through Christian tradition the book of Philippines, the letter of Philippines has been sort of, I don’t know, has kind of evolved into some nicknames.  There are a couple of different phrases people use to talk about the book of Philippines.  So one of those phrases is called the letter of joy.  So the book of Philippines, also called the letter of joy, and that is because all throughout this book over, and over, and over, Paul will use phrases like joy, or rejoice, and I think it is 16 times is what I counted, so 16 times in four short chapters Paul speaks about joy, rejoicing, rejoicing in the Lord.  Now the remarkable thing about that is that he does it while he is in jail.  The remarkable thing is that Paul writes, I mean just think about this, Paul writes the letter of joy while chained to a Roman soldier awaiting the very real possibility of like, getting his head wacked off.  So the dude is out there sharpening the axe and Paul is inside talking about rejoicing in the Lord.  This is really instructive for us on a number of different levels.  I think one of the big things that it teaches us, and we are really going to learn this as chapter 1 continues to unfold, but one of the big truths it teaches us is that joy is not tied to your circumstances; joy is not tied to your circumstances.   We tend to marry those two together and we can only be joyful when we are going through joyful things and when circumstances around us are joyful.   So as I am sure you are probably aware of by now, life seldom goes the way you want it to go, right.  And so as a result if joy is tied to our circumstances, then there are very few moments of joy in life, and so what happens rather than enjoying life we kind of endure life.  And so we go to jobs that we don’t really enjoy, we go to jobs that we kind of endure to pay the bills.  We don’t really see them, we don’t really look at a job as a blessing, provision from the Lord is something that we just kind of have to do because we got to pay the bills.  We endure other people rather than enjoying the relationships that God brings into our life and the various relationships that he allows us to form throughout our faith walk.  Families endure one another rather than looking at one another as a source of blessing and encouragement, as a rock to make us stronger.  Often husbands and wives in marriages, all the time in ministry I talk to husbands and wives who have arrived at this place in their marriage where they are simply enduring one another rather than enjoying what the Bibles calls marriage the grace of life, like the whipped cream of all human relationships and we just endure this thing instead of truly enjoying what God has intended it to be.  So Paul is going to show us as this letter unfolds that true joy, true Christian joy isn’t tied to your circumstances.  So what is it tied to?  Well, think about it like this, Paul, in four chapters Paul will talk about joy, rejoicing, rejoice in the Lord 16 times, right.  Sixteen times, four chapters, well, in that same space, those same four chapters he will mention Christ about 50 times.  So I think that there is a connection that we are going to see as this letter unfolds for us is that we are going to see that true joy, lasting joy, deep seeded joy, circumstances ain’t gonna touch my joy is found and anchored in a relationship with Jesus Christ, not on the circumstances of my life.  So the book of Philippians also called the letter of joy because of that.

Another sort of name that has kind of evolved for this epistle is called the letter of love.  The love letter and it is kind of referred to that because as you read through sections of this book you just can’t miss Paul’s affection for these believers.  For example, right here in chapter 1, look at verse 3.  Paul said: I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.  Paul thinks back to Lydia, he thinks back to the slave girl, to the jailer and his family and how God gripped all of their hearts and God has brought them into his family and everything that he remembers about that church he says I am thankful for that.  That is a joy to me.  Now I am sure that we have all been part of the church long enough to know that there is trouble in every church, right.  I mean there are bad things in every church.  I don’t think the sense is Paul looking back and saying there are no bad things that happen in Philippi, what Paul is doing is looking back and saying I don’t remember those bad things, like when I look back and I remember the these believers I remember the good things.  These things that cause me to be thankful and grateful to God for the presence of these people in my life.  He goes on and look at verse 7 where he says it is only right for me to feel this way about you because I have you in my heart.  Look at verse 8, for God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.  Do you hear the affection in that?  The brotherly love in these words.  Paul says I thank God for you, I have you in my heart, I long for you with the affection of Christ Jesus.  Paul says I love you just like Jesus loves you.  It is the letter of love, the love letter, the letter of joy, the letter of love.

