Summary: This is a sermon I did as part of an extended series in the book of Philippians.
HOW TO BE A CHRISTIAN AND STILL ENJOY LIFE
A LIFE ENJOYED IS A LIFE SHARED Pt.4
Sunday February 24, 2008
Scripture Reference: Philippians 1:9-11
A. Today we begin our look into the last portion of verses 3-11. Today we will begin our look into V.9-11, now I must tell you that we are about to embark into what I believe to be a literal gold mine of spiritual truths. As I am sure you have guessed by now we will be here for more than one week. We will definitely spend two weeks in these verses if not three. These next few weeks can do much to enrich your walk with God and help you discover that joy in living for Christ. Now this is not because of my great skills as a preacher but it is because of the truth that comes out of this living book we call the Bible. I hope that you will do whatever is necessary to make sure you can be with us for these next few weeks and if you do miss be sure you go to our web site and listen to or download the sermon on a CD so you can here what God has to say to you through these verses.
1. Let me preface what I am about to tell you by saying that I am not equating myself with the Apostle Paul, but I do find some similarities between his character and personality type and mine. I don’t know if you have ever noticed this but Paul has a tendency to get distracted as he writes to the various churches. Some times I find it hard to not get distracted and start doing things I really didn’t intend to do.  Let me give you an example. I can decide I need to clean off the work bench in my garage and as I am going along trying to do this task and because I picked up one items that maybe needed to be moved to another place in the garage. When I go to move that item I find something else that needs to be moved or changed and before you know it I am in the back yard doing something. Now I don’t know that Paul was as bad as I am but we can see some of his tendency to be distracted in these verses we have been studying for three weeks now. In .V 3 Paul talks about how he prays for these Christians at Philippi but as he does so he gets distracted and begins to tell us as we have seen over the past weeks why he prays for them. Then look at what he says in V.9 “This is my prayer..” It is as if Paul said in V.3 “This is my prayer” then he gets distracted for a minute and comes back in V.9 to say “Now here is the prayer I was talking about a minute ago.” If you want to see another example of this you can go to Ephesians 3 and look at what happens between V.1 and verse 14.
B. Now we have been saying all along here that what Paul is showing us in V.3-11 is that a life enjoyed is a life shared. There is no greater partnership; there can be no greater joy than the joy we share when we pray for one another. Whatever differences we may have had, whatever divisions might have existed these are all dissolved at the place of prayer. I have often said that although I know we have personal needs that need to be brought before the Lord I believe that the greatest enjoyment in prayer is not when I pray for myself but when I pray for others. I certainly get to do this every day in my devotions but I also find great enjoyment when I am away on my prayer retreats and I get to take along the requests you share with me. Let me just say here that I am intending to increase these prayer retreats to no less than two and hopefully three each year. These are not only helpful times for me personally but I feel they serve as a great advantage to you as my congregation in how they help to keep my focused on God’s purpose and vision for us.
C. I want to do a little informal survey today. Now I know we have only been studying Philippians for six weeks and we are just now looking at the ninth verse but I want you to rate for me the spiritual maturity level of this church, based upon what we have studied so far and based upon any other reading of studying of Philippians that you have done. Now here is the scale I want you to use and we will just do this by a show of hands. (Put on screen Philippian Church Spiritual Maturity Level. Very Immature – Immature – Average – Above Average – Very Mature)