It's a God Thing!
Community Group Questions (Net Groups)

1. Can you think of something in your life now, or in your past, you would consider a “God Thing”? In other words, it just wouldn’t have happened without Divine intervention.

2. Paul was writing to the church at Philippi when he said God began a good work in them and would carry it on to completion. However, he was also speaking to the individuals who make up the church. What a person believes about God’s role in their creation and His subsequent role in the purpose of their lives will inevitably effect the way they live their lives. Discuss this statement and its implications.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16 NIV)

3. There have certainly been some huge challenges for Northshore Church since it’s birth in 2001, but God has carried us through every storm! Can you share a little bit about how God has, or is, carrying you through a difficult time in life? Read the following passage from Isaiah...

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV)

4. God is not a quitter!! He will complete the work He began in us if we will only let Him! What are some of the things that can hinder God’s work in our lives?

2 Tim 2:22  Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Tim 2:23  Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.
2 Tim 2:24  And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.


SERMON


It's a God Thing!!

Philippians 1:1-11

INTRO: As hard as we tried to get the word out about moving our blue service to next week, some of you may have come this morning ready to honor our first responders and ready for some Bad to the Bone Barbecue. Your tickets will be good next week. Also, this Tuesday night, at the City Auditorium, there will be a 9/11 remembrance ceremony at 6:00pm.

This morning, I would like to give a shout out to the Red Cross and our Southern Baptist Cooking teams for doing such a great job feeding the people who were affected by the storm. They've been a joy to work with. I also want to thank Birchman Baptist Church in Fort Worth Texas who sent a mud out team this weekend and they are with us this morning. God Bless You!

Another blessing to come out of this storm situation is watching our staff and our church people work together as a team to help meet the needs of those effected by the storm and to see volunteers from our sister churches all across the state and other parts of the country come together to help those who are hurting.

It's such a God thing that we ended up with this building and had the facilities to support the feeding effort. How many other churches have a loading dock, a warehouse, and a huge canopy that allows for all the equipment to be set up out of the elements?

 As most of you know, I spent a few weeks away, seeking the Lord and praying about the direction of our church and the preaching plan for the coming year…

One of the blessings to come out of my time away was seeing the amazing job our staff did while I was gone! It served to remind me; At Northshore Church, it's a God thing! It's not one guy, it's a team of people working under the leadership of the Holy Spirit to accomplish God's will!!!

One of the sad things in churches down through the years has been the fact that many of them were built on one man's personality. If something happened to that one man, many churches became crippled or worse, they died. I don't believe we have to worry about that at Northshore Church, again, because it's a God thing!

 It's certainly been a God thing the way Northshore Church came to be and then how God kept a remnant together after Katrina so we could rebuild our church. We couldn't get back into our other building, but the church is not a building, it's a people. The people of God!

 And just the way God gave us a bigger and better building, He is growing and building His people to become stronger and more effective in reaching a lost and dying world with the Good News of Jesus Christ!

We're not all we need to be and we certainly have a long way to go as we seek to become all God has called us to be!! But as we will see in our text today, because it's a God thing, we will make it! We will become all God desires for us to be!

 In our text today, Paul the Apostle writes a letter from prison to a church he had started in the city of Philippi. Paul loved this church dearly and it is clear from their support of him, they loved him as well.

When Paul first went to Philippi, there were only a handful of believers there. The city was really somewhat hostile to Christianity. It was a garrison for Roman soldiers. It was filled with pagan religions and cults. It was very anti-semitic. It would not be a church planters first choice of places to start a church.

But, as Paul is going to remind us, the Church is a God thing and He desires to raise up His church in the places were the light the church will shine is most needed!!

In the passage we will read today, Paul shares some incredible truths concerning the Church. Truths that apply to the congregation as a whole and to the individuals who make up the congregation!

Get your Bibles out and let's read the first eleven verses of Paul's letter. They are simply amazing!!!

1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
Philippians 1:1 (NIV)

2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:2 (NIV)

3I thank my God every time I remember you.
Philippians 1:3 (NIV)

4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
Philippians 1:4 (NIV)

5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
Philippians 1:5 (NIV)

6being 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 (NIV)

7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.
Philippians 1:7 (NIV)

8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:8 (NIV)

9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,
Philippians 1:9 (NIV)

10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,
Philippians 1:10 (NIV)

11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:11 (NIV)

Now let's dig in...

Important Truths in Paul's Introduction

1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
Philippians 1:1 (NIV)

Sometimes we just fly past the introductions, but every Word of God is powerful and has a purpose.
Paul is writing to the Philippian Church and he reminds them even in his greeting that "It's a God thing!"

Paul mentions his ministry associate Timothy and then states they are both servants of Christ Jesus! The word for servant here is the Greek word for slave. In other words, Paul is stating that his life and ministry is a total God thing. His reason for existence was to serve his Lord Jesus Christ!

He then says, "To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:"

Saints in Christ Jesus is key.

 We aren't saints because we are so righteous and holy and morally superior to others. No, we are sinners saved by God's Grace through Christ Jesus.
That's why Paul says, "To all the saints in Christ Jesus!" It's because we are in Christ that we have righteousness!!!

 Paul would later in his letter make a powerful statement to back up this "In Christ" wording when he talked about his personal bragging rights...

