Sunday, October 24, 2010


What a terrific week! This week was one of those week’s that absolutely rocked in terms of prayer, preparation, planning and out right getting things done! Praying I can hit “repeat” tomorrow am. For some reason, it just seemed like I was “in the zone...”

Great day @ a2!

This morning my wife was in NYC was our daughter Caley attending Parent Weekend at King’s College. We really missed her, but her team did an awesome job leading our congregation in worship. I mean it! The team rocked! (PS: I really believe that’s one of the marks of a good leader… Girl, your team did awesome.)

Here’s the set list from this morning’s worship set:

You Are Good (Arranged by Lincoln Brewster)
For All You’ve Done (Hillsong)
God You Reign (Lincoln Brewster)

During the offering, the team led us in a new worship song that I'm certain we’ll be coming back to in the next few weeks…

Forever Reign (Hillsong)

The extended notes for the message are included below…

We had originally planned to close out the service with a special item number… God had other plans… At the conclusion of the message, we closed the service with an extended time in prayer…

As always, you can download the mp3 of the morning message on our website by clicking here, or find us on iTunes by typing a2 Church into the iTunes Search Engine.

Next week we’ll wrap up our series in Philippians. I love this book! Big time! But looking forward to covering the last half of Philippians 4 next Sunday.

Until then, here are the extended notes from today’s message.

Joy Over the Long Haul EXTENDED NOTES
Philippians: Finding Joy in a Broken World – Part 8

Three Sources that wage a constant assault on the life of every believer and the church itself:

• The World System
• The Flesh
• The Devil (1 Peter 5:8)

Three Possible Response:

• Break Out – Have a panic attack, get angry, breakout in a rash, fall completely apart…

• Break down – Hold everything in and silently withdraw… Allow worry, fear, anxiety and frustration to eat you alive…

• Break through – Experience God’s power in the middle of this madness, providing grace, strength, power and security for you to make it one more day…

John 16:33 (AMP), I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

NOTE: Paul wanted to provide the Philippians with a model of what a “breakthrough life” looks like.

Philippians 4:9 (ESV), What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

1 Corinthians 11:1 (NLT), “You should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.”

THOUGHT: Paul “translated” his life in Christ for the church at Philippi and provided an example of what "life in Christ" looks like.

Three Relationships We All Need In Life:

• We all need a Paul: We need a mentor who models life with Christ for us and provides an example for us to follow…
• We all need a Barnabas: We all need someone who loves us, is loyal to us, but is not in the least impressed by us…
• We all need a Timothy: We need someone we’re pouring our lives into…

NOTE: Paul made himself available as a mentor and model to the church at Philippi, and provided them with an up close and personal example on how to maintain your spiritual equilibrium and stability in the middle of a messed up world.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9, We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not knocked out.

QUESTION: What was it that created that kind of tenacious faith and stability in Paul? How did this guy retain his joy over the long haul?

How To Keep Your Joy Over The Long Haul:

1. Remember your position. Stand firm in Christ!

Philippians 4:1 (ESV), Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV), Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 16:13 (ESV), Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

Galatians 5:1 (ESV), For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Ephesians 6:11, 13, 14, Stand firm…

THOUGHT: Paul knows the dangers of instability… He knows that spiritual instability leads to disappointment, doubt, discouragement and ineffectiveness… He doesn’t want these believers to be knocked around by the world, the flesh and the evil one…

Philippians 4:1 (ESV), Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

IMPORTANT: The two words “stand firm” are actually one word in the original language. It’s the word “steko.” In the original language it is “…an imperative, a command with almost a military ring to it.” It was a word used of a soldier on the front lines holding his position while under attack (Eph 6:11, 13, 14)…

“The difference between defensive and offensive warfare is this, that in the former I have got the ground and only seek to keep it, whereas in the latter I have not got the ground and am fighting in order to get it. And that is precisely the difference between the warfare waged by the Lord Jesus and the warfare waged by us. His was offensive; ours is, in essence, defensive. He warred against Satan in order to gain the victory. Through the cross He carried that warfare to the very threshold of Hell itself…. Today we war against Satan only to maintain and consolidate the victory He has already gained. By the resurrection God proclaimed His Son victor over the whole realm of darkness, and the ground Christ won He has given to us. We do not need to fight to obtain it. We only need to hold it against all challengers.”
~ Watchman Nee, quoted by R. Kent Hughes
Commentary on Philippians, page 227

Philippians 4:1 (ESV), Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

IMPORTANT: Underline the phrase, “…in the Lord.” The phrase, "in Christ" is an important phrase in the New Testament… In fact, Paul himself uses the phrase at least 132 times in his writings… The phrase “…in Christ…” refers to our total union with Christ…

Galatians 2:20 (NIV), I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Colossians 1:27 (NIV), To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

John 15:5 (ESV), I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

IMPORTANT: These verses are basically sing, “The Christian life isn’t just difficult, it’s impossible… So impossible, that only one person on the planet has ever actually been able to pull it off! And He was so good at living the Christian life, that we actually named it after Him… His name is Jesus Christ…”

