Made Alive

Ephesians 2:1-6

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.  But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Jesus Christ’s work on the cross has made us alive.  Now we no longer walk in the culture and thinking of the world.  Now, unlike before, we walk in obedience to God’s Word.

  • Obedience is required:  

Psalm 66:18 – If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.

 But obedience according to whose standards:  Not by man-made rules and regulations.

  • Obedience to God’s standards.  

James 1:22 – “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” 

James 4:17 – “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

  • How do we know God’s standards?

Through His Word.

Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

John 8:31-32 – So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

2 Timothy 3:15-16 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Through fellowship with other believers.

Hebrews 10:25 – not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Colossians 3:16 – Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Ephesians 4:11-13 – So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Through seeking God in prayer for guidance in your personal life.

James 1:5 — If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.

Proverbs 3:6 – In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Christ in Us

Philippians 2:1-11

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

A STRONG CHURCH

  • The Philippians’ Church was a strong church.  When a church is strong, it always has a vision.   It is always working out some strategy to carry forth the Gospel.  A strong church launches ministry after ministry.  A strong church is not complacent.  A strong church is vibrant with things going on that will give glory to God and touch the lives of believers and nonbelievers alike.  A strong church has people in its midst that are always busy doing and going and helping, and inviting, and listening and caring.  A strong church is an active church. 
  • In a strong church there is great need for unity.  With many different ideas and things going on there will always be people with divergent ideas and pet projects.  Unity must be the goal of all involved.  That unity only comes by Christ dwelling in us richly.  There are seven traits in these first four verses of Philippians 2 that will hold the church together and keep it unified.
  • Consolation
  • Love
  • Fellowship in the Spirit
  • Compassion
  • Concern for one another’s joy
  • Humility or lowliness of mind
  • Controlling self-interest or concentration upon oneself

TRAITS TO UNITY

  • Consolation – In this passage the word means encouragement, comfort, solace, exhortation, and strengthening believers to be one in spirit and busy about the ministry of His church.  Christ wants no murmuring, no grumbling, disturbance, or weakening of the unity within the church.  The Spirit of Christ in us is to take the disturbed or upset person and console, comfort, encourage and strengthen them.  Not only are we to help the individual that needs consoling or comforting, but we are to allow that same comfort, strength, and encouragement of Christ to flow through us when we are in need of comfort, encouragement or strength.  Just imagine the spirit of unity that would prevail in a church if all the members would let the consolation of Christ course through them.  There would be no murmuring, grumbling, disturbance – no disunity whatsoever.

John 14:18 – “I will not leave you comfortless:  I will come to you.” 

1 Thessalonians – “Therefore comfort each other, and edify one another, just as you are also doing.”

“Isaiah 40:1 – Comfort you, comfort you my people, says your God.” 

  • Love – There is a comfort of love that is in Christ.  The love of Christ stirs a person to keep the unity with other believers.  The word used here for love (agape) is the kind of love that is selfless and sacrificial.   It is the kind of love that loves a person even if he does not deserve to be loved, when he is utterly unworthy of being loved.  It is the love of Christ, the love which He showed when He gave and sacrificed Himself for us.  We did not deserve it and were utterly unworthy of such love, yet Christ loved us despite all.  Imagine the spirit of unity that would exist within a church if every member would let the love of Christ flow though them.  There would be no bitterness, anger, or strife – no action that would hurt another.  Even if the person was as wrong as could be and deserved the most drastic punishment that could be given, the church’s members would sacrifice and give themselves for that person.  This is the answer to unity, the Lord’s spirit of love!  How desperately the church needs its members to let the love of Christ flow through them to each other.

John 13: 34-35 – “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” 

Romans 12:9 – “Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”

1 Thessalonians 3:12 – “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.” 

  • Fellowship in the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit works mightily in the person who has trusted Jesus Christ as his Lord.  He enters the heart and life of the believer to comfort, guide, teach, equip, and use him as a witness for Christ.  The Holy Spirit creates a spiritual union between the new believer and other believers.  He melts and molds the heart of the new believer to other believers.  He attaches all their lives together, and they become one in life and purpose.  They have a joint life sharing their blessings and needs and gifts together – all focused upon their Lord and His purpose.   The church and the believers are to have the same mind.  There are to be no discordant elements whatsoever.  There are to be no differences, no gossip, rumors, or cliques, nothing that would tamper with or disturb the fellowship of the Spirit in the church. 
  • Compassion – Compassion is a must.  Compassion is the same trait that caused Jesus to reach out to us.  The compassion of Christ flowing through us will cause us to reach out to those who have been hurt, to those who are different, to those who withdrew, to those who have been disturbed, to those who have been critical.  Compassion will stir us to reach out to others. 

Romans 15:1 – “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” 

Galatians 6:2 – “Bear one anther’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” 

  • Joy – The believers in a church are to be consumed with joy and to be concerned for each other’s joy.  Joy brings unity to a church quicker than any other trait.  Joy is always disturbed if there is criticism, dissatisfaction, grumbling, murmuring, cliques, opposition, and a host of other divisive negatives.  We are to worship, plan, organize, program, build, staff, finance, minister, and serve in the joy of Christ. The only way we can do that is to be like-minded, to have the same love, to be of one accord, to be of one mind. 

