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The letter to the Philippians has been called not only the tenderest letter that Paul ever wrote, but also the most delightful. It brims over with expressions of praise. confidence and rejoicing, despite the fact that this is one of Paul's prison epistles, written in Rome during his first imprisonment.You can find the background for this letter in the closing section of the book of Acts, and also in chapter sixteen, which tells of Paul's visit to Philippi and the founding of the church to wh ...
 
The fourth Gospel holds peculiar significance to me for many reasons, but especially because it is written by the disciple closest to our Lord. When you read the Gospel of Matthew, you are reading the record of our Lord as seen through the eyes of a devoted disciple. Mark and Luke, of course, were dedicated Christians who knew and loved Jesus Christ, though they learned about him largely through the testimony of others, but John is one who leaned upon his breast. He was of that inner circle ...
 
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We want to begin our studies in the book of Philippians today and through the summer continue in what I consider the most delightful epistle of the New Testament. There is a wonderful note of joy and thanksgiving that runs through this entire epistle, and yet as you know this is one of the so-called "prison epistles" written while Paul was a pr ...…
 
This morning we are beginning studies in the Gospel according to John. This gospel was written by the disciple of whom it was said, "Jesus loved him." John was the closest intimate of our Lord during the days of his ministry, so this constitutes a very important gospel.By Ray C. Stedman.
 
"I want you to know, brethren, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the brethren have been made confident in the Lord because of my imprisonment, and are much more bold to speak t ...…
 
In the prologue to the Gospel of John, the apostle is setting forth a summary of who Jesus really is. Last week we looked at who Jesus is eternally, and why the world cannot forget him. Here is a quotation from a very well known personality, who found he could not forget Jesus:By Ray C. Stedman.
 
Who was Jesus -- visibly? What did men see when they looked at him, when they heard him teach, when they followed him and lived with him? A great many images of Christ today are far removed from the biblical picture of him. They range all the way from "gentle Jesus meek and mild" -- a sort of harmless, gentle spirit whom no one need take very s ...…
 
Now we come to the main purpose for which this letter to the Philippians was written. It concerns the unity of the church there at Philippi. Someone suggests that the key to this letter is really found in the fourth chapter. You find the key at the back door rather than the front door. It is found in the mention of two women who are odds with o ...…
 
A remarkable religious phenomenon broke out in the United States in the year 1948. It started in a tent near the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, under the preaching of a young evangelist by the name of Billy Graham. The crowds were a little sparse in that tent at first, but as the preaching went on they began to grow. Finally certain rather prom ...…
 
Now we come to what I think is the most breath-taking passage in all of Scripture. This passage on the glorification of our Lord Jesus is the Mt. Everest among the mountain peaks of revelation concerning the Person of Christ, the amazing story of how the eternal Son of God stepped out of eternity into time, and became a man as God intended man ...…
 
Next year is election year. Political drums are already beating. Already banners are beginning to fly, and the politicians are beginning to spout as we head toward that three-ring circus by which we choose the leaders of the world for the next four years. I could not help but note the contrast with the passage we have this morning from the Gosp ...…
 
So then, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed me--and that not only when I was with you--now, even more in my absence, complete the salvation that God has given you with a proper sense of awe and responsibility. For it is God who is at work within you, giving you the will and the power to achieve his purpose. Do all you have to do without ...…
 
In the second chapter of John's gospel we have the account of the first miracle of our Lord. The scene has now shifted from Judea, where John the Baptist was baptizing in the river Jordan, to seventy miles north, the area of Galilee. Jesus and his disciples have walked all that way.By Ray C. Stedman.
 
"I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be cheered by news of you. I have no one like him, who will be genuinely anxious for your welfare. They all look after their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But Timothy's worth you know, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. I hope therefore ...…
 
We are coming to that dramatic moment in the Gospel of John when our Lord first cleansed the temple. This may seem a rather strange passage for Mother's Day, but any mother who has had to clean out a teenagers' room after months of nagging will identify fully with this account!By Ray C. Stedman.
 
Last Sunday we met with two of Paul's friends, Timothy and Epaphroditus. Today we begin a chapter that opens a window deep into the heart of the apostle himself. This is one of the most autobiographical writings in all of scripture, and as we traverse it, it unfolds to us the glowing secret of the mighty ministry of Paul. We will take only the ...…
 
Everyone today is familiar with the term "born again." It has become so popular that it is used for all kinds of situations that have nothing to do with the way the New Testament uses it. If a football team has a bad season and the next year comes to life again and does much better, the sports writers say it has been born again. I heard a man s ...…
 
"Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness f ...…
 
Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.By Ray C. Stedman.
 
