Summary: What does Paul tell us and show us of how we can (should!) cope in crisis and challenge.

Coping consistently in Crisis and challenge

Philippians 1:18b-30 WBC 15/01/06pm

Forgive me if you’ve heard this before

A stressed-out woman on a busy boulevard is tailgating an honest man. Suddenly, the light turns yellow, just in front of him. He does the honest thing, and stops at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman hits the roof, and the horn, screaming in frustration as she misses her chance to get through the intersection with him.

As she is still in mid-rant, she hears a tap on her window and looks up into the face of a very serious police officer.

The officer orders her to exit her car with her hands up. He takes her to the police station where she is searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approaches the cell and opens the door. She is escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer is waiting with her personal effects.

He says, "I’m very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping the guy off in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the "Choose Life" license plate holder, the "What Would Jesus Do" bumper sticker, the "Follow Me to Sunday School" bumper sticker, and the chrome plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. "

" Naturally I assumed you had stolen the car."

So- here’s Paul, in prison. Reflecting on whether it’s better to live or die. Concluding that going and being with the Lord is far better, for HIM, but that he will most likely remain in prison or be set free as that is better for the gospel

- in fact, he kind of got all three as we think from here he remained under house arrest for 3 years and then was martyred and went to be with the Lord

o but we spoke about the hope of heaven this morning

Now- the rest of the passage. How he deals with the challenge of court that awaits him. How he seeks to conduct himself with consistency and how he is looking for the same from the other Christians

So- how do you act, react when something comes your way?

- a huge challenge? A crisis? A call to come before the court, as we think Paul was anticipating? The challenge of those antagonistic to the gospel? Exams?


Enlist help.

V19 Paul says that his help and deliverance will come through "your prayers and the Spirit of Jesus"

You know- it’s just crazy how reticent some of us are to ask for help.

- maybe we fear we’ll be like those who ask for it all the time

- maybe we fear we’ll be a ’pest’? Or it won’t work

But again and again Paul enlists the help of those he has helped.

- Rom 15:30, 2 Cor 1;11, Col 4:3, 1 thess 5:25, 2 Thess 3:1, Heb 13:18

- And he was a coper. A giant

I have phoned or emailed key friends and asked for prayer

- and felt immediately strengthened

o particularly by the prayers of those you are ’linked with’ in spirit. Special people. Maybe a friend or your spouse

- (and I’m a giant and a coper! NOT. I basically am an example of God’s grace and the grace and prayers of others.

o Particularly Jeremy for example: What you doing up at 3am! "praying!" Who for? "I’m praying for YOU"

So- what stops us following the apostle’s example (and so coping consistency with crisis and challenge)?

- is it pride? Lack of faith? Individualism? Isolation? Rebellion? Disobedience? Laziness?

It’s the prayers of others that help him

And the Spirit of Jesus Christ

Note the wording- through your prayers and by the help given me by the Spirit

- other’s prayers help us be helped by the Spirit

- and we need to enlist His help ourselves, to cope consistently

Do you?

Paul says "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength" Phil 4:13

Stop…. Pause… and plug into His power


Now- what’s it on about here, v19- "what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance" (NIV)

- is he expecting to be set free? Or not die? Not dogmatically, confidently. He’s saying ’whatever happens to me conduct yourself consistently’

- is he thinking this suffering ’saves’ him? (as that’s the word, salvation. See NIV footnote)

o no way. He does equate suffering with part of being a Christian, being made holy, entering ’into Christ’ (v 29, 2 Cor 1:5)… but he doesn’t believe it saves you

- what is he confident of? (might help us to know!)

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