Brings up the question, have you ever written a love letter?  Ever written a love letter.  Anyone ever received a love letter?   Hey, I wrote a love letter once.  Didn’t say I received one.  I wrote one once, actually proposed to Haley through a love letter in a corked bottle that just conveniently happened to be floating down the lake that we were fishing at on a Saturday morning.  I did that, yeah.  Now getting her to reach over and get the bottle, and to pull it out of the lake and to uncork it and to read the message, that’s a whole different story.  Maybe another illustration for another time.  Yeah, I wrote a love letter and Haley actually still has the love letter and every now and then she will remind me of that, or maybe the boys will see it and Noah will read it and ewe gross you know and all that stuff.  So like the big question is what did it say? That’s what everybody is thinking.  Well, it starts off my dearest Haley and then it just gets worse from there, so you don’t want to know the rest.  I don’t write love letters any more and the reason I don’t is that I said everything I needed to say in that first one and if anything ever changes I will write her another one and let her know, but we are good, so …

This morning we are going to begin to crawl through this letter of joy, this letter of love, and I think the way we need to start is just by getting acquainted with some of the characters that surround this book and so the notes, the handout in your bulletin starts out with the servant.  So number one in your notes, the servant, it is coming right out of verse 1, verse 1 mentions both Paul and Timothy.  Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Christ Jesus.  Most of us heard about this guy named Paul.  In his pre-Jesus days he was quite the Pharisee, I mean this guy was a very self-righteous Pharisee who really took it upon himself to stomp out the church of Christ and Paul wanted to extinguish the early church.  His salvation, you can kind of read some about that, Acts 8, Acts 7 or 8 or something like that, and his involvement with Stephen and his role and not just putting Stephen to death but also going around to churches everywhere with authority to drag people off, to throw them in jail, to beat them, and do whatever he could do to stomp out the church and then Paul encounters Christ in Acts, chapter 9, and you can read about all those details there, and he goes on to become really in many ways an example and a model believer for all of us.  Paul was undeniably a sold out, eyes on the pie, never going to stop, disciple of Jesus.  I mean Paul was the guy, if you are anti-Christ, Paul is the guy that just drives you nuts because this guy just doesn’t quit, okay.  While other Christians may quit, other Christians may back down and shut up and sit down and be quiet, but that’s not Paul, Paul does not do that.  So Paul is the guy, who you say let’s just get him, let’s throw him in jail, right.  And we saw what happened last week when Paul was in jail.  Acts chapter 16, and he basically leads a revival service in jail and the jailer ends up coming to Christ, right, I mean who does that.  And then you say well, let’s just get him and we are going to beat him, we will just physically beat the faith out of Paul.  Well, Paul is the same guy who goes through physical beatings and he says, well this pain, this suffering, this physical suffering of this age does not even compare to the glory that awaits me in heaven with my savior.  Well, we can’t throw him in jail, we can’t beat him, well, we will just kill him, we will just string him up and we will kill the guy and that will shut him up, and Paul says well, to depart, we’ll see this in four chapters over, well, to depart to be absent from the body is to be present with Christ so if you kill me I am just going to go to the prize which honestly is just going to be a whole lot better for me, and if you let me live I am just going to keep on having fruitful ministry so either way is fine with me.  You just can’t stop the guy.  Paul had a heart that was all in for Jesus, 100% full throttle, all in, every day, every way, he was all about Christ.  Let me show you this in Philippines chapter 3.  Go ahead and flip over there.  Philippines, chapter 3, there is so much that we could point out about Paul, and find out instructive for us about Paul, but let me just show you this here in Philippines chapter 3.  This is kind of like a biographical sketch of Paul and it gives us a glimpse I believe into his heart.  So in chapter 3 Paul is talking here and he says although I myself might have confidence in the flesh, verse 4, forgot to tell you that, verse 4, Philippines 3, verse 4, Paul says although I myself might have confidence in the flesh, so he is talking about people who believe they can be made right with God because of either who they are or what they have done, right, confidence in the flesh.  I believe that I can be right with God because of confidence in who I am or what I have done.  And Paul says if anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more, and then he goes through this list of things that from a Jewish perspective would have made him commendable to God.  Like from the Jewish perspective they would have looked at all of this and they thought man, if anybody could be right with God, it was Paul.  Man, if anybody had any platform to stand on to commend himself to God, then surely it was Paul.  And Paul said I was circumcised on the eighth day, that was according to the law, I was of the nation of Israel, that was God’s chosen nation, I was of the tribe of Benjamin, that’s a noble tribe, I was a Hebrew of Hebrews, I was esteemed among my own peers as to the law, I was a Pharisee, those were like the guys that were the most zealous for keeping the laws of God, as to zeal, I was a persecutor of the church, as to the righteousness which is found in the law I was found blameless, not before God but before other men, right.  Other people looked at Paul’s life and they said this guy keeps the law, this guy is following the law, if you want to know what it looks like to live in such a way to commend yourself to God, surely this is the guy.  But they all missed the mark.  They all missed the mark because they focused on external righteousness and not internal righteousness.  And so Paul says this in verse 7, but whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as lost for the sake of Christ, and more than that I count all things to be lost in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  Paul says I just want to know Christ.  I mean, if you want to know where I am at, if you want to know what my heart is beating for, if you want to know what I am passionate about, Paul says I just want to know Christ.  I mean that’s it, that’s really all it is for me, I just want to know Jesus.  I don’t want to get caught up in all these other things about where are you from, what school did you go to, what are your credentials, what noble things have you done, those are all good things, those are all commendable things from a very earthly point of view, but Paul says, I look at all of that stuff and I count it as lost in comparison to the value, to the value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  And he is not just talking about a saving knowledge of Christ, clearly there is value in a saving knowledge of Christ, right.  I mean heaven, right.  There is value in a saving knowledge of Christ.  But Paul is talking about intimate knowledge, Paul is talking about how a husband might know his wife, how a brother might know his sister.  He says this is nothing, all of these earthly credentials, all of these earthly accomplishments, all of these things that we might look at and think man, that guy has got it going together.  Paul says all of that is lost in compared to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  So this is Paul.  He is a man on fire for Christ and he just wants to know Jesus.  Like we have a mission statement here at this church to make and mature disciples, right.  And maybe you have met families, we have a family mission statement.  This is Paul’s mission statement, to know Jesus.  That’s it.  Paul spent the rest of his life proclaiming Jesus Christ and pressing in to know Christ.