The section in the Gospel of John to which we come this morning begins with the world's best known Bible verse. I have been in meetings where people were giving memory verses, and before long someone always stood up and quoted John 3:16, and everybody else said, "Oh, he's given my verse!"By Ray C. Stedman.
 
We are now coming to the last word in this letter of Paul to the Philippians. We will be looking at chapter four to the end of the letter. We invite you to follow with us in your own Bibles as we read. This last note of the letter as might be expected is a very personal one as the apostle is writing to his friends far across the sea from him, a ...…
 
The story of Jesus and the woman at the well of Samaria helps us deal with many modern issues. Here Jesus crosses the barrier of race prejudice and interacts with a race hated and rejected by the Jews. That helps us greatly in our own bigoted, prejudicial society. Our Lord encounters a moral outcast and displays for our instruction the proper a ...…
 
We last saw the Lord Jesus in the Gospel of John in Samaria, where he had that amazing encounter with the woman at the well which eventuated in a great spiritual awakening in that area. The Lord and the disciples were excited and rejoicing over what must have been, even for them, an unexpected spiritual harvest.…
 
I picked up the latest issue of Time Magazine last week and found that the entire issue was devoted to a celebration of Time 's sixtieth year in publishing. The theme of the magazine was, The most amazing sixty years in history. It was a review of many events of the past sixty years, a highly biased one, which centered around Time's own existen ...…
 
In three verses in the fifth chapter of the gospel of John we have Jesus' own explanation for that incredible life which he lived among us. Studying through this passage this past week I felt like a little boy who was given a bucket and told to empty the Pacific Ocean before lunch! I have sat and stared at these verses and seen things in them t ...…
 
In the fifth chapter of John's gospel we have been watching Jesus at the pool of Bethesda with a great multitude of blind, lame and paralyzed people. I have already drawn the spiritual parallel to that of a congregation on Sunday morning. There are many blind people present among us, people who cannot see where they are headed, who are stumblin ...…
 
In the fifth chapter of John's gospel Jesus makes amazing claims about himself. He claims to be "the Son of God," "the One sent by the Father," "the Source of all life" (physical and spiritual), "the Judge of all the world" (all history is heading toward a confrontation with him), and "the Raiser of the dead," the One who one day will empty all ...…
 
It is no coincidence in God's program I am sure, that this Sunday which has been set aside as World Food Day is also the day we come to the account in John's gospel of Jesus feeding the 5,000 beside the Sea of Galilee.By Ray C. Stedman.
 
I have been listening to some of the commentators review the past year and almost all of them were negative on 1983. They felt it was a bad year for the United States and for the world in general. Certainly all will agree that international tensions were much higher at the end of the year than they were at the beginning. The nuclear threat grow ...…
 
The sixth chapter of the Gospel of John is the setting for one of the great discourses of our Lord, his word on the "bread of life." Bread, of course, is the symbol for that which sustains and maintains life.By Ray C. Stedman.
 
When Jesus announced to the crowd at the synagogue at Capernaum that he was the "bread which had come down from heaven," they must have been very startled by his remarkable claim. But it is no wonder they were puzzled by what he said.By Ray C. Stedman.
 
We have come to that point in John's gospel where many of Jesus' disciples drew back and no longer followed him. This is a turning point in our Lord's ministry, where he confronts the twelve with the question, "Will you also go away?" This is a frequent phenomenon in our day also. Many people start out the Christian life and seem to do very wel ...…
 
More than nineteen hundred years ago there was a Man born contrary to the laws of life. This Man lived in poverty and was reared in obscurity. He did not travel extensively. Only once did He cross the boundary of the country in which He lived; that was during His exile in childhood. He possessed neither wealth nor influence. His relatives were ...…
 
It's ten months until November and I confess I am already tired of the faces I am seeing and the facts I am hearing about all the candidates for President. With the single exception of my own choice, they are a very unimpressive lot! There may be a peacock among those turkeys, but if so I have not found yet which one it is. Yet, faced as we are ...…
 
In his book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis says,By Ray C. Stedman.
 
