Summary: This sermon is part of a series I am doing in the book of Philippians.



Sunday February 3, 2008

Scripture Reference: Philippians 1:3-11


A. Poss. Movie clip from Remember The Titans. [] Running on the same track.

Trans. Today we are going to begin our look into verses 3-11. Now as I have been saying all along in this series we are not in a hurry so we will not finish our look into all these verses today. What we are going to do today is explore V.3-5 and talk about what it means to discover joy in living through sharing our lives. I see two ways that Paul shows us how to find joy in our Christian lives. One way is through praying for others and the second way is through sharing in ministry together. So let’s begin with this first truth.


The first thing I want to draw your attention to is how Paul prayed for these Christians in Philippi.

A. How Paul Prayed For The Philippians Church.

1. One of the first things that jumps out to me here are the memories that Paul has of these people. Read V.3-4 now look at how it is translated in the NLT Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, Now let’s remember where Paul is as he writes these words. As we know he is imprisoned for preaching the good news about Jesus and he is also chained to prison guards. Read with me V.13-14 (read). I can’t help but express again how important this is. We are learning in this series how we can live for Christ and still enjoy life. Paul once again shows us that the enjoyment of life is not about everything being in your favor. It is not about whether or not life is easy and our pockets are full. It is about our relationship with Jesus that is where real joy is not only discovered but kept!

2. I think there is a probable question that arises from these words of Paul. Here it is, “Am I the kind of Christian whose memory sparks joy in the hearts of others?” What that means is, “When others think about me does that memory bring them joy or sorrow? Let’s just refine the context of that question a little. Let’s make the focus of that question just within this church family. Does the memory of us bring joy to people here at Cornerstone or does the memory of us bring sadness? When others think of me do they think, “I am so thankful for _________.” “They are always so faithful, so consistent, so willing to help even if it is not their so called place of expertise.” Or when others think of me do they think, “Boy I hate to ask ________ to help out.” “They hardly ever say yes and if they do I can’t really be sure they will follow through.”

3. As a pastor I think I know a lot about what Paul is saying here. After 22 years of ministry there are some people with whom I remember with great joy. People who over and over again illustrated by the life they lived their great love for God and His church. I remember people like Bob Stadler, Carole Jang, and Ruth Garner. I remember people like Robert & Debi Jones, Steve & Dottie Chandler, and Preston & Ella Gandy. These are people from the last two churches I have pastored, but let me also say that I can say this same thing about Cornerstone. Now to keep from getting into trouble I won’t mention specific names, but I can assure you of this. When I pray for you I pray with thanksgiving. In a few minutes we will look at how these Philippian Christians partnered with Paul and the ways they partnered with him are the same ways that you have also partnered with me in God’s work here at Cornerstone.

4. Another thing that strikes me in Paul’s prayer is who he prays for. Now I know you think I just talked about this but there is more. Look at V.4 (read). Did you see it? Did Paul say, “When I pray I pray with joy for those of you who were always on my side?” Did Paul say “I always pray with joy for those of you who never gave me any trouble?” Did he say, “I always pray with joy for those of you who gave 20% in the offering instead of just 10%?” NO,NO,NO! What Paul did say was that he prays for ALL of them all the time. Now let’s all be honest here shall we? This is not easy to do is it? How is it that Paul could pray with thanks giving and with joy for even people who might have disagreed with him and didn’t think he was always doing the right thing? I believe the answer in part at least is found in this very letter. Let’s turn back to 3:15-16 read. Now Paul is not being condescending here, he is not saying “Well I will pray for you even though I know you are acting t his way because you are spiritually immature. I believe that the reason Paul could pray this way is because he was excited about the possibilities and potential that was still available to these people. He had seen the grace of God at work in their lives as we will also in the coming weeks and he could pray with joy and thanksgiving because he knew all that God could and WOULD still do in their lives as they submitted themselves to him.

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