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Greetings and Blessings - 25

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
October 9, 2022 7:00 pm

Greetings and Blessings - 25

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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October 9, 2022 7:00 pm

God's grace and Christian fellowship are indispensable to healthy Christianity. Pastor Greg Barkman concludes his exposition of the book of Philippians.


Berlin coming to the closing of Paul's epistle to the Philippians.

We have come to his greetings and his final benediction call this greetings and blessings. We began our preaching series through the book of Philippians on February 6 of this year and we come now to our 25th sermon on these four chapters from this epistle. Your member the Paul was under house arrest in Rome when he wrote this church is epistle rather to the church at Philippi, which was the first church established in Europe, Paul's second missionary journey, having been beckoned by the vision which he saw the night to come over to Macedonia and help us. And the first city where pollen is missionary team preach the gospel was the city of Philippi were often earlier with the story of the Philippian jailer was saved in the middle of the night. When that earthquake struck it already. The work had begun in the hearts of the ladies who gathered by the river. Lydia and others who were worshiping God prior to Paul's arrival and saw it wasn't long until a number of people had embraced Christ as Savior and the church was established in Philippi and it became one of the strongest churches of that first century world. But why is Paul writing to them at this particular time, the answer is because he has just received a generous gift from them is appropriate therefore that he write and thank them for it.

And that's what he does, saving, however, that extended treatment of thanks to the last chapter, but nevertheless that appears to be his primary reason for writing to this particular church at this particular time.

This gift which they had sent to him was only the last in a long string of gifts which they had regularly sent to Paul in his work as a missionary and as an apostle starting while he was still a Macedonia when he was ministering in Thessalonica about 100 miles from Philippi. Continuing as he moved down to southern Greece to Corinth and out of the Kea and they continue supporting him in his labors when they could when they could find him when they knew where he was, as he was moving around from place to place before Paul thanks them for their generous gift. He encourages them to persevere in the face of trials and persecutions and offers himself and his persevering faith is an example to them in this regard. Paul reminds them of the importance of unity in the church among the people of God first talking about that in general terms, and then when he gets a chapter for even being very specific as he singles out to ladies who work not getting along with mature trees and help these two ladies you audience of the key to come together in unity and to be of one mind in the Lord and in that teaching on the importance of unity. Paul almost incidentally brings to us. Probably the greatest chapter on the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the greatest section on the incarnation of Jesus Christ to be found anywhere in Scripture Philippians 25 through 11. What is telling them is to have a mind of humility. A mind of unity. A mind of love a mind of self-sacrifice and that will bring the unity that is needed in the church and so he says let this mind be in you, one which we see in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation. It took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross and undergo us also in the course of this epistle. Paul warns them about false teachers that seems to be a theme in nearly every epistle to Paul writes I'm still amazed at that. It seems like false teacher showed up within months of every location where Paul established churches. It's just incredible. But that's the truth. And if it happened so quickly in that day. Just think how many false teachers there are in our day. Watch out the en garde be deserting what you listen to on the radio, television, yes, and even in your church. Be on guard because false teachers are subtle and they are about. But then, after the extended note of thanks in the last part of chapter 4 Paul comes to the closing of his epistle where he says greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, but especially those who are Caesar's household the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all on men.

Greetings versus 2122 blessings. Verse 23 of these closing greetings that we find in Philippians are found in many of Paul's epistles but not all of them. It's interesting sometimes to do that to go through this 13 epistles and note which epistles contain closing greetings, in which do not.

I did that this week in preparation for this message today, but these greetings are found in many of Paul's epistles and is also this distinction is somewhere greetings are found there are specific names mentioned sometimes, rather numerous lay is in. For example, the 16th chapter of Paul's epistle to the Romans is almost entirely a list of people. This person or that person greet this one greet that one and then this person by name, greet you with this person by name, greet you. Throughout the chapter, you'll find that in some of his epistles and others like this one. You will find greetings, but no specific names mentioned was not because Paul doesn't mention names because he does another epistles in this very section of greetings, it's not because Paul doesn't mention names is already singled out that in you audience in told them to become unified in the Lord Jesus Christ and is mentioned other names in this epistle, but when it comes to the greetings. It's just general. There are no specific names mentioned and you say well what makes the difference why one in one epistle of the other.

