Wow, what an amazing time this morning at our Men’s Breakfast and Bible Study! (We meet Fridays in the Fellowship Hall 6:45-7:45 am.) We have been in Philippians 3 for a while now, and are camping out on Philippians 3:10: “… that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;…” (NASB)
We read Colossians 1 and were amazed at how many great parallels and full descriptions of Philippians 3:10 were expounded in Colossians chapter 1. The focus this morning was on how we access the power that Paul is talking about in Philippians 3:10. The focus for sure is on remaining in the word of Christ, keeping our eyes fixed on Him and partnering with the power of the Holy Spirit who is constantly working within us. Here are a few of the comments from the guys that I didn’t want to forget!
Keeping our eyes fixed on Christ is paramount. We tend to start looking away from Him and fixating on our weakness, our problems or the issues surrounding us hoping that somehow our attention there will solve the problems. In order to deal with the issues on the outside, we must be strengthened on the inside through a resolute focus on Christ. It’s like a farmer plowing a field – the rows are crooked unless the farmer keeps his focus on the fencepost across the field. It’s tempting to look at the row next to you to see how you are doing, but unless you keep your eyes on the spot downfield, the rows become crooked. To the contrary, when our eyes are kept downfield on the same spot, the rows are much straighter. This is a lot like our walk with Christ – as we keep our eyes fixed on Him through constant attention to and abiding in His word, the Spirit straightens us out and makes us effective.
We have all heard of and experienced ourselves how easy it is to get off track. When did we go astray? It most likely was not a sudden fall but a subtle diverting of attention from Christ at one point that built and grew over time, and suddenly the enemy was able to exploit the fault that had grown over time. Constant attention to the word of Christ, attentiveness to the leading of the Spirit and the close fellowship of the believers around us will protect us and enable us to utilize the power in the Spirit that is available to us through Christ.
The last two verses of Colossians 1: “… 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” (ESV) In this chapter, the power of God by the Spirit in Christ teaches us to walk worthy of our calling displaying the fruit and power of the Spirit in both our character and our work. We appropriate the life of God into our lives through partnering with His work in us by the Spirit. I can because He did. Because of His work, my work can be effective. We get to work out what God is working in us.
We experienced a number of confirmations in that discussion – God elaborating on and confirming many other situations that had gone on this week – it was amazing to see how the Spirit of God moves when His people come together with the intent to find Jesus in His word and live it out.
Philippians 2:12-13 ESV
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.