Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Ministry into the Future 10/16/2011

God has used many men and women through the years to bring about His revelation to the world, which culminated in the incarnation of Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ. Kings and prophets longed to see that day, but were not permitted due to their limited lifespan, and consequently they entered into their rest with the confidence that they would see Him in His fullness in the resurrection of the dead to life. They were chosen by God to bring His message of grace and truth to the world, and when their work was done, another took their place. As so it continues today, but in a different dispensation, for Jesus has come to earth, carried the sins of the world away through the death on the cross, has arose and ascended to heaven and sent His Spirit. Therefore, through the preaching of the Word, we broadcast the Good News that He has come and call upon people to believe in Him for their souls salvation. When it is all said and done, we can only say that we have done our duty and that we are unprofitable servants, who work for the glory of God in Christ Jesus.

The Great Commission that was given by Jesus Christ to the church requires that the message of the cross and resurrection be carried in its truth from generation to generation. In our meditation today we wish to look at as to how the transition from Moses, the Servant of God, to Joshua, the son of Nun occurred and of the preparation that was done in order for this to happen. Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament, while Joshua has an entire book named after him, the sixth book of the Old Testament. Moses is mentioned by name in the 11th chapter of Hebrews which records examples of faith. Joshua's conquest of Jericho is mentioned, but his name is not recorded in association with it.

Let us borrow from the Hebrew writer these verses as an introduction to this meditation.

Hebrews 11:23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.
24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. {of Christ: or, for Christ}
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

That is a brief, and I say, brief summation of the lives of Moses and Joshua, They walked by faith, trusting in God to lead them into the places that He wanted them to go, to say the things that He wanted them to say and to do the things that He wanted them to do. They were not perfect by any means, but they loved God and their lives were a reflection of the heart of God. They did not work in competition to one another, but rather they worked together as a team, with Joshua being content to be Moses' minister and helper. Scripture does not record an early call of Joshua to be Moses' successor, but nevertheless, Joshua appeared to be content to learn from Moses as well as to assist him.

There would be volumes of words to write concerning the life of Moses, which would cause us to marvel at the heart of forgiveness of Moses toward his people, cringe with him at the treatment that was given him, cry with him at the rebuke of the Lord at the Rock, but that is not the intent of this meditation today. Rather, we wish to observe as to how Joshua worked alongside Moses for many years before being elevated by God to the place of the leader and to note the calling by Lord of Joshua through Moses which was later followed by the Lord speaking directly to Joshua in the first chapter of the book of Joshua.

When Moses was 80 years old, he was commissioned to lead the Israelite nation out of bondage, which he did by taking them across the divided Red Sea, and they followed the cloud by day and the fire by night as they continued their exodus to the Promised Land of Canaan. It was shortly after that that we first see the name of Joshua mentioned. He had been born into the harsh conditions of slavery, had seen the brutal treatment by the Egyptians of his relatives, had eaten of the slain lamb, had waited inside of his parent's home the night the the blood was placed on the door posts and had began the journey with the rest of the huge crowd toward freedom. At the approximate age of 45 and as they journeyed they came upon the warring Amalekites and there Moses said unto Joshua:

Exodux 17:9 Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. {Joshua: called Jesus}
10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
12 But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

Continuing on noting the places that Joshua was with Moses, we see that:

He was with Moses on Mt. Sinai

Exodus 24:12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.
15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.
16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

Joshua came down with Moses from Mount Sinai to see the idol worship of the people.

Exodus 32:11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? {the LORD: Heb. the face of the LORD}
12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
15 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
16 And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.
17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.
18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.
19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
21 And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?
22 And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief.
23 For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
24 And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.
25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) {their enemies: Heb. those that rose up against them}
26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD'S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.
28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.

Joshua stays in the tabernacle

Exodus 33:7 And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.
8 And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle.
9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.
10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.
11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

Joshua asks Moses about those who are prophesying

Numbers 11:21 And Moses said, The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen; and thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month.
22 Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them?
23 And the LORD said unto Moses, Is the LORD'S hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.
24 And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.
25 And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
26 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.
27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.
28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD'S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!
30 And Moses gat him into the camp, he and the elders of Israel.

Joshua (along with Caleb believed God)

KJV Numbers 14:1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.
2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
3 And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:
7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.
8 If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.
9 Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.

Joshua has faith and trust in the Lord.

Numbers 11:30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. {sware: Heb. lifted up my hand}
31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
32 But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.
33 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. {wander: or, feed}
34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. {breach...: or, changing of my purpose}
35 I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.
36 And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land,
37 Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.
38 But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still.
39 And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.
40 And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.
41 And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper.
42 Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.
43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.
44 But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp.
45 Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.