In another, and the answer is nobody, but God knows, maybe Paul, of course, is in heaven. And maybe this incident has been God has disclosed that to them but nobody knows any answer you give to that question is speculation, but it's interesting to notice that distinction in this case general greetings, but from four different sources.

Let's look at them one by one greetings.

First of all, from Paul himself. The first part of verse 21 greet every saint in Christ Jesus greet every saint in Christ Jesus. This is Paul's greetings to the church at Philippi, he wants them to be greeted he wants them to hear his greeting. He wants them to know that he is greeting them warmly and lovingly and doing so as he tells us here in Christ Jesus. So by doing this in this way, what Paul is recognizing is the importance of the ties of Christian fellowship among God's people, not only in the local church ball is at this time involved in the local church at Rome but now writing to the church at Philippi, but he wants them to recognize ties of fellowship across the mile from this church to that church from these Christians to those Christians from Christians who don't personally know most of, if any of the Christians in Philippi, though Paul knows many of them having established that church but he wants every one of them to be greeted by the apostle Paul. He wants there to be recognized. The special bond that exists between all true believers greet every saint in Christ Jesus. A reminder that true saints only exist in Christ Jesus. This greeting applies to those who are truly born again, but there is a special bond of fellowship times of fellowship and the need to be recognized and Paul is doing that here selects the significance of Paul's reading notice please the inclusivity of the Paul's greeting greet every saint, every believer, all shades of diversity who were the saints, these members of the Philippian church will some of them were wealthy businesspeople like Lydia the seller of purple was hard. God opened she attended to the things that were spoken of by Paul. Some of them were rough and tumble Roman soldiers like the Philippian jailer who almost took his own life in the middle of the night was spared by Paul and he and most of his household. All of his household, who were old enough to hear the gospel and believe received Christ and were baptized and became part of the church. Some of them were slaves like that demon possessed slave girl. The Paul finally cast the demon out, and so enraged the people Philippi that landed him in jail. The owners of the slave girl lost the source of their income when she could no longer tell fortunes. But undoubtedly, she became a Christian became part of the church so I want you recognized as the great diversity economically. The great diversity of the different classes in the church all the way from wealthy business owners and probably at all likelihood slave owners all the way down to slaves like this slave girl and everything in between.

But they're all equal members in Christ. Paul doesn't give deference to those of high estate and Passover without much recognition those of low position, Paul treats them all equally greet every saint, regardless of their race. Regardless of the color of their skin, regardless of their bank account, regardless of their position in society. If there in Christ Jesus greet every saint. Everyone who has been included in the body of Christ by the work of God's grace. The inclusivity of Paul's greeting, but we also note the individuality of Paul's greeting of this is very very unusual greet every saint singular that I should have checked this out to be sure, this is certainly a rare instance of the Lord saying in the Bible and the singular. It may be the only one that's what I should've checked out and didn't because I have sent in the past that every time the Lord saying to spell the Bible. It's always in the plural, not the singular, but this case is a very notable exception. Some would say well it's all the same difference.

Every means plural needs a lot of, but there is a distinction here called and say greet all the saints, plural. He said greet every individual particular saint, singular, and thus Paul points out that every Christian is a valuable member of Christ body. These are the greetings from Paul.

But secondly we see greetings from Paul's coworkers. Also in verse 21 when he says the brethren who are with me greet you. The brethren who are with me, who are the well there's only one that we actually know for sure and that's because he's named in the opening of this epistle were Paul says in the very first verse, Paul and Timothy, bond servants of Jesus Christ to all the saints in Christ Jesus, who are at Philippi.

Sony says the brethren who are with me, we don't one of them is its Timothy. So he certainly involved but clearly he's not the only one there are others. The brethren not the brother who was with me, but the brethren who are with me and they are other ministry partners, whoever they may be. We don't really know. We know the Paul had a number ministry partners. We know the Paul's ministry partners were commonly coming and going, coming and going. They were signed to go somewhere and do something in particular.

