- Sermon Notes
A Victorious Spirit
The church at Philippi had a lot of respect for Paul. When they heard of all the troubles he had endured and that he was held as a prisoner in Rome, they sent a messenger with words of encouragement and a financial gift.
Paul writes this letter to thank them, but also to strengthen them in their faith and to encourage them to grow in their maturity in Christ. The church at Philippi was healthy and strong, but Paul knew they must keep growing in faith and maturity and this letter shows them what that looks like.
The same is true for us, if things are going well and you are spiritually strong, there is still much more that God wants to do to strengthen your faith. There are many troubles coming upon this world and God knows we need to be spiritually ready and on the alert.
And if things are not going well and you’re not spiritually strong, then God definitely wants to take hold of your life and bring you through those troubles. And if you’ll open your heart, He will heal you and strengthen you, and when you’ve come through the other side of those troubles, He wants you to keep walking with Him to keep growing in your faith.
Maturity has everything to do with our attitude of mind. Last week Paul said that we should do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind we should regard one another is more important than ourselves. Jesus Himself is the greatest example. Even though he existed in the very nature of God, He did not regard equality thing to be grasped, or held onto, but he humbled himself and took on the likeness of men. But he didn’t just humble Himself to become a man, He humbled Himself and became a bondservant. Therefore, God highly exalted Him.
This is one of the deepest, most important issues in the heart of God for us. How do you become great in the kingdom of God? Become like the King. This is the very definition of spiritual maturity.
This week Paul writes that what we set our minds on has everything to do with whether we have a victorious spirit. In Chapter 3 Paul wrote, “One thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
The upward call of God means everything to Paul and it defines what he sets his mind on; and what you set your mind on has everything to do with how you live your life.
- There is a lot to be anxious about in this world. The news is filled with tragedies, the world is getting more dangerous every day, the national debt is skyrocketing to unheard of levels, militant Islam is an ever present danger. The Middle East is a boiling pot waiting to spillover.
- The world Paul lived in, however, was even more dangerous, but Paul also understood the significance of faith and the bearing it would have on his perspective.
- Verse 4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say it, rejoice!”
- Paul went through one tragedy and difficulty after another, and yet he could rejoice in the Lord.
- He saw a bigger picture, he looked beyond his circumstances and saw many reasons to rejoice.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18, For momentary, light affliction is producing for us and eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
- The word ‘anxious’ is often misused. Many people say, “I’m anxious to see my friend tomorrow,” what they mean is that they are eager to see their friend.
- To be anxious is to worry or fret and it’s based on the fear of the unknown; ‘what if this should happen?’ or ‘what if that should happen?’ and because it could happen they worry as if it will happen.
Luke 12:25, “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?”
Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
- Do not be anxious about anything, Paul wrote. Many people are held prisoner by fear, but that is not God’s heart for you. Faith is the answer to fear.
2 Timothy 1:7, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.
- God gave us a Spirit of power and love and very importantly… a sound mind. Faith is the assurance of what you know about God and that’s the answer to what might go wrong with your life.
2 Timothy 1:12, I know in whom I have believes and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him until that day.
B. Let your requests be made known to God
- Instead of worry, instead of being anxious, let your requests be made known to God in everything, in prayer and supplication… with thanksgiving.
- When you pray, it changes your perspective. When you worry, you’re focused on what might happen, or what did go wrong, or the pain in your heart.
Illus - When you hit your thumb with a hammer, it immediately becomes the most important thing in your life; at least for the moment.
Illus - Which reminds me of a story. One day a pastor was nailing boards onto his fence and a little boy who lived nearby stopped to watch...
- Prayer and supplication are different. Supplication is asking God to help you; and God wants you to ask.
Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
- We need to acknowledge, however, that God knows the best answer to our prayer. What we think is good may not be what God thinks is good. Aviah thinks that staying home from school and having no homework is good; I don’t.
Illus - Do you give your kids everything they asked for? Sometimes ‘no’ is the best answer.
- The word prayer here is more than just asking, there’s a sense of worshipful prayer. Jesus spent many hours praying to His Father, and you can be sure that he did much more than simply asking for things.
- The contrast between the two is seen in the story of when Jesus came to the house of Martha and Mary to have dinner.
- Mary was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His words, but Martha was distracted with all her preparations and she came up to Him and said, “Lord,
do You not care that my sister had left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”
Luke 10:41-42, But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Philippians 2:14, Do all things without grumbling or disputing;
C. Have an attitude of thanksgiving
- Having a prayerful heart and an attitude of thanksgiving is the opposite of grumbling and complaining. We need to be thankful.
- A heart that is thankful unto the Lord is a heart that knows what it means to be satisfied. If you don’t know how to give thanks, you’ll never be satisfied; you’ll always find something wrong, you’ll never be happy. Be thankful for what God has done.
Hebrews 13:15, Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
- This is important because this is not natural to our human condition. In our flesh we want to feel sorry for ourselves, we want to be cynical or grumpy or say every rude thing we feel.
Illus - When our daughter died we could have become cynical or angry; we chose instead to be thankful for every day we had with her.
- If you want to have a full and blessed life, then you need to have a grateful and thankful heart to God.
- If you focus on the imperfections in yourself or the imperfections in others, you will have little to be thankful for. When you pray you are entering into God’s presence.
Psalm 100:4-5, Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.
- Then, when you are going through the valley of Baca, you can make it a spring. (Psalm 84:6)
D. Peace will guard your heart and mind
- If, instead of being anxious, instead of worrying and being bothered about so many things, we let our requests be made known to God with prayer and supplication and thanksgiving…
- Then we will have peace, not just any peace, the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension. And it’s that kind of peace that will guard your heart and your mind from worry and anxiety and fear.
- Faith brings that kind of peace. It’s beyond comprehension or beyond understanding because it’s counterintuitive. When things go wrong people expect you to be a broken wreck, but when peace guards your heart and mind, you have an anchor for your soul.
Psalm 42:11, Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.
Romans 8:31, What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
II. Let Your Mind Dwell on These Things
- Have you ever laid awake at night thinking about what might go wrong; worry filling your heart?
- To have a victorious spirit, the set of your mind, the frame of your mind is the key.
- The contrast is seen in Philippians 3:18-19. Paul speaks of those who set their minds on earthly things
A. Whatever is true, honorable and right
- There are a lot of things that may be true, but aren’t worth setting your mind upon. It’s true that there are many things wrong with this world, but Paul says to think on the things that are true and honorable and right; that’s the key to a victorious spirit.
- What you input into your mind has everything to do with how you live your life.
Proverbs 23:7, For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
B. Dwell on things worthy of praise
- Verses 8 - whatever is pure or lovely or of good repute or anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things, Paul wrote.
- Dwell on these things because what you set your mind on determines what your soul becomes.
Luke 6:45, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good… for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”
- The only way to get good treasure in the heart is to put it there and one of the best times to do that is just before you go to sleep and after you get up.
Psalm 119:11-12, Your word have I treasured in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me your ways.
Illus - In Bible College I fell asleep once while listening to Chuck Smith tapes; it was amazingly restful sleep.
- Our thoughts are ours to control. If you desire godly change, godly transformation, take control of what you set your mind on. A man becomes as he thinks.
- What do you want to become? If you want to be a man of grace, think gracious thoughts. If you want to be a forgiving person, think forgiving thoughts.
- If you have worry, anxiety and fear in your thoughts, faith is the answer. Let your requests be made known to God and dwell on the things which are worthy of praise. God is your help in time of need.
Philippians 4:4-9 NASB