Disciples of Jesus desire to have a faith that moves us toward Christ inwardly, outwardly, and calls others to faith as we go. So feel stuck, without motive and inclination to grow in faith. In this text we will notice the pathway to a progressive faith.
1. Progressive Faith is Confident in Eternity.
(Philippians 1:21-23 For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. 23 I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ—which is far better.)
Dying is Gain – a perspective we seldom have. We should note that this is not a consideration of suicide. Paul is not contemplating taking his own life. Paul’s statement is confidence in what the death of a saint means – he has the kind of faith that prepares one for death.
The death of His faithful ones is valuable in the Lord’s sight. ~Psalm 116:15
What is there about death that can be considered gain? Many answers may come to mind. Matt Crocker and Reuben Morgan wrote the beautiful Hillsong worship song You Hold Me Now. (See a video with lyrics on YouTube HERE – after the sermon!)
On that day when I see All that You have for me
When I see You face to face, There surrounded by Your grace
All my fear is swept away, In the light of your embrace
When Your love is all I need, And forever I am free…
No weeping, no hurt or pain, No suffering You hold me now
You hold me now; No darkness no sick or lame, No hiding You hold me now,
You hold me now
In this life I will stand, Through my joy and my pain
Knowing there’s a greater day, There’s a hope that never fails
When Your name is lifted high, And forever praises rise
For the glory of Your Name, I’m believing for the day
When the wars and violence cease, All creation lives in peace
Let the songs of heaven rise to you alone
“A little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul.” ~Dwight L. Moody
2. Progressive Faith is Focused on Now
(Philippians 1:24-26 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25 Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that, because of me, your confidence may grow in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.)
Paul is very conscious of his ministry in the here and now. Living is Christ. Can you think of some ways that our life of faith here is an expression of the life of Christ here and now? The focus of faith is not centered on ourselves but on Christ. Christ came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), even though he suffered injustice. Christ came to serve, not be served. What are some ways you are currently focused on helping others on the journey of faith?
3. Progressive Faith Stands Strong
(Philippians 1:27-29 Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel, 28 not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your deliverance—and this is from God.)
Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. The strength is not in us, but in Jesus – but it requires some strong life choices. These are choices you can make!
Stand Strong for Christ. Stand firm United (27). One spirit. One mind. Working side by side for the faith. There is a corporate nature to faith … We are simply stronger together.
Stand firm in spite of opponents (28). How is God using our united efforts to defeat the enemy? For Paul this was a standing firm against the tyranny of his government – even in the face of imprisonment. For us it may be various pressures against our being diligent in our work together for Christ. It may mean that we suffer in some way.
“Frequently remind yourself that God is with you, that He will never fail you, that you can count upon him. Say these words, “God is with me, helping me.” ~Norman Vincent Peale
Stand firm in spite of suffering (29 For it has been given to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him.) What barriers are present in your own life that keep you from working for Christ? What barriers have kept you from working with your brothers and sisters for Christ? How easily do we abandon our work for Christ when it becomes difficult?
“Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.” ~Henry Ward Beecher
From Prison Paul encouraged the Philippians to be strong in faith so that when he heard about them their reputation he would hear that they were a people who were working together in faith for the good news of the gospel of Christ.
Philippians 1:30 having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I have.
If you struggle in your faith, you are not alone. Take the steps toward progressing in your faith.
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