September 11th 2016: Aaron Davies-Whitfield

Worship was led by Aaron Davies-Whitfield who preached from Philippians 2: 19-24, which he entitled “Not my will, but Thy will be done.’ We find Paul is in a place of uncertainty. His letter is written from Rome when he was under house arrest, which can be likened to the bonds and chains of the gospel. Paul is facing possible execution. He truly was an incredible man of God, a giant in the faith. It is staggering how God changed this man, who was out to destroy the church but now he is willing to lay down his life for the church and Christ.

In verse 19 we read, ‘But I trust the Lord Jesus.’ Paul was so captivated by Christ, his every thought and deed were always attached to Christ. He was under house arrest by the wicked Emperor Nero, who prosecuted and martyred Christians in the most horrific ways. Paul does not say, ‘I trust – if the Emperor allows.’ No, he states, ‘I trust in the Lord Jesus.’ Our future must fall into that place, like Paul. When you come to acknowledge Him as Saviour, He is not only your Saviour, He is your Lord. You give your life to Him. Paul faces possible execution, yet Jesus is the one who holds Paul’s future. Notice, in verse 24, Paul write, ‘But I trust the Lord.’ His future was not bleak but wonderfully glorious because of Christ. Whatever comes our way, our future is glorious in Jesus.

Paul was a spiritual giant but he also had feelings. This mighty man of God needed to be encouraged. He says he hoped to ‘send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort’ (verse 19). Paul was anxious for the Philippian Church. Notice his feelings were all encompassed in Christ. He was concerned but that didn’t waiver him, his trust was in Christ. We are reminded, ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.’ (Proverbs 3:5-6). Paul was trusting in the Lord. Trust in Him, lean on Him when you don’t understand and He will direct your path.

I wonder how many people visited Paul when he was under house arrest? It’s a challenge to us. How do we feel about those who minister the gospel to us? Do we love and care for them? It’s not always easy to sit under preaching – sometimes it will rebuke and chasten. We don’t pick and choose, it’s His Word. There can be that in us that doesn’t receive the Word. Let the Spirit of God work in us. We need to humble ourselves. Love those, even in their faults.

Paul found no-one like-minded but Timothy, his son in the gospel. In verse 21 we read, ‘For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.’ Where is your heart today? What is your greatest ambition? What are your motives and desires? Where is Jesus in all these things? How sad Paul was surrounded by Christians but none of them sought Christ’s Will. When Christ came to this earth He thought nothing of His own will, He sacrificed everything for the gospel. He laid aside everything.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan the priest and the Pharisee walked passed the man who was beaten and left for dead. It was the Samaritan who stopped and helped. It’s a challenge but one to take on board.

As Christians we can be more mindful of seeking salary not a Saviour. If Paul came to the church this morning, what would he say of us? Everything in this world will fade away – our job, salary, even our families – but all done for Christ will last. Make His name great in our life and your name full of insignificance. ‘Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.’

Looking at the churches around I see an absence of men in the gospel work. God is calling men to the work. The harvest is ripe but the labourers are so few. One of the reasons is we have too glamourous minds – certain things have to be in place before we consider God’s work. The ultimate questions is, ‘Has God called you?’ If God has called you, then He will provide. Men and women look to salaries and locations. In the New Testament, being a gospel church meant being in prison. Where is Christ in your life? We may not be called to preach the gospel but we are all called to live for the glory of God and make disciples, to follow Him whatever that means. Salary, reputation and comfort will all fall aside. We need to go wherever and to whoever if the Lord is calling. Jesus called the disciples – they did not know where they were going and they would lose their lives but they went willingly. ‘All seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.’ We live in a world of ‘My, my, my, me, me, me’ but what about Jesus? In light of all He has done for you, He asks you to be willing to serve Him, He will do everything else. All Jesus is asking is for you to say, ‘I’ll go Lord.’ God is calling.

‘And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) God is calling you to something. He wants you to be a faithful witness to family and friends or even to the other side of the world. Seek Christ. Seek His will in your life. Surrender your will into His hands.

In verse 22 we read of Timothy, who we know was not a well man; he was a weak and fragile young man but he was willing to go, whatever the cost. When it came to conscription in the Great War men had to leave everything and go to war. We need to serve Christ, to take up the banner of the cross.

The church must go on, the gospel must carry on. But it needs labourers, people willing to forsake their wants for God’s wants.

‘So I will go wherever He is calling me
I lose my life to find life in Him
I give my all to gain the hope that never dies
I bow my heart, take up my cross, and follow Him.’

(From the hymn, ‘What Grace is Mine.’)

You may also like to listen to the hymn, “Here I am Lord’
which is based on Isaiah 6:8
https://youtu.be/EcxOkht8w7c

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