Summary: I want you to get an imaginary piece of paper and write, for me to live is -- -- -- --.

A journey of joy.

Philippians 1:3 -- 30. 09/05/04

A few years ago, a 21-year-old man traveled throughout the Midwest putting pipe bombs in mailboxes. His name is Luke John Helder. When he was apprehended, he said the only thing he cared about is his girlfriend and his band. He said I party, play my guitar in the band, and talk on the Internet to everyone. He said that is my life and he traveled through the Midwest.

That is some philosophy and view of life isn’t it? But we would be surprised to know how many in Sandy Ridge have that type of philosophy in life.

How different is that philosophy and view of life from the apostle Paul. Look at verse 21, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Now which one of these do you think had real joy in life? Paul had discovered that when you invite Jesus into your heart and life, you discover real joy. He spent this entire book talking about joy for the Christian. But you know what; Paul never gives us six ways to have joy? What we do find is that the joy Paul had just spills out onto the pages as we read them. But he never really gives us the definition for joy.

As we move through the pages, Paul mentions some things that can rob you of your joy. We talked about those the other Sunday night as we talked about the joy robbers.

In this chapter, Paul talked about some circumstances of his life. Circumstances can rob you of your joy. If there was ever a man who had difficult circumstances it was Paul. Even though he was following God’s will for his life, he found himself in some difficult circumstances. But as he went through these circumstances, he saw them as opportunities to serve. So here is a man who had joy in his life regardless of his circumstances. What I want us to see tonight is that Paul tells us how life can be a journey of joy along the way.

There are about three phases that just jumps off the pages as you read them. In verse 5,he talks about our fellowship in the gospel. As you move on down to verse 12, he talks about the furtherance of the gospel. Then we move on down to verse 27, he talks about believers striving together for the faith of the gospel. These three phases tell us how to experience joy even when our circumstances are difficult. Remember now Paul is in a Roman prison awaiting trial. Yet he is experiencing joy.

Lets look first of all at THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE GOSPEL. Verse 5 says, “for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.”

The thing I remember when Wayne Joan’s boy Jeremy was a little boy, after church service in the evening he would say let’s have some fellowship. His definition of fellowship was to have some refreshments and share some time talking and generally having a good time. That is fellowship. The actual meaning is to have something in common. To share some things together. When you have something in common with somebody else then you can have fellowship. When hunters get together they have something in common talking about the buck that got away.

Some of you like football and when the game is on you like to get together and fellowship. You share football. That is fellowship.

We don’t want to leave out the women, so some of you like to knit and you talk to those who share and the same interest. You have that in common. There is fellowship.

Now all God’s children or born-again believers. We are saved the same way by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We all have the same heavenly Father. We are all brothers and sisters in the family of God. We share in common the fellowship of the gospel. We are all servants to our savior. We all of Jesus and want others to love him as we do. As a matter of fact, that is what we are doing tonight having fellowship. We all share in the fellowship of the gospel. I don’t know about you but I like this kind of fellowship. We love Jesus we love one another and have all of this in common. One of these days we will continue our fellowship where our citizenship lies up in heaven. And we ought to practice some of that while we are here on earth. We need this fellowship in order that we might get the week started off right.

We not only share in the fellowship of the gospel but we share in THE FURTHERANCE OF THE GOSPEL.

Now what is Paul talking about in verse 12? “But I would you should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.”

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