Everything that occurred during the Feast of Tabernacles was designed to remind the Israelites of the time their forefathers spent in the wilderness. For the duration of the feast they dwelt in booths made of tree limbs. This reminded them of how they had lived in tents in the wilderness. On each day of the feast a pitcher of water from the poo ...…
 
I grew up on the great words of American freedom. As a boy in school I was required to learn Patrick Henry's wonderful address, delivered at the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg before the Revolution. I still get chills up and down my spine when I remember his words,By Ray C. Stedman.
 
We have reached the conclusion of the remarkable words of Jesus in his dialogue with the Jewish leaders in the temple courts in Jerusalem at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles. This marvelous eighth chapter of John is described by Dr. William Barclay as "a chapter which passes from lightning flash to lightning flash of astonishment." Have you ...…
 
Our Lord's encounter with a man who was born blind, and the question put to him by the disciples concerning the man's blindness, is a wonderfully helpful passage. It helps us face the question that all of us have asked at one time or another, either about ourselves or someone else: Why does God permit such suffering to occur? On television the ...…
 
No part of Scripture is better loved than the 23rd Psalm. Many Christians have read it in times of pressure and of danger. The Lord is indeed our Shepherd. He leads us in paths of righteousness; he makes us lie down in green pastures; he leads us beside still waters; he takes us through places of danger and darkness. What a comforting thing it ...…
 
We are resuming our studies in the Gospel of John after a lapse of almost three months. Strikingly, John also resumes his account in Verse 22 of Chapter 10 after a lapse of about three months in the life and ministry of our Lord. If you look carefully at the early verses in Chapter 10 you will find that they took place in Jerusalem in connectio ...…
 
I want to talk this morning about the hardest problem to handle in the Christian life. It would be interesting to poll the congregation here as to what you think that would be. Your answer might be different than mine. For me, the hardest problem I have to handle as a Christian is what to do when God does not do what I have been taught to expec ...…
 
One of the strange delusions of our day is the quite unwarranted belief of many that medical science is making great strides in conquering disease and in eliminating or reducing the aging process. It is true, of course, that people do live longer than they did 25 or 30 years ago, and we are grateful for that. It is also true that science has vi ...…
 
One of the great controversies that has raged in the church for many centuries is the disagreement between Christians about whether we really have free will or not, whether we are able to direct our destinies by our own choices or whether we are in the grip of an inexorable fate that determines what is going to happen to us whether we like it o ...…
 
This morning we heard from one of our missionaries about a woman whom she had met in Poland. This woman's husband had been imprisoned for his faith by the Polish authorities and he had later died in prison. His wife had gone through severe trials and was presently living in very difficult circumstances, yet, as she talked with our missionary, h ...…
 
John's account of our Lord's so-called triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem is very brief:By Ray C. Stedman.
 
Many have noted that the Gospel of John does not have an account of the struggles of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. There are gnarled, ancient olive trees still growing in that garden today, and some of them may date back to the days of Jesus. One old tree may mark the exact spot where he knelt in prayer and great drops of bloody sweat drop ...…
 
One of the striking characteristics of our day is the passionate concern which we frequently see expressed over who is to blame for certain disasters that have been part of our recent national history. We have just seen the conclusion of separate libel suits by two famous generals, one an Israeli and one an American, over two widely debated dis ...…
 
At times I grow tired of the ugliness of our world. Sickening reports of violence, rape, murder, drug traffic, pornography and child abuse are flung at us constantly by television and newspapers. It's enough to make you want to either fade out or blow the whole mess up. In our local paper last week there was a story that President Reagan, Const ...…
 
I am fascinated by the discourse of Jesus in the Upper Room. There are truths here that simply stagger the imagination. Surely this is one of the greatest revelations ever to fall from the lips of Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew records that, early in his ministry, our Lord said, "I have come that I might utter things that have been kept secret si ...…
 
One of the social phenomena of our times is the seminars in human achievement that are being offered every weekend. In many parts of the country this very weekend select groups of people are meeting, hoping to find some secret power that will develop all their hidden abilities, and bring them to a new level of life and experience. Here is an ad ...…
 
In the 15th chapter of John's gospel our Lord uses the beautiful symbol of the vine and its branches. We who live in California are surrounded by vineyards. Thus we are particularly well situated to understand something about the culture of the vine, how it grows, and how it produces fruit.By Ray C. Stedman.
 
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