Summary: In this sermon we see Paul finding the silver lining of God’s will in the difficulties of life.
Sunday, January 27, 2002
As most of you know by now I am a Murphy’s Law kind of guy. I never knew before that there are some basic principles that were laid down by the actual Captain Murphy. Not surprisingly there were thirteen of them.
1. Nothing is as easy as it looks.
2. Everything takes longer than you think.
3. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
5. If anything simply cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
7. Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
8. If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
11. It is impossible to make something foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
I have never been a silver lining type of guy.
That is why it really strikes home to me when I encounter someone who is. That is certainly what the apostle Paul is in the first chapter of Philippians. We have already noted that Paul was in prison in this chapter. For the first time Paul now speaks about that imprisonment. Why did it happen? Is there a silver lining to this dark cloud in his life?
1. The silver lining to Paul’s imprisonment. 1:12-14
a. The benefit of his imprisonment 1:12
b. The benefit those who have heard the gospel 1:13
16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.
30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
It has become clear to all that Paul is not a prisoner in Rome because he is a criminal. He is in prison on account of his stand for the Gospel.
c. The benefit to the other believers 1:14
emboldened by Paul’s example - others were taking up the challenge of sharing their faith with others.
2. The silver lining behind the darkest cloud 1:15-18
This is the one I find absolutely amazing - even in someone who was deliberately attempting to add to his misery - Paul rejoices
Shows the importance Paul placed upon the Gospel
But even more so - shows Paul lived what he preached about in Romans 8:28.
Paul’s view is consistent with that of Joseph in Genesis 45:4-8
Now I don’t want to say that it is easy to have this kind of perspective. When you are going through a difficult time it is incredibly hard to have this kind of perspective. There are people here this morning who are going through or have gone through such incredible difficulties. There are those here this morning who have experienced the horror of cancer. There are those who have been abused and mistreated by others. There are those who have dark clouds in their lives that I can only begin to imagine. But there are two truths here that I want you to grab hold of this morning.
1 God is good and he will do good through the trial you are now enduring.
2 If you can get a glimpse of the bigger picture of God’s good work, it is possible to have joy even in the where you are in the middle of that difficulty.