Hey, let me ask you.  Is knowing Jesus one of the great desires of your heart?  I mean really knowing Christ.  Maybe you have salvation, and maybe your eternity is secured and you have the perspective of I just sit around on my blessed assurance and wait for the day that God calls me to heaven.  I mean, I guess you could do that, but does your heart hunger to know Christ more, does your heart hunger to know more of Christ, to experience more of Christ, to pour into the riches of his grace and not to gain anything, there is no earthly value in that, you just let out a deep seated longing net like never, never quenching, longing to know Jesus Christ and to press into him deeper.  Is that the passion of your heart, to know him, to grow him.  You know it ought to be.  For all of us.  It ought to be the passion of our hearts for all of us.  Knowing Christ should be the greatest pursuit of all of our lives but it is easy for, I don’t know, it is easy for side issues to come up and life gets busy and knowing Christ kind of gets pushed to the side.  And it is not for bad things.  Maybe it is for good things, for noble things, for worthwhile things, but none of them, nothing compares to the pursuit of knowing Christ Jesus.  So that is a little bit about Paul.

What about Timothy?  What can we say about Timothy?  Well, last week we looked at Acts 16.  Paul first met Timothy at the beginning of Acts chapter 16, we didn’t read that but it is there if you do want to read it.  Timothy was a young man in the faith.  Paul looked at Timothy, he saw a lot of potential, a lot of people had a lot of good things to say about Timothy, and so Paul invites him to come along on some of these church planting and missionary trips and so Timothy joins Paul and the two go on to become close friends and partners in ministry.  This is the same Timothy that will later receive I and II Timothy, he plays a big role in building up the churches in Thessalonica and also the church in Corinth.  He eventually pastors the church in Ephesus.  So lots and lots we can say about Timothy, but let me show you something from the book of Philippians since we are studying the book of Philippians.   Philippians chapter 2, look at verse 19.  So just a couple of verses that kind of capture the heart of Timothy.  So Paul says, verse 19, Philippians 2, verse 19, but I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition, look at this, for I have no one else of kindred spirit.   What was Timothy like?  What was Timothy passionate about?  What were the poor convictions that drove the ministry of Timothy?  Paul says, well his spirit is just like my spirit.  His heart beats for the same things that my heart beats for, his convictions are just like my convictions.  Like Paul, like Timothy.  Paul was not afraid to sort of put his hand on the spiritual plow and go through some tough ground for Jesus and Paul could look at Timothy and say there is no one else that is like me but this guy.  This guy has a kindred spirit.  If you want to know what Timothy was like, then look at Paul.  Paul and Timothy, those are the servants and I just love how scripture puts them up there side-by-side.  I love how Paul includes Timothy in this because Timothy does not go on, he is not like a co-author with Philippians and we know that because as we read through here Paul uses first person pronoun, so I miss you, I long for you, I call you, I besiege you.  So it is not co-authoring here but he includes Timothy here to sort of, I don’t know, underscore who he is and his role in the mission.  I love how they are just right there, side-by-side as if, I mean these two kind of go together.  I mean it is Paul and Timothy.  Paul is older, Timothy is younger.  Paul is the guy out there on the mission field who has been there, done that, tons of experience.  Timothy is like the new young buck on the mission field.  Paul is like the relief of autumn and Timothy is like the excitement of spring.  Paul is wisdom, Timothy is zeal.  Paul is like let’s focus on sharing Jesus today.  Timothy is like let’s change the world for God.  And they are both right, they are both needed, they are both valuable in ministry.  Paul and Timothy, Timothy and Paul, two companions working together for the advancement of the gospel.  And in this picture I think, I think just in this acknowledgement of Paul and Timothy and what we know about their histories and what we know about what they go on to do, I think we see a great picture of discipleship.  I think we see a great picture of what discipleship is really meant to be about.  Every Timothy needs a Paul.   Every young believer needs an older, wiser, more experienced voice in their life, and likewise, every Paul needs a Timothy.  Every older and more experienced, and wiser believer, you need a younger person that you are pouring into to empower for future ministry because even Paul, even the great apostle Paul realized that one of these days Paul would have to step back and Timothy would have to step forward.  Every Timothy needs a Paul.  Every Paul needs a Timothy.

