Feed on
Posts

Do Your Best

These weekly podcasts will be audio clips from sermons.

Philippians Podcasts #18

(Warren E. Berkley)

Phil. 4:18-23

 

Posted Sept 9

 

Phil. 4:18-23

I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you.  All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

 

It is noteworthy, in these final verses of Paul’s letter to Philippi, that the apostle was not a tedious accountant about his reception of generosity.

Some people are. We had that couple over for dinner, but they have never paid us back!

 

Or, I loaned him $100 when he was in need, but now he can’t loan me $50!

 

This is that tedious accounting mentality that keeps records about deeds both done and received, with expectation that everything must perfectly balance.

Contrary to this accounting mentality, the Lord said, “…do good and lend, expecting nothing in return,” (Lk. 6:25).

It is apparent, Paul was not burdened by the accounting mentality, and that he embraced the spirit of what Jesus taught.

“I have received full payment, and more.” Paul favored the people of Philippi by delivering the gospel of Christ to them (see Acts 16). Those who became Christians gave generously to Paul, in support of his evangelistic work (see verse 15). In this fellowship, Paul didn’t put a price on anything and he didn’t harbor an expectation of some perceived (carnal) perfect balance. Rather, he was satisfied and grateful. “I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.”

In Paul’s heart, this was all good. Why? Because their fellowship was “pleasing to God.” Instead of expecting a perfect balance in their exchange with each other, if it was pleasing to God, Paul was happy.

Paul hoped and prayed for them that God would “supply every need” they had. This supplication was based on the riches in glory God provides in Jesus Christ. And this leads to Paul praise, “to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Paul’s good will continued: “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus.” Brethren with Paul joined him in this: “The brothers who are with me greet you.” Other were included: “All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”

Paul didn’t know how to press upon people the accounting mentality. Paul knew how to write a great “thank you” note!

Paul knew how to preach and write the truth of God. But his heart was not dry and academic or robotic. His deep, sincere emotional nature shines through in these final words to his Christian friends in Philippi. May we learn to nourish this spirit.

 

This is my final podcast in the Philippians series. I’m going to take a break to devote some time to other projects. But I plan to return with another series of podcasts in October.

 

Thank you for listening.

Grace and Peace

Phil. 4:14-17

Philippians Podcasts #17

(Warren E. Berkley)

Phil. 4:14-17

 

Posted Sept.4

 

Phil. 4:14-17

14 Yet it was kind of you to sharemy trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.

Recipients of kindness should express their gratitude. If you don’t want to be perceived in the image of a beggar or mooch – when someone is generous to you, express your sincere gratitude. Make certain they know how much you appreciate the gift.

The local church in Philippi had been long-term supporters of Paul, to the full extent of their ability. He couldn’t say enough about their kindness.

The support of the church at Philippi to Paul, had been singular!

 

“No church” entered into partnership with him except Philippi. Clearly, this was not a case where churches funneled money through the church at Philippi (common today: the sponsoring church arrangement). Paul was overjoyed to receive from the generosity and selfless dedication of the Christians in Philippi.

Even when Paul was in Thessalonica (and not having a pleasant experience), the Christians in Philippi came to his aid, “once and again.”

And, for the sake of clarity, Paul stresses: “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.”

Paul’s interest in and his commendation of their generosity was not simply that he wanted support. No. It was his interests in the blessings they received from their giving. Generosity helps the giver as much or more than the recipient.

Application: Churches today with the ability should carefully consider faithful men who preach the gospel and their needs. Faithful men who receive such support ought to be thankful to God, there are people making sacrifices for their need.

 

Thank you for listening.

Grace and Peace

Phil. 4:10-13

Philippians Podcasts #16

(Warren E. Berkley)

Phil. 10-13

Posted Sept. 2

Phil. 4:10-13

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

When you are the needy recipient of help and concern from good people, it causes joy. Even if tangible help isn’t within their means, the fact they want to help and will help you when they can – is a cause of joy. Paul rejoiced in the Lord, knowing of the love and concern of the Philippian Christians. Even when they were unable to help, Paul knew their heart longed to send help, and that they would when they had opportunity.

And, this was not a case where Paul merely wanted his needs met. Because, he had learned – in whatever situation – to be content just serving the Lord and relying on the Lord for his daily

need (perhaps not knowing for certain how those needs would be met, but believing God would care for him).