5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;
Philippians 3:5 (NIV)

6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
Philippians 3:6 (NIV)

7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
Philippians 3:7 (NIV)

8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ
Philippians 3:8 (NIV)

9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
Philippians 3:9 (NIV)

 In other words, it's a God thing!!!
Paul goes on to say...

2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:2 (NIV)

 Grace and peace come from God the Father through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ!!

And have you ever thought about the phrase, "the Lord Jesus Christ"?

 Lord means: the "authority to rule!"
Jesus means: "Yahweh (God) Saves!"
Christ means: "Anointed One!"

Paul then gets very personal with the church. Listen...

3I thank my God every time I remember you.
Philippians 1:3 (NIV)

4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
Philippians 1:4 (NIV)

5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
Philippians 1:5 (NIV)

Paul thanks God for the church and prays for them every time he thinks about them because he considers them to be his partners in sharing the message of Jesus with the world!!

What Paul says about the Church at Philippi next is so powerful and speaks these many years later to Northshore Church in Slidell, Louisiana!!

6being 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 (NIV)

Boy could Paul pack a punch in just one part of one sentence?
Yes he could and he did. Let me read it to you again and I'll explain...

6being 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 (NIV)

What is Paul saying about the church and it's mission?

God conceived it!
God carries it!
God will complete it!!

 This applies to the church as a whole and to the individuals who make up the church!!

 "God conceived it!"

 Northshore Church was not my idea or the folks who asked me to come and plant this church. It was God's idea. He conceived it and then put it on their hearts and then on mine, and then on Jay's, and subsequently each of our staff and now those of you who are here and who are partnering with us to make the good news of Jesus known to our community and our world!

The church is God's idea and it belongs to Him. Remember the words Jesus spoke to Peter, the guy who God used to plant the New Testament Church...

18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Matthew 16:18 (NIV)

19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 16:19 (NIV)

 And God certainly knows it's not been easy street for Northshore church. We've met in 15 different places since that first Bible study July 2001.

But here's the deal.
God Conceived it and God will carry it!!

God carries it!
 

6being 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 (NIV)

God carries us! God gives us the strength! God provides what we need!
Listen to what Paul told the church at Ephesus…

18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,
Ephesians 1:19 (NIV)

20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,
Ephesians 1:20 (NIV)

21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
Ephesians 1:21 (NIV)

22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,
Ephesians 1:22 (NIV)

23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Ephesians 1:23 (NIV)

God will complete it!!  

6being 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 (NIV)

We can trust God to complete the work He began!! He is faithful! He is trustworthy! We may not understand how He will do it, but He will do it!!
Listen to what Paul told Timothy, his young apprentice in the gospel...

8So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
2 Timothy 1:8 (NIV)

9who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
2 Timothy 1:9 (NIV)

10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
2 Timothy 1:10 (NIV)

11And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.
2 Timothy 1:11 (NIV)

12That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV)

I know whom I have believed in and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that Day.

God will complete the work He began in our church and in us as individuals.
We must trust Him to keep His Word!!

Paul went on to say this in our text for today...

7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.
Philippians 1:7 (NIV)

8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:8 (NIV)

9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,
Philippians 1:9 (NIV)

10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,
Philippians 1:10 (NIV)

11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:11 (NIV)

In other words, to quote a dear friend of mine in this church…"We don't want to be a mile wide and an inch deep!" We want to grow in our worship, we want to grow in our outreach, we want to grow in our size, we want to grow in our facilities, we want to grow in our knowledge of God's Word, we want to grow in our discipleship!  

 In other words, let's keep it a God thing at Northshore Church. Let's never let it be about us, or ego, or pride, or how great we think we are, let's always keep it about how Great God is!!

I could go back and point out some amazing things in our history as a church that remind me of how it's always been a God thing...

 It's a God thing how God provided the initial 100,000 dollars for us to have two full time staff.
It's a God thing how that 100,000, plus the tithes that began to come in from that first few families, took care of two full time staff with families, covered the cost of equipment, rental of space etc, for two years.

 It's a God thing that we built out 16,000 square feet in the outlet mall in 6 weeks with the help of volunteers from all over the country and grew from 250 to almost 400 in only a year and a half.
It's a God thing that we survived Katrina and the 80 who met in the parking lot of our flooded out building two Sundays after Katrina stayed together, even though a homeless church.

 It's a God thing that He directed us to this building with the audacity to try to purchase a part of such a large facility.
It's a God thing the owners were so gracious to work with us and that we were given a 750,000 dollar in kind donation to bring the price of 44,000 square feet of building and a wonderful parking lot down from 2 million to 1.3 million.

 While I was on my sabbatical, several times, as I wondered how in the world we would be able to overcome the challenges that face Northshore Church, God would remind me that the work is His! The Church is His! And we are His!!
He Conceived it
He will carry it
and He will complete it!!

 I want to end by saying to you.

The message today was for the church.
The church is you.
So the message is not only for the church as a whole, it is for you as an individual.

So let me read that verse one more time and let's apply it to you...

6being 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 (NIV)

You were God's idea!!!
God conceived the thought of you!!
God will carry you through whatever you are struggling with today, tomorrow or the next day, because God has promised to complete the work He began in you until the day of Christ Jesus!!

That's really good news!!