I just love how scripture puts these two up there together.  I just want to look at their example and I want to challenge the young people in our church to listen to the Pauls in our church.  To listen to the older people in our church, to glean wisdom from the more experienced people in our church, to learn from their history.  They have been around the block a time or two, right.  They know things, they have been through the ups and downs of church life.  Let’s not just write off the older generation, learn from the older generation, let’s glean wisdom and experience from the older generation because most Timothy’s would never admit it, the truth is the Pauls might have tendencies to see something that Timothy in his youthful zeal might overlook.   I want to challenge the young people in our church to listen to the Pauls, but also I want to challenge the Pauls in our church to invest in the Timothys.  I want to challenge the older generation in our church to look at the younger generation and not just say we need younger people to get involved but to allow younger people to get involved, to empower younger people to get involved, and to realize that younger people getting involved doesn’t necessarily mean like it is going to be a younger version of you.  They are not going to do it like you do it, you are going to have to empower them, release them, encourage them to serve God and to do ministry and to do it in the way that their hearts beats for ministry.  Every Paul needs a Timothy, and every Timothy needs a Paul.  And the both together, in the work of ministry, there is a place for both of those.

So we have Paul and Timothy and then I love this designation here, bondservants, bondservants of Christ Jesus.  My wife mentioned this earlier in our Sunday school class.   A bondservant was a free slave, right, a slave who has worked long enough, served long enough to earn his freedom but instead of walking out of the master’s care, he chooses to stay underneath the master.  Because the master is that good, right, because he has a good master.   He has someone who is going to look out for him, someone who is going to provide for him, someone who is going to take care of all the big decisions in life, and provide what is lacking.  So to me, Paul could have, like in some of the other epistles, Paul could have busted it out like his authority as an apostle, like Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, like Paul, hey I’m an apostle, you really need to listen to me, but he doesn’t so that, he just says, Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Christ, we are slaves of Christ.  We have no will but his will, we have no goal but his goal, we have no objective but his objective, whatever God wants, whatever Christ wants, that’s what we want, we are bondservants of Christ Jesus, of Christ Jesus.   You can serve a lot of different people, you can serve a lot of different things in life, but there is no greater master than Christ Jesus.   I think this is such a good picture for young men.   Zach is not with us this morning, he is actually serving in children’s ministry.  Zach wants to go into ministry one day, he wants to be a pastor, and I think this is such a good example for Zach to look at, he will likely listen to this later on the internet, at least he tells me he does, but I just want to say, if Zach was here, or maybe some other young man or young woman who wants to go into ministry, just live your life for Christ, be a bondservant of Christ Jesus, don’t attach yourself to people, people will disappoint you.  Don’t even attach yourself to churches.  Churches will disappoint you.  Attach yourself to Christ Jesus.  Be a servant of Jesus.  Attach yourself to him.  Find your hope in him, find your expectation in him, he is the one that fuels your calling, not the other people around you.  Surely not the organized church of the day but it is all anchored in Christ Jesus.  So Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Christ Jesus.   So that is kind of the sermon to the people behind the letter.

