Summary: 2 keys to Becoming a Joy-Full person: 1 Be thankful for what God has done, and confident of God’s ability to accomplish His work 2. Cultivate agape love toward others
Philippians: How to Be Joy-FULL.
1. Grow in love (Phil. 1:1-11)
May 1/2, 2004
MAIN IDEA: Joy comes from a thankful heart that is confident in God’s provision.
In the summer of 1988 I left my home in Redmond, Washington for a 3 month musical mission trip with the Continental Singers. It was a tour that would change my life forever. I received instruction in the art of music ministry. I received encouragement to move toward leadership in ministry. I met a cute California girl named Ann Bollen. And as our music team traveled, we spent the summer studying the little book of Philippians. 4 chapters, written by the Apostle Paul while in chains to a group of believers in the city of Philippi – this little book has had a tremendous influence on my spiritual walk. It is chock full of verses that scream out “memorize me”! “Meditate on me!” “Apply me to your life!” As we traveled across America that summer, I discovered in this little book amazing spiritual truths that make an incredible difference in my life even today. Principles such as doing everything without grumbling and complaining, giving praise in all circumstances, about learning to be content in whatever situation I find myself, about laying down my life for the sake of the gospel, about discovering that my God will supply all my needs – ALL of them! Most of all – I learned that there is a way to live a life of JOY, regardless of my circumstances. That I could, through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in me, live a life that is Joy-FULL – or full of JOY.
And so I’m so excited to begin a 7 week journey through this little book with all of you. Perhaps, like me back in the summer of 1988, you’ve had a quick read through Philippians, or perhaps you’ve never encountered the powerful spiritual truth in this letter. However much exposure you’ve had to it – I pray that God will use this study to bring lasting change to your everyday experience, and that you will experience for yourself the power for change found in this book.
Today we’ll take a look at the first few verses of Philippians and discover more about Paul’s relationship with the believers in Philippi. We’ll discover the current state of that relationship and what Paul longs for in the lives of these dear believers. As we do – we’ll all be encouraged to examine our own relationships with each other here at Christ the King, and begin taking steps to living JOY-FULL lives.
1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Before we go any further, I want to give you a bit of background into who these people in Philippi were, and how Paul came to know them and start a church with them.
In Acts 16, we discover that Paul and has companions were traveling throughout the regions of Phrygia and Galatia, with hopes to go to the province of Asia and preach the gospel there. However, the Spirit kept them from going there, and instead Paul received a vision of a man in the region of Macedonia begging for them to come and help them. They traveled to the city of Philippi – described as the leading city of that district – and began using the opportunities God gave them to speak to people about Christ.
What follows was the conversion of an interesting group of people, including a wealthy businesswoman, a demon-possessed slave girl, and a jailor and his family. From this rather motley crew of folks came the start of what would be one of the Apostle’s greatest church-planting successes.
Where Paul is when he writes this letter is not known for certain, but because of certain references he makes to being in chains, it is supposed that he is in Rome, where he found himself under house arrest, awaiting his trial before Caesar for the trumped up charges of disturbing the peace.
In this situation he was able to move freely about his home, and be attended to by his friends, but he would have constantly been chained to a Roman soldier. It is in this situation, a few years after his first visit to Philippi, that we find Paul writing to his friends. He begins, not surprisingly, with thanksgiving!
3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.