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The Royal - Book Six: Letters (Week 2)
Miles McPherson - November 14, 2010

Message Recap

Have you ever run a marathon? You don’t simply wake up one morning and run 26 miles. It takes months of training, run small distances at first and building up the endurance for longer workouts.

If you are going to a national spelling bee or learning electrical engineering, you must study. The mind must build on simple foundational concepts to gain understanding of the complex.

It is generally understood that making the body and mind strong, one has to work hard, practicing day by day. But what about one’s spirit? Is it possible to “work out” the spirit?

Today we continued our exploration of the writing genres of the Bible in a passage from Philippians. Pastor Miles showed us that this chapter provides specific instruction for working out one’s spirit to make it strong.

Genre: Epistles – Reads like a letter

1. Who wrote the epistle?
Answer: Paul (Philippians 1:1)

2. To whom was it written?
Answer: Saints in Philippi (Philippians 1:1)
(Note: last week Miles explained that the Bible uses the term “saint” to refer to a person who has received the Word of God. It isn’t based on a list of guidelines or performing miracles.)

3. Why was the epistle written? What issue or conflict caused the letter to be written?
Answer: To thank the saints and encourage unity (Philippians 1:3-27)

4. What does the author say about that issue that caused the letter to be written?
Answer: Work out your salvation!

In Philippians 2 Paul encourages the Philippians to train themselves by relying upon and using the benefits of salvation.

Understand that we need to train ourselves to live as Christ did.

Establish a spiritual workout plan.

You can’t simply show up to the gym and expect to have your goals met. You need to tailor your gym activity according to the goals you wish to accomplish. You develop a plan for which exercises you will do on which day.

We apply the same concept at school. Randomly appearing in class doesn’t mean you will complete a degree. You need to study, finish your assignments, and complete whatever coursework the degree requires in the order it is required.

As with the body and mind, the spirit requires a planned workout. The epistle of Philippians details what our workout should be.

  1. Increase Your Spiritual Flexibility…
    by training yourself to turn your attention to others instead of to yourself.

    Philippians 2:3 expresses this: Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

  2. Increase your Spiritual Strength…
    by consistently lifting the interests of others above yours.

    This practice can also put your own problems into perspective.

  3. Build Up Your Spiritual Endurance…
    by increasing the length of time between your complaints.

Philippians 2:14 says, Do all things without complaining and disputing. Sometimes we all need to go to others to discuss our problems in order to get advice and encouragement. But when we are spiritually working out, we must shift our focus from exaggerating our own problems and place it on God. Then we are more able to hear from Him and find out how we can encourage and support others as He calls us to do.

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