In Paul’s life and service to the Lord, he had learned this rare contentment, often not knowing how need would be met. He had learned by the experience of faith, how to live in the low places. Yet, was able to maintain good humility in the high places. That character is described here as “the secret of facing plenty and hunger.”

Someone might ask, “what course can I take to learn this secret?” Or, “what book can I read … what video or seminar can I see or visit?”

Paul learned this contentment through his life and service to the Lord. And he describes it like this: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

This didn’t mean Paul was a Superhero with powers, or that he could fly or become visible or invisible at will. Active faith in Christ does not afford us the ability to do any impossible thing we can conceive! Dismiss that popular concept.

It means, the believer can do all that Christ expects him to do, with the full measure of strength required for the tasks.

Phil. 4:9 is not some magical incantation that enables the positive mental attitude believer to achieve the impossible, work miracles and do sensational but useless things.

It is a simple description of how Paul learned contentment; how he was able to live down low in the dungeon and yet remain humble in higher places.

It applies to believers today, but must not be taken as a blank check or a ticket admitting us to the impossible.

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

Thank you for listening.

Grace and Peace

 

Philippians Podcasts #15

(Warren E. Berkley)

Phil. 4:9

 

Posted Aug.28

 

Phil. 4:9

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

Who wrote this? The apostle Paul wrote this to the church at Philippi. I cannot write such a statement. I’m not an apostle. I can report what the apostles said and follow it myself and urge hearers and readers to do so. But I cannot write something with the same authority as apostles of Christ. Jesus gave to the apostles the Holy Spirit, to guide them in what they said and wrote (see the gospel of John, chapters 14-16 and Acts 2:1-4; Acts 26:15-18; Rom. 1:1). The apostle Paul was authorized to say: What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things and the God of peace will be with you.”

What promise is extended? “… and the God of peace will be with

 

you.” Isn’t that what we all want? We want a relationship with God. We are able to have that fellowship with God through Jesus Christ. This is what we want in this life and as we face the next. We want the God of peace to be with us.

What does this passage say is necessary to have the God of peace with us? That we follow the teachings given through the apostles! God gave a pattern through these men. The pattern for individual, domestic and collective action wasn’t revealed simply for our learning and admiration. But for our practice. “…practice these things.”

So, if you want the God of peace to be with you, get busy. Open your New Testament. Read about Jesus Christ, learn who He is and respond to Him (the activity of faith). Then, after being baptized into Christ, do what the apostles said. Be a part of a church that follows apostolic teaching. Do this diligently and with sincerity of heart, why? So that the God of peace will be with you.

Yes, it is that simple.

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

Thank you for listening.

Grace and Peace

Philippians Podcasts #14

(Warren E. Berkley)

Phil. 4:8

Posted Aug. 26

 Phil. 4:8

 

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.

 

Your mind has certain permanent components. What you read, see, hear or think is processed by these united components, if you are maturely and objectively processing input.

In the above text, Paul identifies the permanent components of the Christian’s mind. They are …

Whatever is true. My inner character and outward behavior will never be right and pleasing to God, until I make the truth of God my priority. I must absorb the truth and be determined to think it, say it and obey it.

Whatever is honorable is that which is high, lofty and reflecting what God considers honorable. The mind of Christ is seen in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as noble in thought.

Whatever is just. That which fulfills duty (as directed by God) is just. We are children of a just God, thus our thinking, speaking and behavior ought to be just.

Whatever is pure. This means, not contaminated. With the pure Word of God living within us, we are able to entertain pure thoughts, yielding pure speech and behavior.

Whatever is lovely. This is what tends away from hate, toward love and mercy and goodness. Take everything the Bible says about love, put that in your mind and the results can be of the highest value.

Whatever is commendable. If we are not exceedingly careful, we can develop a taste for bad news; an attraction for the lurid, the sensational (but often exaggerated), the gossip of our time. The Internet and Social Media thrive on that which isn’t commendable. If your mind is fixed on what is commendable, you avoid grieving the Lord and creating trouble for yourself and others.

“If there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Here’s a good rule to follow. When thoughts, reports, desires and ideas are submitted to you for mental processing – if it cannot be placed well in one of these categories, reject it and plan to avoid it in the future.

