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December 13, 2015 – Philippians: Always Be Full of Joy

Preached by Rod Benner (00:38)

Rod concludes his series in Philippians

The Bible instructs us to do things that are not easy to do.  Paul encouraged, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice!”  As easy as it sounds, we all know joyful living is hard.  Christmas is supposed to be the season of joy and merriment, but how many are caught in stress, anxiety and depression produced by an attempt to be happy and make others happy.  Yet, God wants us to rejoice always and in every circumstance.  How would your life be different if you rejoiced always at home, at work, and while you’re in your community?  Frustrating events will always occur, but God says rejoice even then.  You will still feel frustrated and annoyed but Joy must be in charge of those feelings.  Joy can only be in charge of your emotions when Jesus is in charge of your life.  An unending joy is only possible by the power of Jesus given to his friends through the Holy Spirit. Jesus must be your King and Lord in order for you to be always full of joy.  This is not self help.  You can produce many happy moments with self help programs, but a program and positive thinking will not enable joy in every circumstance. Self help reveals the power you have, while joy is revealed by the power Jesus has.  Follow Jesus to learn joy.  Start at the cross, make Jesus your leader and you will steadily get to a joyful life.  It’s not a matter of working harder with Him, it’s a matter of submitting your work to Him.

Scripture references: Philippians 4:4; James 1:2-4; Romans 5:2,14:17

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November 22, 2015 – Philippians: Beware of the Pack

Preached by Rod Benner (00:46)

Rod continues his study of Philippians.  As a fellowship grows in unity and community impact, the danger of self destruction increases.  It can begin by false doctrine and anti-gospel teaching subtly coming into the church body.  It can begin by hurt feelings or differing opinions. Starting as a quiet comment but then it balloons into a perceived crisis.  Carpet color becomes a dividing point.  More seriously, lies masquerading in the name of God captivate a group inside the fellowship and tear the larger group apart.  Rarely does a local church collapse because of outside attacks.  Sadly, it collapses on itself because a once united group of friends turn on each other.  They stop seeing the love of God in their own lives and start seeing the major sins and minor problems in each others’ lives.  The Apostle Paul told the local church in Philippi to “Watch out for those dogs” who seek to divide.

Intentional division is not to be taken lightly. The solution by wise disciples is not to fuel the division, rather it is to faithfully lead and set the example of Jesus’ love, forgiveness and vision.  Discerning church leaders protect their fellowship from the pack of wild dogs.  Good followers follow the example of a good leader; Jesus being the Chief leader. But it is difficult and it requires the intentional guidance of the Holy Spirit.  The pack is always prowling. Therefore, love intensely and forgive often.  Rise up on the side of Christ.

Scripture References: Philippians 3:2-4

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November 15, 2015 – Philippians: Killing the Little Legalist Inside You

Preached by Rod Benner (00:47)

Rod continues a series in Philippians. A relationship with God is possible only through Jesus Christ; by what he did for us. Yet, we so eagerly want it to be about our hard work and we are quick to compare our behavior with other people. Instead of pointing people to God we find it easier to point at their problems and failures. Legalism is a belief system that adds certain good deeds as a requirement for salvation. Before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God demanded that his people follow very strict rules and act a certain way to be his follower. Then Jesus came and fulfilled the law of God; doing what you and I could never do. You get salvation by what Jesus did and by your faith in him. You don’t get it by your good deeds. When you become a Christian, God gives you the desire to do good and the power to do good. Any goodness in you is due to God working in you.

So, instead of telling other people what they are doing wrong, encourage them to honorable living in the light of the gospel. The first requires you to walk over another person while the second requires you to walk with that person as a loving friend. Point up not at.

Scripture References: Phil 3:1-16

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