Summary: About the courage and passion of Paul.
My experience two weeks ago… car breaks down… towing… Michael… conversation about his
life… filled the day with meaning. Then the next morning… Sandra’s experience… excited me….
But bumped into executive class with champagne hardly felt just…. Is she really God’s favorite?
> Faced with issue… how do I define life… by my circumstances… or an overriding goal? To
the degree that the outcome is what mattered most… had become my passion… the circumstances
of life didn’t really define my day.
As we continue our series entitled Extraordinary Living… we discover a liberating perspective.
As you may recall… Paul had been converted in a way not only dramatic… but deep.
• Introduces Christ to first community in Europe… Philippi.
• Now been 4 years since they’d seen Paul… they’d been trying to send help and find out about
all he is facing…
• First 11 verses he blesses them…
…Now finally gets to sharing about his circumstances.
Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to
advance the gospel.
Paul now wants to share his circumstances… but it becomes a window into his soul… and a call to
V. 12 (& 19) – “what has happened to me.”… what an understatement
(Drawn from Nicky Gumbel)
• Falsely accused of taking Greek man into temple… grabbed by crowd… beat up… some
intervened and solders took him…. About to be flogged when he appealed to his Roman
• Put in dock… falsely accused again… hit… planned to be sent on.
• 40 Jews took a vow not to eat or drink until they killed him
• Ended up in hands of tyrant… tried… sent to Rome.
• Shipwrecked on the way. Survived… and sent to Rome for trial. Now faces potential death.
All he says is ‘what has happened to me’.
WHY? … Because it’s all just the backdrop
> Because he has a passion that defines his circumstances… “to advance the Gospel”
• Supreme aim is “to advance the Gospel”
• Word ‘advance’ implies… ‘advancement in spite of obstruction and dangers.’
• Wiersbe – ‘pioneer advance’… to follow Christ calls out the pioneering spirit in everyone.
> Pioneering spirit is about destination mindedness.
America is a reflection of the settler and pioneer… all came as pioneers… but along the way
settled… decided to settle into the comforts of home. We all by naure have a pioneering and
settling dimension. But Christ calls us to realize we are not yet home… and to live as pioneers.
This is what Paul understood…
For him…Gospel was the answer to religion, love replaced haterd.
As soon as Paul launches into sharing his most dramatic of circumstances… it becomes clear that
the focus is beyond himself… to his PASSION.
Our passion is deeply connected to our sense of contentment… and courage.
In a book entitled, ‘The Power of Full Engagement’ (Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz), the authors
“The most compelling source of purpose is spiritual, the energy derived from connecting
to deeply held values and a purpose beyond one’s self-interest. Purpose creates a
destination. It drives full engagement by prompting our desire to invest focused energy in a
particular activity or goal. We become fully engaged only when we care deeply, when we
feel that what we are doing really matters. Purpose is what lights us up, floats our boats,
feeds our souls.
Purpose becomes a more powerful and enduring source of energy in our lives in three
ways: when its source moves from negative to positive, external to internal and self to
Paul was centered in spiritual purpose.
This runs through all that Paul shares…
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.
His passion to glorify Christ… cannot be contained by his CHAINS. (vv. 12-14)
More than anything else, Paul’s desire as a missionary was to preach the Gospel in Rome. The
hub of the great Empire, Rome was the key city of its day. If Paul could conquer it for Christ, it
would mean reaching millions with the message of salvation(Acts 19:21, Rom. 1:15).
Paul wanted to go to Rome as a preacher, but instead he went as a prisoner! (Wiersbe)
Palace Guard were the elite special force to surround the emperor… 10,00 elite… got highest
pay… at end got Roman citizenship with all it’s authority.
> Paul was chained to them every day.
Could have said “If only I could be released from these circumstances.
> Made most of his situation.
We may often feel constrained by our circumstances… our jobs… our life stage…. but the