Waking the Sleeping Giant
A Call to Trust
Message # 8
– Last Sunday night we looked at A Call to Heavenly Thinking. We saw that it starts with being aware of these 4 important things: (1) following the example of godly people; (2) many in the church are actually enemies of the gospel; (3) Christians are citizens of heaven; (4) Christians wait for Jesus to return for them.
– It is interesting that in nature everything seems to rely on something else for its survival. The gigantic trees that we see send roots far below the earth draw water and minerals up from the ground; rivers have their sources in the snowcapped mountains; etc… The list goes on and on. I was once taught that in the Rain Forests there are small creatures in the tops of the trees that are crucial for the survival of all the other animals. Yep, must be an accident that resulted from billions and billions of years of natural selection, huh? Not quite, this happens because, “In the beginning God…”
– Paul encourages the Philippians about their gift, but he shares with them how he has leared to trust God in every circumstance he finds himself in. (H.I.)
– In this passage, there is a call to trust. We will see 3 motivators that lead to that trust.
1) The providence of God (10)
– Paul expresses his genuine thanks to the believers for their gift to him
* Phil 4:14,18
– The gift from the Philippian believers showed that they were genuinely concerned for Paul in the situation that he was in
– It is interesting to see that the believers had continually been concerned for Paul, but had been unable to get their gift to him, now God makes it possible for the gift to get to Paul exactly when he needed it
* 2 Cor 11:9
– “In this day of scientific achievement, we hear less and less about the providence of God. We sometimes get the idea that the world is a vast natural machine and that even God Himself cannot interrupt the wheels as they are turning. But the Word of God clearly teaches the providential workings of God in nature and in the lives of His people. Life is not a series of accidents; it is a series of appointments. ” – Warren Wiersbe
– Providence is when God works in advance to arrange situations and circumstances to fulfill His purposes
* God works in the hearts of His people to motivate them to do things for others that are desperately needed at the moment, this is God’s providence
– Jesus discussed this very issue of providence when explaining to His followers the new way of life that He was introducing, He explained it in Matt 6:26-29
* God being in control is a huge motivational factor in us trusting Him in all situations
2) The unfailing power of God (11-13)
– In this part of the passage Paul does something interesting, following his appreciative thanksgiving for the gift, Paul teaches the believers at Philippi that he is not dependent upon human beings; Paul could honestly say that he had learned the secret of being content in every situation that he would find himself in
* 1 Tim 6:6-8
– Paul uses two words that had significant meaning in religious and philosophical circles in those days
* Content – means ‘self-sufficient’. It was regarded by the Stoics as high virtue to be detached from outward circumstances and to have resources in oneself to meet every situation. Paul uses the word in the sense of his being independent of circumstances, but his all-sufficient resources were, he said, through him who gives me strength, the living Lord Jesus.
* I have learned the secret – was used in the mystery cults for initiation into a secret. Paul’s secret of living was an open secret, available for all who would walk the way of Christ. It was the secret of contentment, since to know Christ and to be called to serve him was ‘unsearchable riches’ (Eph. 3:8). How far we know the secret of contentment and to what degree we are proving the sufficiency of Christ for all the demands of our lives are always challenging questions for us as Christians.
– Paul says that he has learned to be content: (12-13)
* humble and prosperous
* being filled and going hungry
* having abundance and suffering need
– It is often and well stated that often we as Christians have learned the secret of humble means, where it is that we fail is when we are prosperous – it is easy to be content with God, clinging to Him when things are going badly – you are probably thinking, the pastor must have said the backwards – no, I believe that the Bible and experience has proved that we are so quick to relinquish our trust in Christ when things are going smoothly; Paul says I have learned to keep that balance – to not get complacent in either circumstance
– Union with the living exalted Christ is the secret of being content (v 12) and the source of Paul’s abiding strength (see 2 Cor 12:9-10; Eph 3:16-17; Col 1:11)
– Jesus talked about this very secret of contentment in Matt 6:31-34
* This idea of trusting God is a rather dangerous one when you think about it, it is the surrendering of one’s own control over life – it is a radical dependence upon God and God alone – this does not make sense to the mind of an unsaved person
* This is what Paul meant when he set forth the principle of Christians “walking by faith, and not by sight.”
– God encourages His people to trust Him in every circumstance they find themselves in (T.I.) – Heb 13:5-6
3) The unchanging promise of God (14)
– Paul clarifies just for the sake of the Philippians that he is indeed grateful for their gift, but not just for his own person physical benefit – he is grateful for their evidence of love and spiritual maturity
* this gift is a means of involving them in Paul’s troubles – see Heb 10:33
– As Christians we must learn to trust God in every circumstance we find ourselves in. In this Call to Trust we see 3 Motivators to do so: (1) the providence of God; (2) the unfailing power of God; (3) the unchanging promise of God.
– If you are a Christian this is a call to change. It necessitates surrender to God and trust in Him.
– If you are not certain about whether you really know God, then this is a call to make sure that you do know Him.
* Are you at a point in your life where you are certain that you have eternal life, or is that something that you are still working on?
* If you were to die tonight and you were standing before God, and He asked you, “Why should I allow you into My heaven?” What would you say?
> Romans 3:23
> Romans 6:23
> John 3:3
> John 14:6
> Romans 10:9-11
> 2 Corinthians 5:15
> Revelation 3:20
1) Are you a sinner?
2) Do you want forgiveness for your sins?
3) Do you believe Jesus died on the cross for you and rose again?
4) Are you willing to surrender your life to Christ?
5) Are you ready to invite Jesus into your life?