Then to come back and reported Paul would dispatch others, and so we don't even know who all was with him at this particular time.

It could have been Luke could have been Titus, it likely were others whose names we do not know but they're all part of the ministry team that had surrounded Paul in Rome and was skipping Paul in Rome so that even though he was under house arrest at him himself could not travel beyond that house. He had willing and capable helpers who were carrying out the work of the Lord in his direction and he said all of these brethren are greeting you as well.

There included in Paul's greetings and why are they included, let me again the some of them asked to be included. Again, it's only speculation, but if they were surrounding Paul and they were in the house and out of the house were Paul was trained to a soldier.

Paul was writing this epistle. They married very well.

A bit aware Paul is on writing to the church at Philippi, so Timothy settled please give them my greetings and we do that sort of thing, don't we are going someone I'm going so went someplace to do a visit so and so, please tell them hello for me. Don't we all do that that would be very likely that some of these brethren had done that maybe all of them had.

It's also undoubtable that some of them were personally known to the church at Philippi. Timothy certainly was. We know he had been there.

He administered their with the apostle Paul and so Timothy knew the saints in Philippi, the saints and Philippi knew Timothy so it would be only logical that he would be included in this greeting, but others were included as well.

We don't know who they were. We don't know what the relationship was, but they are included together because it's important to strengthen these ties of fellowship between believers who else Paul thirdly greets them from all the remaining Christians in Rome besides his ministry partners. Verse 22 all the saints greet you is that other language which again makes the distinction between the way Paul put it in inverse 21 and the way put in verse 22 very very notable where he said every saint in verse 21 he says all the saints in verse 22 Paul is very precise in what he says and what he says it all the saints greet you. Who are they well there. All the members of the church of Rome. Why are they included list should be obvious that not all of them asked to be included on triple didn't have that kind of personal conversation with every member of the church of Rome, particularly since he couldn't get out of the house and attend their meetings so we cannot assume that any of them, let alone most of them are all of them requested to be included like we can assume that with the ministry partners. In fact, it's more likely than not that most if not all of them didn't even know that they had good included Paul Ryan said he extends greetings from them, and they probably had no idea what Paul had done, but Paul knew he must've known them well enough to know this. Paul knew that they would want to be included if they were given the opportunity and so he takes the liberty to do it. He's not doing something that he knows they wouldn't be happy about it just does something that he doesn't have any mechanism to two to bring about it a personal way, but he includes them again because Paul is interested in cultivating wide fellowship within the body of Christ. All members of the church in Rome, most of whom you do not know all the members of the church in Rome. Greet those at Philippi, most of whom they do not know, but this is an important relationship is an important time it must not be overlooked.

It must not be over it, but must not be neglected.

It must be cultivated, it's important in the body of Christ, and finally, this is quite unusual. It's unique really. Paul extends greetings from the Christians in Caesars household verse 22 again all the saints, greet you, but especially those who are of Caesars household who were they well they are those who are in the service of the Emperor who happened to be Negro. Now some of them may have been members of Caesars family. Maybe whether they were or not we do not know but it's clear that these are domestic servants, many of whom would've been slaves and others who served in the palace whose many of whom probably would've been civil servants carrying out the work of government. They were all considered to be part of Caesars household Caesars operation. Those who were involved in that location.

That relationship in serving Caesar in one way or another. Paul is telling us that there were apparently numerous Christians in this company. Numerous of Caesars domestic servants have become Christians. Numerous of Caesars governmental civil servants have become Christians.

And Paul says all the saints of Rome greet you, but I especially want you to be greeted from the members of Caesars household wire. They singled out wire. They included, let's not totally unlikely that a few of them may have been known to members of the church in Philippi Philippi was a Roman colony and undoubtedly some of the members of the Philippian church were civil servants of Rome is very possible that they had business relationships with some of the civil servants that were in Caesars household so that may have known them again speculation but a pretty decent probability, but beyond that possibility. Why did Paul include those who were members of Caesars household were undoubtedly to encourage the saints at Philippi and beyond that, to encourage all of God's people to be reminded that those Caesar is hostile to Christ. Look at the way he treated Christians.

