A symbol of God’s promise
This teaching is Radio Antioch Podcast Episode 33. To watch, click on the player above. To download audio and video , click the Icons at the bottom of the post..
I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy  because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,  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.
The Greek word translated being confident is peitho. (Pay’- tho) The perfect tense used here indicates that Paul had not only already previously come to the conclusion that this was true, but was also still confident in it remaining true in the future. The Greek word translated completion here is epiteleo. (ep-ee-tel-eh’-o;) from Greek words epi, ep-ee’ and teleo. ( tel-eh’-o).
epi, ep-ee’; a primary preposition properly meaning superimposition of time, place or order.
teleo, tel-eh’-o; to end, i.e. complete, execute, conclude, discharge (a debt) :- accomplish, make an end, expire, fill up, finish, go over, pay, perform.
So the Lord is able to to bring you to the time of the completion of your purposes, He is able to bring you to the Place of your release, and He is able to Order your life from now until the End!
So Paul reveals here his understanding of the Christian journey- The Lord began a good work in the Philippians as they came into Christ, but like all of us, they have not yet come into the full measure or stature of the promise and calling upon them as individuals and also as a church that is part of the body of Christ. But Paul also speaks of his confidence that the Lord is able to take them to the level of anointing, maturity and fruit in Christ that is their destiny.
But here is where many Christians, and even some churches get shipwrecked in the storms of life. They may have no doubt the the Lord BEGAN a good work in them. They were so full of faith when they began, so on-fire with the First Love of Christ so looking forward into their destiny and calling. But then the Storms come. Setbacks occur, and our situation looks hopeless. Sometimes mistakes or even sins are committed, and we feel disqualified. Many of us have lost the confidence that the Lord, who began the work in US is not only ABLE, but also still desires to bring to fruit the FULL PROMISE of our calling and destiny in Christ. We claim to believe that God parted the Red Sea, but we lose faith about paying the rent. And we believe that God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and yet when we get in Sin and see how much dirt remains, we are unable to see past the failure ito the grace of God to take us where He wants to go.
Quite simply put, we lose faith in God’s ability to finish the work that He began in us!
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
One reason that we become shipwrecked is that we don’t understand that accomplishment and success is a process. That frequently we need to be refined before we can be used to accomplish God’s purposes.
Let’s talk about Joseph. He was gifted, prophetic young man, called to greatness as a prince of a nation that was just beginning. He had the favor of Israel his father, as the best among his brothers. And yet he was full of pride and arrogance. He had had dreams that he would move into an exalted place of leadership. But in his pride and arrogance, he announces his dreams to his brothers and parents, long before he has grown in stature, character and anointing to walk in that destiny. Because he was trying to force God’s timing, he was rebuked by his parents and hated by his brothers. Many of you are familiar with the story. His brothers faked his death and sold him into slavery. He was taken to Egypt and became a slave in the household of Potiphar. But as Joseph began to grow in character, the enemy came against him. When Joseph rejected the adulterous advances of Potiphar’s wife, she falsely accused him of attempted rape, and Joseph was sent to prison. But even in the prison, God was maturing Joseph. In the Prison, God continued to refine Joseph’s prophetic gifting, and he was able to interpret troubling dreams of royal officials who had been sent there. One of these officials was eventually release. One day, Pharaoh the King of Egypt had a troubling dream, and this official remembered Joseph. God had prepared Joseph, honed his gifting, and positioned him in just the place where he would impact a nation. Joseph interpreted Pharoh’s dream, so impressing him that he was made ruler of all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. Paharoh’s dream was about a great famine in the land. When the time of famine came, even Joseph’s family had to seek help from Egypt. As the wise steward of the nation, Joseph had prepared Egypt for the great time of trial, and he was also able to provide a sanctuary for his family.
He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food;  and he sent a man before them– Joseph, sold as a slave.  They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons,  till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true.  The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples set him free.  He made him master of his household, ruler over all he possessed,  to instruct his princes as he pleased and teach his elders wisdom.
Notice that the dream that got Joseph in so much trouble came to pass. He was refined through many trials until he could handle God’s destiny. What was God’s purpose? To send Joseph before his brothers into Egypt, so that in the time of great trial, they would have a place of refuge for the family that was to become the nation of Israel.
The greed word translated as proved in Psalm 105:19 is
tsaraph, tsaw-raf’; a primitive root; to fuse (metal), that is to refine (literally or figuratively) cast, refine, as a goldsmith, to melt, and purge away the dross and impurities.