Your mind has certain permanent components. What you read, see, hear or think is processed by these united components, if you are maturely and objectively processing input.

Measure the content of your mind by the standard of Philippians 4:8.

 

Thank you for listening.

Grace and Peace

 

Philippians Podcasts #13

(Warren E. Berkley)

Phil. 4:1-7

 

Posted Aug.21

 

 Phil. 4:1-7

 

Therefore, my brothers,whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.  Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Here is a good relationship between a gospel preacher and a supporting local church. It is not a cold, business relationship involving money sent,

 

acknowledgements sent back and the routine continues with expected gratitude.

Paul loves these people. They became his “joy and crown.” It was a warm relationship based on mutual love for the Lord.

For this healthy relationship to continue, it would be necessary for the Christians in Philippi to “stand firm” in the Lord.

That doesn’t mean, “just stay where you are spiritually.” It isn’t about “not doing better.” In the New Testament, “standing” is never passive (see for example, Eph. 6:14). Standing firm in the Lord always means continuing the obedience that you chose when you were baptized. And it always means, doing better, growing in spirit and practice, and letting self-examination lead naturally to self-correction. It is a dynamic every Christian ought to be living in right now: “Stand firm” in the Lord!

Two members of the church in Philippi were not standing firm. They were apparently standing against each other. “I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.” This implies an issue of disagreement that could be resolved “in the Lord.” When two people humble themselves under the authority of the Lord, issues of disagreement either disappear altogether. Or, they are subservient to their common faith and do not disrupt anyone (Romans 14).

Paul had a “true companion” in Philippi, and that person or persons is being asked to “help these women.” The women in dispute had “labored side by side with” Paul “in the gospel together with Clement and the rest.” These faithful helpers had their names written “in the book of life.”

That becomes the motivation to help these two women reconcile.

Sometimes a problem is beyond the capacity or will of two people to solve. Other Christians must apply their grace and skill to bring resolution. Why is this important? Because there is a book of life. We want to rejoice that our names are written in that book.

“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” This doesn’t mean, wear a badge that tells everybody you are reasonable. (That wouldn’t be reasonable!).

This means, your demeanor and speech, your countenance and responses to people and events should demonstrate clear thinking, godly discipline and soundness of mind. And this is important because? “The Lord is at hand.” I don’t think that means he will be here soon. It means – in a real sense – He is always here; with us … watching … helping … listening to us pray.

The Lord is at hand.

The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. (Psa. 34:18, NKJV).

 

You are near, O LORD, And all Your commandments are truth. (Psa. 119:151, NKJV).

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. (Psa. 145:18, NKJV).

 

So, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

Result? “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Phil. 3:12-21

Philippians Podcasts #12

(Warren E. Berkley)

Phil. 3:12-21

 

Posted Aug.19

 

 Phil. 3:12-21

 

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. 17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

 

With experience, growth and an increase in knowledge, it is possible for the devil to convince you – that you are a completed work; that no additional progress or increase is necessary.

If you accept that lie, not only will your future spiritual growth stall, you will go backward. Your discipleship will be less effective and influential. Your influence will degenerate. Your zeal will dial back. And, your relationship with God will become increasingly distant.

The apostle Paul carried a wealth of knowledge and experience – yet he said, “Not that I have already obtained.” One translation has it: “I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect,” (Contemporary English Version). If this was so of Paul, it is certainly the case with me and with you. We are not there yet! So long as we live, we must press on to make our lives closer to God through Jesus Christ. Once you give up growth, you stop growing and begin to decay in your devotion to the Lord.

“Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” This is not (a) forget what you have learned, or (b) forget who you are, or (c) forget your earliest commitment to the Lord. Rather, forget what hinders, what corrupts your attitude, what keeps you from moving, what lures you back into sin. Dismiss all that so you can press on and keep growing and obtaining.

This is the way mature people think and live. And, should anyone think otherwise, God – through the means He has chosen – will correct such subdued indifference.

“Only, let us hold true to what we have attained.” You cannot hold true to where you are if you stand still, or let diminished motivation enslave you and stop you.

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” The example, the model of good people can keep us pressing on, growing and obtaining more and more in spiritual benefit.

Thank you for listening.

Grace and Peace

 

- Older Posts »

Play this podcast on Podbean App