Summary: If the gospel is to reach the nations first there must be a renewel of three areas in every believer's life.
Text: Philippians 4:10-20
Title: 3 areas to renew in us if the gospel is to be brought to the nations
The Apostle Paul finishes the Letter to the Philippians by thanking them for renewing their efforts in helping him to bring the gospel to the nations. This portion of scripture also represents a call to the church today to renew our efforts in helping bring the gospel to the nations and to our neighborhoods.
If we are to see the gospel advance locally and globally there are three areas that must first be renewed in all of us.
1.A renewal of our concern for the lost. (v10-12)
“I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you have had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.”
A.Renewing our concern for the lost begins with first understanding what Paul means by the word “Concern.”
The Greek word Paul uses here for the word concern is one that involves the active participation of our conscience, our affections and our will.
•“I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your conscience, your affections and your will for me.
•A renewed concern for the lost implies a renewed conscience, a renewed affection and a renewed will
•A renewed Concern for the lost begins in our conscience, then touches our affections and finally moves our will to action
Here is an example found in Romans 9:1-4
"I speak the truth in Christ-I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit-I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I would wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race the people of Israel."
So how do we get to experience this kind of a renewed concern for the lost? How do we renew our conscience, our affections and our will to see the lost reached?
One way we can renew our conscience is by not forgetting what it was like to be lost ourselves.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.” (v12)
In his times of plenty Paul never forgot his times of need. Paul also never forgot that he once lived as a lost man. In several of his letters he spoke of life without Jesus. He was open about his past. How he acted in ignorance and unbelief before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. How he was and still is the worst of sinners. Paul used his past to motivate himself to reach out to others.
As Charles Spurgeon’s said, “Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”
We would rather forget we were once lost ourselves. We don’t want to admit we were just as lost as those who are lost now. Let us not harden our conscience against the cries of the Lost!
We also renew our concern for the lost by using every opportunity to show concern to the Lost
“Indeed, you have been concerned, but you have had no opportunity to show it.” (v10)
-Here was the problem for the Philippians -There was concern but no opportunity to show it
-That’s not usually my problem- There is opportunity to show it but no concern!
Having the concern Paul talks about here helps us to see beyond the problem and look for the opportunity. We see the problem and not the opportunity.
The feeding of the 5000 – Jesus asks Philip “Where will we find enough food to feed all these people”?
Now Jesus asked him this question in order to test him. Would Philip see the problem or would he see the opportunity.
Who are the 5000 people today?
In 2012 approx 500,000 people immigrated into America legally. Is that a problem or an opportunity?
If having so many lost people around us is an opportunity to show our concern then…
There is a second area for us to renew
2.A renewal of our commitment to Give (v14-18)
“Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.”