What about the recipients?  Paul goes on to say in verse 1, Paul and Timothy bondservants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints, go ahead and circle that in your Bible, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including, so saints includes the overseers, that’s me, I am an overseer, that’s another word for pastor, so in the New Testament you have overseers, you have shepherd, you have pastor, those all refer to what we call in the Southern Baptist Churches pastor, and they all just kind of, elder is another word, those all underscore the different functions of a pastor but they are all talking about the pastor.  So the overseer, I just like to point out that the Bible calls me a saint.  Right, do you see that?  I just want to say, just pointing that out to all the saints in Christ Jesus.  Now the Bible calls you a saint too and we will get to that, but I just want you to notice the Bible says including, including the overseers and deacons.  Deacons are called saints too, not by a whole lot of other people other than the Bible, but … (laughter).

Who are the saints, who are the saints.  That is number two on your notes.   The term saint, boy, we just completely lost this in American Christianity.   We have completely lost touch with what this word means.  It is not like a football team, right.  It is not the football team down in Noland.  It is not that kind of thing.  And it is not the dead Christians who have sort of been elevated to this higher spiritual place and we build a statue and throw them up in a window of some church and we know that, we know Paul is not talking about dead people because he writes to all of the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi.  So Paul is writing to the church in Philippi.  He is writing to all the believers in Philippi and he calls them all saints.  So what is a saint?  A saint is a Christian.  A saint is every, every Christian is a saint.  In fact, my grandma used to say there were only two kinds of people in the world, there are the saints and there are the ain’ts.  And it is true, right?  It’s true.  There’s the saint, and there’s the ain’ts.  So you are either a Christian or you are not a Christian.  And you are either, you are either, you have either surrendered your will and clinging to the righteousness of Christ.  You are either a saint or you have not done that and you are trying to commend yourself to God in your own righteousness, in your own ability to be good enough or holy enough or smart enough or whatever but from a Biblical perspective, there are saints and there are ain’ts.  So this is talking about your position before God.   Ok, so you are a saint.  You say well, I don’t always think like a saint.  Well, me neither.  Don’t always speak like a saint.  Join the club.  You don’t always, you know what I mean?  We are saints even though we don’t always live that out.  So you need to understand, you need to write down two words on your notes:  positional righteousness, practical righteousness.  Ok, just write those two down and hopefully I will explain them before we are done.

Positional righteousness, practical righteousness.  So this truth that you are a saint is a positional truth of scripture.  It speaks of your position before God, it has nothing to do with your practice of living out your position.  This is just who you are in Christ Jesus.  It does absolutely nothing about how you live out who you are.  Now how you live that out is important, right.  It speaks of your integrity, it speaks of your witness, your character, but it has nothing to do with your position.  Your practice can never change your position.  And we really struggle with this as believers.  Especially young believers.  We commit our lives to Christ and we are all gung-ho and we want to change the world for Christ and we get out there in the flesh and we do something stupid and then we think God has abandoned us, right.  We think God doesn’t love us anymore.   I am not a Christian.  If I was really a Christian I wouldn’t be doing that stuff and we try to change our position based on our practice, but the Bible makes a very clear division here, who you are in position is not determined by your practice.   Positionally you are a saint before God.   So it is kind of like this, we got to keep those two things separate.  We have got to understand the difference.  So it is kind of like if I go up to Kindra and I say, Kindra, what grade are you going to be in when school starts.   What grade are you going to be in dear?  Sophomore, okay.   So Kindra is going to be a Sophomore in high school.   Sophomore is her position in school.  It tells me where she is at in school.  It doesn’t tell me about her practice in school.  It doesn’t tell me if Kindra is an A student, B student, C student, it doesn’t tell me.  It just tells me position.  Probably an A student, right?  Yeah, we will go with an A student Kindra.  You see the difference?  It is like going up to some kid on the football team and saying what position do you play?  Well, I am a receiver.  Well, ok, that tells me his position but it doesn’t tell me about his practice.  It doesn’t tell me are you first string receiver, second string receiver, are you Gator Aid receiver, you know what I mean.  There is a difference between position and practice.  So the fact that you are a saint is a positional truth of scripture.  So if you are a Christian, then before God you are a saint.  And again, it is not to say that practice does not matter, practice is very important, but practice does not change position.