John 15:11 – “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” 

  • Humility (Lowliness of Mind) – A strong and active church will always have two problems to deal with – rivalry and empty glory.  Some people just seem to want to struggle with others. They simply are not mature in the Lord; therefore they give in to gossip about differences, jealousy, envy, desire for position, desire for recognition, opposition, loving flattery, forming cliques.  If they do not get their way or what they want, they fight against the church or other members.  The result is disunity and divisiveness, one of the most terrible crimes within the church.

James 3:14 – “But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.” 

Proverbs 20:3 – “It is an honor for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.” 

2 Timothy 2:14 – “Of these things put them (the church) in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.” 

2 Timothy 2:24 – “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.” 

  • Some are going to seek glory within the church. The Scriptures call it vainglory, which means empty glory.  Some just want attention, recognition, position, flattery, praise, and honor.  They want people seeking their advice, counsel, and opinion. 

Matthew 23:12 -”And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” 

John 5:44 – “How can you believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?” 

  • The church must control self interest.  The members must quit looking out for their own ambition, desire for acknowledgment, for honor.  They must quit worrying about rather or not they are ignored, overlooked, or neglected.  Believers are to concentrate upon Christ and his ministry to people and reaching the world with the glorious gospel of salvation.  They are not to be focused on self.  Every believer is needed to reach the lost and lonely, the shut-ins and helpless, the hungry, the cold, the sinful, the doomed of his community, city, country, and world.

Matthew 19:21 – “Jesus said unto him, If you would be perfect, go and sell what you have and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come follow me. “

Matthew 25:43 – “I was a stranger, and you took me not in; naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not.”

Characteristics of a Dynamic, Alive Church

Philippians 1:1-11

Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.  And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Dynamic – (Energetic, Powerful, Active, Influential)

A DYNAMIC CHURCH DISCIPLES YOUNG PEOPLE

  • Paul and Timothy – Father and son in the faith
  • Servants together

2 Timothy 2:2 – “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

Matthew 28:19-20 – “Go therefore and make disciples . . . teaching them….”

A DYNAMIC CHURCH SERVICES CHRIST

Word “servant” was doulos in Greek and literally meant “bond-slave.”

  • Slave is owned by his master.
  • Slave exists for his master.
  • Slave was at his master’s disposal 24 hours a day.
  • Slave must obey totally without question.
  • Slave for Christ is the highest title of honor.
  • Moses was the slave of God (Dt. 34:5; Ps. 105:26)
  • Joshua was the slave of God (Josh. 24:9)
  • David was the slave of God (2 Sam. 3:18; Ps. 78:70)
  • Paul was the slave of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:1; Phil 1:1; Titus 1:1)
  • James was the slave of God (James 1:1)
  • Jude was the slave of God (Jude 1)
  • The prophets were the slaves of God (Amos 3:7; Jer. 7:25)

John 12:26- “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.”

Romans 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

Colossians 3:23-24 – “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

Hebrews 12:28 – “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

Psalm 2:11 – “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”

Psalm 100:2 – “Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing.”

A DYNAMIC CHURCH IS FULL OF TRUE SAINTS

The word saint means to be set apart.  It refers toevery believer who has trusted in Jesus Christ for his salvation. 

  • Initial or positional sanctification – When a person believes in Christ, he is immediately set apart for God. 

Hebrews 10:9-10 – “then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’  He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

  • Progressive sanctification – As a person walks with the Lord he allows the Spirit of God to make him more and more like the image of Christ. 

2 Corinthians 3:18 – “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

  • Eternal sanctification – On the day when we stand in heaven we will achieve perfection and our sanctification will be complete.

1 John 3:2 – “Beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 

A DYNAMIC CHURCH HAS LEADERS WHO LEAD BY EXAMPLE

  • Bishops – Ministers – Pastors – Elders – These are men/women who are to oversee, look after and be responsible for the spiritual well-being of the church.
  • Deacons – These are men/women who are to take care of the administrative matters of the church so that the bishop/pastor/elder can concentrate on the spiritual care of the church.

Mark 10:43-44 – “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.”

Luke 12:48 – “But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

 John 13:14 – “But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

John 21:16 – “He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me’  He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’  He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’”

Galatians 6:10 – “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

A DYNAMIC CHURCH IS A PRAYING CHURCH

  • Prayers of thankfulness
  • Prayers for other believers
  • Prayers of joy
  • Prayers for more love and knowledge
  • Prayers for pure lives
  • Prayers for the fullness of God’s righteousness

A DYNAMIC CHURCH IS A CHURCH OF FELLOWSHIP

Fellowship means sharing in common, partnership.

Acts 2:24 – “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship….”

A DYNAMIC CHURCH IS A CHURCH OF LOVE

  • Love in knowledge – We need to grow in our knowledge of Christ; we need to grow in our knowledge of one another.
  • Love in judgment – We need to grow in our discernment of what is right and wrong so that we may not offend or cause others to stumble. 

A DYNAMIC CHURCH IS A CHURCH FILLED WITH THE RIGHEOUSNESS OF GOD

  • By the power of Jesus Christ
  • To the glory and praise of God.

Grow in Grace and Knowledge

2 Peter 3:10-18

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.  You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

  • How should we grow in grace and knowledge?  The Word of God is the best place to go to find direction in all areas of our life. 
  • Growing in my prayers

Philippians 4:6-7 — Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

  • Growing in my involvement

Galatians 6:10 – Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

  • Growing in my dependence

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  • Growing in my fellowship

Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

  • Growing in my commitment

1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

  • Growing in my maturity

Ephesians 4:11-16 – And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

  • How do we then grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord?  Grow in your prayers, involvement, dependence, fellowship, commitment and maturity.