Summary: Only he who can say, ‘The Lord is the strength of my life’ can say, ‘Of whom shall I be afraid?’

Chains, Critics, Crises, and Courage

Topic: Only he who can say, ‘The Lord is the strength of my life’ can say, ‘Of whom shall I be afraid?’

The apostle Paul was such a man. A man who was no stranger to Chains, Critics, and Crises in his life. A man who learned to be content in Christ, who encouraged others to have a similar experience in their hardships and troubles.

Our scripture is from the book of Philippians, it was one of the four prison letters written by Paul during his confinement in Rome.

1. Paul is expressing of his joy he has in Christ, while he was in the midst of his adversity.

2. Paul’s letter to the Philippians embodies the secret of a man who ran the full course, who fought the good fight, who kept the faith.

Phil 1:12-18 NIV

12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.

13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.

14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.

16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.

17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.

18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,

Certainly Paul’s circumstances were anything but joyful!

1. He had been arrested illegally, taken to Rome, and was now awaiting trial.

2. Also there was division among the Christians there (1:14-17), and some were trying to make matters worse for the apostle.

How was he able to have such faith, and joy in the midst of uncomfortable circumstances?

1. Paul found the secret that God intended for humanity:

• No life is complete that does not have God in it.

2. Paul’s Secret was this;

A. Christ was his goal in life

B. Christ was his purpose in life

C. Christ was his strength in life

D. Christ was his joy in life

3. Paul used his Chains, Critics, Crises, with Courage

A. Paul’s chains not only gave contact with the lost, but they also gave courage to the saved.

B. Many of the believers in Rome took fresh courage when they saw Paul’s faith and determination (Phil 1:14). They were "much more bold to speak the word without fear."

1. Because of Paul’s chains, Christ was known (Phil 1:13)

2. Because of Paul’s critics, Christ was preached (Phil 1:18)

3. Because of Paul’s crisis, Christ was magnified! (Phil 1:20)

4. Because of his courage Paul rejoiced in the lord. (Phil 1:18)

Paul’s life is an example to us

We who live in this 21st century with its perils, its problems, its frustrations, its anxieties, and its pressures -- need to discover and understand this because we have the same One indwelling us who indwelt the Apostle Paul.

Using Your Chains, Critics, Crises, with Courage

Our chains may not be as dramatic or difficult, but there is no reason why God cannot use them in the same way.

• At six weeks of age, Fanny Crosby was blinded, but even as a youngster she determined not to be confined by the chains of darkness. In time, she became a mighty force for God through her hymns and Gospel songs.

• Brother Charles Naylor was confined in bed by chains of a crippled body, but his mind and heart continue to reach out to multitudes who find comfort from his ministry that continues to this day.

• Joni Eareckson Tada - on suffering

“Only God knows why I was paralyzed. Maybe He knew I’d be ultimately happier serving Him. If I were still on my feet, it’s hard to say how things have gone. I probably would have drifted through life - marriage, maybe even divorce - dissatisfied and disillusioned. I wouldn’t change my life for anything. I feel privileged. I’m really thankful He did something to get my attention and change me. You know, you don’t have to get a broken neck to be drawn to God. But the truth is, people don’t always listen to the experiences of others and learn from them. I hope you’ll learn from my experience, though, and not have to go through the bitter lessons of suffering which I had to face in order to learn”

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