Summary: God has done a great work in us and he will continue that work until Jesus returns.
A Thankful Pastor: Part 1
Text: Phil. 1:3-6
1. Illustration: Dear God, So far today I've done all right. I haven't gossiped, I haven't lost my temper; I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over-indulgent. I'm very thankful for that. But in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of bed, and from then on, I'm probably going to need a lot of help. Amen
2. I'm thankful for many things in my life. The person I am the most thankful for is my wife Tina. This October we will celebrate our 30th Anniversary, and after 30 years together I am thankful because she gets me. She understands that I am forgetful, disorganized, impatient, and a list of other things that I will not mention at this time. But after 30 years she understands all these things about me and loves me in spite of them.
3. Another group of people that I am thankful for is you all. After 6 1/2 years as your Pastor I can honestly say you get me, and in spite of my many shortcomings you love me anyway.
4. I think that in a nutshell that is what Paul is writing to his friends in Philippi; you get me.
5. From his Pastor's heart Paul tells them he is...
a. Thankful For What God Has Done
b. Thankful For What They Had Done.
c. Thankful For What God Will Do
6. Let's stand together and read Phil. 1:3-6
Proposition: God has done a great work in us and he will continue that work until Jesus returns.
Transition: The first thing Paul talks about in this section of his letter is the fact that he is...
I. Thankful For What God Has Done (3-4).
A. Every Time I Think Of You
1. There are probably not too many people in our lives that we can honestly say we are thankful every time we think of them.
a. Most people in our lives have either angered us or disappointed us at one time or another.
b. Just about everyone we know at some point we have wanted to hug them around the neck...until they turn blue!
2. However, look at what Paul writes to his friends in Philippi, "Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God."
a. Thanksgiving and prayer in Paul's letters are always directed toward God, and because of God.
b. However, Paul's thanksgiving in his letter to the Philippians is just a little bit different.
c. Instead of giving thanks to God for them he gives thanks to God every time he thinks of them.
d. Paul rarely thanks God for things, but rather, he thanks God for people, for those special gifts that God has brought into his life, who despite whatever frustration or grief they may cause him, who are without exception a source of great joy or thanksgiving (Fee, NICNT: Paul's Letter To The Philippians, 79-80).
e. Every time Paul thought about the Philippians, he gave thanks to God for them.
f. The Philippian church had brought Paul much joy and little pain. Some of the churches had developed severe problems, and Paul’s letters had focused on dealing with the problems.
g. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, while mentioning some concerns and giving some advice, could be considered a beautiful thank-you note for their unwavering support.
3. Then look at what Paul writes, "Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy,"
a. Another thing that are hallmarks of Paul's thanksgivings are his acknowledgement of his prayers for them.
b. In this letter he indicates something special and thus showing that they have a special place in his heart.
c. Here he says "whenever I pray..." This does not mean that he prayers for them unceasingly but that he does so continually, over and over again.
d. Not only is Paul a man of prayer, but he is a man whose prayer is filled with thanksgiving for God's people, for whom Paul has a deep and passionate love.
e. In addition, Paul indicates that when he prays for them he does so with joy.
f. It means “joy, delight” (in an active sense) in something or resulting from some experience. (The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Sigma-Omega)
g. This is the first of 16 occurrences of the word, or a derivative of, joy in this letter.
h. Pretty amazing since the letter is only 4 chapters long.
i. For all of you math whizzes out there, that means that he uses this word on an average of 4 times a chapter!
j. Another reason to notice the word here is that this is the only one of Paul's letters where the word joy is used in his thanksgiving.