Those Caesar is an enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those Caesar is no friend of grace to help us under God just the opposite.

He is an obstacle and an opponent to the people of God, though that may be true Caesar, maybe even unbeknown to him is surrounded by Christian's Caesars earthly kingdom. They the hostile to the interests of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But another kingdom is arising in his palace and is very palace not only in his Imperial city of Rome, but it is very palace the kingdom of Christ is existing, it's trying to its growing.

It is obtaining influence on known to Caesar probably on scene. It's the silent work of the Holy Spirit of God, who is calling sinners of all kinds, and classes unto himself and is building the kingdom of Christ, a different kingdom. The kingdom that is not of this world and yet here it is.

It is begun in this world.

It is made up of people who are who are citizens of this world and who are influencing this world in this unusual way and please don't lose sight of the fact that the same thing can happen today.

The same thing is happening today, we see the hostility growing hostility of many of the mechanisms of this world becoming ever increasingly hostile to Jesus Christ.

But that is very obvious and clearly seen, and sometimes that's all we see it we need to buy the audio faith see what else is going on God's saving his people. Some in the halls of government Summit in the White House Summit in the House of Representatives and the Senate, some in the judiciary, some throughout the civil apparatus which is ever growing extent banding and drawing and expanding and will that's bad maybe but that's good because more and more of God's people are participating in this. Don't forget that, don't lose sight of that.

Don't fail to see the hope of God and what God is doing in this Unusual Way in Caesars household. In Paul's day, and in all the halls of government in our day in the United States of America will easily greetings what about the blessing. The closing benediction verse 23 the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all on them. Paul followed the customary epistolary format he he wrote his letters of the same standard format that the people of his day used was taught it was anticipated just like we are taught in school how to write a business letter.

What to put where what is inside address go etc. etc. etc. will Paul followed the customs of his day, and in many cases follow them exactly but in other cases he altered them significantly.

This is one of those cases, the customary Greek closing word is be strong.

That's the way they generally close their letters be strong human emphasis usually strong you muster up your courage or strength. You stand against whatever is opposing you. You be strong. Paul says the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Be with your spirit. Why, because this is God centered. Why, because this emphasizes man's weakness but his strength because of the grace of God the grace encouraged people to think that they could be strong within themselves.

Paul is pointing out even by this closing benediction that we are weak apart from the grace of God, but in the grace of God we can be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. So, closing benediction, similar to all of Paul's benedictions all 13 of his epistles have a similar benediction and in every one of them. The most prominent word is what grace some of the other wording varies they're not all identical but not alike. This was a little bit different. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. But many translations many many texts many manuscripts read me with your spirit, which is a little bit different, but grace is common to every one of them.

In fact, everyone appalls 13 epistles begins with grace and concludes with grace, always in the beginning, always in the conclusion Philippians 13, grace to you and priest from God our father, the Lord Jesus Christ. Conclusion the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all on the it is at the beginning of the epistle.

It is at the end of the epistle is at the beginning of our Christian life and it sustains us all the way through to the end of our Christian life is at the beginning of whatever God is doing in this world and it concludes whatever God is doing in this world and what is grace, and you all know what it is. Grace is unmerited favor, but of course the most important grace is not the unmerited favor that comes from some other person. But it is the unmerited favor the comes from God. The grace of God. That's what makes this gray so significant. It's wonderful to receive some unmerited benefit from another human being. That's kind that's welcome that's like were the were grateful for that. But that's limited in what it can do. But if the Almighty create tour of heaven and earth, who has all power and who rules this world unerringly by his power chooses to pour out his grace, his unmerited favor upon you.

Can you put any price tag on that.

You can you conceive of anything that would be more valuable more important than that I can't grace but here it's not the grace of God, as was the beginning of the epistle, but the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, but of course this is divine grace and so it's another testimony to who Christ is, he's God. God bestows grace. Jesus Christ bestows grace because Jesus Christ is God the God bestows a Christ bestows it of Christ bestows a God bestows it, so Jesus Christ is the fountain from which the grace of God flow gushes forth in copious supply.

