AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH July 22, 2012
A Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith
SOARING IS NEVER BORING
Philippians 2:12 - 3:21
It is hoped. DV, to have an oral version available on the Home Page during the week.
I THE THREE SEGMENTS
Apostolic Need (2:12-24) and Sacrificial Service (2:25-30)
Epaphroditus and Strategy of Delayed Healing
Updraft of Faith (3:1-12) ... " if by any means ..."
Spiritual uplift and thrust
Stability in Humility (3:12-16)
It is as in Isaiah 33:6
"Wisdom and Knowledge will be the stability of your times,
The fear of the Lord is His treasure."
Intimacy with God does not produce presumption but friendly movement mixed with awe, towards cohesion and companionship.
Splendid Assurance of Culmination (3:17-21)
Illustration in the nautical journey of Hudson Taylor with Many Missionaries, to their chosen site in China, comes in the effect on the crew of living with these missionaries, and the eventual testimony that developed. Thus they seemed like aliens to the crew at first, but helping on the ship and continuing their meetings as was their custom, they found more and more attention to the messages till many of the crew became Christians. When storms assailed and almost broke the ship, it could seem counter-productive, but trial is never divorced from truth in this, that you test all things for all things sound, actually work, in the presence of God, the point being not ease but endurance, not suffering but testimony to truth, as in laboratory experiments, where not people but objects are often the topic.
When therefore the news became public of another ship from that sort of storm arriving with only 6 crew members left alive, whereas in Hudson's ship, NONE of crew or passengers were lost or even seriously injured (they being bent on the work to come), this gave testimony. It showed the wisdom which is not seduced by mere appearance, short-term results, but confirmed by divine action in a Christian prayer milieu. It CAN lead to crucifixions, it is true, but not in vain. Thus Peter was saved absolutely by absolute miracle from Herod (Acts 12), but God elected to let James die at his hand. The team of those who unremittingly love and seek to obey the Lord and His word, the Bible, has much to do; and the important thing in the interim, where the word of God is honoured, is to love one another, be fearless for the truth, and in loving Christ, to love His word, and in loving it, to follow it, ship it out, and abide in Him (John 14:21-23). Love may seem small, but in result, to bypass it is like not bothering to put oil in our engines. Results can be amazing! but purity of heart needs attention.
II THE FOUR FUNCTIONS in Ch. 3
The Take-Off Conversion (3:1-10)
Rehearsal on Rubbish
Revelation on Faith Life
power of the Resurrection
with the Fellowship of His Sufferings
Conformed to His death
Like Shoots going Downward that Sprouts should go Upward
Set on Goal in aspirational desire
Long Flight (3:12-16)
The Inspiration of the glory
The Continuing Thrust in the Suffusing Light of Understanding
The Crashing of Gliders (3:17-19)
Minus Spiritual Motors (Ephesians 3:16)
Lost in the ascent,
Merely finding the natural level
Theirs a popular club with its own traditions and culture
The Landing (3:20-21)
Faith set on consummation
with the intractable power of God
retracted, sublimely operative
III DIVERSE ELEMENTS IN ONE THEME
B and D are diverse elements of one theme,
like husband and wife, friend and friend,
vision and effort, activation and compilation, ideas and words, love and sacrifice,
thirst and water. In nature the one does not guarantee the presence of the other; yet in the domain of eternal life, gift of God, grace governs and vitality presses, while faith secures.
In quietness and humility the eternal life given by God may yet show itself in agility so soaring in uncontainable desire for the heights and depths of the knowledge of God (Philippians 3:8-15), that it might almost seem consumed in thrust. Yet underlying, at the same time, in assurance and expectation, that nurtured faith expects with all but unutterable assurance (I Peter 1:5-8), the culmination at the end, that transformation into conformity to His glorious body (I John 3:1-3, Romans 8:30), through Him whose power is able to subject everything to Himself (Philippians 3:21). In confirmation of this is that citizenship in the kingdom of heaven which even now is valid with divine authority.
Thus, the aspiration and zeal, and the embrace of faith, are but current counterparts. It is one whole, with every thrust like a lively agent of the gladdened heart, an avenue to the sight to come, by faith rendered as if present. Thus in heart, the assured rest from the quest sings even amid the soaring, and operates beyond, since past all, it is inscribed with the hand of God (Ephesians 1:5,11). So the soul is energised with a vast longing while joy moves with peace, and zest aligns with spiritual knowledge.
Thus, just as the attraction of eternity grips the heart and empowers the mind, surging with life into the spirit, so comes like a background to a scene, the knowledge of its assured participation personally as promised, in the triumph of Christ's swallowing up of death in victory. Indeed, the ravishing reality that this comes is surer than any law in the universe, this being direct from the power, word and action of God Himself (Romans 8:16). In His presence (Colossians 1:27), therefore, the yearning of steadfast seeking comes with the background of an embracing rest, that is incapable of being wrest away, since the omnipotent has spoken (John 10:9,27-28), and made the greatest grant of all time for this earth (John 3:16), speaking outright the eternal word of salvation to secure it (Micah 5:1-3), forge its function, secure its estate (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Thus is conferred on every believing Christian, who has received the words of God and the work of the word of God in Jesus Christ, without equivocation, addition or qualification,
that lively citizenship that is received from Him,
immortality which is no mere word in the air,
v We who are His are His sons and daughters, adopted by grace, for whom He has prepared an inheritance in grace, as duly prepared in place (John 14:1ff.,II Cor. 5:1ff., I Cor. 15, Ephesians 1:11,Daniel 12:13,John 11:25-26), one reserved, undefiled, unfading, that does not pass away (I Peter 1).