The Lord instructs Moses to appoint Joshua as his successor

KJV Deuteronomy 31:1 And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel.
2 And he said unto them, I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also the LORD hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan.
3 The LORD thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the LORD hath said.
4 And the LORD shall do unto them as he did to Sihon and to Og, kings of the Amorites, and unto the land of them, whom he destroyed.
5 And the LORD shall give them up before your face, that ye may do unto them according unto all the commandments which I have commanded you.
6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.
8 And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

The Lord's Instructions to Joshua

KJV Joshua 1:1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,
2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. {unto this...: or, thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land, etc}
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. {prosper: or, do wisely}
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. {have...: or, do wisely}
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Joshua encourages the people he serves.

10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,
11 Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.
12 And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying,
13 Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.
14 Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them; {armed: Heb. marshalled by five}
15 Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD'S servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising.
16 And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.
17 According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.
18 Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.

When the work of Moses was done, the baton was handed over to Joshua by the LORD. It was not the cause of Moses that was being brought forth, but it was the cause of the LORD. Joshua was content to learn under Moses, being shaped by the many things that he saw Moses do (and not do) and by the many things he heard Moses say (and not say). Joshua was extended trust by Moses early on in the battle against the Amalekites, he observed the power of collective prayer as Aaron and Hur held up Moses' praying hands when they became heavy, Joshua saw the face of Moses after he had been with the LORD, Joshua saw the idolatry of this relatives that began as he and Moses were on the Mount, Joshua witnessed God's wrath against this idolatry, Joshua witnessed as to how Moses fell on his face to the LORD on behalf of his people when the LORD said He was going to destroy them all, Joshua stayed behind in the tent of worship while Moses went out among the people, Joshua saw the bountiful and sharing heart of Moses in being willing to share with others the visible prophesies and so on.

Joshua believed the LORD concerning the promises of the occupying of Canaan, and rejected the negative reports of the other ten spies who went to look, saying that the LORD is with us, there is nothing to fear.

Joshua did not appoint himself as Moses successor, but the LORD did and Moses followed the LORD's instruction. Joshua built upon that which Moses had done, learning from his teacher many many things. Moses led them to the Promised Land, but Joshua took them into it and through the power of God subdued that which was already theirs according to the promise of the LORD.

May we all consider the lessons that have been presented here in the history of the LORD's people, especially concerning leadership. There is need for those in leadership to recognize the importance of recognizing and mentoring those who eventually would be capable of being leaders of the church into the future. There is need for all to be learning the ways of the Lord from their youth so that they would not be workmen that would be ashamed, not able to discern right from wrong. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Matthew 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. {fainted...: or, were tired and lay down}
37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

I close with a personal illustration which happened with me in conjunction with the call that I was given into the ministry. As we were closing down our business and looking to sell off equipment, During the time we were closing down our business, I received a call from a salesman who wondered if I needed to buy any equipment, He was quite shocked when I asked him if he wanted to buy some of our equipment as we were selling out and I was leaving the business for the ministry. He asked, "why would you do that?" I responded, "Well, it is like this. There are many good men who are able to harvest timber from these hillsides in the west, but there are few that are available to say what the Lord wants said to people." He paused, then said, "That makes sense, wished me well and said goodbye."

May the Lord help us to see the importance of providing for the ministry of the future through prayer, through teaching and mentoring, and through providing opportunities to exercise gifts.

It is His church, He will raise up and send forth his laborers into the harvest. May we find ourselves in prayer in this matter.

In Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 16 Oct 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Humility of Christ 9/25/2011
Note: I will be on vacation until October 14, so the next blog will be Oct 16, 2011

Today we consider one of the letters of Apostle Paul which he wrote from prison to the saints/believers of the Philippi congregation. Before we read our text, (2:1-16) we will do an overview of the first chapter of his letter.

KJV Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, {remembrance: or, mention}
4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: {perform: or, finish}
7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. {I have...: or, ye have me in your heart} {of my...: or, with me of grace}
8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

. After reminding them of God's grace and peace toward them, which is theirs as the result of the finished work of Jesus Christ, he revealed his caring heart for them by telling them that he remembered them in his prayers, and in joy he did so. It was not an obligation or a work, but it was the outflow of a heart that had been grasped by God's grace. He goes on to share of how thankful he was that they were living in the fellowship in the Gospel and extended great encouragement to them by reminding them that the same God who began the work in them will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. He continued, "It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel." He continues to pour out his heart of love toward them, his appreciation for them in the Gospel, and of how they were united in this same Gospel. His heart yearned greatly for them in the mercies of Jesus Christ. He continues on..

9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; {judgment: or, sense}
10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; {approve: or, try} {are...: or, differ}
11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Being united in the person and work of Jesus Christ in the bonds of love, mercy and compassion, Paul now looks to the increasing of their joy in the fellowship of Christ and His Gospel, offering a prayer on their behalf. It is not a prayer that deals with their circumstances in life, but rather it is a prayer that speaks more to the experience and witness of Christ's Presence in them: First he prays that their love would abound more and more in knowledge and in discernment; that they would be able to discern and live in those things that were consistent with the ways and purposes of God, and that they would continually live in the reality of who they were in Jesus Christ. In this way they would live to the praise and honor of God in Jesus Christ.