Jesus is the fountain of grace and Jesus is the reason for grace because God honors his son by giving to him a redeemed people and if you're saved, you are the undeserving object of God's grace because he has chosen. In this way to honor his son. That's why you are saved. That's why you received saving grace. That's why you are a child of God. Salvation is not first and foremost about you. Salvation is first and foremost about Christ honoring him because God has chosen in this way to honor his son to give him a great host of redeemed people and if, by the grace of God you been included in that number. What benefit, what blessing what gift beyond all other gifts could possibly be bestowed upon you the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you will the objects of grace, of the people of God. As I say in most manuscripts.

It is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. The inner man.

Why because that's the seed of sin and rebellion. Your spirit, your heart that therefore is the focus of God's saving grace. Therefore, God changes the inner man. God changes hearts.

God changes the spiritual part of us and makes us objects of his sustaining grace once again we are reminded of the unity of God's people the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all on them. Now I conclude with several lesson's the ground. This passage first of all, the importance of Christian Fellowship is certainly emphasized here Christian Fellowship locally in the place where we live in the church where we gather to worship. It is important that we cultivate fellowship their highest relationships with the people of God but also beyond that, there are many others in this world who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, most of whom will never have the opportunity of getting to know personally like we do those in our own local fellowship but we acknowledge that this is true, we acknowledge that God has saved them to.

We acknowledge that God has made them part of the body. We acknowledge that they are brothers and sisters in Christ, we do what we can recognize and to extend ties of fellowship to them and to cultivate those time we acknowledge the reality that exists is God creates his people all over the world and we endeavor to cultivate the bond that God has created among all his children. We are one body week.

One of the open doctrine, one in charity number two I see some lessons regarding the key to Christian influence in society afraid I irritated some of you a few weeks ago I touched on the subject so I gotta be really great to touch on it again but I'm going to say the key to Christian influence in society is not political directly. There will be a political influence. If there is a godly spiritual influence, but that's not the key to Christian influence in society. It is not directly through political influence that we change society. Though we do not and I insist upon this and I told you this down through the years. We dare not neglect that area of Christian stewardship. If God has given us a society where we can vote we can freely speak where we can exercise freedom of speech to to the state are continuing to try to influence others. We not only can we ought to use that for the glory of God. We ought to use that to proclaim truth. But let's never think that that's the best way to change our society because it's not what we need is for the grace of God to change hearts and that will influence politics directly. Now, as I say that I do want to remind you that we've got an important election coming up. Early voting is already started. In some places. I will vote. I am collecting information to cast an informed vote. I have some things I have cut out of newspapers and have them on my desk right now so that I can become better informed when I go to the polls to vote and I encourage you to do the same every Christian ought to vote every Christian ought to exercise our American citizenship for truth and for righteousness and for the kingdom of God. But that's not the way we most powerfully influence our society. It's not political but spiritual, not political change because we watched it over the years we get up this change nothing changes, nothing substantial absolute minor things, but nothing substantial so we can change again thing much changes substantially. We may like it better but it's still not still a downward slide.

We keep maybe not quite as fast, but still downward slide. That's not the way we transform our society how do we transform our society by God's grace changing hearts and Christians individually influencing the people around them wherever they are great saints who are of Caesar's household when the grace of God sings people in Caesar's household.

Then some real influences brought to bear upon the seat of government.

In other words, it is gospel power. The most powerfully transform society.

It is Christ's invisible kingdom. The most powerfully transform society. What you say, that depends upon God's sovereign work. I can't control that right and we human beings, even who believe the doctrines of grace, but sometimes become very Arminian when it comes to the political realm we would like to think somehow that we have the power to change things and control society. We need to recognize we are in this like everything else totally dependent upon the grace of God we fall on our faces before God and say, oh Lord, if you don't do it will be done. Lord, if you will save souls than there is no hope.

Lord, if you don't change hearts than all the work that we do is going to accomplish really nothing lasting. But, oh Lord, if you do if you do if you do. Now we know you can.

