Summary: Sermon focuses on the need for personal spiritual retreats based upon the example of Christ as He withdrew from the crowds.
Sermon Title: “A Retreat with Jesus”
Emphasis: The importance of personal spiritual retreats for growing believers
Written by: Rev. Michael R. Hodge – www.michaelrhodge.com
As we open up God’s Word together, I invite you to begin in the book of Philippians. That’s where our journey will begin this evening as we consider this theme of “A Retreat with Jesus”.
Memories of Vacations
Regardless of how often or how elaborate your family vacations were, I imagine there are some special memories in your mind of times where you just got away with family. Maybe it was a camping trip, a beach vacation, or a trip to the mountains. Whatever the case, getting away with the family is truly a special time of bonding and sharing life together!
Well with that image in mind, I want us to use that idea of “getting away”…a retreat…to picture this theme of “A Retreat with Jesus”. I want us to consider how we ALL need to get away at times…but not just from our work schedules and the stress of daily life…but getting away for the purpose of spending time with Jesus.
And as we seek to do that, let’s begin with a passage of Scripture in Philippians chapter 1. As Paul was introducing that letter, he essentially gave them a preview of what was to come. He gave them a statement of anticipation of what was ahead of them. Let’s read that together…
Philippians 1:3-6, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”
We’re going to be focusing in on that last statement – “that he who has begun a good work in you will complete it…”
And I believe that one of key ways that God can accomplish that “completed work” in your life is through your willingness to get away and spend time with Him. And so as Paul gave that statement, it was a preview of what was to come in the lives of the Philippians.
Movie Clips: In 1913, a theater owner on Broadway decided to use a creative tool for getting folks to return to the next event. He created a trailer (a short preview) of a play that would soon be showing at his theater. It was a clever marketing idea – and in that moment he began an industry. You see, in those early days, when the previews first appeared, they were always inserted AFTER the movie. But before long the theater owners realized that people just weren’t willing to stick around after the movie, so they were moved to the beginning. And the goal of those previews (then and now) is to work hard to capture your attention – sometimes giving you just a snapshot and while at other times it seems that they have given you the whole movie.
Key: The preview seeks to build the anticipation of what is about to come.
In the same way, as Paul wrote to the believers at Philippi, he gave them a preview.
He said, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”.
So if that is the build up…if that is what we are anticipating, then what I want us to consider in this message is how spending time with Jesus can affect that GOOD WORK that God is doing in our lives. If we believe that God is going to do a good work (the preview that Paul just gave us), then what are we doing to facilitate that good work in our lives?
To illustrate this, let’s consider several truths about getting away to spend time with Jesus.
Truth 1: A Retreat with Jesus: It is a Chance to Get Away
The first thing that I believe we will see in our various texts is that there are times when we just need to GET AWAY!
Listen to this first verse and then we’ll come back to this in a moment…
Luke 5:16, “So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.”
The pattern of Jesus was to withdraw…to get away…for a time of prayer.
Student Ministry: In my own days of student ministry…because I understood the value of just getting away and spending time with the Lord, this was always something that I wrote into the schedule when I would plan a student ministry retreat. At some point, in some place, we would get away and have a time set aside for just being with the Lord. But what I always discovered was that as I required students to follow that practice, God always blessed me as well. And one of those times wasn’t on a student trip…but on a mission trip. I’ve shared this with you before.