Sunday, 03 October 1999 00:00

Grace to Your Spirit

Philippians 4:21-23 (KJV)

Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

This is the last message in our series from Philippians (28 messages) and the text forms the last words of the Apostle Paul to people like Lydia, the Philippian jailer, and the your sorcerer girl who had been converted during Paul's ministry in Philippi. Paul was bound to have had a very special relationship with all the saints in Philippi, and these last words would linger in the hearts and minds of all who read them. Before we look at verse 23 in detail, notice two things about the life and ministry of Paul that can be deduced from the two verses preceding our text:

  1. Everywhere Paul went, people came to faith in Christ (v.22).
    Whether in Philippi or Corinth, Ephesus or Galatia, whether in prison or under house arrest, Paul was used by God to lead others to Christ. He said "chiefly, they that are of Caesar's household salute you." How many people know of your faith in Christ?
  2. The fellowship of the early Christians transcended church and city boundaries.
    There is a tendency among many believers to focus on one's home church and never give a thought to those brothers and sisters in Christ in other cities and churches. We would do well to follow the example of those early believers "greeting one another.'

Now let's focus on Paul's last statement. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." The KJV says "be with you all" but the best translation is "be with your spirit." In the Bible the spirit speaks of the "inner man," or all that makes a person who he is. For instance we will say "he has a gentle spirit," or "he has a fighting spirit," defining a person's character by the word "spirit." Why would the Apostle Paul pray Christ's grace be given "to your spirit?" He says this in Colossians 4:18; I Thessalonians 5:28; II Thessalonians 3:18; I Timothy 6:21; II Timothy 4:22; Titus 3:15 and Philemon 25. Why?

  1. The grace of Christ restrains us...
    The Bible teaches us that God is in the business of changing us "into the image of His son." He takes sinners and makes them holy. That is His business. You may be like the Apostle Paul in your struggle with sin. It is God's grace that keeps His people from sin. When you feel like the Apostle and say, "O wretched man that I! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Say, "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:24-25).
  2. The grace of Christ constrains us...
    The word constrain means "to motivate or to compel with irresistible power" (Webster). The Bible tells us that "Christ constraineth us" (II Corinthians 5:14). What do you know to do that is right, good and honorable? Do you lack the power? What you need is the discipline or the moral fortitude to do the right thing. But who gives you both these things? It is Christ.
  3. The grace of Christ sustains us...
    Have you made some progress in the Christian life? Have you overcome some areas in your life that have been destructive to both you and your family? Then ask Christ for His grace that you may be able to sustain your progress. His grace is what every saint needs! Wherever you are in the Christian life—the grace of Jesus Christ to your spirit is needed.

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