12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; {in Christ: or, for Christ} {the palace: or, Caesar's court} {in all other...: or, to all others}
14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.
18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

He now shares with them as to how he is viewing his present circumstances, being in prison. He does not try to make them feel sorry for him, but rather he tells them that his circumstances are working towards the benefit of the Gospel and its spreading. He was more concerned about other people than his ownself, and he was more concerned about people hearing and believing the Gospel than any inconvenience in his life. He was not concerned about trying to figure out what the motives of other workers of Christ were, but he was entirely focused on the task of getting the word out of the grace of God as revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. His life was not his own and this portion of Scripture leaves us with no doubt as to the life and purpose of Apostle Paul. The next portion further amplifies this reality.

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

He shares with them that to really live is to live in Christ, and therefore, death has no meaning, for he has already died. He has been crucified to the world and the world to him. The world has no power over him and he has no attraction for the world. (Galatians 6:14) But yet he recognizes his purpose in God's plan and does not look upon things in a selfish manner, but looks as to who he can bless others with his life here on earth. Yes, he was stuck between two feelings, one to continue to work in the labor of love for the sake of others, and to depart to be with Christ. He seemed to have the sense that he was not done here yet, even going to the point to see that his life in Christ was yet to be used to bless the Philippian church. He did not minimize the gift that God had given him to use to bless others, but rather he recognized that his coming to them would bring them greater joy in their union with Jesus Christ and with one another. Oh, Lord we praise you for your grace to us today!!

27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

After pouring out his heart of love and care toward them, he now gives them some direction in life, by encouraging them to live lives that are consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We know that the essence of the Gospel is the forgiveness of sins and that in the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians it is stated clearly that this cause of forgiveness is due to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is telling that that whether he is with them or not, that they would continue to be united in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, which is best reflected through the words of John: "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another". (1 John 4:9-11)

He then applies his life and example to them by telling not to have fear of their adversaries, for the opposition that they have toward them is evidence of their unrecognition and unbelief of the grace of God that has been extended toward them in Christ. Rather than discourage them, it should give them assurance and encouragement that they are God's in Christ Jesus. Finally, he offers to them that suffering for the sake of the Gospel is a reality, but in light of his attitude towards suffering, they should look upon suffering as a doorway to blessing not only for themselves, but for the sake of the Gospel.

For the most part, the Apostle has been giving them very little application to their lives. Now he begins to come closer home to them. To this point, they have heard him speaking concerning the unity that they have in Christ, of his affirmation of their life in Christ, his prayer for their deepening knowledge of their union in Christ, his recognition that suffering is part of the proclamation of the Gospel and lastly that they would live lives consistent with the Gospel. He now says, that if/since you are in Christ and have experienced his grace....Here is the text.

KJV Philippians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, (seat of emotions, affections and compassions)
2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

He tells It is not possible to show humble-mindedness except it be in our power to do otherwise. the experience of the saving grace of Jesus Christ is evidenced within by the indwelling of the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit. Christ had the full benefit of the glory and honor of God, but He did not stay there, holding onto to that, but lowered himself to our level in order to serve us for salvation purposes. What I believe Paul is getting at here for the Philippians, is that the true life in Christ is lived out in the humbling of ourselves for the sake of others so that they would come to experience the saving grace of Christ. Christ is God and for God to lower himself to reach us is amazing! Paul does not want us to lose the fact that Christ is God and God is the one who humbled himself for us. Many have taught and to teach today that Christ is not God and therefore Christ is only a servant or a prophet of God who did his bidding. But no, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not accouting their trespasses unto them. If Christ is not God, then God did not humble himself. May the Lord increase our knowledge of his grace and love for us which was demonstrated by his humbling of himself for us.

Let us not lose sight that Paul is illustrating humility here and that Christ chose to humble himself unto death. Herein is the profound mystery of God that should cause all to fall before our Father's throne in praise, worship and adoration: He chose to humble himself to save us. Paul writes in another place:

Romans 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person- though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Phil 2: 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Again, what can we say of the glorious name of Jesus Christ, who was obedient to the Father for our sakes, not his own, He pleased the Father in all things. How do we respond to that kind of love toward us?

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work (cultivate) out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (respect of God, of His Word, awareness of our selfishness, sin, arrogance)
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning,
15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
16 holding fast to1 the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

In conclusion, we can go back to the beginning of this letter. "Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:' This work in us is God's work, for He gave us the gift of repentance, has gifted us with faith and He desires that the life of Christ would be cultivated in us so that we would be lights in a dark world. Paul has a sense of ownership in his fellow believes and he appeals to them that the Gospel that he preached to them would not have been done in vain.

Lord, thank you for your Word of grace in this beautiful letter of love and joy. May it have an effect on us as we continue to grace in the grace and knowledge of your Son, Jesus Christ. Lord, we bow before you in thankfulness, in praise, in humility and in renewed service in your kingdom! In Jesus Name, Amen.

Together we are in Him in all circumstances of life,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 25 Sep 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Ministry into the Future 10/16/2011
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Carol Fischer and her family as they grieve the loss of Bob