Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Work out, Shut up, Hold forth

This week I will be preaching from Phil 2:12-16. Here are some thoughts from my preparation. Here are the verses first:

Philippians 2:12-16 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (13) For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (14) Do all things without murmurings and disputings: (15) That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (16) Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.”

We can not remove these verses from the context in which they have been given. To do so we would lose WHY we need to follow verses 12-16. If we lose the WHY, in a short matter of time you will struggle to obey the verses, not realizing why you need to obey the verses. We see the why is the previous 41 verses. Let me summarize them quickly. We see in Chapter one Christ is our life and that in all that we do we are to magnify Christ. In chapter two, we see we are to do this with humbleness, allowing Christ’s mind to be our mind, understanding that one day ALL will bow before him and confess He is Lord of ALL to the glory of God the Father. In light of this we need to do three things. First, work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Secondly, do all things with out murmuring and complaining. Thirdly, we need to hold forth the word of life as walk in this world. As we briefly look at these three areas, remember, following these verses is not an option to the Christian, but a responsibility in light of the purpose of our life and what awaits us in our future.

First, we need to work out or our salvation. This verse does not say to work for our salvation as some would have you believe. You can not work for your salvation as Ephesians 2:8,9 and Titus 3:5 teach us. We are saved by grace through faith. If you are trusting in anything besides or in addition to Jesus Christ you are not saved and need to repent. However, if you are saved, you need to work out what God has worked in. The Lord has given much with our salvation. He has not just saved us from hell and that is all. No sir. He has given us power over the world with our salvation, I John 5:4. He has given us power over sin with our salvation, Romans 6:11-14. He has given us the key to joy with our salvation (I Peter 1:5-8). You have no excuse for living a defeated Christian life. NONE! God has given you everything you need to be successful and glorify Him with your life. You can not blame your pastor, your parents, your husband, or your wife, if you are not serving the Lord as you should. One day you will stand before God, I hope you have not run in vain!

Secondly, we need to serve him without murmuring and complaining. How dare we complain in our service to God as though it is unreasonable! (Romans 12:1,2) Our God has done everything for us and deserves everything we have. People have often told me how they appreciate the sacrifice my family and I are making as missionaries in PNG. I understand what they are saying and appreciate the kindness. However, to say this is a sacrifice is a stretch. No, this is my reasonable service for my Lord and God. How dare I ever complain about what the Lord has asked of me. Dear Christian, do not complain about the circumstances the Lord has you in. He is God and He is in control. Do not complain about the church the Lord has you in. Do not complain about the area of service you have. Maybe you only clean the church, rejoice and be thankful for the area of service God has given you. Then do it with all your might unto the Lord. According to verse 15 we cause great harm by our complaining. I never want a lost person to see me complaining about my Christian life. We need to understand we are to shine as lights in this world! We are to be blameless and harmless. Quit griping about standards you don’t like and love the Lord with all your heart. Trust in Him knowing he does know what is best.

Thirdly, we need to hold forth the word of life (verse 16). Many Christians are doing many things for the Lord, but it is all for nothing. Yes, that is right, all for nothing! It is not just that we work for the Lord and serve Him, but that we work and serve Him according to His Word. It is not just sincerity that pleases God. It is sincerity with truth. All that we do must be according to God’s Word. I don’t care how great or wonderful people think you are, if your work is not based on God’s Word and done His way, it is for nothing. I do not want to stand before Christ and have all my works burned up in the fire because it was nothing more than wood, hay, and stubble (I Cor 3:11-15). Examine yourself now, are you holding forth the word of life in your work for the Lord, or are you doing what is right in your own eyes?

So here we have our responsibility in light of the truths given. We are to work out our own salvation, do so without murmuring or complaining, and hold forth the word of life in our service to God.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Past Few Weeks

The past few weeks have been pretty eventful. Ministry wise, things are going well as one more person has made a profession faith. My wife wrote an email to her Mom, talking about what has been going on for that last few weeks and she said I could post it here. So here is her email to her mother:

Dear Mom,

I am glad you emailed because I have been meaning to sit down and update you on life in PNG for awhile. The last month has been hectic for us. Levi has had malaria twice, and everything we own is just breaking. Except for the new truck which is doing great. We just returned from a supply run to Kokopo, where I had a tooth pulled, and then it became infected. I also contracted some kind of virus at the same time. Beth got cellulitis again, and our air conditioner broke yesterday. Now THAT was the last straw and I just cried. But I have joy that all of the kids are well and healthy, and the Lord knows all about it, so I'll try to please Him and be content.

About a month ago, we had another missionary family here for a special Sunday. Levi played hard in the water and sun, and that night started a fever. By the next day he was having up and down fevers, the up being 105, and the down 103! No other symptoms because the shakes hadn't started yet. Then at bath time he became cold and started shaking and we knew it was malaria. I had already tried to give him the medicine, but it wasn't working and neither was tylenol for his fevers. So, I went to the haus sik, because they treat malaria all the time. They gave me Fansidar, which I didn't want to give him, because it is a strong sulfa drug. So I tried soemthing else, but it didn't work. So, I gave him the Fansidar and the pediatric cloroquine chewables. He threw them up. He was only keeping breast milk down at this point, thank the Lord he wasn't weaned! THEN I was finally able to give him the Fansidar and Artusenate, (a good chinese drug for malaria). That finally stayed down. He also had antibiotic shots and fever reducing suppositories. It finally worked and we were so glad when his fever went down to 101! So, we finished the treatment, only to have it came back two weeks later. Malaria isn't actually cured until you kill the parasite. It is just suppressed and lives in your liver, until you get weakened and it comes out again. (Basically) This time we used the same treatment and went longer and he is doing great today. I am still trying to find out if it is possible to give him the medicine to kill his malaria. It is a radical treatment, so I am not sure if I should. There is a hospital in London that is best in the world for tropical medicine. I looked them up on the internet and they reccommended the treatment that I gave him. So, I feel more confident that I gave him a good treatment. Today he is doing good and back to his old self and playing with his guns. We have a picture of him taken after his second treatment and you can see how worn out he looks. It just broke our hearts. So, there's the Levi story.

We went to Kokopo this week and got some good groceries we can't get here. I also got some new medicine for Levi so we are prepared if he relapses again. They have a good Philippino dentist there right now, so I went to have a tooth pulled. I had a temporary crown that broke and the whole top of my tooth was gone. Just the roots in there! So he pulled them out and did a good job, I thought. When he saw the roots he said wow, big tooth! They were HUGE roots. I was shocked. Well, then I had a humungous hole to heal, and it is just hurting really bad. The next day I went back and he cleaned it out again and I srarted antibiotics. It is getting better, but I can't sleep without pain killers. It's great having the tooth out, I don't miss it, but I wish this spot would heal faster. On top of that I got some kind of flu! So in the middle of this I had to shop for supplies and all that. Terry wanted to let me stay there and go back to the dentis, but I wanted to come home.

The day we got to Kokopo, beth started swelling up huge. Thankfully I already knew what it was. I boughtsome antibiotics right away, and she is all better today.

Well, I better get going, but Terry will be emailing with the thingie you needed.

Talk to you later...

The two pictures are of Levi and I on the boat heading to Kokopo for supplies. At the time of the picture he was well into his recovery. The second picture is the one my wife referred too in the email. He looked 10 times worse during the height of his Malaria.
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