And here is why, let me show you this.  Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints, and there’s the key word “in”, in Christ Jesus.  This is the key that changes everything.  This is one of the ways that the Bible will talk about what does it mean to be saved.  What does it mean to be saved.  It means to be in Christ Jesus.  I am in Christ, Christ is in me.  This is the hope of glory, right.  So I am positionally righteous before God, I am a saint before God, because I am in Christ Jesus.  This is not because I am a saint, it is not because practically I am always living like a saint, thinking like a saint, talking  like a saint.  No, practice is very different than position.  Positionally I am in Christ, my righteousness is his righteousness and his righteousness is perfect before the Father.  That whole thing about the gospel where Jesus comes and he lives a perfect righteous life, do you know why he does that?  Why is it essential?  Why does Christ have to come, not just to die on the cross but to live a perfect life and then die on the cross?  Look, if he doesn’t live a perfect life, he doesn’t have any righteousness to give us.   You see in the gospel, in salvation, you get two things.  We don’t always think about them like this but when you get saved, you get two things.  Number one, you get every sin that you have ever committed forgiven, you get forgiveness, right.  But you also get righteousness.  Jesus takes your sin, you take his righteousness.   II Corinthians, chapter 5, verses 21-22, He made him who knew no sin to be sin so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.  This is what makes us a saint.  This is what makes us accepted before God.  This is why God looks at Shane Lester as his beloved son who walks uprightly, who lives in righteousness, who is holy, not because my practice is always like that, but positionally I am in Christ.  So prior to Jesus, just like Paul prior to Jesus, my days were spent in sin, in darkness, in ignorance of who God is and what it really means to be accepted before God but now that I am in Christ, now my righteousness is enclosed in him, I am washed in him forgiven, accepted, eternally secure, in him.  That’s the key, right.  I mean that’s the key, in Christ.  That’s what it means to be saved.  It is not your righteousness that compels you to God, but it is his righteousness because you are in him, in Christ.

I have got to ask this question.  Are you in Christ?  Are you in Christ?  Do you know him as your savior?  Have you surrendered your life to him?  Are you clinging to his life, his righteousness, to make you acceptable for God, or are you still on this balance thing of I’ve got to be good enough, and I have got to do enough, and be smart enough, and holy enough, and I’ve got to do, do, do and then don’t, don’t, don’t, and then check all of those things off and then at the end of my life God will accept me because I have done enough … buzzer sound … wrong!  Galatians 5:21 says:  if righteousness could be attained by the law, then Christ died in vain.  We need Jesus.  You need Jesus, you cannot make yourself right with God apart from the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  He is the only way to be saved, the only way to be right with the Father, the only way to heaven.

To the servants, the saints, and then real quick, look at number 3, the salutation.  Salutation, real quick, verse 2.  Grace to you and peace, typical greeting of the day, Paul says grace to you, peace to you.  Grace is the gift of God, peace is the result of the gift.  Because I have grace, because I have been given grace, I have peace.  I have peace with God and it is not just saving grace, although saving grace is included there, but sustaining grace, it’s preserving grace.  It’s grace to walk a very difficult walk.  Because we have grace the result is peace.  Peace with God.  Peace with brothers and sisters.  Peace of soul, peace of mind when all the world is falling apart.  And where does it come from?  Look at verse 2:  grace to you and peace from, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.  It comes from God, and only God.  But the good news is that God freely gives to all of us who ask.

Father, Lord we thank you for this time together in your word.  We thank you Father for your spirit that helps us to get it.  Father, Lord I pray for those who are here today, those who might be listening to this on the internet who just need peace.   Lord, I pray for those who are going through hard things, difficult things, things that are just taxing on their soul Father, Lord would you just minister to them, would you encourage them Father, give them your peace, that peace that guards their minds, that peace that guards their hearts Father, Lord help them, help them Lord to take those burdens, to take those anxieties, to take those difficult and hard things and to cast them upon you, and to leave them with you, and not to pick them up, but to leave them with you and Lord as they do that would you minister your peace to them.  And Father, I pray also for those who might be here today and maybe listening to this and Lord, they just need to be saved.  Lord help them, help them to see their need and give them grace to call out to you for salvation.  

Father, would you speak to us, would you through your Holy Spirit minister, encourage our hearts and strengthen our spirits and we pray this all in the strong name of Jesus.  Amen.


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