Sept 9, 2018 – Grace
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Grace, Peace, Glory, Joy
Philippians 1:1-11 (ESV)
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
The dynamic working of grace challenges us to trust a generous God.
I) Grace comes to us
- v2 “Grace to you… from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”
- grace, generosity and our concept of fairness (Matt 20:1-16)
II) Grace is shared by us
- v5 “because of your partnership in the gospel”
- v7 “you are all partakers with me of grace”
- broadening reciprocity
III) Grace goes with us
- v6 “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion”
- Philippians 4:23 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit”
Questions for Reflection
- What is grace? How would you define it?
- In what ways do you struggle with generosity? The generosity of others? Being generous?
- Have you ever found yourself resenting God’s generosity to others? Do you doubt God’s generosity to you? Do you believe God is thoroughly generous?
- What hinders you from giving freely? What concerns or safeguards wisely guide you to be cautious in sharing (yourself, your time, your resources)? How does fear or selfishness influence or effect your generosity?
- What should generosity and sharing in grace look like in a Christian community? How can different people with different gifts contribute without feeling they are being taken advantage of? How should we think about any people in the church who don’t seem to be contributing anything?
- “Grace travels outside of karma” (U2) How can grace interrupt the ordinary pattern of things (in a world where we expect good to bring reward and bad to bring some form of punishment or negative reward)? How does grace increase justice, as opposed to offering something different or contrary to justice? Does grace transform justice, or is it something entirely different?
- How does grace come into the world through Jesus? How does his perfect life bring good to us, and how does his suffering deal with the wrongs we have done?
- Where do you struggle to trust? Do you find God trustworthy? Do you have trouble trusting God is fair? Do you trust that God’s generosity includes you? Can you find confidence by trusting God and not your own works?
Prayer of Confession
Gracious and mighty God, we recognize you are generous and merciful. We confess that we don’t trust you as we should. We resent your generosity to others, and fail to recognize your generosity to us. We let fear and greed hinder us from giving and sharing freely. We burn out because we trust in our own works even while we say we live by grace. Lord, forgive us. Begin your work in those of us who are coming to you for the first time. Carry us along and bring the work to completion in those of us who are struggling to live by faith. Thank you for grace. Amen.