From the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference, sermon notes from the Monday afternoon session are below.
Jamar Andrews, Word Baptist Church, Jonesboro, AR
Here are two examples of people you in the church as Philippi can see who are living lives worthy of the gospel.
These two (Timothy and Epaphroditus) put Jesus first, others next, and themselves last.
Timothy and Paul were kindred spirits for whom a love of Christ had transformed their lives. Timothy was genuinely self-sacrificing.
Paul saw Timothy’s character proven as he labored in gospel ministry. He didn’t just show up and sign up. Acts 16 reveals a period of time that Timothy was trained.
We want to make sure we don’t “unsay” with our lives what we say with our lips. It’s with our lips that we proclaim the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and with our lives that we demonstrate we believe it.
If you will watch your character, God will watch over your reputation.
To serve means to proclaim.
Notice how Paul describes the dynamics of his relationship with Timothy: as a son with a father. “He served with me.”
Timothy isn’t the only example, Paul also mentions Epaphroditus; my “brother, co-worker, and fellow worker.” Epaphroditus is preparing to return to Philippi after being previously sent to minister to Paul. There in Rome, he nearly died.
Epaphroditus was an individual of action. He wasn’t just a commentator or spectator; he was a participant. Our churches need less spectating, less commentating, and more participation.
Paul was a Jew, Timothy was both Jew and Gentile, and Epaphroditus was a Gentile, yet Paul addresses Epaphroditus, a Gentile, as his brother. This gospel message is the answer to what our culture is still struggling with. Just like God saved the Jews, He saved the Gentiles, just like he saves people of all backgrounds today.
Not only does Paul call Epaphroditus his brother, Paul also refers to him as his co-worker. We are co-workers that means we working for the same boss and there is plenty of work to go around. “The harvest is plentiful.”
Ministry is costly; it almost cost Epaphroditus his life. But, God had mercy because his mercies are new every day.
Jose Abella, Providence Road Church, Miami, FL
Has the river of the gospel that flows through our churches and convention be clouded with legalism or antinomianism or anything else? We must be a people that pursue gospel-clarity.
We are always only one generation away from losing the gospel.
How Gospel Clarity Protects us Against Clarity
Paul reminds his readers they have many reasons to rejoice in the Lord. It is not a burden for Paul to continually teach, preach, and clarify the gospel.
Paul’s writing, no trouble for him, was a safeguard for the Philippians. If the gospel is not before us will be most definitely be behind us.
The threat against the gospel is not only “out there”; it can be “in here.”
Gospel Clarity Grounds our Confidence in Christ Alone
The church was threatened by those who said the gospel demanded more than faith in Christ. For them, circumcision had to be included in the gospel.
Paul’s three imperatives of warning: watch out for dogs, watch out for evil workers, watch out for those who mutilate the flesh. In Paul’s day, dogs weren’t pets; they were troublesome. How would they cause trouble? By distorting the gospel.
Evil workers had as a mission to destroy the message of Christ.
Those who mutilate the flesh were those who held circumcision as necessary for the gospel.
What are Paul’s three characteristics of saving faith: those whose hearts have been circumcised by faith in Christ. They’ve tasted grace.
Christians worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus.
Despite Paul’s pedigree, he place no confidence in it. Nor did he place confidence in his accomplishments. The only worthy credentials are those that belong to Christ. It’s his perfect zeal, sacrifice, and life that demands our confidence.
Gospel Clarity Will Save Sinners and Exalt the Savior
I count everything a loss because of the surpassing beauty of Jesus. Paul’s self-righteous kingdom collapsed.