Sunday, November 20, 2005

What Is My Job?

Intro.: Two documents define our jobs.

  1. First, there are a group of documents called company policies. These are responsibilities of every every employee in the organization.

  2. They may also give some of the rights that we have as employees

  3. The policies may also list the details of benefits provided by our employer – insurance, retirement, vacation plans, etc

  4. But there normally another document that will define our job – the “job description”

  5. The job description provides the details of our employer expects of us. It distinguishes our job from those of most the other people around us.

  6. There is a similar set of rules for our spiritual life – there are some expectations that God has for all Christians. These are those characteristics and behaviors that come as a result of knowing Christ

  7. But there are also expectations that God places on each us – it might be related to our calling, it might be related to our relationships to others.

  8. This can be illustrated by examining the next section of Paul's letter to the Philippians.

Read: Philippians 4:2-9


  1. Expectations of every believer

    1. Paul ends the section by giving instructions to the entire Philippian church.

    2. I count six commands in these eight verses:

      1. Rejoice (two times in verse 4)

      2. Let your gentleness be evident to all

      3. Do not be anxious about anything

      4. In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God

      5. Whatever is true, right, pure, lovely, admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

      6. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice

    3. I don't know about you, but I could spend a lifetime building these six principles into my life.

(Ill.) Paul understood a lesson that an Anglican bishop some years ago. Written on the outside of his tomb is a quote from the end of his life: “When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it, too, seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.”

    1. It does starts with us – but there is a promise connected with these commands. And that promise is repeated twice – look at verses 7: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    2. And look at the end of verse 9 - “and the God of peace will be with you.”

(Appl.) When we start taking God seriously, when we start listening and applying what he asks of us, then our relationship with God takes a fresh turn. Let me illustrate it this way:

Two painters were asked to paint a picture illustrating peace. The first painted a beautiful evening scene in the foreground of which was a lake, its surface absolutely calm and unruffled. Trees surrounded it, meadows stretched away to the distant cattle gently browsing; a little cottage, the setting sun—all spoke of perfect rest. The second painter drew a wild, stormy scene. Heavy black clouds hung overhead; in the center of the picture an immense waterfall poured forth huge volumes of water covered with foam. One could almost hear its unceasing roar, yet perhaps the first thing to strike the eye was a small bird, perched in a cleft of a huge rock, absolutely sheltered from all danger, pouring forth its sweet notes of joy. It is the second painter who could describe the peace that passeth all understanding. This is the peace that can be ours when we

  1. Expectations of the individual believer

    1. The commands found in verses 4 through 9 are intended for the every member of the church. But earlier in this passage is a command that was not intended for the entire church, but for two women who could not get along.

    2. Euodia and Syntyche had worked side by side with Paul in sharing the gospel. He knew what they had to contribute.

    3. Now, as they find themselves at odds, Paul calls them “to agree with each other in the Lord.” It is a phrase he used earlier in Philippians when he wrote “... make my joy complete by being like minded ... let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”

    4. But Paul realized that he would need help. He calls on his friend Syzygus to get involved to bring these women together.

(Ill.) Now if you look at the NIV you do not see the name of Syzygus – you see it in a footnote. The term “loyal yokefellow”, found in the NIV, can also be a proper name – the name Syzygus. And though the NIV translators thought otherwise, there is very strong evidence that Paul's instructions were given to a church leader named Syzygus.

    1. Paul is very much aware of the need to for the church to work together to accomplish its task. Paul recognized that he had been given a special task to accomplish that day outside of Damascus.

(Appl.) But he also realized that he could not do it alone. He was aware that the Holy Spirit was a required if he was going to accomplish his task. But he also realized that he needed men and women to join him if the vision God has given to Paul is going to be accomplished. And so, there are specific tasks that we each are given. We, like Clement, are “fellow workers”. We each are called to work along side Paul – even now 2000 years later.

Conclusion: As believers we have responsibilities.

  1. Some of those responsibilities are shared by all believers.

  2. Some of those responsibilities are unique to you (or me) alone.

  3. But as we serve God together, the work of the church will get done.


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