Who Am I?
Our Identity In Christ

I am completely accepted…

• I am a child of God… I can call God “my Father”… (John 1:12; Romans 8:14, 15; Galatians 3:26; 4:6)
• Because I’m God’s child, I am an heir of God and I am a coheir with Jesus Christ… (Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:6-7)
• I am a friend of God… (John 15:15)
• I have been justified by faith have peace with God through Jesus Christ… (Romans 5:1)
• I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit... (1 Corinthians 6:17)
• I have been bought with a price and I belong to God… (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
• I am a member of Christ’s body… (1 Corinthians 12:27)
• I have been chosen by God and adopted as God’s child… (Ephesians 1:3-8)
• I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins… (Colossians 1:13-14)
• I am a new creation. The old is gone. The new is come. The past is forgiven. The old life is forgotten. Everything is new… (2 Corinthians 5:17)
• I have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness and translated into God’s wonderful kingdom of light… (Colossians 1:13)
• I am complete in Christ… (Colossians 2:9-10)
• I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ and can be confident that He will hear me when I pray… (Hebrews 4:16)
• I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people… (1 Peter 2:9-10)
• I am a saint… (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2)

I am totally secure…

• I am free from condemnation… (Romans 8:1)
• I am sure that God works all things for my ultimate good, regardless of my present circumstances… (Romans 8:28)
• I cannot be separated from the love of God in Jesus Christ… (Romans 8:31-39)
• I have been established, anointed and sealed by God… (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
• I am hidden with Christ in God… (Colossians 3:1-4)
• I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me… (Philippians 1:6)
• I am a citizen of heaven… (Philippians 3:20)
• I have not received a spirit of fear… I have received a spirit of power, love and of a sound mind… (2 Timothy 1:7)
• I am born again in Jesus Christ – and the evil one can’t possibly touch me… (1 John 5:18)

I am deeply significant…

• I am the salt of the earth… (Matthew 5:13)
• I am the light of the world… (Matthew 5:14)
• I am part of the true vine - Christ’s life flow in, through and out of me… (John 15:1, 5)
• I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing… (Ephesians 1:3)
• I am chosen and appointed by Jesus Christ to bear fruit… (John 15:16)
• I have the mind of Christ. He enables me to make right and wise choices… (1 Corinthians 2:16)
• I am a Holy Spirit empowered agent and witness of Jesus Christ giving the mission and assignment of telling everyone possible the good news of the Gospel… (Acts 1:8)
• I am a temple of God… God’s Spirit lives in me… (1 Corinthians 3:16)
• I am a minister of reconciliation… (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
• I have been raised up and seated with Christ in heavenly places… (Ephesians 2:6)
• I am God’s workmanship… (Ephesians 2:10)
• I can approach God with freedom and confidence… (Ephesians 3:12)
• I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me… (Philippians 4:13)
• I am right now a child of God, you can’t yet see what I will be, but when He appears I will be like Him. I will see Him just as He is… (1 John 3:1-2)
• I can overcome the enemy by the blood of the lamb, through the word of my testimony and because I don’t love life so much that I shrink back in my commitment when I’m faced with death… (Revelation 12:11)
• Greater is who lives in me than He who is in the world… (1 John 4:4)
• I am a king and priest unto our God… (Revelation 5:10)

“The more you reaffirm who you are in Christ, the more your behavior will begin to reflect your true identity.” (Dr. Neil Anderson, Victory Over the Darkness)

IMPORTANT: Paul’s point in Philippians 4:1 is this: “Make your PRACTICE consistent with your POSITION… Live out of your IDENTITY IN CHRIST… Stand firm in who you are ‘in the Lord’.”

2. Love like crazy.

Philippians 4:1 (ESV), Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

Philippians 4:2-3 (NLT), Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. 3 And I ask you, my true partner (Syzygus), to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.

3. Make joy a high priority! Rejoice in the Lord, regardless!

Philippians 4:4 (NIV), Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

“Joy is a deep, abiding sense and the confident expectation that God is with me, that God is for me, and that our sovereign God is working everything together for my ultimate good and His great glory!”

THOUGHTS: John MacArthur describes what it means to rejoice like this: “Rejoicing is reckless abandonment to Jesus Christ in any circumstance.”

In other words, sometimes joy is just saying, “God, I’m yours… I don’t understand what’s going on or why it’s going on, but I’m glad I belong to You, and in that reality – that I belong to You – I find joy.”

THOUGHTS: The word “rejoice” is a present imperative, which basically means, Paul is calling believers to the continual, habitual, ongoing practice of JOY… At least 70 times in the New Testament, we are commanded to REJOICE!

Philippians 4:4 (NIV), Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Two thoughts about joy come right out of this passage:

• First of all, our commitment to joy needs to be continual… Joy isn’t something a believer turns “ON” and “OFF” like a light switch… “Rejoice in the Lord, always…”

• Second, we don’t always rejoice because of our circumstance, sometimes we rejoice IN SPITE of our circumstances…

Karl Barth, in his commentary on Philippians says that “joy in the book of Philippians is a defiant ‘Nevertheless!’”

Proverbs 15:15 (AMP), All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances].

4. Hold on to your heart. Practice gentleness.

Philippians 4:5 (NIV), Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

THOUGHTS: The word “gentleness” is an incredible word in the original Greek… One English word can’t quite convey the entire meaning… So scholars, commentaries and Bible translations have several “takes” on the word: “sweet reasonableness, generosity, goodwill, friendliness, charity towards the faults of others, mercy towards the failures of others, and GRACIOUSNESS…”

Paul wants GRACE and the quality of GRACIOUSNESS to saturate our lives, so that it becomes evident to everyone around us… He wants us to be a GRACE SATURATED PEOPLE…

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT), But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.

2 Corinthians 10:1 (NLT), Now I, Paul, appeal to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ…

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 (NIV), …but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. 8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.

5. Remember, you are not alone! God is with you and God hears you. Peace really is possible.

Philippians 4:5b-7 (NIV), The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT), Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

6. Guard your thought life. Your mind is huge when it comes to keeping your joy over the long haul.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV), Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

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