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Summary: Sharing our witness is hard times

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The University of Success, ..a discussion of the universal qualities of successful people. I was struck with the statement that ‘all successful people have a clear purpose in life’. They have a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning—and that driving purpose keeps them on track and makes them ultimately successful. ‘Without a clear purpose no one can be considered successful no matter how much worldly fame he may achieve’.

Oxymoron is the joining of two words that don’t seem to go together. For example: light darkness, a deafening silence, a bold retreat, a powerful servant, a short sermon . . . . you get the idea. And when you put the ideas of joy and trial together it sounds like an oxymoron. We think of joy as being something that takes place in pleasant times. Joy accompanies good times, not difficult times. We have a narrow view of joy. Paul introduces us to a joy that is independent of circumstances. Present in the delightful and good times . . . but it is also present in the difficult and painful times.

HOW OUR PROBLEMS CAN EFFECT OUR WITNESS

Far from the freedom he previously enjoyed journeying throughout a large part of the Roman Empire, founding and strengthening churches, and training leaders.

He still sought to fulfill his commission even though he was imprisoned in Rome. Philippians 4:4--"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!"

Weirsbe says that the secret is having a single mind when you look at the circumstances of life.

Seeing them as God given opportunities for the advancement of the Gospel.

To rejoice at what God is going to do instead of complaining about what He didnt do.

1:12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,

1. This is something Paul ‘wanted us to know’. Important part of

understanding the sovereign work of God and working through the

false messages that are assumed about living the Christian life.

In the past missionaries boarded ship not expecting to ever see their homeland again. Some even sold themselves into slavery because that was the only way other slaves could have a chance to hear the gospel.

High cost and sacrifice was something expected of the body of Christ.

Now we complain if the sermon is too long or someone says something we don’t like or a list of many other things people get upset about in today’s church.

HOW DID WE TUMBLE SO FAR?

2. Paul’s circumstance included some very difficult events. Expounded in 2 Corinthians overall but in order to get him to Rome some specific things happened.

MY CIRCUMSTANCES: It started in Acts 21 when he went to Jerusalem to make an offering in the Temple. Unfounded rumors spread that he had brought a Gentile in. That led to a mob scene where Paul was severely beaten and would have been murdered if the authorities had not stepped in and arrested him. Eventually he was sent to Caesarea to stand trial as a Roman citizen. There he was held without bail for two years. He gave his testimony to Felix, the Roman governor, who listened attentively and then kept Paul in confinement, hoping for a bribe. Still later he testified in chains before King Agrippa. Eventually he was put on a boat and sent to Rome. But the boat sank during a violent storm on the Mediterranean Sea. Paul and other survivors were washed up on the shores of Malta where a snake came out of the fire and bit him. Finally he was brought in chains to Rome where he was kept under house arrest for two years, awaiting trial before Caesar. Meanwhile his opponents spread rumors about him, attempting to destroy his reputation and ruin his ministry. As he looks back, he sees clearly that everything happened for a divinely-ordained purpose—All of it now is clearly seen as part of God’s plan to bring him to Rome at precisely this moment in precisely this situation so that he would be where God wanted him to be.

3. THE PROGRESS/ADVANCEMENT OF THE GOSPEL

The word is a military term that refers to the movement of an army into enemy territory. As the soldiers move forward, they clear the obstacles, open the roads, drain the swamps, and build pontoon bridges so that the whole army can advance unhindered. Paul means to say that his imprisonment—which seemed to be a setback—actually served to advance the gospel in Rome.

The Greek word refers to something moving forward in spite of obstacles, dangers, and distractions. It is the noun which means to cut down in advance. It is the verb which is used for cutting away the trees and the undergrowth, and removing the barriers which would hinder the progress of an army"

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