But if you do know what changes will be wrought and that's where our greatest endeavors ought to be upon the gospel' link gospel believing churches say that seem so slow that seem so small that seems so ineffectual. That's because you're looking at it through carnal eyes, instead of looking at it through spiritualized and believing what the Bible tells you don't lose confidence in the gospel but don't act like you have lost confidence in the gospel by putting your greater confidence someplace else that brings me lesson number three the necessity of God's grace.

Surely all of us recognize our need of it. God's grace can meet every human need. What is your need, what's your name today. Everyone of us could say well and have different things. My greatest need right now is for one of my children who is in great need in this way or that way I greatest rate need right now is for my marriage that is in trouble. My greatest rate need right now is for a job that will that will support me in my household like but II need that right now my greatest rate need right now is for my health, my greatest need on and on and on we go. He could go on it exhaustively. All the multitudes of needs that we have as human beings.

And I'm here to tell you, God's grace is able to meet every need you believe the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you that may fourthly talk about reality of Christian diversity which is suggested in this text of touched on up and let me nail it down God chooses the members of Christ's body right. We believe that I don't wait. We believe in sovereign grace.

We believe everyone who is a Christian is thereby God's choice right God chooses the members of Christ's body, all classes are included is a is a body of great diversity is therefore our privilege and responsibility to acknowledge and embrace what God has done.

Someone has said, you can choose your friends but you can choose your relatives will your relatives in the family of God. You can choose him. Some of them are ordinary uncles and obstinate step brothers and sisters, but God chose them and put them in the body, and you are related to them. You can choose them with their your family and you need to relate to them the way God tells you to, all classes are included. There's tremendous diversity, and we must therefore acknowledge and embrace what God has done. Realizing this, that endeavoring to make inclusive diversity without saving grace is a travesty.

So we go by a church that says all are welcome, as it has its gay pride flag waving out front.

What's the problem they're trying to include everybody of all diversity completely apart from the grace of God.

God's grace not only chooses and saves people of all kinds of backgrounds but the grace that saves strangers that he doesn't leave them where they are leaving practicing or send in for the people of God to say, thinking practicing your sin, you are welcome you are included. No no no no no. It's the grace of God in Christ Jesus. It's impossible to create the diversity artificially by human endeavors, but we must recognize the diversity that God has created and cooperate with it.

Furthermore, it is impossible with a mixed multitude to create any meaningful unity within a local body. This touches upon another problem.

How many churches have umpteen members on the role who are not born-again or not regenerate. They're not saved and the whole structure of the church seems to be organized in such a way as to encourage that just get people to come in, get him to join will assume that there Christians without any real evidence of it without any credible testimony of faith, without any evidence of change. Life without any any evidence of the really understand the grace of God because God's grace is worked within them. That's a problem. No wonder we have problems re-creating the unity that the Bible speaks of when we are ignoring so many important factor it's impossible with a mixed multitude to have the kind of unity that the Bible speaks of, but inclusive diversity without saving grace is a travesty but resisting. Listen to me, resisting God created diversity is sinful provincialism for something within us in our Adamic nature. The prefers to be with people just like us.

We feel more comfortable with people of the same race the same color the same interest the same economic background. So what we have we have churches that cater to this class of churches indicated that classic someone said that the American church on Sunday morning is the most segregated place in all of America and that's true and why is that, well, it's a long-standing problem that will be changed overnight.

But one thing is for sure got a resist are Adamic tendency to look for the place and the situation where we feel comfortable and start acknowledging what God tells us in his word and what God has done and start reaching out to embrace those whom God has chosen and whom God has placed within the body and making act, treating them like they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, we have a special warm. Glad welcome link relationship with every true born-again believer in the body of Christ, regardless of their background or their similarity to us culturally or not they probably stepped on the toes pronounceable stop shall we pray thank you father for this wonderful little epistle of Paul to the Philippians and all that it contains the Lord give us eyes to see what is there. Give us hearts to receive what you teach us give us desires to obey what your word directs us to do that we may bring honor and glory to Christ in whose name we pray on them

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