So the scripture says here that until the full promise of God came true in Joseph’s life, that the promise was an instrument in refining Joseph and purging him of the things that would hold him back from fulfilling his destiny.
Let me give you a mental picture to help you understand. In our family, Grandma Compton lives in rural Ohio, and she would concerning the harvest that if the Corn was knee-high by the fourth of July, it would be a good year of harvest. Now, I’m no farmer, and I don’t know if the knee-high part is a good measure here in Illinois. But let me give you this picture:
A farmer plants a hundred acre field with corn. Suppose that on the evening of the fourth of July he walks out into the fields and raises his arms to the starry heavens and cries out in Anguish: “Oh God! Where are you? Have you forsaken me? I have labored! I have planted all of these acres, and spent all my money on the seed, and yet there is no harvest! Where ARE YOU GOD?
We would probably laugh at this picture. Because we know that knee-high corn does not produce much of a harvest. We would know that the season is not quite right for the coming huge harvest in the farmer’s life. If he tries to harvest early, or despairs and give up in caring for the field, he will miss out on the full promise of the harvest. We know this about the farmer, because experience has taught us about the seasons of the crops. And yet so many Christians despair in their lives because they have no understanding of the seasons and the process, even the very journey required to bring us into the full promise and harvest for our lives.
Another place where we lose faith in reaching our destiny is in places where we have failed a test, and feel that God has given up on us.
In Matthew 26 we find Jesus talking to the disciples just befor He went to the cross:
Matthew 26:31-35 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ” ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’  But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”  Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”  But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
Now, the disciples got so focused on Jesus’ warning that they were all about to fall away for a season that they missed a key revelation:
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.
Not only did he tell them that He would Rise from the Dead, but He also promised them that they would meet again in Gallilee.
Of course, they all did fall away that night. Peter was so bold as to follow Jesus into the courtyard where He was being accused, but as prophesied, he denied Jesus three times.
But as the whole drama of the crucifixion and their falling away unfolded, Jesus message remained the same to his followers:
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.  Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
In Mark Chapter 16, an agel appeared to Mary Magdalene after the crucifixion, saying:
Mark 16:6-7 ”Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.  But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”
The message- Don’t be afraid, I’m still in control, and I have a plan and a destiny for you. Meet me in Galilee. And in Mark, Peter is called out by name, even though he had denied Jesus publicly three times. You see, Jesus knew what trials and failures were needed to take the brash fisherman Peter and transform him into the Apostle he would become. He knew full well the failures that were coming along the way. Jesus was not dismayed or disillusioned by Peter’s failings.
In John Chapter 21, the disciples had indeed gone ahead to Galilee. While waiting on Jesus, Peter decides to go out to fish, and they fish all night and catch nothing. Jesus appears to them, calling out: “Do you have any fish?” They when hearing that the experienced fisherman had nothing, tells them to cast the net on the right side of the boat. Now this is silly in the natural. A net that could hold a hundred fish is huge, and it would make no difference what side of the boat you cast it from. Even so, they obey and net a huge catch. But this sudden intervention of the supernatural into the natural reminded them that it was God himself they were dealing with. Peter recognized that it was Jesus, and leaving everything behind, dove into the water to swim to meet him. They found Jesus on the shore, with a hot breakfast cooked for them. They went from a night of striving with no fruit to a time of intimate fellowship with the lord with great fruit.
 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”  Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”  The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.  I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”  Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”)  When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”  Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
Jesus carefully restored Peter. For each time that Peter had denied, Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, them commissioned him to feed His sheep. For each time of failure and denial, there was a place of restoration. For each battle lost, there was a commissioning for victory after the time of refining was completed. There was even an example of supernatural provision given in a way as only a fisherman could truly appreciate. All Peter had to do was to have the faith to go forward.
Notice also that when Peter questioned Jesus about another Apostle, Jesus replied “what is that to You? Follow ME” Sometimes when we are in that season before we come to the harvest, we ask, “why me, Lord” comparing ourselves to others. But the Lord reminds each of us to Follow Him, and that each person’s walk with Him is unique.
Friends, the Lord has each of us on a journey. Don’t let the devil steal your identity by discouraging you. Don’t be the farmer on the fourth of July and despair before the season of Harvest. Don’t let your sins and failures cause you to not believe the things that God has promised you. He who began a good work in US is ABLE to bring it to fruit and completion. All we have to do is encourage ourselves in the faith, repent if necessary and have the faith in the Lord to complete