"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6
Ephesians 2:6-7; Philippians 1:6; 4:6-7; Colossians 2:8
What needs correcting in you and your church?
Key point: The list of names Paul gives at the end of his letters show us the importance of mentoring and working through one another as ministers or in ministry. This is about being utilized and taught, willing to grow from our relationships and network so they are utilized and flowing, especially with God. Then we can be used to energize and complement one another. We can collectively be used with the gifts and abilities to strive to the fullest to the Glory of God and persevere with the Gospel.
A letter written by Paul while imprisoned to encourage and confront false doctrines like Gnosticism by false teachers.
As soon as an apostle plants a church and leaves to plant another, bad people come in who forsake the true doctrine and disrespect Who Christ is and what He is about. So, Paul affirms Who Christ is; His Lordship must be front and center of a Christian and the teachings of a church. Christ's Kingdome is now. He is the head of the Church. The Message is simple. No extra rules are needed, and we have no excuse for immorality.
The main theme of Paul's Epistles and ministry was the Supremacy, Sufficiency, and Centrality of Christ as LORD!
Christ, as Creator and God, is superior over any idea, philosophy, religion, or mysticism. He is over trends, traditions, and even the Jewish laws that pointed to Him. No one--none--can gain salvation or fullness without Jesus Christ. How dare anyone foolishly misleads others with false truths or legalism away from the Truth to seek his own after Him.
Churches today are under siege by false teachers and empty philosophies!
Paul wrote to correct and to instruct people to stay away from what is false. Paul wrote to instruct us to embrace His effectual empowerment and the Truth. Paul gives his pastoral heart and concern as well as warnings and correction to this church in trouble. Real Christianity involves a cost and a commitment. Christ must be adored and honored first and foremost--over all else! The overarching call of God is to have a correct view of Christ, so our lives are aligned with His precepts and character. In this way, we can be on guard, and we live in a proper, pleasing way to glorify our Lord, so that people will see Christ exhibited in us (2 Pet. 2: 12-16; Rev. 2: 1-7)!
Paul's correspondences to churches under siege by false teachers, Greek philosophies, traditions, captivating Jewish mysticisms and prideful men seeking sensationalism and fake spirituality rather than Christ as Lord. Just like many of our churches today! Christ's Deity was being challenged and rebuffed for more so called "clever and newer" ideas--just like many today (Acts 19).
These churches were struggling with heresies, such as that Christians must still practice Jewish ceremonies. They also taught a mixing of popular philosophical trends of the day, further making traditions into formal legalism. Then, those who also belonged to cults sought special favor and leadership in this church (Col. 1:15-16; 2:9).
They were seeking something extra and more, when God had already provided everything and ALL that is in salvation and hope.
Like all churches established or just starting out, problems occurred. The prime reason for these letters was to correct false and misleading teachings that were an infection and disruption to this or any church. Principally, the false teaching was stating that Christ was not enough. This was a clear and present danger that would tip any church outside of Christ's teaching, and it would have drifted into a cult status. Action was needed. A loving hand to be gentle and pastoral while carrying a big Holy Spirit stick to line them back up with the God who birthed, saved, and loved them.
Most people in the early church were illiterate; so, it was customary to read the letters of the Apostles as well as a Gospel aloud to the worshippers.
The Reality of the universe and must be real in us, too. By the cross, He made our salvation possible and all the treasures of the universe are in Him and for Him. We have new life in Him. We must hold fast to Christ as Supreme in our hearts and in our church, for He is to be worshiped and glorified. This is what builds us up in faith and practice and also builds healthy relationships and churches. How we lead comes from how we follow Him; we do this best when we know Him more to grow in Him more!
Paul encourages people to pursue spiritual maturity in faith, love, and obedience. If people want real Truth and wisdom, they must learn and grow in Christ. He will fill their new lives beyond comprehension. We as Christians need to trust in Christ, live lives dependent on Him, and seek those things that are not fleeting or dishonoring or that cloud us from Him (Col. 1:2-8; 28; 2:6-7).
Christianity was the solution; it is so simple, most people missed the profoundness of it and try to add to it, complicate it or dilute it by their own misunderstanding or willfulness.
The new, fancy philosophical theories were as catchy and powerful then as today's false teachers. Just as the deceptive TV ministries, politically-minded "leaders" of some churches, and cults of personality seek to fleece the flocks and leave people empty. This is devastating and corrupt and leaves a church in chaos and confusion that also struggles with false teaching infiltrating them, too.
Paul was an extreme example of multiplying networks and energizing and influencing people for the Lord. Being excited about who you are in Christ is an essential aspect of attracting people and motivating them for and in leadership. New Christians bring in most of the new converts because they are excited and are energized. Even though new Christians may be ignorant on theological and apologetical matters, they are bringing people in versus people who have been Christians for many years, but tend to lose their excitement and, thus, may rarely bring people into the church.
Paul's recognition is a testament to the importance of influence, mobilization, faith in action, and being kind and good people who get excited and joyful about their task and call. If someone in leadership has all the gifts and abilities except the ability to get it across to others, he is pretty much ineffective and in the wrong position.
Paul' use of the term Church, is the "members of one body," of Christ. The closer we are to Christ, the closer we are to one another and to what Christ has called us to do and be. Once we make real peace with God, we will be able to make and maintain peace with others. We believers need to practice unity and peace among one another as a display of how God brings peace to all of us. If we fight and are in disunity, "how can God be of peace" will be the objection from those who do not know Him (whom we are called to reach) or are new to the faith. Paul experienced strife and then reconciliation--a model for us all (Rom. 12:4; Eph. 3:6; 4:24-26; Col. 3:15).
Exercise your faith and take advantage of your opportunities to grow and promote Christ's Message.
Faithfulness and helping one another by service and collective action is what matters to God. The more we put into our faith and come together, the more we are used to get the Gospel out. This is also about encouragement and service; it is contagious and mutually shows one another our faith while it is also displayed to those who do not know Christ.
We need to read and reread and study and apply God's Word so we can submit to His correction.
The principles of the Gospel must impact us so we are influenced and energized by it. If the leader is not excited, the message will drop off and fall flat. The learner and hearer will not desire something irrelevant and unexciting. If they see no excitement in the leader, why would they want to be a part of it? The nature of the Christian life is the joy and excitement of being in Christ over all else, and this should be the biggest motivation so the excitement the leader receives from his growth becomes contagious to those around him; this is influence. Being in Christ means living our lives for Him with excitement in all times and all places. This is influence. This is how we build our church!
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/