Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: God has made heart-felt plans for our lives. We respond in kind and receive untold blessing.

1. Plans of the Devil

The devil has a plan for your life: Doubt - To make you question God's word and His goodness; Discouragement - To make you look at your problems rather than at God; Diversion - To make the wrong things seems attractive so that you will want them more than the right things; Defeat - To make you feel like a failure so that you don't even try; Delay - To make you put off doing something so that it never gets done.

2. Plans of God -- Psalm 33.10-12

I. God Has Made Plans

A. Creation by Divine Plan -- Psalm 19.1

B. Nations Directed by Divine Plan -- Acts 17.26; Daniel 4.25

C. Salvation by Divine Plan

1. No accident that Jesus came -- Galatians 4.4

2. Planned before the world began -- Ephesians 1.3-4

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

D. Personal Lives Led by Divine Plan -- Jeremiah 29.11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

1. Called/chosen by God (2 Thessalonians 2.14)

2. Involved with God -- Psalm 139.7

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

3. Intimately developed by God -- Romans 8.28

Historical accounts of Squanto's life vary, but historians believe that around 1608 -- more than a decade before the Pilgrims arrived -- a group of English traders sailed to what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts. When the trusting Wampanoag Indians came out to trade, the traders took them prisoner, transported them to Spain, and sold them into slavery. It was an unimaginable horror. But God had an amazing plan for one of the captured Indians -- a boy named Squanto.

Squanto was bought by a well-meaning Spanish monk, who treated him well and taught him the Christian faith. Squanto eventually made his way to England and worked in the stables of a man named John Slaney. Slaney sympathized with Squanto's desire to return home, and he promised to put the Indian on the first vessel bound for America.

It wasn't until 1618 -- ten years after Squanto was first kidnapped -- that a ship was found. Finally, after a decade of exile and heartbreak, Squanto was on his way home. But when he arrived in Massachusetts, more heartbreak awaited him. An epidemic had wiped out Squanto's entire village. We can only imagine what must have gone through Squanto's mind: Why had God allowed him to return home, against all odds, only to find his loved ones dead?

A year later, the answer came. A shipload of English families arrived and settled on the very land once occupied by Squanto's people. Squanto went to meet them, greeting the startled Pilgrims in English. According to the diary of Pilgrim Governor William Bradford, Squanto "became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . He showed [us] how to plant [our] corn, where to take fish and to procure other commodities . . . and was also [our] pilot to bring [us] to unknown places for [our] profit, and never left [us] till he died."

When Squanto lay dying of a fever, Bradford wrote that their Indian friend "desir[ed] the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen's God in heaven." Squanto bequeathed his possessions to the Pilgrims "as remembrances of his love."

Who but God could so miraculously convert a lonely Indian and then use him to save a struggling band of Englishmen? It is reminiscent of the biblical story of Joseph, who was also sold into slavery -- and whom God, likewise, used as a special instrument for good.

4. Leads to Eternal Life -- 1 John 2.17 ...whoever does the will of God abides forever.

II. God's Plans Are from His Heart

A. The Love of God is repeated to each Generation -- Lamentations 3.22-24

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;

his mercies never come to an end;

23 they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul,

"therefore I will hope in him."

B. The Love of God Rewards Faithful Generations -- Psalm 33.12; 18-22

C. The Love of God Expects a Heart-Filled Response

A huge clock was built and placed in the tower of the Pottsdam Garrison Church by the Emperor Frederick the Great of Prussia. This magnificent timepiece would chime out the hymn, "Praise ye the Lord" every half hour. One day the melody ceased. Repairmen opened the gearbox of the massive clock. To their amazement, they discovered that a brown butterfly found its way into the intricate gears and stopped the music!

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